By Fitzroy Ambursley
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And who are the people who have themselves pulled along like this? Fine gentlemen in felt hats and long robes, the very men who at the moment are leafing through books on the shelves of a second-hand bookseller, and who are delighted that they are able to read. Do you laugh at their robes? Then you must laugh at our priests. At their hats? Then laugh at yourself. The uniform of the elite over there is a felt hat and a robe; in our country it is the suit. In any case, what is laughable, about them and about us, is that there From one China to another* 3 are elites – gentlemen who are the only ones who know how to read or count and who carry on their backs the mark of their superiority.
While the productivity of the Muslims, restricted to the poor land, has fallen by a fifth, that of the colonists increases day by day for their profit alone: vineyards of 1 to 3 hectares, where modernization of growing methods is difficult or even impossible, produce 44 hectolitres per hectare. Vineyards of more than 100 hectares produce 60 hectolitres per hectare. Now mechanization engenders technology-driven unemployment: agricultural labourers are replaced by machines. This would be of considerable but limited importance if Algeria had any industry.
Result: the Martin law was put on ice. You will understand the attitude of the colonists if you consider the fate they reserved for the ‘agricultural offices for the technical training of Muslim peasants’. This institution, created on paper and in Paris, had no other aim than to improve slightly the productivity of the fellah: just enough to prevent him from dying of hunger. But the neocolonialists of mainland France did not realize that it went directly against the system: for Algerian labour to be abundant, the fellah had to continue to produce little and for high prices.