Algerian nationalists in the National Liberation Front (FLN, ) turned the structural colonial economic inequalities between colony and metropolis to their advantage by funding the majority of their military campaigns against the French state through regular taxes forcibly raised on Algerians in France.This was only possible once a bloody internecine war amongst rival Algerian nationalist groups had been waged in Paris, Lyons and Lille during 1957-58.However, living conditions, especially housing, were often appalling: Algerians, although now French citizens, were at the bottom of the queue for social housing, and many local authority agencies openly discriminated against them.Nothing exemplified Algerians' socio-economic status better than the shanty-towns () that grew around Paris, Lyons and Marseilles in the 1950s.(4) However, until 1962, Algerian nationalist organizations enjoyed what Mohammed Harbi has called a 'conflictual alliance' at best with the organized French left, given the latter's suspicion of Islam and Arab nationalism and ambiguous stance on empire.(5) Before 1945, Algerian migration was almost exclusively male.Secondly, entire (nuclear) families started to emigrate.All migrants tended to be less focused on communities back in Algeria, and therefore stayed longer in France, facilitating their integration into the French working class.
(8) In this context of famine and anti-nationalist repression, tens of thousands of Algerians seized the opportunity to emigrate, still hoping that metropolitan France would provide new economic opportunities and a different, better form of social relations.
The migration of colonised Arab-Berbers from Algeria to mainland France was the earliest and the most extensive of all colonial migrations to Western Europe before the 1960s.
Initiated in the late nineteenth century, accelerated by the presence of Algerians in French factories and the army during World War I, male labour migration became an established component of the colonial economy from the early 1920s.
While for reasons of group solidarity and male honour few migrants spoke openly of the undoubted sufferings of migration, popular singers such as Cheikh El-Hasnaoui lamented exile, hence providing a conduit for such feelings.
(7) World War II changed the French imperial climate irrevocably.