The leader….
However, at the time, the right conditions for the social revolution which France Albert Rene wanted to build by spreading the revolutionary spirit were still not present. To attain this objective, it was necessary to create a revolutionary Party of the people and capable of guiding it in the complicated struggle which was to unfold. He came back to Seychelles on 1 June 1964, and on 2 June he lit the torch of liberty by creating the SPUP. The Party set up its own newspaper to back the struggle, ‘The People’, whose first issue was published on 17 August 1964.
 
“Politics was not a means to become important, politics was not a search for power, but it was just something very dear and very, very deep for me. I think of all those people like Mr. Guy Sinon who left his job in East Africa to come and join me. Mr. Loizeau, Mr. Olivier Charles who was working very well in the Agricultural Department, all those people in those early days gave up their jobs and came for a very small amount of money, just enough, barely enough for them to survive. They struggled on and on and most of them are still loyal to this day,” France Albert René said.
 
An intense political campaign began against the denial of justice and the conspiracy of silence in the face of colonialism. The Seychelles People’s United Party was there to give the people a certain amount of political education, to reach out to the people and build up in them a sense of hope in the future, to rally their support and to cultivate in them a high degree of responsibility and duty.#
 
“As we know, it is not easy. I think that those of you who were there with us, people like Mr. Rifned Jumeau and others, know the difficulties we went through, the nights when we had to sleep outside, sometimes by the side of workers, in order to try to gain more respect and dignity for the people of Seychelles,” Mr. René said.
 
It is obvious that when France Albert René talked about the people, he meant that he was devoting his whole life to the majority of Seychellois, especially the workers who were being exploited.

Apart from the love he had for and his confidence in this social class, he was deeply conscious of the future roles they had to play in the upheavals which were to mark the history of Seychelles. Also under his guidance, the Transport and General Workers’ Union was founded on 2 August 1964, followed at a later date by other trade unions.
 
The political awakening following the creation of those two organisations and particularly of the SPUP instilled a clear sense of awareness. Workers began to realise that exploitation, oppression and humiliation, of which they were victims, were not an inevitable calamity.
The SPUP took off and gained power among the people in spite of the smear campaign launched against Mr. René and his militant comrades. He campaigned for Universal Adult Suffrage and this was granted on 23 November 1964.
 
In October 1965, France Albert René was elected to the Legislative Council in by-election as representative for Praslin and La Digue. However, he refused, in leading the struggle on the two fronts, to create a distinction between the objectives of national liberation and those concerning cultural and economic recovery and enjoyment of the democratic and political rights of the people.

In December 1967, he was re-elected and represented East Mahe for three years on the Government Council. Such a ‘promotion’ did not mean that the establishment had brought him back to the fold because France Albert Rene remained uncompromising in his struggle to emancipate the people of Seychelles.
He continued to write in ‘The People’ that the Seychellois people had to run their own affairs. Likewise the total demilitarization of the Indian Ocean came up as a keynote in his declarations on foreign policy.

On 9 March 1970, France Albert René represented his Party at the Constitutional Conference in London and became the official leader of the opposition. At that time he also had talks with African progressive leaders for whom he symbolized the nationalism and resistance of the people of Seychelles to colonialism.
In January 1973, the SPUP was recognised as a national liberation movement by the OAU. On 28 April 1974, Mr. René was again re-elected to the Legislative Assembly.

He was the leader of the SPUP parliamentary group which had won only five seats although it had taken 48 per cent of the total votes, the ten other seats going to the Seychelles Democratic Party, which was pro-British, with 52 percent of the votes.
The struggle undertaken by France Albert René on Seychelles’ territorial integrity was an important aspect – and relatively little known – of  his  political activity during the colonial period.

He displayed uncompromising nationalism with great ability in the constitutional struggle. Hence, on 18 December 1974 he moved a proposal in the Legislative Assembly asking for the return of the three islands, Aldabra, Farquhar and Desroches which were detached from Seychelles’ archipelago by the British to form the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).

In March 1975, he took an active part in the London Constitutional Conference and repeated his request for the restitution of the BIOT islands by declaring: “I think it is abundantly clear that the people of Seychelles are calling for the independence of the whole of their country. The three islands that were detached from Seychelles must be returned back to Seychelles.”