The website of Militan Indonesia (www.militanindonesia.org), the website of the supporters of the IMT in Indonesia, is two years old. Launched on September 19th, 2009, this website has become one of the main sources for revolutionary Marxist theory in Indonesia.

The September 30th anniversary commemorating the “failed” 1965 “G30S coup” has come round once again. It was a dark day that changed the fate of the Indonesian toiling masses. The Good Book says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16). The same fate but in reverse befell the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) that was reduced from being the largest Communist party outside the Soviet Union and China to a handful surviving in the underground and in exile. It is no exaggeration to say that the collapse of the PKI transformed the world political order in Indonesia.

The 1997 economic crisis that hit the South East Asian countries, in the changed conditions of Indonesia led to revolution in 1998 and the ousting of the old regime. However, it failed to remove the bourgeoisie from power, who adopted “Reformasi” as a means of channelling the revolution down safe lines; while granting “democracy”, however, they pushed for a greater intensification of the exploitation of labour and for greater “liberalisation”. Important lessons have to learnt from this period by the activists of the left in Indonesia today.

The defeat of the PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) in the 1920s led to the handing over of the leadership of the national liberation struggle to the emerging national bourgeoisie which was tied hand and foot to imperialism. While the national bourgeoisie was inherently incapable of completing the task of national liberation, the Stalinist PKI in the 1950s adopted the incorrect two-stage theory, which was later to lead to the bloodiest counter-revolution in 1965.

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.

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