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]

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