Lessons of the 1965 Indonesian Coup
Up to one million workers and peasants were slaughtered in a CIA-organised army coup led by General Suharto which swept aside the shaky bourgeois regime of President Sukarno, crushed the rising movement of the Indonesian masses, and established a brutal military dictatorship.
This historical analysis, written by Terri Cavanagh, was first published as a pamphlet by the Australian section of the ICFI in 1991. A second edition was printed in 1995.
The bloody coup in Indonesia was the outcome of the drive by US imperialism to gain unchallenged control of the immense natural wealth and strategic resources of the archipelago, often referred to as the “Jewel of Asia”.
In December 1957 the whole fabric of imperialist domination over the Indonesian economy was shaken by a massive eruption of the working class and peasantry. Factories, plantations, banks and ships were seized and occupied.
The Indonesian military coup of October 1-2, 1965 was the outcome of a carefully-orchestrated and long-planned operation by the CIA and the US-trained and backed commanders of the Indonesian armed forces.
In the months following the bloody CIA-organised military coup of October 1-2, 1965, every known member and supporter of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and all working class parties, and hundreds of thousands of other Indonesian workers and peasants, were massacred or thrown into concentration camps for torture and interrogation.
The crisis of working class leadership was never posed so sharply as in Indonesia between 1963 and 1965. The fate of the Indonesian workers and peasants depended entirely on overcoming and defeating the counter-revolutionary line of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) which bound the working class hand and foot to the tottering bourgeois nationalist regime of Sukarno while the US-backed military prepared for a bloody coup.