Considered one of the most important films on understanding insurgencies, “The Battle Of Algiers” is a fictionalized account of the urban Marxist insurgency in Algeria’s capitol city during the Algerian War. Originally a socialist propaganda film, it endures for its continual relevance to contemporary Marxist revolution. Long since out of the minds of most, the lessons contained would show up continuously among the FLN’s contemporaries, including the IRA, PLO and the FARC, while inspiring the actions of many more in the decades since.
Banned in Europe for a long period of time, film should be a constant reference for understanding the nature of insurgencies for a large number of reasons. Chief among them should be understanding the parallels to America today. Replace the people of the Caspah with BLM. Replace Ali la Pointe and his cell from the FLN with AntiFa. And the continual juxtaposition of French European society with Algerian society the same manner that’s propagandized in every major media outlet today. With that lens the totality of the situation becomes more clear.
This was the post-colonial era just after WWII, with wars of national liberation brewing against the bankrupted former Colonial powers. Taking that history as a guide, the contemporary Left in academia uses the exact same Hegelian dialectic to describe what they label as social inequality today, thus creating the conditions for revolution among the minds they influence. Stupidly considering them irrelevant by some on the Right, they do not exist in the ivory tower as some may think- they are very much committed to revolutionary praxis at the ground level.
With that said, the film contains a number of critical lessons for insurgency as well as the counterinsurgency force, primarily regarding the mistakes. The might of force did not defeat the insurgents despite the overwhelming show of force, proving once more that it is a war of ideas rather than force alone.