Indonesia

This is a translated editorial statement from Militan Indonesia, first published on 22 August 2019, at the beginning of a wave of mass demonstrations across Indonesia and Papua. Since then, reaction has reared its head. The Indonesian government deployed an additional 6,000 police and military personnel to Papua. The internet was blocked. A pro-Indonesian militia was mobilised to terrorise Papuan people. Dozens of Papuans have been killed, with hundreds being rounded up.

We publish here a second round of May Day reports, from Pakistan, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nigeria. In all these countries, the on-going capitalist crisis has led to great exploitation and injustice, and workers are engaged in struggles on several fronts for decent wages and living conditions. Many are drawing radical conclusions, and responded very well to our comrades’ message of revolutionary class struggle!

Ted Sprague explains how the mighty Indonesian Communist Party was defeated and destroyed in 1965 by Suharto's forces of reaction, resulting in the murder of millions of communists and their sympathisers. This historical tragedy, the consequence of the political and theoretical errors of the Communist Party's Stalinist leadership, is rich with lessons for Marxists today.

20 years ago, a regime that seemed unmoveable, that had ruled for decades, while standing on the bones of millions of people massacred between 1965-66 and with its police and soldiers present at every corner, collapsed in the blink of an eye. On 21 May 1998, all over Indonesia, on TV and radio, a voice familiar to the ears of 200 million people proclaimed: “I have decided to declare that I have ceased to be the president of the Republic of Indonesia.” The people cheered and a new chapter in the modern history of Indonesia opened.

On a bright Sunday morning, Indonesian people were shocked by a string of bombings in Surabaya, the second largest city in the country. But there was something different this time compared to past bombings, which made the tragedy difficult to fathom. The perpetrators were three families, with parents who brought along their young children in a string of suicide bombings. The involvement of innocent children in such a barbaric act has multiplied people’s natural anger and disgust towards terrorism. Many feel we are entering into a 'bizarre' epoch – and they are not far from the truth.

Those who rule through deceit, hypocrisy and violence always look over their shoulder for the creeping spectre of truth. They do so more restlessly as they begin to feel the march of history catching up to them and the antiquated system they rest their privileges on. And such is the epoch that we are entering today as capitalism has dug itself into the deepest crisis in its history. The crisis is so deep that it is no longer in the realm of absurdity for the ruling class to think that the only way out is to keep digging until they come out of the other side.

After being in jail for 3 months for the crime of defending workers’ interests, comrade Abdul Hakam (a member of Militan Indonesia, the IMT section in Indonesia, who is also a labour organizer for FSPBI-KASBI Gresik) and Agus Budiono (FSPBI-KASBI Gresik trade union activists) are free at last. They can finally be with their wife and kids again, hug their fellow comrades, and free from the steel bars that seek to crush their spirit. Militan Indonesia and IMT would like to send our deepest respect to both comrade Hakam and Agus for their bravery and self-sacrifice.

On the morning of April 7th, 2016, comrade Abdul Hakam, a member of Militan Indonesia, the IMT section in Indonesia, was sent to jail for three months for his trade union activity. Hakam is a labour organizer for FSPBI-KASBI Gresik, one of a very few radical trade unions in Indonesia. Along with Agus Budiono, who is also from FSPBI-KASBI Gresik, he is charged under the “Unpleasant Act law” (Read Fight the Criminalization of Workers! Free Abdul Hakam and Agus Budiono). Their only crime is to be on the side of the workers.

Twenty years after the publication of Reason in Revolt, Militan, the IMT in Indonesia, is proud to announce the successful publication of this important philosophical book

In the early hours of 1 October 1965 a group of "progressive army officers" kidnapped and brutally murdered six army generals, apparently in preparation for a coup. At the time, they were alleged to be in sympathy with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). In reality, the “30 September Movement” was a provocation orchestrated by the anti-communist General Suharto to justify a coup against the Indonesian leader Sukarno, with the active support of the US and British secret services.

Militan, the IMT in Indonesia, is proud to announce publication of the Bahasa Indonesia edition of Reason in Revolt: Marxist Philosophy and Modern Science this coming spring. This will be another important tool in the construction of the forces of Marxism in Indonesia, once home to the third largest communist party in the world. We appeal to the internationalist spirit of our comrades, supporters, and readers of marxist.com around the world to assist us in putting this work into print by donating money.

Stability is the mantra that the ruling class keeps repeating, but this hope of stability will quickly disappear. Today's economic and political situation - nationally and internationally - does not allow stability beyond short periods - but this is a fragile stability built on sand.

The upcoming presidential election in Indonesia (July 9th) has become much more interesting with the formal entrance of Jokowi as one of the presidential candidates. For more than a year the rumour mill was running non-stop as to whether or not Jokowi would throw his hat into the race.

The Indonesian economy is slowing down, like many of the “emerging” economies. In these conditions methods of struggle that led to important gains for the working class in the recent past no longer have the same effects. This poses a number of questions that have to be answered by the labour movement.

Today is the beginning of a week of strikes and general strikes in Indonesia. During the past month the call for a general strike has been heard in every major factory in the country. The 28th of October has been in the mind of every worker, as it has been in the mind of every capitalist and politician – of course for different reasons.

“In terms of the numbers killed, the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century". (CIA study in 1968)

In this period of world economic crisis, Indonesia has been hailed as a miracle economy, registering a solid 6% annual growth for the past few years amid a sputtering world economy. However, despite this impressive growth, Indonesia cannot escape from the clutches of austerity that is gripping the whole world.

Here we publish the excerpt of Militan Indonesia’s perspective document which was passed at its 3rd National Conference in March 2013.

More than 500,000 took to the streets on May Day in what was in effect the second largest general strike in the history of Indonesia. The working class of the 4th largest country in the world is starting to move in a very radical manner as the workers are imbued with confidence from their recent successes.

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