Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Rewi Alley

Eyewitness Account of Indonesian Military Take-Over

Account describes terrorism used by Rightist forces; Revisionist support for Militarists’ coup detailed.

Issued: The People’s Voice, [New Zealand] December 15, 1965.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Sam Richards and Paul Saba
Copyright: This work is in the Public Domain under the Creative Commons Common Deed. You can freely copy, distribute and display this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line as your source, include the url to this work, and note any of the transcribers, editors & proofreaders above.

“I spent ten days in Djakarta, from October 13 to October 23 this year, attending the Conference Against Foreign Military Bases, which had been called prior to the military coup, which was in progress when we arrived and which continued over the following weeks. During that time, it was possible to see a good deal of what was going on, and to exchange opinions with many Indonesian friends. It was clearly evident that the extreme right, in panic because of the rise of the Communist Party, had with foreign support carried out a coup against the whole progressive movement.

“To me, it all seemed very like the Shanghai of 1927, when the Kuo-min-tang, bought up by foreign interests, turned on the Communist Party which had done so much to bring them to power, trying to exterminate it.

“Daily, during the whole time of our stay in Djakarta, the army transported lorry-loads of gangsters and hooligans to kill, arrest and burn. These were the same elements that the foreign oil companies had so heavily subsidized to carry out the last Moslem extremist rebellion. Now, as part of a big over-all plan, they had been brought into Djakarta by the army, and were used to burn the SOBSI, headquarters of the labour unions, those of the cultural movement, LEKRA, many universities and schools, the headquarters and sub-offices of the Communist Party of Indonesia (P.K.I.), the homes of progressive people’s leaders, like Aidit, who was a Cabinet Minister in the government.

“Daily, lorry-fulls of arrested youth could be seen, with hands behind their necks, being transported away. Jails were improvised by the army in cellars of a department store, and in many other places.

“Around the Hotel Indonesia, where the conference was held, were the familiar faces of many C.I.A. and other foreign agents, all quite busy.

“Not only the people’s organizations were attacked, but an anti-Chinese agitation was promoted.

“The Chinese commercial consulate was attacked, and later Chinese consulates elsewhere. Chinese technicians assisting Indonesia were molested. Chinese schools, homes and shops were burnt or looted, despite the correct policy of non-interference that China preserved during the whole business, all done by the same elements who had marched past the U.S. Embassy in acclaim.

“To one who had watched the machinations of foreign imperialism along the China coast for decades, there was something deadeningly familiar about the whole business.

“Certainly the generals’ coup in Indonesia showed all the sign of adequate financing and careful preparation. The ways by which resentment against the P.K.I. and other progressives could be fostered, and action taken against them, making it seem that they were part and parcel of the same thing, was obviously a devilishly thought out, long-range plan.

“The English-language newspapers produced by the coup leaders were full of lies. They would talk of how the people in their anger were putting up slogans everywhere demanding the death of Aidit and the dissolution of the P.K.I. But, from the beginning of the generals’ coup, there was curfew from dusk to dawn. It was on those nights that the walls of compounds and buildings facing the streets were painted with all manner of insulting slogans, attacking people’s leaders and movements, all in the same red paint, same style. Only too obviously simply the work of the army and police. There were many other instances of incorrect army reports in the press.

“At intervals during our stay, heavily-armed soldiers would come on raids into the conference secretariat, arresting conference workers and taking them away. People all over the city were thrown into a state of terror, never knowing when soldiers would come stamping into their offices or homes.

“Daily, the economic position became worse. The government had granted a tourist rate of 5,000 rupiahs for one U.S. dollar. Black-marketeers on the street were offering 20,000 for the same sum while we were there. Since, it has risen to something like 40,000. Food prices for the common people have risen alarmingly.

“It is the common man who is bearing the full brunt of the economic crisis the generals’ coup has caused.

“No wonder that Prince Rahman of Malaya chortled with delight as news of the generals’ coup came through. No wonder that the revisionist chiefs in Moscow, who support India so heavily, and who are ever out to improve their ’American relations,’ praised the role of the Indonesian Army.

“The generals’ coup proves again that peaceful transition is impossible. The old ruling class does not give up so easily.


“Indonesian reactionaries are trying to form a so-called Communist Party of revisionists and renegades that will have the blessing of Moscow, the generals and their American backers. But it is too late in the day for this plan to succeed. The real P.K.I., now even more strongly entrenched amongst the people, is gathering its strength, ever evolving new and more-down-to-earth methods of work. The people of Indonesia have suffered for centuries, and the P.K.I. is their only hope for the future.

“To-day, despite all that reactionary generals and their foreign friends behind the scenes do, the people of Indonesia will gather around the hope that lies in the P.K.I., eventually carrying it through to victory.

“Though there have been perhaps as many as 30,000 progressives arrested by the army generals of the coup, yet it must be remembered that, as far back as May of this year, there were already as many as 5,000 peasant actions a day in Java alone, and that there was also a realization of what the generals might do, for it was known the army had planned a coup in August which they were prevented from carrying out.

“Today, the armed struggle is starting back at peasant level–a determined, well-organized one with all its hope for the future.”