Indonesia

Indonesian Revolution Photo Gallery

October 28, youth pledge day

(click on each of the pictures to get a full size version)

On June 17th the Indonesian rupiah hit a new low of 16,800 to the dollar - a fall of 10% in one day, a collapse of 30% in one week. Economists are now predicting that inflation will hit 100% and the economy will contract by 20%. The rupiah has now devalued by a staggering 66% this year and more than 80% since the economic crisis began to unfold in mid-1997.

Belgian trade union activist Mark Slane visited Indonesia in July. These are his impressions on the development of the working class movement after the May events.

The dictator of Indonesia, Suharto, resigned on 21 May 1998. As Alan Woods and Ted Grant wrote at the time, this bloody tyrant ruled Indonesia with a rod of iron, having come to power over the corpses of over a million people. But he was blown away like a dead leaf in the wind by a mass movement of the students and workers. This momentous event opened up a revolutionary opportunity in Asia, one that was sadly never grasped. Nevertheless, the collapse of Suharto's regime was a tremendous victory for the Indonesian masses.

Confused reports of Officers' plots, coups and countercoups which filtered through to the Western press a week ago were the first indication of a major revolutionary upheaval in Indonesia. The recent events unfolded against a now familiar background of social and economic crisis in a backward country. The regime of Sukarno - despite the superficial appearance of stability - has been exposed as rotten to the core