Transcribed to HTML by Ted Sprague and Jesus S. Anam
Speech on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Communist Party of Indonesia, May 23rd, 1955.
The Communist Party of Indonesia founded on May 23rd, 1920. Thus, this May 23rd, 1955, is the 35th anniversary of the CPI.
The birth of the CPI 35 years ago was a birth of a Party of the Indonesian working class. The development of this Party is the development of the history of the Indonesian working class in leading the peasants and other masses of the people in the heroic struggle against imperialism and its hirelings, in the struggle to overthrow reactionary power and establish people’s power based on the alliance of the majority of the people, that is, the alliance of the workers and peasants. Only such a people’s power will make possible the attainment of a socialist Indonesia in the future.
The 35-year history of the CPI is not a tranquil and peaceful one; it is a history which has gone through many turmoils and many dangers, many mistakes and many sacrifices. But it is also a heroic history, a joyful history, a history with many lessons, a successful history.
The growth of the CPI during these past 35 years can be divided as follow:
1) The Foundation of the Party and the Struggle against the First White Terror (1920 – 1926)
2) Twenty Years Underground and the Anti-Fascist Front (1926 – 1945)
3) The August Revolution and the Struggle against the Second White Terror (1945 – 1951)
4) The Broadening of the United Front and the Building of the Party (1951 - ...)
I. The Foundation of the Party and the Struggle against the First White Terror (1920 – 1926)
The CPI is the synthesis of the Indonesian workers movement with Marxism-Leninism. It was not by chance that the CPI was founded on May 23rd, 1920; it was objective fact. The CPI was born in the era imperialism, after a working class had come into existence in Indonesia, after trade unions and the ISDV (Indonesische Sociaal Democratische Vereniging) had been established in Indonesia, after the 1917 October Socialist Revolution in Russia. The CPI was a child of the period which was born on time.
That the CPI was born because of the necessity of the period becomes clear from the following statement of Stalin in his work, “Foundations of Leninism”:
“Imperialism is the most barefaced exploitation and the most inhuman oppression of hundreds of millions of people inhabiting vast colonies and dependent countries. The purpose of this exploitation and this oppression is to squeeze out super-profit. But in exploiting these countries, imperialism is compelled to build railroads, factories and mills there, to create industrial and commercial centres. The appearance of a class of proletarians, the emergence of a native intelligentsia, the awakening of national consciousness, the growth of the movement for emancipation – such are inevitable result of the ‘policy’. The growth of the revolutionary movement in all colonies and dependent countries without exception clearly testifies to this fact. This circumstance is of importance for the proletariat in that it radically undermines to position of capitalism by converting the colonies and dependent countries from reserves of imperialism into reserves of the proletarian revolution.”
This statement of Stalin’s is fully in keeping with that happened in Indonesia at the beginning of the 20th century. In few of the fact that capital investment in Indonesia rapidly increased at the beginning of the 20th century, colonial capital was compelled to introduce great changes in Indonesia economic life. It was forced to set up industries to process raw materials such as sugar and rubber, it was forced to build harbours, railways and repair shops. Thus, even though imperialism strove to preserve feudal relations, it could not prevent capitalist trends from penetrating into Indonesian society. Thus it was that new classes arose in Indonesian society, among others the proletarian class. This provided a new basis for the struggle for Indonesian independence and it was upon this new basis that the CPI was founded. The irregular peasant revolts which had always met with failure were now replaced by the organized struggle of the proletariat which led the peasants and other revolutionary classes.
The fact that the birth of the CPI was preceded by the establishment of trade unions and the ISDV can be explained from the following: in 1905, a trade union of railway workers, was set up. But the advanced consciousness of the Indonesian working class already required an organization which was not only confined to a trade union struggle. In May 1914, the USDV, a political organization which brought together Indonesian and Dutch revolutionary intellectuals and which aimed at spreading Marxism among the Indonesian workers and people, was established in Semarang. It was this ISDV which, on May 23rd, 1920, became the Communist Party of Indonesia (CPI).
Concerning the October Socialist Revolution of 1917 which stimulated the foundation of the CPI, U should like only to borrow the following words of Comrade Mao Tse-tung:
“The salvoes of the October Revolution awoke us to Marxism-Leninism. The October Revolution helped the progressives of China and of the whole world to adopt the proletarian world outlook as an instrument for foreseeing a nation’s future and considering a new one’s own problems.”
The foundation of the CPI made it clear that the Indonesian progressives were not behind in welcoming the salvoes of that great October Revolution. In other words, Indonesian progressives and the revolutionary masses of the Indonesian people, precisely at the right time, joined in strengthening the new revolutionary front opposing world imperialism. With this, the struggle for Indonesian independence became an inseparable part of the struggle of the proletariat of the world to smash capitalism.
The task of the Indonesian Communists was already made clear by Lenin in his appeal in November, 1919, to the Communists of the Eastern peoples:
"You are facing a task which has never before been faced by the Communists of the whole world: basing yourselves on the general Communist theory and practice and adapting yourselves to the peculiar conditions which do not exist in European countries, you must be able to apply this theory and practice to conditions in which the main mass will consist of the peasantry, in which you must solve the task of the struggle not against capital, but against Middle Age vestiges.”
From this call of Lenin's, it became clear that the Communists in the East, and therefore the Indonesian Communists as well; not only had to base themselves on "the general theory and practice of Communism" but also had to adapt themselves to "the peculiar conditions which do not exist in European countries", and what Lenin meant by this was the peasantry.
The CPI is the Party of a new class, that is the working class, which is required to bear the responsibilities of leadership. Why is it that the working class must bear the responsibilities as the leader? The Indonesian working class, although not large in number (about six million wage-earners, among which about 500.000 are modern workers or proletariat), is, however, different from the peasants because the working class represents a new productive force; the working class is, also, not like the bourgeois class because the working class has the determination to struggle consistently, because this class suffers from three types of oppression, i. e. the oppressions of imperialism, feudalism and capitalism. Because of its sphere of work, the working class is the most disciplined class; since it does not own any means of production, the working class is the most consistent class and it is not individualistic. It is because of all this that the working class, although not great in number, must bear the responsibilities of leadership.
The foundations of the CPI which subsequently became renown as the champion of the struggle against Dutch imperialism was enthusiastically welcomed, not only by the Indonesian workers and peasants, but also by other sections of the people. It was welcomed, too, among the soldiers and sailor. The CPI grew very rapidly.
Within a short period, the Communists had gained an influence in the PPKB (United Movement of Workers) whose congress in August, 1920, in Semarang was attended by an trade unions with a total membership of 72,000. The Communists exerted this influence mainly through the militant VSTP. This was the beginning of the good tradition of the CPI in the workers movement.
In 1920, strikes took place in Java and Sumatera which in general resulted in victories for the workers. These victories gave spirit and joy in the struggle to the workers, educated them as to the importance of organization and discipline and opened the eyes of the workers and the people generally to the bankruptcy of the colonial labour regulations and the colonial government.
The advances achieved by the workers movement struck fear into the government, and the most frightening thing was that the influence the Serikat Islam (Islamic Union, Tr.) and to sharpen the contradictions between the Communist (CPI) and the SI. Reformist elements in the PPKB were supported by the Dutch government, thus sharpening the contradictions between the revolutionary trend and the reformist trend.
In the CPI Congress in Kota Gede, Yogyakarta, in December, 1924, it was registered that the CPI had 38 sections with 1.140 members while the Serikat Rakjat (People’s Union, Tr.) a “sub-structure” of the CPI, had sections with 31.000 members. The number of CPI members in 1924, 1.140, was very large by comparison with the membership of the Communist Party of China which numbered only 900 before the “May 9th” movement of 1925. This is proof of the fact that the CPI grew rapidly even though it faced great obstacles from the Dutch colonial government. The speedy growth of the Serikat Rakjat was an indication of the enthusiastic welcome of the peasant to the CPI because the membership of the Serikat Rakjat was mainly composed of peasants.
But the Party was not able to consolidate the broad sympathy of the masses and the many members of the Party. The Party did, indeed, carry out the important task of arousing a spirit against Dutch imperialism in the rank of the people, but it was not able to consolidate that which it had already achieved.
The basic mistake of the CPI leaders at that time was that they had fallen prey to “leftist” slogans, that they did not seriously endeavour to explain the situation, that they wanted to solve all problem at one blow such as: liquidate feudalism, free the country of the Dutch, smash all imperialists, overthrow the reactionary government, liquidate the rich peasants, liquidate the national bourgeoisie. Of course, the result of all this was that unity grew between the real enemies and those who could become enemies and be aroused into opposing the Party. This resulted in the Party isolating itself which greatly weakened it. The Party did not sufficiently draw the attention of the members to small practical activities, to insignificant actions which were linked with the everyday needs of the workers, the peasants and the working intelligentsia. And yet, it was only here, in such activities, that the Party could unite with the broad working masses around the Party. It is of course true that such work is not pleasant nor is it without difficulties, but there is no other way to make the links of the Party with the working masses closer.
As was stated in the general report to the 5th CPI National Congress in March, 1954, in this first stage:
“The Party was still completely unaware of the need for uniting with the national bourgeoisie, in which the Party’s slogan was ‘Socialism now’, ‘Indonesian soviets’, and ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’. This ‘left’ deviation of the Party was criticised exactly and correctly by J. V. Stalin in his speech before the students of the University of the Peoples of the East on May 18th, 1925, in which he said that this left deviation contained within it the danger of isolating the Party from the masses and converting it into sect.”
The disease of “’Left wing’ Communism” with which the Party afflicted did indeed convert it into a sect, it isolated the Party from the broad masses of the people and thus made it easier for the barbaric colonial power to smash the Party. What J. V. Stalin said was very correct indeed, that “a resolute struggle against this deviation is an important condition for the training of truly revolutionary cadres for colonial and dependent countries in the East”. The truth of Stalin’s words was keenly felt in the subsequent development of the CPI.
It was not possible for the up building of the Party to receive proper attention from the Party leaders at that time. There was no Marxist-Leninist theoretical education in the Party; opportunist elements had infiltrated and gained control of the Party leadership; the Party did not yet know anything about criticism and self-criticism and about the method of collective leadership. These fact made the party very weak in the ideological, political and organisational spheres.
In a situation in which the organisation of he Party was extremely weak, the crisis in Indonesia deepened, the living conditions of the people grew worse and worse, and unorganised acts of resistance of the people against the government apparatus increased. It was in such a situation that Dutch colonial government provocations followed one another in quick succession, in the form of dismissals of strikers, arrests of peasants, the closing down of schools set up by the CPI or the Serikat Rakjat, bans on workers’ newspapers, arrests of workers’ leaders, etc. especially in order to deal with the peasants, the Dutch created terrorist gangs such as, for example, the “Serikat Hedjo” in Priangan. All this led to the outbreak of a people’s revolt on November 12th, 1926, in Java, and in the beginning of 1927 in Sumatera. Following the outbreak of this revolt, the CPI’s attitude of speedily giving leadership to this people’s revolt was a correct one.
During and after this revolt, the weaknesses of the Party became very apparent; for example, the lack of unanimity in the Party leadership concerning this revolt, the lack of preparations to safe-guard the Party cadres and leaders, the lack of co-ordination between actions in one place and actions elsewhere, the lack of any link between the actions in the countryside and those in the towns, etc. Apart from this, there were also such people as Tan Malaka, at that time a leader of the CPI, who did not take resolute action prior to the revolt but blamed the revolt after it had broken out. More than that, he and his clique openly adopted Trotskyite practices by setting up a new party, the Pari (Indonesian Republican Party) in a situation when the CPI was facing white terror from the colonial government and its lackeys. This split in the CPI made the work of the CPI, already difficult as it was, even more difficult and helped the Dutch splitting policies in the CPI and in the national independence movement in general.
Thousands of members and functionaries of the CPI were hunted down and sentenced, some of them even hanged. Many were exiled to the swamps of Digul in Irian. Only a few CPI leaders succeeded in escaping abroad, among them being CPI Central Committee member, Musso.
Most of the CPI members and functionaries, even though they had not long been Party members, were imbued with a strong Party spirit. Without any regrets and with smiles on their lips, they went to the execution block, accepted prison sentence or deportation to places of exile. The CPI’s consistent anti-Dutch imperialist policy and the heroic stand taken by the CPI members and functionaries in face of colonial power at the time, raised the prestige of the the CPI’s policy in the eyes of the genuine fighters for independence, and in the eyes of the Indonesian people. This increased the confidence and love of the oppressed people for the CPI.
The 1926 revolt ended in defeat for the CPI and the revolutionary Indonesian people. But there is one thing which cannot be forgotten and that is that this revolt showed the Indonesian people that the Dutch could be thrown into confusion, that colonial power could be shaken, that is power was not eternal. This is why the 1926 revolt was of exceptionally great significance in raising the political consciousness of the Indonesian people.
The conclusion from all this that the CPI leadership was not yet able to combine the general truth of Marxism-Leninism with the practice of the Indonesian revolution because they did not yet have an understanding of the historical conditions and Indonesian society, of the peculiarities of the Indonesian revolution and of the laws of the Indonesian revolution. The result was that the Party did not know the basic objective demand of the Indonesian people, the demand for the elimination of imperialism and feudalism and the attainment of national independence, democracy and freedom. Further, the Party leadership was not aware that in order to attain this basic demand, a broad united front had to be built between the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie, and the national bourgeoisie, based upon the alliance of the workers and peasants under the leadership of the working class. As a result of the lack of understanding of all this, there arose within the Party leadership of the time erroneous views to the effect that “the peasants cannot be relied upon in every action”, that “the middle classes and the educated people have already become tools of the capitalists”, that the CPI must taken an “anti-all capitalisms” stand, that the CPI slogans should be “socialism now”, “a Soviet Indonesia”, “dictatorship of the proletariat” and the like.
Although, at this stage, the Party organisation grew, the Party did not become consolidated. Party members and cadres were not ideologically and politically strong and they did not get the required Marxists-Leninist education. The active elements in the Party could not be made into the backbone of the Party. In a critical situation of coping with provocation and the first terror, the elements in control of the Party leadership were not able to lead the entire Party in such a way as to save it.
Basically, in this first stage, the CPI had no experience in two fundamental questions, namely: 1) the questions of the united front, and 2) the questions of building the Party.
II. Twenty years Underground and the Anti-Fascist Front (1926 – 1945)
After the 1926 revolt, the CPI was banned by the Dutch colonial government. Since the CPI could no longer works legally and since it had been attracted by the left slogans, the revolutionary masses which had previously been led by the CPI welcomed the left-wing nationalist party, the PNI (Indonesian Nationalist Party) which was established in 1927. Many CPI cadres and members entered this left-wing party and also entered and also entered mass organisations. But the activities of the CPI cadres and members were not well led at that time because the CPI did not yet have a new central leadership.
After the defeat of the 1926 revolt, a period of decline set in in Indonesian national independence movement. It become clear that the Dutch colonial government not only suppressed the CPI and the revolutionary mass organisations under ist leadership, but also the PNI which it suppressed by various provocations, by obstructing all its activities and by exiling its leaders.
This situation in which the CPI and the left-wing nationalist party were being beaten by the colonial government was utilised by the right-wing nationalist whose main strength was in the Party of the Indonesian Nations (PBI), to strengthen co-operation with the Dutch government. They concentrated their activities in what they called “positive” work, aimed at setting up co-operatives, schools, trade associations and so on. Within certain limits, the right-wing nationalists did succeed to expanding their activities out to some of the regions right up to the villages. The Dutch were fond of calling them “healthy nationalists” because their activities were not in conflict with the interests of the Dutch government and, as a result of this, too, they obtained the necessary facilities from the Dutch government.
But the period decline in the independence movement did not last long. World crisis followed by the impoverishment of the masses of the people, by retrenchment drive, higher taxes, mass dismissals and the like hindered the peaceful collaboration between the right-wing nationalists and the Dutch government. Radical voices from among the workers, the peasants call it, the “period of misfortune”.
Then, like a sudden flash of lightning on a hot summer’s day, in February, 1933, the “Zeven Provincen” (Dutch warship, Tr.) mutiny occurred, an event which was warmly welcomed by the workers of many countries. This event was important in reviving colonial power. Later, in July, 1933, there was a railway strike threat in Java which the Dutch government managed to prevent only with great difficulty and with the help of Indonesian reformists.
In the regions, resistance grew, mostly in the form of individual measures and actions, evidence that the spirit of resistance was increasing. Dutch suppression of worker’s actions and people’s resistance was facilitated by the fact that the CPI had not yet succeeded in properly reforming its central leadership.
From 1932, the CPI worked underground basing its activities on an 18-point programme which, among other things, called for: complete independence for Indonesia, the release of all political prisoners and the liquidation of the Upper Digul concentration camp, the right to strike and to demonstrate, equal pay for equal work, struggle against every cut in wages, state assistance to the unemployed, land to the peasants and confiscation of the land of the imperialist war and so on. This programme was drawn up before the fascists (national socialists) came to power in Germany.
In March, 1933, the German fascists, under Hitler’s leadership, rose the government power. J. V. Stalin said, among other things, at the 17th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union that this victory of fascism in Germany
“…must be regarded not only as a symptom of the working class and as a result of the betrayal of the working class by Social Democracy, which paved the way for fascism; it must also be regarded as a symptom of the weakness of the bourgeoisie , as a symptom of the fact that the bourgeoisie is already unable to rule by the methods of parliamentarism and bourgeois democracy, and, as consequence, is compelled in its home policy to resort to terroristic methods of administration – it must be taken as a symptom of the fact that it is no longer able to find a way out of present situation on the basis of a peaceful foreign policy, and, as a consequence, it is compelled to resort to a policy of war.”
In other words, in order to overcome the every severe economic crisis, in order to overcome the deepening general crisis of capitalism and to cope with the increasingly revolutionary masses of the working people, the bourgeoisie in power sought defence in fascism.
By means of fascism, the imperialists strove to throw the entire burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working people. They sought to solve the problem of the markets by enslaving the weak nations, by further intensifying colonial oppression and redividing the world in new war. They wanted to obstruct the growth of the revolutionary forces by smashing the revolutionary movement of the workers and peasants as well as by launching a military attack on the Soviet Union – the bulwark of the world proletariat.
G. Dimitrov said, among other things, in his speech to the Seventh Congress of the Comintern in August, 1933, that
“Hitler fascism is not only bourgeois nationalism, it is bestial chauvinism. It is a government system of political gangsterism, a system of provocation and torture practised upon the working class and the revolutionary elements of the peasantry, the petty bourgeoisie and the intelligentsia. It is mediaeval barbarity and bestiality, it is unbridled aggression in relation to other nations.”
The change in international situation which took place with the coming into power of the fascists in Germany greatly influenced the political situation in Indonesia. The Soviet Union directed its struggle above all to the creation of a peace front against the aggressor states, and the Comintern, at its Congress in August, 1935, in Moscow, adopted a programme aimed at the formation of people’s fronts and people’s governments to oppose war and fascism. This meant that broader co-operation was required between the Communists and the democratic bourgeois elements.
It was in order to bring this anti-fascist political line that Musso returned to Indonesia from abroad in 1935. He not only brought this new political line but also succeeded in drawing together again the cadres of the CPI and building a new CPI Central Committee. But Musso couldn’t remain in Indonesia for long; he had to leave the country quickly because the Dutch government had got wind of his activities. Thus he did not have the opportunity to do much towards building the Party and so, the CPI leaders worked without any firm guiding lines to build a Party of the Lenin type.
On the initiative of a few left-wing nationalists and a few Communists, a legal people’s organisation called “Gerindo” (Movement of the Indonesian People) was formed. The formation of the Gerindo gave new strength to the national independence movement and the anti-fascist movement. On the initiative of the Gerindo and some other democratic parties, the Gapi (Indonesian Political Union) was set up; this was a united front of parties which aimed at the creation of a parliament for Indonesia and which offered co-operation to the Dutch government to resist fascism, in particular Japanese fascism which was threatening the As ian peoples.
On December 23 – 25, 1939, the Gapi convened an Indonesian People’s Congress in Jakarta which was also attended by organisations which were not political parties such as trade union, social organisations and the like, at which the question of the parliament was the most important item on the agenda. The Congress considered the establishment of a parliament in Indonesia to be important as a condition for mobilising the forces of the people against the danger of fascism. Later, the Indonesian People’s Congress, on the decision of its leaders, became the Indonesian People’s Assembly which was regarded as representing the entire Indonesian people. This was done in preparation for parliament. But this fact was ignored by the Dutch government. The appeal of the Gapi and the Indonesian People’s Assembly to the Dutch to co-operate in face of a Japanese fascist attack was not responded to by Holland right up to the time of the Dutch surrender on March 9th, 1942.
Broad co-operation between the leaders of parties and organisations, which was not, howver, backed up by the broad masses of the people resulted in failure for the demand for a parliament and resulted in the failure of the people’s movement to force the Dutch government to take an active part in the anti-fascist struggle together with the Indonesian people. This happened because the CPI was not yet a party which was rooted in the masses, which was able to draw together and active the broad masses of the people, above all, the workers and the peasants. The resolution of the Gapi and the Indonesian People’s Assembly were never followed up by mass actions in the form of demonstrations or other actions which would bring significant pressure to bear on the Dutch colonial government.
As a result of the fact that the anti-fascist movement in Indonesia was not strong enough, the Japanese troops were able to occupy the country, without any resistance, not only without any resistance from the Dutch army, but also without any resistance from the people’s movement. Both materially and morally, the people were inadequately prepared to face Japanese fascism. The consequence was that, in the early stages, the CPI was in an isolated position in its resistance to Japanese fascism. At the beginning of the Japanese occupation, many members of the CPI Central Committee and important CPI cadres were arrested by the Japanese and some of them were executed.
A few months after the Japanese occupied Indonesia, the Indonesian people, on the basis of their own experiences, became conscious of the brutality and bestiality of Japanese fascism. The anti-Japanese spirit spread among the people, anti-fascist organisations sprang up everywhere, of which many were under the leadership of CPI members and cadres, many of whom were, at the time, being hunted by Japanese spies. The Japanese increasingly persecuted the Communists. Due to the lack of a well-knit organisation, the Japanese were frequently able to arrest important CPI cadres. But despite that, Japanese cruelty did not extinguish the people’s resistance. Revolt broke out everywhere, such as in Singaparna, Indramayu, Semarang and elsewhere. Even in the ranks of the Peta (Defend the Fatherland) Army (set up by the Japanese and consisting of Indonesian soldiers and officers under Japanese leadership, Tr.) revolt broke out, and the most famous of all was the Peta army revolt in Blitar, Kediri (East Java).
Concerning the anti-fascist front, both before and after and the Japanese occupied Indonesia, the general report to the Vth CPI National Congress stated, among other things:
“This anti-fascism front (before the Japanese occupation, DNA) not only succeeded in drawing in the national bourgeoisie, but also, a section of the comprador bourgeoisie pursued a policy of collaboration with Japan after seeing that the forces of the people resisting Japan were not very great, and because they were under the illusion that Japan would give ‘independence’ to Indonesia.”
But, with the increase of the anti-Japanese spirit and, even more so, after the peasant and army uprisings had taken place, the loyalty of the Japanese hireling to their masters became weaker and weaker. Finally, not a few highly-placed people established contact with the underground anti-Japanese movement Groups of Indonesian students and school-children also played an important part in the resistance against Japan.
The conclusion to be drawn from all this is that, although the anti-Japanese and anti-Dutch spirit of the people overflowed, although the political prestige of the Party was very high as a result of its consistent anti-fascist policy, although the situation at home and abroad was very favourable for a revolution, the task of facing the Revolution which broke out in August, 1945, was a very heavy one for the Party because it had not drawn the conclusions from its experiences in the first and second stages of the united front and because it still had no experience in the question of building the Party. Besides that, the Party also had no experience in armed struggle, something very necessary for a Party in a period of revolution.
III. The August Revolution and the Struggle against the Second White Terror (1945 – 1951)
During the period of the August Revolution, the CPI was in a position in which it had not yet drawn the conclusions from its experience either building the Party or the armed struggle.
Under the pressure of the masses whose spokesmen were the still young revolutionary leaders, among whom were CPI members who had led underground organisations during the Japanese occupation, the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed on August 17th , 1945. This August 17th, 1945 Proclamation was a manifestation of the independence yearning of the Indonesian people which had never been extinguished during the three centuries of Dutch colonisation and which had grown stronger during the Japanese occupation.
The workers, the peasants, groups of progressive youths and students of Indonesia, following the example of many countries in Europe that had liberated themselves from imperialism after the defeat of the fascist army, and also drawing inspiration from the great freedom struggle of the Chinese people, understood the possibilities of a revolution which had already been determined by history. At the time of the Proclamation, there were no other military troops in Indonesia (excluding West Irian) with the exception of the defeated Japanese army. This favourable situation was correctly utilised by the Indonesian people.
The workers, peasants and groups of progressive youths and students stubbornly defended the Republic of Indonesia, in the beginning against the Japanese army, later on, against the British army, and then against the Dutch army during the two colonial wars.
Despite the fact the blood of patriots flowed in the struggle and despite the various military attempts made by the Dutch imperialists to crush the Republic, the Republic remained in existence.
The Dutch only succeeded in their attempts to weaken the republic by making use of British and American advisors as well as with the help of their hirelings among the Indonesian people themselves, by traversing a long road, the road of “peaceful negotiations”, intrigue and provocation, and agreements advantageous to imperialism concluded under the threat of guns and bombs.
The right-wing socialists under the leadership of Sutan Sjahrir, who had controlled the government ever since the beginning of the Revolution, played an important role in serving the policy of “peaceful negotiations” under the threat of guns and bombs. This was made possible because the Indonesian people, as a result of a long period of colonial suppression, could not be in possession of a corps of people who sufficiently mastered the revolutionary teachings of Marxism-Leninism.
The August Revolution was a revolution of the united national front in which the main blow was concentrated on and directed against foreign imperialism, and in which the national bourgeoisie gave its support to the Revolution.
Concerning the united national front during the Revolution (1945 – 1948), the following, among other things, was stated in the general report to the Vth CPI National Congress:
“The national bourgeoisie re-entered the united national front after seeing that the strength of the People’s Revolution was great. The great strength of the people’s Revolution caused the national bourgeoisie to adopt a firm attitude during the first years of the Revolution.”
But it stated further, “The weaknesses of the Party in the political, ideological and organisational spheres made it incapable of providing leadership to objective situation which was, at that time, very favourable.”
Concerning the Party in connection with this national bourgeoisie, it said:
"During this Revolution, the Party departed from its political, ideological and organisational independence and it did not place any importance on work among the peasants. These are the basic causes for the failure of the Revolution. The weakness of the leadership of the Revolution continually experiencing military, political and economic defeats caused the national bourgeoisie to waver and finally side with the compradors and the imperialists. The resolution, 'The New Road for the Republic of Indonesia' which was approved by the CPI conference held in August, 1948, was the way out of the difficult situation which the Republic of Indonesia faced at that time. But before this resolution could be implemented, the Hatta-Sukiman-Natsir Government succeeded engineering the 'Madiun Affair' provocation."
One extremely fortunate thing was that, at the beginning of the Revolution, theoretical books on Marxism and Leninism were brought in from Australia and Europe. But these books were written in foreign languages, mainly in English and Dutch, so that the number of cadres who could study them was extremely limited. Very little attention was paid to the work of translating theoretical books into Indonesian by the dominating elements in the leadership of the Party at that time. But nevertheless, these theoretical books made possible the birth of a backbone in the Party from among those cadres who had the opportunity to read them themselves. Although it was not yet large in number, this was nevertheless the first opportunity for the CPI to create a theoretical backbone from among its ranks, and this was one of the important guarantees of the further growth of the Party.
During the Revolution, the Party had its armed forces, but it was not in a position to control them. In an irregular fashion, Party cadres studied military science of revolutionary warfare. Learning from the revolutionary war of the Chinese people, Comrade Amir Sjarifuddin, who several time held the post of Minister of defence in the Government, fought for the victory of the idea that guerrilla warfare is one of the correct forms of struggle to win a revolution. Amir Sjarifuddin had to fight hard against the ideas of military leaders who had a low opinion of guerrilla warfare. While on the one hand, Amir Sjarifuddin did succeed in securing victory for his idea, on the other hand, obstacles were placed in the way of its implementation because it was opposed by those who belittled guerrilla warfare, because of a shortage of military cadres who understood and because things were made difficult by the absence of a correct policy on the united front and on the building of the Party.
One of the basic mistakes of the Party in studying from the Chinese revolution at that time was that the Party only tried to know the similarities between the Chinese revolution and the Indonesian revolution, but did not try to get to know the differences, did not notice the peculiar conditions of Indonesia.
According to experience in China, for an under-developed country such as Indonesia, guerrilla warfare, the creation of liberated guerrilla areas and organisation of a people’s liberation army in these area is one of the correct forms of struggle to achieve complete national independence. But in Indonesia, this form of struggle did not have the broad possibilities available in China. This is because of the peculiar in this country.
The most advantageous conditions for guerrilla warfare are extensive regions, mountainous areas and forest lands which are both wide in extent and far from the towns and the highways. The conditions in Indonesia met only some of the requirements.
Further, we know from the experiences of the Chinese Communists that it was only after they had reached Tung Pei (Manchuria) which borders on the Soviet Union that they had a rear on which they could rely. After they had got the Soviet Union as their rear, Chiang Kai-Shek could no longer encircle the Chinese revolutionary forces. Moreover, after being able to prevent the possibility of enemy encirclement, the Chinese Communists were in position to launch planned attacks on the Chiang Kai-Shek troops.
The Indonesian revolution did not possess such conditions. Indonesia is a country composed of island. A people’s liberations army cannot rely upon a friendly neighbouring country as its near.
In putting forward the above facts, does it mean that guerrilla warfare cannot be operated in Indonesia? Not all. But what we should have done to make guerrilla warfare methods more effective under the prevailing conditions in Indonesia, was to combine the methods of guerrilla warfare with revolutionary actions workers in the towns occupied by the enemy, with economic and political strike actions of a general character. under the conditions in Indonesia, special significance attaches to workers’ actions in all spheres of transport, wail way, automobile, sea and airways, since general strikes by these detachments of the proletariat could paralyse the enemy of the revolution and in this way render substantial support to the guerrilla struggle. Work in the Dutch-occupied regions aimed at organising the workers and leading workers’ actions was very much neglected by the Communists during the August Revolution.
Apart from that, during the August Revolution, the CPI did not carry out intensive work in the ranks of the Dutch armed forces which, to a not inconsiderable extent, were composed of peasants’ and workers’ son who could have been won over to the side of the revolution. And yet, intensive revolutionary activity among the armed forces of the enemy can greatly weaken this enemy’s strength and this means rendering important assistance to the guerrilla struggle.
Thus, guerrilla warfare during the August Revolution could have spread and been consolidated if the CPI had based the solution on the work of combining these three forms of struggle, namely the guerrilla warfare in the rural districts (mainly consisting of peasants), revolutionary actions by the workers in the towns occupied by the Dutch and intensive work in the ranks of the Dutch armed forces.
The defeat sustained in the armed struggle and the decline of the revolutionary spirit in the armed forces every time cause setbacks in the work of the united front and of building the Party. Symptoms of the death of the August Revolution became evident after some sections of the armed forces, under the influence of reactionaries, opposed the workers’ and peasants movement.
In a situation in which the August Revolution had almost been defeated, the CPI at its Conference in August, 1948, on the proposal of Musso, approved a resolution entitled “The New Road for The Republic of Indonesia” as the way out of the complicated situation faced by the Republic of Indonesia at that time.
The “New Road” resolution reminded the Party of its most important tasks which had been neglected or completely overlooked during the August Revolution.
Concerning the united front, it said that during the revolution “the Communists neglected the establishment of a national front as a weapon of the national revolution against imperialism. Although they later became conscious of the importance of this national front, they did not properly understand the technique of its creation. Various form of national fronts have been set up during the past three years, but they always remained only the paper, they just consisted of conventions between organisations or between leaders, so that as soon as there was any dispute between the leaders, the national front just broke up. The CPI is convinced that at the present time, the Party of the working class cannot possibly complete the bourgeoisie democratic revolution on its own and that is why the CPI must co-operate with other parties. The Communists should already have been striving to rich unity with members of other parties and organisations. The only unity of this type is the national front.”
Concerning the initiative which the Communists must take in forming the national front, it said that this initiative “does not to the slightest degree mean that Communists should force other parties or people to follow it, but the CPI must patiently persuade honest people that the only way to achieve victory is by forming a national front supported by all progressive and anti-imperialist people. Every Communist must be absolutely convinced that without a national front, victory will not be achieved.”
Concerning the armed struggle, the “New Road” resolution stated that this struggle must be given priority. The armed struggle had to get priority because the Dutch imperialists were constantly trying to increase their strength. It went on to say that “the army as the most important weapon of State power must receive special attention. Its cadres and members must be given special education in keeping with the tasks of the army as the most important apparatus to defend our national revolution which also means to defend the interests of the working people. The army must unite with and be loved by the people. The army must be led by progressive cadres. Obviously, and above all among its cadres, they army must be cleansed of reactionary and counter-revolutionary elements.”
This resolution criticised the neglect in the question of making previsions for the members of the army and police, in particular, and of the working people in general (worker and government employees), as a result of which heir living conditions had been ignored.
Concerning the Party the resolution said that the basic mistake of the Communists had been to minimise the role of the CPI as the only force which should hold leadership of the working class in carrying out a resolution. Based on this mistake, the “New Road” said that the CPI had decided to advance the proposal “that, as quickly as possible, the three Parties which recognise the principle of Marxism-Leninism (the CPI, the Socialist Party and the Indonesian Worker Party, DNA) which are now associated together in the People’s Democratic Front and which have carried out common actions on the basis of a common programme should fuse into a single Party of the working class with the historic name, i.e. The Communist Party of Indonesia .... “
In connection of the CPI support to the reactionary policies of the right-wing socialists led by Sutan Sjahrir, the “New Road” resolution said that, by supporting this right-wing socialist policy, the CPI had committed two mistakes:
The first mistake was that it had not understood the revolutionary teaching that “an anti-imperialist national revolution in the present period is already a part of the world proletarian revolution”, that “the national revolution in Indonesia must be closely bound to the other anti-imperialist forces of the world, that is, the revolutionary struggle throughout the world, both in colonial and semi-colonial countries as well as in capitalist countries .... “
The second mistake was that the CPI “did not sufficiently understand the balance of forces between the Soviet Union and Anglo American imperialism after the Soviet Union had succeeded in rapidly occupying the whole of Manchuria. At that time, it had already become clear that the position of the Soviet Union in the continent of Asia was extremely strong and that it held down much of the military strength of American, British and Australian imperialism and thus provided a favourable opportunity for the Indonesian people to start with their revolution. At that time, the Indonesian Communists had over-estimated the strength of Dutch and other imperialisms and had under-estimated the strength of the Indonesian revolution and of the other anti-imperialist forces.”
The resolution declared that the CPI had hereby altered its policy, that is, it firmly rejected the Linggardjati and Renville agreements which had in practice become the source of various conflicts between the leaders and the common people. The rejection of the Linggardjati and Renville agreements also signified a sharp self-criticism in the ranks of the CPI.
The conclusion draw in the resolution was that the CPI’s principle mistakes during the August Revolution had been caused by the weaknesses in the Party’s ideology. In view of this, it was decided that Party members must study Marxist-Leninist theory. It was made compulsory for every Communist to read and study revolutionary theory and to hold courses among the workers and peasant so that, in this way, they would always be able to link up theory closely with practice. Theory which is not linked with the masses cannot be a force, but on the contrary, if closely linked with the masses, it is a mighty force.
Thus it was that with the “New Road” resolution, the foundations were laid for better work by the CPI in the sphere of the united front, the armed struggle and the building of the Party. The “New Road” resolution continues a merciless verdict against the opportunists inside and outside the Party. It was an important step towards saving the Indonesian revolution which was then in danger, and the first important step towards building a Party of the Lenin type.
The CPI’s new policy made possible the development of a new upward trend in the Indonesian revolution. Public meetings held by CPI, at which the CPI’s new programme was explained, were attended by tens and hundreds of thousands of people. The masses enthusiastically welcomed the CPI’s call to continue the independence war against Dutch imperialism. A beginning was made in tearing aside, in front of the masses, the masks of the reactionary government in power at the time and the masks of the anti-Communist Masjumi Party. The masses began to understand that the new road indicated by the CPI was the only way to win the revolution.
Afraid of the new upward swing in the Indonesian revolution, Dutch and American imperialism and its Indonesia’s hirelings intensified their activities and decided upon measures to smash the CPI and the independence movement led by the CPI.
Eventually, at the end of August, 1948, provocations took place in Solo and later in several other places. Revolutionary army officers were murdered in a cowardly fashion. The officers of trade unions and of the Indonesian Socialist Youth (Pesindo) were occupied by force by certain army troop. The right-wing socialists, the Trotskyites and the Masjumi were active assistants to the imperialists in realisation of their anti-Communist policy.
In the middle of September, 1948, an incident occurred in the Army in Madiun between the group which agreed to the then government’s reactionary and provocative policy and the group which remained faithful to the revolution. This event was fanned by the Hatta government and it was said that in Madiun the Communists had carried out a seizure of power and that they established a soviet state. On the basis of this lie, the government called on its entire apparatus to hunt down arrest and murder members and sympathisers of the CPI. Thus, the second white terror broke out, a duplicates of the white terror of the Dutch government in 1926-1927. But this second one was much more cruel and more bestial than the first. Masjumi members were also mobilized to hunt down, arrest and murder Communist. In such a situation, there was nothing else for the Communist to do but to take up arms and defend themselves with all their might against the white terror which was there raging.
The Madiun provocation was a preparation for the new Dutch colonial war which took place in December, 1948, and all this was in preparation for forcing Indonesia to make further capitulations to Dutch imperialism. Indeed, not long afterwards, there was a crease-fire with the Dutch which was followed by the Round Table Conference in Holland.
During the war against the Dutch, from the end of 1948 the beginning 1949, CPI cadres and members including those who had been released or who had escaped from the Hatta government prisons, courageously took part in defending the Republic of Indonesia in the most advanced lines. This fact opened the eyes of the people to the falseness of the slanders which the reactionaries had levelled at the CPI during the “Madiun Affairs”. The CPI stubborn resistance to the Dutch army raised the prestige of its policy in the eyes of the people and this made it quite impossible for the government to outlaw the CPI.
On November and, 1949, the treacherous Round Table Conference agreement was signed by Indonesia and the Dutch Kingdom. During the negotiations , the USA had placed Merle Cochran in Holland as the man who gave out instructions left and right.
Concerning the situation of the united front from the time of the Madiun Provocations (1948) up to the downfall of the Masjumi government, the Sukiman Cabinet (1952), the general report to the Vth CPI Congress states as follows:
“The national bourgeoisie split way from the anti-imperialist united national front and sided with the Hatta-Sukiman-Natsir Government which provoked the “Madiun Affair”. The national bourgeoisie joined forces in capitulating to imperialism by agreeing to the treacherous RCT agreement ... The policy of the national bourgeoisie which had split itself away from the united national front was heavily felt by the Party because the Party, as a result of the weakness of its work among the peasants, was not yet able to rely on the peasants. This situation forced the Party to adopt tactics of gaining time in order to draw the national bourgeoisie back into the anti-imperialist united national front and to improve as well as strengthen the Party’s work among the peasants. The correctness of these tactics of the Party was proved by the new political developments in the country which began to take place in 1952.”
The conclusion from all this is:
The August Revolution (1945-1949) met with defeat because, in coping with this revolution, the CPI had not yet drawn the conclusions from its experiences in the question of the united front and was not experienced in the questions of armed struggle and of building the Party.
But even though this revolution was defeated, it gave the CPI experiences in the united front. The revolution gave the CPI important experiences concerning the wavering nature of the national bourgeoisie, that under certain conditions, this class can participate and firmly side with the revolution, but under the conditions, it can waver and betray. Because of this, the proletariat and the CPI must always and unceasingly draw the bourgeoisie into the revolution, but they must also guard against the possibility of this betraying the revolution. The dualistic character of the Indonesian national bourgeoisie greatly affects the political line and up building of the Party. The progress or decline of the Party and of the revolution depends to a great extent on the Party’s relations with the national bourgeoisie and the reverse is also true.
In uniting with national bourgeoisie, the Party must not abandon its independence and it must not neglect its most reliable and most numerously, the peasantry.
The revolution also made the Party experienced in the question of building the Party, it gave the CPI cadres a better understanding of the conditions prevailing in Indonesia society, of the peculiarities and laws of the Indonesian revolution, it made it possible for CPI cadres to study Marxist-Leninist theory and to study so as to combine Marxist-Leninist theory with the practice of the Indonesian revolution.
One experienced also gained was that, in a revolution, armed struggle in the most important form of struggle. The development of the Party, besides depending greatly on the united front, also greatly depends on the armed struggle. The advance or decline of the armed struggle greatly influences the advance or decline of the united front and of the Party.
Although not complete, the “New Road” revolution drew the conclusions from the experience during the revolution. This “New Road” resolution was the first important step towards creating a bolshevized Party, which is nation-wide in scale, has close links with the masses and is consolidated ideologically, politically and organizationally.
The “Madiun Affair” had made the CPI cadres and members more vigilant and more militant.
IV. The Broadening of the United Front and the Building of the Party (1951 - ...)
This period began with the Central Committee Planum in April, 1951, which succeeded in drafting the CPI Constitutions. This draft, after being sent out to the lower organisations, gave rise to widespread discussion in the Party. Without awaiting its adoption by Congress, the entire Party was simultaneously prepared to use this Draft Constitutions as a basis for the everyday activity of building the Party and the practical experiences gained during its implementation were to become material for drawing up amendments.
The discussion and implementation of the CPI Draft Constitution greatly simulated the growth of the Party, raised the political level of the Party members, brought to life inner-party democracy and critics and self-criticism in the Party, strengthened the discipline, ideology and unity of the Party forces. The party began to understand and implement its two basic tasks, that is, the task of building a united front and the task of building the Party. All this took place with a reactionary government in power, the Sukiman (Masjumi) Government.
Conscious of the danger which threatened from the revolutionary people’s movement and from the CPI which was in a process of growth, seeing that the “Madiun Provocation” had not “killed” the revolutionary movement and the CPI, the imperialists and domestic reactionaries became infuriated and drew up a new plan to smash the CPI. This time, it was not with a provocation in Solo or Madiun but with an “attack” on a police post in Tandjung Priok (Djakarta harbor, Tn.) which the Sukiman Government proclaimed to be a “Communist attack”. About 2,000 Communist and other progressives were arrested and put in jail. But under the pressure of the people they were all released after having been in prison for many months without it being possible to bring a single person up before court. Sukiman’s (Masjumi) failure with his August Razzia was in indication that the revolutionary movement in Indonesia had been rebuilt and that it had strength.
While the atmosphere of the August Razzia was still present, the CPI held a National Conference in the beginning of 1952 which thoroughly discussed the policy towards the Sukiman Government. The Conference decided that the Sukiman Government must be overthrown by the formation of a broad anti-Sukiman Government front, by striving to draw in the national bourgeoisie. Concerning the Darul Islam and the TII (Indonesian Islamic Army, Tn.) which was then waging large-scale terror in West and Central-Java, the conference took the stand that these gangs were weapons in the hands of the imperialists and the domestic reactionaries so as to squeeze in the revolutionary people’s movement between the reactionary forces in the towns and those in the rural district and so as thus to be able to crush the revolutionary movement and gain complete power over the whole country. The Conference decided that all the forces of the Party should be mobilized and, together with the state apparatus and other democratic parties and organizations, smash the DI TII terrorist gangs. Apart from that, the Conference took important decisions to strengthen the Party’s ideology and organization. In order to be able to carry out these difficult and intricate tasks of the Party, the Conference decided to expand Party membership.
Under the continuous pressure of the democratic people’s movement, as the national bourgeoisie inclined more and more to the left, and as a result of the contradictions within the domestic ruling clique, the Sukiman Government was forced the resign and on April, 1 st, 1952. There was established the Wilopo (Partai Nasional Indonesia) Cabinet, the progressive aspect of whose policy were supported by the CPI. There were also Masjumi and PSI (right wing socialists, Tn) minister in this Wilopo Government. Because of the anti-people’s measures carried out by the Masjumi and PSI ministers, the entire democratic forces, including the PNI itself, brought about the downfall of the Wilopo Cabinet. Under the stronger pressure of the people, the Ali Sastroamidjojo (PNI) Government was formed on July 30th, 1953, without the Masjumi-PSI. The CPI supported the progressive aspects of the Ali Sastroamidjojo Government’s policy.
The formation of a government whose policy contained progressive aspects, and which was supported by the working class and the masses of the people, proved that there was an upsurge in the revolutionary movement in Indonesia. It indicated the growing unity of the national forces, including the national bourgeoisie in face of the reactionary forces from abroad and at home. In such a situation, the revolutionary movement and the CPI were able, within certain limits, to grow.
During this upsurge of the revolutionary movement, a CPI Central Committee Plenum was held in October, 1953, in preparation for the Vth Party Congress. At this Plenum, amendments were introduced to improve the Draft Constitution, a Draft CPI Programme was drawn up, the general report to the Congress was made and a decision taken concerning Tan Ling Djie-ism, that is, an opportunist trend in the Party which wanted to return the Party’s political line and organization back to the situation of before the “New Road” revolution. This Plenum formulated proposals to the Congress for the solution of all the important and basic problems of the Indonesian revolution.
In March, 1954, the historic Vth CPI National Congress was held with the purpose of answering all the important and basic problems of the Indonesian revolution, of improving the Party’s work in building the united front, of answering all the basic problems of the up-building of the Party and of strengthening the CPI’s ties with the masses. At this Congress, all the documents drawn up by the Plenum of the Central Committee in October, 1953, were approved. Apart from that, the CPI General Elections Manifesto was adopted and it was decided to expand the Party membership and organization.
After analyzing the conditions in Indonesian society, the CPI Programme declared that Indonesia is now a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. In connection with this it stated:
“As long as the situations in Indonesia remains unchanged , that is, as long as the domination of imperialism is not overthrown and the survivals of feudalism not abolished, the people of Indonesia will not be able to do away with poverty, backwardness, inequality and indefensibility in face of imperialism. Imperialist role and the remnants of feudalism will not be liquidated in Indonesia as long as the state power in the country is held by the feudal lords and compradors who are closely connected with foreign capital because they want to retain the imperialist yoke, and feudal remnants in the country, because they fear the Indonesian people most of all.
“If Indonesia is to develop from a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country into an independent, democratic, prosperous and advanced country, it is essential above all to remove the government of feudal lords and compradors and to create a government of the people, a government of the people’s democracy.”
Concerning the people’s government, the CPI Programme said that this government
“will be a government of a united national front, formed on the basis of the alliance of workers and peasants under the leadership of the working class. Taking into account the country’s backwardness, the Communist Party of Indonesia considers that this government must not be a government of the dictatorship of the proletariat but a government of the dictatorship of the people. This government will effect not socialist but democratic reforms. It will be a government capable of uniting all anti-feudal and anti-imperialist forces, of transferring the land to the peasants without compensation, of ensuring the democratic right of the people; a government capable of defending the national industry and trade against foreign competition, of improving the material conditions of workers and abolishing unemployment. In a word, it will be a people’s government capable of securing the national independence of the country and its development along the path of democracy and progress”.
But what is the way out of semi-colonial and semi-feudal situation and is the way to form a people’s government? The CPI Programme give the answer:
“The way out lies in shifting the balance of forces between the imperialist, landlord class and compradors bourgeoisie on the one hand, and the people on the other. The way out lies in rousing, mobilizing and organizing the masses, above all the workers and peasants.”
Concerning the role of the workers in shifting this balance of forces, it stated:
“The working class must head the struggle of the whole people. With this aim in view the working class itself must increase its activity, educate itself and become a strong and conscious force. The working class must not only wage a struggle to improve its living standard, it must also raise its tasks on a broader scale and higher level. It must support the struggle of the other classes. The working class must support the struggle of the peasantry for the land, the struggle of the intelligentsia for its vital rights, the struggle of the national bourgeoisie against foreign competition, the struggle of the whole Indonesian people for national independence and democratic liberties. The people can count victory only when the working class of Indonesia becomes an independent, conscious, politically mature and organized force capable of heading the struggle of the whole people, only when the people will see in the working class their leader.”
Based on an analysis of the classes in Indonesian society, the CPI Programme clarified who were the genuine friends and who the enemies of the revolution. Based on this analysis, too, the CPI Vth National Congress decided to place an important task on the shoulders of the CPI, that is, the task of forming a united front of all the national forces of the revolution, that is, the workers, the peasants, the petty bourgeoisies and the national bourgeoisie. This united front must be formed on the basis of the alliance of the workers and peasants, it must be as broad as possible and must be a product of the revolutionary struggle of the masses. This is the condition for the Indonesian people to establish a people’s government, to defeat the enemies of the revolution, that is, the imperialists, the landlord class and the compradors bourgeoisie.
To build a real united national front, the primary task of the CPI is to draw to peasant into it. Concerning this question, the general report to the Vth National Congress stated:
“ ... in order that the peasants can be draw in, the most immediate task of Indonesian Communists is to eliminate the survivals of feudalism ..... The first step to be taken in our work among the peasants is to assist them in the struggle for their everyday needs, for the achievement of their partial demands. In this way, it will mean organizing and educating the peasants to a higher level of struggle. This is the foundation on which to create the alliance of workers and peasants as the basis of a powerful united national front.”
Concerning the parliamentary struggle and the CPI’s support to the Wilopo Government and later to the Ali Sastroamidjojo Government, the CPI programme states:
“The CPI regards its work in Parliament not as the main work of the Party and the Parliamentary struggle not as the only from of struggle.”
But this does not mean that the CPI neglects the general elections and the parliamentary struggle, and that the CPI adopts exactly the same attitude towards all hitherto existing governments and towards the governments that will come into office up to the establishment of a People’s democratic Government.
“The CPI bases its policy on a Marxist analysis of the concrete situation and the relation of forces. The CPI has taken and continues to take a most active part in parliamentary struggle. The CPI, fully conscious of its political responsibility, treats parliamentary work with the utmost seriousness. The CPI did not take an indifferent attitude towards any of the former government. In some cases, the Party was in opposition to the government and called upon the masses to overthrow it, in others the Party supported the government, and in still others, in participated in the government.”
The parliamentary struggle and the CPI’ support to the Ali Sastroamidjojo Government must also be aimed at expanding and strengthening and the united national front.
As was stated in the general report to the VthNational Congress, the task of building the united national front is the first urgent task of the CPI.
The second urgent task of the CPI is to continue to build a CPI nationwide in scale which has a broad, mass character and which is fully consolidated in the ideological, political and organizational spheres.
Concerning this, the Congress recalled the words of Stalin, that if we are to win in a revolution, then we must have a Party of the Lenin type.
Such a party cannot possibly be created if the CPI does not master Marxist-Leninist theory. The vanguard role of the Party is only possible if the Party is led by an advanced theory. Only a Party which masters Marxist-Leninist theory can head and lead the working class and the other masses of the people.
The Congress also felt that the CPI can only fulfil its great and heavy historic tasks if it unceasingly carries out a merciless struggle against both the right and “left” opportunists within its own ranks. Based on this, the Congress supported and strengthened the decision taken by the Central Committee at its session in October, 1953, concerning Tan Ling-djie-ism. The Congress adopted a special resolution on Tan Ling-djie-ism and drew the conclusion than “in actual act, Tan Ling-djie-ism dominated the CPI during the 1945-1948 Revolution and up to the beginning of 1951”. The Congress established that
“Tan Ling-djie-ism in the ideological sphere is subjectivism, it is the dogmatic and empirical trends in the Party which caused the Party to make rightist and ‘leftist’ mistakes which seriously damaged he growth of the Party and the growth of the revolutionary movement.”
The Congress warned that the Party must not be conceited if it wins victories, the Party must always see the shortcomings in its work, it must be courageous enough to admit its mistakes and frankly and honestly rectify them. The Party will become invincible if it is not afraid of criticism and self-criticism, if it does not hide the mistakes and shortcomings in its work, if it teaches and trains its cadres to draw the lessons from the mistakes in the Party’s work and to be skilful in correcting them in time.
Since Indonesia is a petty-bourgeoisie country, that is, a country where there is still a wide prevalence of small-scale industry, this means that the petty bourgeoisie ideology, namely subjectivism, has a strong social basis. Therefore, the Congress decided that it is very important for the Party to oppose subjectivism in the Party. The two forms of subjectivism, dogmatism and empiricism, are equally dangerous in the Party, they can cause the Party to carry out right and “left” opportunism. Subjectivism can only be resisted if the Party teaches its members to use the Marxist-Leninist method in analyzing the political situation and in estimating the class forces, and if the Party directs its members’ attention towards research and study in the social and economic spheres.
In order to unite the broad working masses around the Party, the Party must direct its members’ attention to tiny, insignificant, practical activities which are connected with the everyday needs of the workers, the peasants and the working intelligentsia. This work is neither pleasant nor is it without its difficulties. But it is the only way to strengthen to Party’s links with the masses and to prevent it from again becoming a prey to “leftist” slogans.
Such are the basic principles decided upon for building the Party. With this, the second urgent task of the CPI becomes clear. This means that the CPI has learnt from its own experiences to build and make itself into a Party of Lenin type.
Concerning the united front and the CPI’s work for the united from since, 1951, the Congress drew the following conclusions:
“ ... (the) unity with the national bourgeoisie is getting closer and closer but the alliance of workers and peasants is still not strong . in other words, the Party still does not have strong foundations. At this stage, the Party must fight resolutely against the right deviation which give exaggerated significance to unity with the national bourgeoisie and underestimates the significance of the leadership of the working class and of the alliance of workers and peasants. There is the danger of losing the Party’s independent character, the danger of its merging itself with the bourgeoisie. Side by side with this, the Party, of course, must also resolutely prevent the “left” deviation, prevent sectarianism that, is, the attitude which laces no impotance on the policy of a united national front with the national bourgeoisie: the Party must preserve the united front with all its might. Since the compradors bourgeois clique rely on different imperialism, and because Party policy is at present directed in the first place against Dutch imperialism and not against all foreign imperialism, increasingly sharp contradictions have arisen between the imperialist themselves, and these contradictions have naturally arisen among their compradors, too. The creation of a united national front with the national bourgeoisie open up new prospects for the development and building of the Party and for the immediate task of the Party, that is, the building of the anti-feudal alliance of workers and peasants. The up building of the Party and the building of the alliance of the workers and peasants are guarantees that the united national front will be under proletarian leadership.”
The CPI Vth National Party Congress, learning from the long history of the CPI and using Marxism-Leninism as its guide, liquidated pre-1951 period in the CPI. With the success of this Congress, the dark period of our Party was definitely brought to a close for ever, and a new period developed rapidly, the period which began in 1951.
In November, 1954, with the convening of the 2nd Plenum of the Central Comminute, this new period was developed with the decision to further broaden the united front. Based on an analysis of the political situation in Indonesia, this session established the fact that the CPI had already become and important and great national force, which could not be ignored by either friend or Toe. Based on an analysis of the history and the situation of the parties in Indonesia, the Central Committee decided that the CPI should actively strive to achieve co-operation between the CPI and other parties, in particular, the Nationalist parties and the parties based on the Islamic religion. The decision concerning this question stated, among other things:
“.... co-operation between the Party and the Communist masses and the Nationalist and Islamic parties and masses is not something which is to last only until the forthcoming elections have been held, as Nationalist and Islamic leaders often declare. We favour co-operation after the elections as well, regardless of who wins. This is in keeping with the slogan of our Republic ‘Bhineka Tunggal Ika’ (unity in diversity).”
Another important decision taken by the Central Committee concerned collective leadership
“..... as the indispensable conditions for consolidating the party in the ideological and organizational spheres, for making the Party more militant and strengthening its ties with the masses. With such a Party, the broader unity of all the national forces will definitely become a fact.”
From the above outline, it becomes clear that, for the last 35 years, the process of building and bolshevizing the Party has been very closely linked with the Party’s political line, with the fact as to whether or not the Party correctly solves the problem of the united front, and especially the problem of regulating its relations with the national bourgeoisie. Conversely, the more bolshevized the Party becomes, the more correct is the Party’s political line and the more correctly and Party solves the problems of the united front, especially of regulating its relations with the national bourgeoisie.
Faithful to its heroic and patriotic history, learning from its experiences gained with the sacrifice of the best sons of Indonesia and guided by creative Marxism-Leninism, the CPI is continuing with its historic task. In the present situation, the CPI will ceaselessly and with all its might work for the broadening and strengthening of the united national front. Apart from that, it will unceasingly and with all its might continue and build and bolshevize itself as the basic guarantee for the safety and success of the united national front.
Long live the united national front!
Long live the Communist Party of Indonesia!
Long live glorious, creative Marxism-Leninism!