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.

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