We start today a four part article on the development of capitalism in Indonesia. In Part One we see how the original Dutch East Indies colony, that was later to become Indonesia, played an important role in capitalist accumulation for the nascent Dutch bourgeoisie, the first to actually carry out a bourgeois revolution in Europe.

More than ten years after the revolutionary “reformasi” movement in Indonesia, the thirst for Marxist ideas remains unquenchable. Those ideas continue to inspire left-wing student and workers activists and induce fear among the ruling classes. The fear of communism, instilled by the terror of the Suharto dictatorship, has not completely been removed but it has been eroded.

Having analysed past experience from the terrible bloodbath of 1965 through to the movement that overthrew Soeharto, in part two of their perspectives document the Indonesian Marxists look at the present situation facing the working class. Is there such a thing as a “progressive bourgeoisie” in Indonesia today? What is the impact of the crisis on the Indonesian economy and what are the prospects for the coming period? [part 1]

Twelve years since the magnificent movement that overthrew the hated Soeharto regime in Indonesia it is time to draw a balance sheet of what was achieved and what the state of the movement is now. As the crisis of worldwide capitalism begins to bite, Indonesia too is faced with a new situation, one where the working class and youth will seek to learn the lessons of the past. This two-part document attempts to draw those lessons.

We also publish an excerpt from a monologue written by Ratna Sarumpaet (translated to English by Robyn Fallick). This monologue was written in her memory in 1997 and it has since become a tradition to perform the monologue at every May Day celebration. “Marsinah Accuses” has also been performed in many other countries.

Marsinah (1969-1993) was an Indonesian worker who was kidnapped by the army and brutally murdered on May 8th 1993 because of her involvement in the strike action at her workplace. She led a strike with 500 of her fellow workers, knowing full well that under the dictatorship of Soeharto her life was in danger. Marsinah has since become a symbol and inspiration for the workers’ struggle in Indonesia. Let us celebrate International Working Women’s Day and remember Marsinah by rolling up our sleeves to fight for socialism, the only way out of the misery of capitalism.

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