Manual for use in the Party Schools at the centre and in the provinces and approved by the CC Plenum, July 1957
Source: Problems of the Indonesia Revolution, D.N. Aidit. Published by DEMOS - 1963
The Fifth National Congress of the Communist Party of Indonesia (CPI) held in March 1954 gave the answer to all the important and basic question of the Indonesian Revolution. But up to day, there are still many Party members who do not yet understand clearly what is meant by “the important and basic questions of the Indonesian revolution”.
It is important to know the basic problems of our revolution. Knowing the basic problems of the Indonesian revolution means knowing the targets and tasks of the Indonesian Revolution, knowing the forces which push it forward, knowing its character and its perspectives. In order to know the basic problems of the Indonesia Revolution, we must in the first place know Indonesian society.
Indonesia is an archipelago country consisting of thousands of small and large islands and covering a land area of almost two million square kilometres (the area of Indonesia is approximately 57 times the area of Holland, for times the area of Japan, 3 1/2 times the area of France and twice the area of Pakistan). There are five main islands, Java, Sumatera, Kalimantan (Borneo), Sulawesi (Celebes) and West Irian (West New Guinea). The distance from the most easterly point to the most westerly point of Indonesia is approximately the as the distance from the East Coast to the West Coast of the United State of America or roughly the same as the distance between the Caucasus and England.
Indonesia is surrounded by three oceans, the Pacific Ocean, the Indian ocean and the South China Sea. It stands as a bridge between the continent of Asia and the continent of Australia. These facts make it easy to understand why it is that for thousands of years right up to the present day, Indonesia has occupied an important position in world traffic, in economic affairs and in world politics.
Being an equatorial country, Indonesia’s climate is tropical. The temperature is on an average of 26 degrees Celsius (Jakarta has an average of 26.4, Bandung, 22.6, Semarang, 26.9, Ambon, 27.2). As a tropical country, Indonesia has only two seasons a year, the dry season which runs from March to September and rainy season which runs from September to March. The rainfall is not the same throughout the country, some regions getting more than others.
The Indonesian islands are extremely fertile. The island of Java is one of the most fertile places in the world. This is why, from time immemorial, shifting cultivation and rice cultivation have been practised. In Indonesia, there are many mountains and hills, valleys and gorges, rivers and waterfalls. Many kinds of minerals are found in Indonesia soil. The Indonesian seas are full of riches. It was in this fertile and rich land, whose lines of communication were made easy by the presence of seas and rivers, that the ancestors of the Indonesian nation flourished and thrived.
Indonesia ranks among the large countries in the world, both from the point of view of the extent of its territory as well as from the point of view of size of its population. Being a rich country and an archipelago which links two continents and is surrounded by three oceans has both its advantages and disadvantages to Indonesia today.
Indonesia has an advantageous geographical position because it cannot become isolated from the world at large. It has the necessary conditions for being, throughout time, a country which is frequently visited by others. It has unlimited conditions for establishing extensive sea communications both at home and with the outside world.
But on the other hand, if Indonesia itself is not a strong country, it will find it very difficult to withstand the pressure of invaders who are greatly interested in dominating the abundantly rich Indonesia. It is difficult to defend the country’s extensive coast lines from foreign military attack and from the smugglers.
The experiences of the August 1945 Revolution teach us that guerrilla warfare plays a very important role in the defence of Indonesia’s sovereignty. Not all the most necessary requirements for guerrilla warfare are present, for example there are not sufficient extensively populated tracts, there are not enough extensive mountain and forest regions that lie far from the towns and the lines of communications. This state of affairs is made all the more difficult because today, in the vicinity of Indonesia lie fortresses of imperialism, colonial and semi-colonial countries. To the North lie Malaya, Singapore, Thailand, South Vietnam, Sarawak, North Borneo and the Philippines. To the South lie Australia as well as the Christmas Islands and the Cocos Islands which are under British domination. On the east Irian under Australian domination, while West Irian is still under the complete domination of the Dutch imperialist. Indonesia has no frontiers with a country which is already completely liberated from imperialist power. All these facts make it all the more necessary for the Indonesian revolutionaries to take their own course in bringing the Indonesian revolution to completion.
The lesson we can draw from the August 1945 Revolution is that it is possible to wage guerrilla war in Indonesia. But in view of the fact that our country does not meet all the necessary pre-requisites for guerrilla warfare, our revolution would have been more successful if at that time it had been able to make a correct struggle in the villages (involving mainly the peasants), revolutionary actions of the workers in the towns and intensive work within the ranks of armed forces of the enemy.
In 1955, the population of Indonesia was 84 million. Although the population of Indonesia is composed of many nationalities, they all make up one single unified whole, the Indonesian nation. The Indonesian nation is the sixth largest nation in the world (No. 1, China; No. 2, India; No. 3, the Soviet Union; No. 4, the United States of America; No. 5, Japan).
The population is very unevenly spread out through the country. The island of Java, the smallest of the five major islands (Kalimantan, West Irian, Sumatera, Sulawesi and Java), has a population of about 54 million (including Madura), whereas West Irian, one of the biggest of the “Big Five”, has an estimated population of less than two million. Sumatera which is almost three and a half times the size of Java has a population of about 12 ½ million. Sulawesi, one and a half times Java, has a population of about 6 million. Kalimantan (the Indonesian part) which is four times the size of Java, has a population of no more than about 3 ½ million. Apart from this, the population is spread throughout the islands of Nusa Tenggara (East Indonesia) with a population of 5 ½ million, and the islands of the Moluccas, with a populations of 0.7 million.
Java has one of the densest population in the world, about 393 persons per square kilometre (1952), and there are places where the density is as high as 460 persons per square kilometre (in Central Java).
There are more than a hundred nationalities in Indonesia, some of them consisting of tens of millions and some of them consisting of only a few thousands.
These nationalities include the Javanese, the Sundanese, the Maduranese, the Melayunese, the Acehnese, the Minangkabaus, the Bataks, the Palembangs, the Lampungs, the Dayaks, the Banjars, the Minahasas, the Bugis, the Torajas, the Macassars, the Balinese, the Sasaks, the Ambonese, the Timorese, the Sabus, the nationalities in West Irian, and many more. Of all these nationalities, the Javanese nationality is the largest, then follow the Sundanese, the Maduranese, the Mingangkabaus, the Bataks, and so on. The Melayunese nationality is the one that has for long been the most widely spread out, along the east coast of Sumatera, on the islands between Sumatera and Kalimantan and along all the coasts of Kalimantan. All these nationalities have their own languages besides using the Indonesian language, the basis of which is the Melayu language, as the language of unity. The cultural levels of all these nationalities are not the same, but all of them have an ancient history.
Thus, the Indonesian nation is a nation consisting of many nationalities, having many languages and many cultural levels, but they all originate from one stock, with one language and one culture. They became dispersed for a time but in the process of the struggle for national independence and for a New Indonesia they have been reunited. All these nationalities regard Indonesia as their homeland, they feel themselves as part of the Indonesian nationhood, consider the Indonesian language as the language of unity and regard themselves as having one single culture besides their own nationality. A most interesting thing si that the Indonesian language does not originate from the language of the largest nationality. This language has never throughout history been the language of colonisers; on the contrary, it is a language which unites more than one hundred nationalities. The Indonesian language is a language which has been forged in the struggle for national independence, it is the language of the liberator.
Besides citizens coming from the various nationalities, there are also in Indonesia some millions of citizens of foreign extraction, Chinese, European, and Arab, each with their own language and culture side by side with recognising the Indonesian language and culture as their own.
The economic developments which have taken place in the various islands have not been the same. This is evident in industry, agriculture, and especially in transport with Java having a broad network of highroads and railways whilst the other islands have very little or none at all. In fact, remnants or more backward economic systems still exist in some of the islands and regions. Based on this variety of economic conditions, society in our country has reached a variety of stages each with its own specific features.
From the historical point of view, the Indonesian nation of today did not inhabit Indonesia thousands of years ago. About 1,500 years before Christ or roughly 3,500 years ago, the present-day Indonesian nation was not in Indonesia but was living in Further India (now Indo-China, Thailand and Burma) and at that time they were called the “Mon Khmer people” a people which still inhabit Tonkin, Thailand and Cambodia. The “Mon Khmer people” is a branch of the “Austro-Asian” (South Asian) people, the other branches being the “Santali people” (India). The Indonesian nation is one of four branches of the “Mon Khmer people” (the other branches are: Melanesia, Polynesia and Micronesia). These four branches of the “Mon Khmer people” were called the “Austronesian people” (the people of the southern islands). The “Mon Khmer people” were not originally inhabitants of Further India, they came from Yunan (South China) and when they were still in Yunan they were part of the “Austral people” (the southern people).
Thus, although the Indonesian nation is divided into many nationalities (including the nationalities in West Irian and Halmahera which ethnologically belong to the Melanesian people but politically belong to Indonesia), it is a nation that stems from one single stock (the stock of the Austral people and later the stock of the Austro-Asian people, and then later on again, the stock of the Mon Khmer people); it is a nation with a very long history which has waged bitter struggles in wars and in the fights against natural calamities.
About 3,500 years ago, our ancestors were still wandering in Further India, they were tilling the valleys of the Mekong River, and the Irawadi and Salwin Rivers. Under strong pressure from the peoples which came from the North and West who occupied their lands and who plundered them and disturbed the peaceful lives they were living, they were forced to choose between two alternatives: to be treated like slaves or to find a new abode. They felt that it would be better to leave and live in freedom rather than be enslaved.
As a result of wars and other factors such as shortage of food, natural disasters, widespread floods and epidemics, the ancestors of the Indonesian nation left the Asian mainland on simple sailing vessels and drifted farther and farther away. They understood navigation, were of sturdy physique and full of courage. They crossed oceans, some of them reaching Madagascar, the Philippines, Kalimantan, Sumatera and others of the islands of Indonesia. By stages and in large groups they migrated to the islands of the South and eventually settled down along the entire coastline of Indonesia from the most western point to the most eastern. They were like victorious reinforcements occupying new territories. In these new lands they were free to pick lands to till, to hunt and to continue with their shipping habits. They built their houses along the coasts they occupied.
But the islands of Indonesia were not uninhabited when our ancestor arrived. They met the ‘native’ inhabitants. These ‘native’ inhabitants were of the Negrito and Wedda races and had lived in the Indonesian archipelago for thousands of years. These ‘native’ inhabitants did not like being pushed out by these newcomers from the North and at first offered resistance. Besides having to reach some sort of settlement with these ‘native’ inhabitants so as to get a place to live and a livelihood, our ancestors had to fight against wild animals, floods and other difficulties. By comparison with the ‘native’ inhabitants, the weapons our ancestors bore were better, they were able to make use of sharp weapons made of iron (daggers, lances and bows and arrows). The ‘native’ inhabitants were only armed with blow-pipes equipped with small poison arrows. Our ancestors were skilled at tilling whereas the ‘native’ inhabitants depended for their livelihood on jungle products. After many centuries had elapsed, the ‘native’ inhabitants and the newcomers were able to live together, while those who refused to mix ran off to foreign lands. In brief, it was not easy for our ancestors to get hold of the homeland Indonesia, they had to wage a life-and-death struggle, they had courageously to traverse wide oceans, to fight against wild beasts, floods and the like.
The Indonesian nation who, while on the Asian mainland, came from one national stock, with one language and culture, became split up after arriving in Indonesia, they were spread out over the islands, separated by mountain ranges, rivers and huge lakes, and the result was that they became isolated from each other. Centuries of natural isolation resulted in their developing along their own lines, they grew into nationalities each their own language and culture.
After arriving in the Indonesian archipelago, our ancestors continued with the way of life they had lived on the Asian mainland, they lived in communities, built their houses on poles facing each other, tilled the land, sailed and hunted. Their implements of production were extremely primitive forcing them to work collectively. Their many means of production were jointly owned, there was no exploitation of man by man and all inhabitants had equal rights to the natural resources. At that time, there were no classes in society. They elected the leaders of their villages, there was no such thing as kings appointed from above and there was no such thing as state power. The state was not necessary at that time. Social law and order at that time was laid down on the basis of habits and customs, and the authority, respect and power of the leaders or the elders. Our ancestors then lived in a primitive communal society. We still come across remnants of primitive communal society in our country, for example in the form of joint village ownership of land, the habit of working together (gotong-royong), the remnants of matriarchal lineage (such as in Minangkabau and the island of Enggano), the left-overs of patriarchal lineage (as in Batak, the Moluccas), and so on.
As the implements of production improved and the productive forces increased, the old relations of production began to obstruct the further development of the forces of production. Primitive communal co-operative methods of work were no longer in keeping with the advance made in the implements of production, social division of labour developed and grew. All this meant that, like it or not, joint ownership of the means of production had to be replaced by individual ownership. But the rice fields and meadows, forests and pasture-lands as well as the irrigation installations remained common property.
Private property rights on certain of the implements of production and of personal wealth gave rise to a desire to accumulate the implements of production and to accumulate riches on the part of those who had the chance to do so, namely those in positions of power (the elders assisted by the war-chiefs and religious functionaries). Those in power turned common property into private property. There also emerged a thirst for expansion, for territorial expansion, to capture other villages, with the result that villages united together under one of the elders. Wars took place one after the other because each village elder (as a small district) wanted to expand his territory so as to be able to get hold of more implements of production and wealth. Those taken prisoner in wars were no longer killed off but were turned into slaves and forced to work so that the results of their labour could become the property of those in power, adding to their wealth. The people who fell into serious debt and were unable to repay their debts were also turned into slaves. They slave-owners were quite free to do what they liked with their slaves, including trading them and killing them. Thus it was that our ancestors entered into slave society.
A gulf grew up in this slave society between the two basic classes, the slave-owners and the slaves, those ruling and those being ruled, and gradually became deeper and deeper. Thus it was that class struggle first took place in the society of our ancestors. The power of the village-elder became greater until eventually he was entitled to appoint his own successor (formerly the elder had been elected). The area under the power of these elders expanded, the villages under their control and the families dominated by them increased in number. These elders, who had now become rich and had alienated themselves from the people, together with their families and servants, lived on their own in luxury in the “keraton” (king’s palace) and the “kedaton” (prince’s palace). Besides being leaders, they were also regarded as the representatives of our forefathers who had to be respected and obeyed. In view of the resistance put up by the slaves, the slave-owners were in need of the where withal with which to suppress this resistance and subjugate the slaves. It was in this way that the state came into being for the first time, an apparatus which gave power to the slave-owners and made it possible for them to rule over the slaves. Remnants of this slave society were still to found in some islands in the early part of the twentieth century, for example, the slave-owners could order their slaves to be put to death without being liable to any punishment, the “mramba” (slave-owners in Sumba) were entitled to the entire products of the land cultivated by the slaves (“atta”), and the children born out of slave marriage were the property of the slave-owners.
But the fact that the slave-owners had the weapon of the state in their hands did not put a stop to the resistance of the slaves, both open and secret resistance. Slave labour which at first was a force encouraging the advance of the productive forces by comparison with primitive communal labour gradually proved not to be productive any more because the enslaved people could not possibly have any interest in their work and therefore became less and less creative.
A section of the freemen in this slave society, the peasants and the craftsmen, could no longer stand the burdens of paying for wars, and they became bankrupt and fell into the position of slaves. Some of them fled to the coastal areas or to other places beyond the reach of the slave-owners and joined in the resistance against the slave state. Continuous warfare waged to preserve the power of the slave-owners, to which was added the ever falling level of production and the deterioration of trade resulted in the slave power becoming weaker and its culture becoming more and more generate.
The progress achieved by the productive forces was no longer in accord with the relations of production which were based on slavery, slave society had already become a shackle and that is why it was eventually replaced by feudal society. In Indonesia, and especially in Java, our forefathers entered feudal society roughly at the beginning of the Christian era. In feudal society, the remaining slaves were able to till the land “for themselves” on condition that they deposited a major part of their crop with the feudal land-lord. Here, then, the division between produce of the necessary labour for the peasants and the produce of the surplus labour which was seized by the feudal landlord became clear. The basic contradiction in feudal society was the contradiction between the feudal landlords (the kings, the nobles, the priests and the chieftains) and the peasants. State power was in the hands of the feudal land-lords who ruled over the peasants. The status of the peasants was somewhat more “free” by comparison with the slaves with the result that the peasants were by comparison more productive. In general, it was no longer possible to have the peasants wantonly put to death. They were not slaves but servants and worked for the landlords in the form of unpaid labour (rodi, corvee), handing over a major part of their produce.
Besides the peasants, the craftsmen and the traders were among those classes ruled and whose further growth was hampered by feudalism.
The history of the civilisation of the Indonesian nation reveals that agriculture and handicrafts are very old indeed, that Indonesia had its own philosophers, scientists, first-rate artists, statesmen and military strategists. Long before Christ, that is, long before the coming of Hindu people, Indonesia was producing work tools on a large scale and weapon made of stone and iron; the calendar, so very necessary to regulate work on the rice-fields, was already known, and a system of irrigation had been established. In the year 150 after Christ, the second-century Greek geographer and astronomer, Ptolomeus, wrote that the island of Java was extremely fertile and produced much gold (what he meant was articles made of gold). From the same period, we can read in the Hindu epos (Ramayana): “Make a careful study of Jawadwipa (Java) which has seven kingdoms, the island of gold and silver, abounding with articles of gold.” In the year 132, envoys were sent from Java to China taking with them kingly seals of gold. Indonesia’s position, lying as it does between India and China, made it, right from the beginning of the Christian era, a centre of world trade. It is stated that in 414 A.D., a Chinese merchant left west Java for Canton together with 200 other persons, the majority of whom were Hindu merchants.
The above facts show that long before the foreigners came, the Indonesia nation was a civilised nation and the opinion that the Indonesian nation only became civilised after the advent of the foreigners who taught the Indonesians is not correct. Later, after the arrival of the Hindus, stupendous and beautiful temples were constructed, and the famous art of dancing and the puppet play took root. All these are the creation of the Indonesian nation itself, the individuality of the Indonesian nation itself. The Hindus only played the role of assistants and advisers. The achievements of this culture show that ever since ancient times, the Indonesian nation has been willing to accept anything good from abroad, anything in the form of ideas or assistance from experts but without in any way giving up their own individuality.
In foreign trade and foreign policy, the Indonesian nation played an active part and was skilful at utilising the extremely advantageous geographical location of the country. This policy made Indonesia in past times one of the centres of world trade.
But the Indonesian nation was not only renowned for being hard-working and persevering, for having its own culture and civilisation but also as a nation of fighters and revolutionaries. Ever since the time they had live on the Asian mainland, the Indonesian as a homeland, they had also to struggle, as they did too to defend their homeland from foreign attack. The Indonesian nation is a freedom-loving nation with a revolutionary tradition. This has been proved right up to recent centuries, to the 20th century, right up to day. Indonesia’s history from the early times has been a history of heroes, a history of revolutions, a history of working people. The 20th century in which the struggle of the Indonesian nation took on modern forms which were in essence but a continuation of centuries-long revolutionary traditions.
Although Indonesia is a large country with a favourable geographical position, very fertile, with a large population and an ancient cultural history rich in revolutionary tradition, it is still today economically, politically and culturally backward because of the fact that for 1500 years feudal society held sway.
The economic and political system in Indonesia feudal society was as follow:
1. In feudal society, the economy was self-sufficient, an economy in which production was used for personal needs and not for sale or for the market. The system of irrigation in our country had already reached an advanced stage at the beginning of the feudal era; this is proved by the instruction issued by King Purnawarman of the Kingdom of Taruma Negara (in West Java, roughly covering the districts of Jakarta, Bogor and Karawang) in the 4th century after Christ for the construction of 15-km long canal. It is certain that there were craftsmen since the beginning of this era because ever since the time before the Hindus came, Indonesians were skilled at making things from iron, copper, tortoise-shell, horn and gold. But these goods were not made primarily for sale. There was indeed already exchange of goods, exchange between the inhabitants as well as with outsiders, for example, exchange between the Indonesian kings and high officials with merchants from China, India and other countries, but this exchange was not of a decisive character.
2. In feudal society, the ruling power was in the hands of the feudal class consisting of the king living in the keratons, the nobles, the priests and chieftains (functionaries and officials). The basis of the power of the feudal class was their ownership of the land and their limited ownership of the peasants. The king was the supreme power, he had the right to appoint the personnel of the central government and the regional governments for purpose of arranging the affairs of the armed forces, the courts, the state treasury and the food store-houses. The king only had direct power over a small part of the territory under their power, the remainder being under the power of other nobles and functionaries acting on behalf of the king. It was these representatives of the king that had the task of collecting the product of the peasants for their own requirements and for the king (the central government). Besides handing over their produce, the peasants were also forced to work unpaid (rodi and corvee) for the nobles and the functionaries, and were forced to work on the building of keratins and temples, to make canals and dams and, during wartime, not to spare themselves, even including becoming soldiers, to win victory. After the regular army had been established, and this took place mainly following the establishment of the Islam kingdoms, the peasants were also compelled to pay for the upkeep of the army which was used in the first place to suppress the peasants and rarely if ever to push back attacks from abroad. On behalf of the kings, the nobles and functionaries carried out the functions of government, running the law-courts and drawing up legislation. As a means of strengthening the “loyalty” of the people to the king, religious sentiments were instilled (for example, King Darmawangsa of the 10th and 11th centuries ordered the scholars of the keraton to translate the stories of the Mahabarata which were written in Sanskrit into ancient Javanese).
Thus it is clear that feudal was based on the land-ownership of the landlords while the peasants worked as serfs (the peasants rented or “borrowed” land to till). Land which was the basic means of production in feudal society was owned by the feudal landlords. It is true that the peasant-serfs were different from the slaves who could be killed off just like that. The peasants could not be killed off as had happened in times of slavery but they could be bought and sold.
The feudal state was the property of the landlords as means of preserving their feudal exploitation. Besides suffering from severe feudal exploitation, the peasant also suffered from political oppression. They had no political rights or personal freedom, the landlords were entitled to beat and torture them and even to kill them although this was no longer applicable in more recent times.
The impoverishment and backwardness of the peasants, which was the result of feudal economic exploitation and political oppression on a grand scale, was the basic thing causing the economy and social life in our country to be centuries behind by comparison with the advanced countries of today. In feudal society, the basic class creating wealth and culture were the peasants and the craftsmen while the landlords and their cliques (the kings, the nobles, the priests and the functionaries) were totally unproductive; on the contrary, they exploited and oppressed the vast majority of the people.
The extraordinarily severe economic exploitation and political suppression resulted in the Indonesian peasants rising up against the power of the landlords, as for example in the rebellion against the First Mataram Monarchy (in the 8th and 9th centuries), the rebellion against the Kediri Monarchy (at the beginning of the 13th century under the leadership of that son of the peasants, Ken Anrok, the uprisings against the Singasari kingdom (at the end of the 13th century), the uprising against Madjapahit Kingdom (in the 14th and 15th centuries), and other peasant uprisings. It is indeed true that these uprisings only succeeded in replacing one king by another king without bringing about any improvements in the conditions of the peasants. But this does not detract from the fact that these uprisings were peasants’ uprising. The peasants’ opposition to feudal economic exploitation and political suppression was the cause of these uprising.
The peasnts’ uprising failed, they did not end in victory for the peasants and only resulted in the replacement of one king by another bacause the peasants as individual small property-owners did not represent new relations of production. Their uprising broke out spontaneously because of their hatred for the landlords, but they were not able to draw up a revolutionary agrarian program. Neither was there yet an advanced class and a political party that was capable of leading the peasants to victory. The result was that the peasants’ uprisings and wars quite naturally ended in defeat and did not change the feudal economic relations and political system. But it is quite incorrect to say that these unsuccessful peasant uprising did not result in any social progress whatsoever. One thing is clear and that is that the peasant became more trained is warfare, and some of the new kings they put out onto the throne were forced to reduce or abolish some of the most vicious forms exploitation. These uprisings have been decisive in weakening and will eventually overthrow feudalism completely.
With the further expansion of Indonesia’s foreign trade in the 14th century, especially the spice trade with Europe, the position of the country’s coastal towns became very important and trade with Europe became more important than trade with India and China. The spices were in great demand by the dispensaries and kitchen of Europe. The Moluccas and Banten (western tip of Java) played a leading role in this busy trade.
In the Moluccas and Banten, many foreign traders made their home, especially Moslem traders from India and Persia who exerted a great influence over the local kings. The merchants supplied luxury articles for the kings. They also converted the local kings who were Hindus to the Islam and encouraged the local kingdoms to set themselves up as independent Islamic kingdoms, split off from the power of the Madjapahit Empire which had its centre in the interior. As a means of further extending their influence, these Moslem merchants married their daughters off to the local kings, and as their influence over the local kings increased so too their trading profits increased. This Moslem movement was latter led by the famous teachers known as the Wali Songo (Wali Sembilan).
As world trade progressed, the local kings along the coasts became more and more determined to control the interior regions that were under the domination of the Empire of Madjapahit. The Moslem kings, united under the leadership of the King of Demak, succeeded in overthrowing Madjapahit in 1521. This was the result of the contradiction which had arisen between the Moslem feudal kingdoms who had became at one with commercial capital (the merchants) and the Hindu feudal kingdoms that were still completely agrarian.
Under conditions of a great internal split, under conditions where the contradictions between the coastal kingdoms which were participating in world trade and the interior kingdoms that were still based on agricultural production and the pologoro (feudal services) were becoming more and more acute, the Europeans came with the ships and weapons that were superior to those in the possession of the Indonesian kingdoms.
At first, the Portuguese came (1446) whose purpose in coming was, besides making profits from trade, to spread the Christian religion which was at that time developing in Europe. In pursuance of their objectives, the Portuguese made use of the contradictions between the “Moslem kingdoms” and the “Hindu kingdoms”. In order to stand up to the onslaughts of the Portuguese and also in order to suppress peasant uprisings and fight against the Hindu kingdoms, the Moslem kingdoms such as Demak set up a regular army, a thing which the Hindu kingdoms had not done.
In 1521, Spaniards arrived in Tidore on two ships that were on a trip round the world. In Tidore, the Spaniards tried to strengthen their position by making alliances with the King of Tidore who was at the time waging a fight against the Portuguese who were alliance with the King of Ternate. The background to the Spanish-Portuguese conflict was the question of the clove monopoly. Battles took place between the Spaniards and the kingdom of Tidore on the one side and the Portuguese and the kingdom of Ternate on the other which ended in defeat for the Spaniards. In 1529, the Spaniards left Indonesia after receiving compensation to the sum of 350.000 crusados.
The regular armies of the Moslem kingdoms were better equipped and armed than the Hindu armies that were based on compulsory military services on the peasants. But the technical superiority of the European warships and weapons was even superior to the ships and equipment of the Moslem kingdoms. This was the basic reason why the naval forces of the Kingdom of Demak under the leadership of Dipati Unus were forced to retreat in the war against the Portuguese (1513). It was not lack of courage, of spirit or of skill that led to the Indonesia being defeated but simply to the technical superiority of the Europeans, and above all because of the weaknesses within the Indonesian kingdoms that had resulted from the splits.
On June 22, 1956, a Dutch fleet of four ships under the command of Cornelius Houtman landed at the harbour of Banten.
Originally, the Dutch came to Indonesia with the intention of trading. To manage their trade in Indonesia, the Dutch set up a trading association in Holland in 1602, the Association of Trading Companies of the East Indies (VOC). In order to strengthen and coordinate all Dutch activities in Indonesia, a Governor General was appointed (the first in 1610) and an Indies Council set up composed of five persons. At first, the Dutch had very little room to move because they had to deal with the Portuguese who were still in South East Asia and with the Indonesian nation who still controlled the Indonesian seas.
As a way of preserving their monopoly over the spice trade, the VOC ruthlessly carried out “hongi expeditions” to the eastern part of Indonesia (the “hongi” was a swift-moving vessel used in the waters of the Moluccas. These “hongi expeditions” involved robbing, plundering and annihilating the enemy). During the course of these “hongi expeditions”, the VOC attacked, maltreated, imprisoned and even wiped out populations in the islands in East Indonesia for the slightest violation of the regulations of the VOC monopoly. The inhabitants of the island of Banda were almost completely wiped out. But the people of the Moluccas never meekly accepted the fate of being “hongi-ed”. In 1635, a general uprising broke out in Ambon against the atrocities of the company under the leadership of Kakiali.
A person who contributed very much to laying the foundations of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia was J.P. Coen, Governor-General, who began to expand his power by the seizure of Djakarta (officially named Batavia by the Dutch on March 4th, 1621) and converted Djakarta into a centre of trade in South East Asia. The result was that the trade moved from the hands of the Indonesian kingdoms and the Portuguese into the hands of the Dutch. From Djakarta, the Dutch expanded their power throughout the length and breadth of the country. In 1641, the Dutch took control of Malaca, a Portuguese fortress in South East Asia; in 1667, they took control of Macassar; in 1667, they gained control of the north coast of Java right up to East Java; in 1692, they gained control of Banten. Once in control of Banten, the Dutch were able to dominate the western gateway to Indonesia; with Malaca in their hands they dominated the Straits of Malaca, with Macassar in their hands, they dominated East Indonesia, and with the north coast of Java in their hands, the Dutch succeeded in cutting off the (Second) Mataram Kingdom from the sea.
With the Mataram Kingdom surrounded, and by utilizing the contradictions between the Moslem kingdoms and the Hindu kingdoms as well as the contradictions within the Hindu kingdoms themselves, the Dutch colonialists, with their superiority of weapons, succeeded in forcing the Mataram Kingdoms to surrender in 1749.
The basis of the colonial exploitation of the VOC, the exploitation during the period commerce capital was dominant in Holland, was a system of very high land taxes (quotas) and the obligation to deliver a part of the crop produced at very low prices (forced deliveries). The VOC’s internal policy was based on the exploitation of the feudal institutions in existence at the time. Under this economic and political system, the peasants suffered from two forms of exploitation, one from the kings and one from the VOC.
In the regions under the VOC, the old class relationship did not change; the only difference was that the king was now called “bupati” (district chief) and was appointed by the VOC. These VOC-appointed bupatis were usually replaced at death by the son who was considered most capable. The peasants suffered greatly because besides the demands of the VOC for the maximum share of their crop, they also suffered from heavy extortions by the bupatis furthering their own interests.
The VOC’s system of compulsion and monopoly led to the disintegration of the VOC because it did not allow for the growth of the productive forces, it impoverished the economy of the people which in turn threatened the profits of the VOC itself. Corruption was rampant throughout the government apparatus, involving both Dutch as well as Indonesians. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, peasants uprisings and resistance movements broke out everywhere as a result of the peasants suffering from two forms of exploitation. Since it was no longer making profits, the VOC was dissolved in 1800 and afterwards the Dutch State governed Indonesia directly.
The VOC era was an important period for the accumulation of capital at a primary stage. The Dutch merchants won for themselves unlimited rights by means of atrocities, in the word of Karl Marx “The history of the colonial administration of Holland, the model capitalist nation during the 17th century, is one of the most extraordinary relations of treachery, bribery, massacre, and meanness’”. (‘Capital’, Vol. 1, English Edition, page 752).
The direct rule of the Dutch Government did not bring any improvements in Indonesian society. On the contrary, when Holland was occupied by France, a very brutal Governor-General was sent to Indonesia, Daendels (1808-1811). Under Daendels’s rule, the Dutch army was increased from 4,000 troops to 18,000. For military strategic interests, the Dutch constructed fortresses which cost the lives of many Indonesians. Further, roads of about 1000 km in length were built to link up the eastern end of Java with the western end; these roads were built in less than a year, cost very little financially but took a great number of Indonesian lives. High land taxes and forced crop deliveries continued, to which was added a government monopoly in rice and the sale of “private lands” to wealthy Europeans and Chinese. This exceptional exploitation gave rise to new uprisings, particularly in Banten and Tjirebon.
When, in 1811, the English army attacked the Dutch in Java, it is quite easy to understand why it was that the Dutch did not get support of the Indonesian people; the kings and bupatis also refused to fight against the English because they were incensed at the wanton atrocities of Daendels.
During the English reign from 1811-1814, Liet.Gen. Thomas Stamford Raflles tried to apply the principles of English colonial policy in Java in the interests of English industrial capital which was at that time making rapid strides forward, the policy which was applied in Bengal (India), a policy of free competitions for its industrial capital in India. England tried to change the Dutch economic and political system which was based on usury and seizure, the features of Dutch commerce capitalism, to a system more in conformity with English industry that was more advanced.
But the English did not achieve much as they were only in power for three-and-a-half-years. English rule placed new burdens on the shoulders of the Indonesian people by establishing state control over the production of salt and by selling “private lands”, together with the feudal rights over those lands, to the advantage of the buyer and to the disadvantage of the peasants.
England proclaimed that all land was the property of the State on the basis of which they imposed land taxes of not less than two fifths of a good harvest or one-quarter to one-third of a poor harvest. This English land policy also led to uprisings among the peasants, as for example in Banten, Tjirebon and Jogjakarta and other places. This situation forced Raffles to buy back some of the “private lands” he had sold, in the name of the State.
After Napoleon’s defeat in 1814, the English signed a treaty returning Dutch colonies to Holland, including Indonesia. Thus it was that the Dutch got Indonesia back into their power. The restoration of Dutch rule was only realized in 1816.
The Diponegoro War from 1825-1830 cost the Dutch state treasury f. 20,000,000. The Belgian uprising against the Dutch from 1830-1839 was also a severe strain on the Dutch treasury. Holland was in very bad economic straits and was bordering on bankruptcy. In order to surmount this state of bankruptcy, the so-called “culture system” (system of forced cultivation) was introduced (1830-1870).
The “culture system” was a combination of the VOC variety, the Daendels variety and the Raffles variety of colonial system. All the worst elements of these systems were combined into one and called the “culture system”. Under this system, the peasants were given no freedom at all. They were compelled to cultivate crops for the European market (sugar-cane, coffee, indigo, cotton, tobacco) and were forced to deliver these crops to the colonial government at prices fixed by the government.
In practice, the “culture system” compelled the peasants to plant one-third to two-third of their land, and sometimes the whole of heir land, to crops for the European market. The labor required to cultivate these market crops for Europe was much more than that required for rice cultivation. Land taxes, including taxes on the land which had to be used to grow these European market crops, were increased. If the price of the crops grown for the European market was higher than the taxes which the peasants had to pay, the excess was not returned to the peasants; on the contrary, the peasants frequently had to sell their rice -- which anyhow was not enough for them -- in order to pat the excess of taxes. Crop failures were borne completely by the peasants even when caused by natural disasters. The peasants had to take their compulsory crop contributions right up to the store-houses to hand them over and were not paid for this at all. They were forced to work without pay on public works and building of fortresses.
Within 40 years of the “culture system”, the Dutch amassed a fortune of 800 million Dutch guilders or roughly about the same amount as Dutch commerce capital had made during the 200 years under the VOC. But in the era of 20th century imperialism, prior to the 1929 crisis, the Dutch imperialists could earn this amount within one year.
Within the framework of this “culture system” of robbery, the feudal class played the role of intermediaries and at the same time received payment of feudal tributes as well as the performance of forced labor. Government officials, from the lowest ranking to the highest ranking, had to perform personal services which knew no bounds, even including the provision of musical ensembles and groups of dancing girls for residents (Dutch local government officials) when they were on tour. These government officials were paid very low wages but, by utilizing their position, they could enrich themselves from the unpaid labor of the peasants.
They heavy sufferings led to the outbreak of peasants resistance and uprisings everywhere, and resulted in many peasants moving from one place to another, even though a regulation had been introduced forbidding peasants from leaving their village without a permit (the pass system). The resistance, uprisings and migration of the peasants were important factors in undermining the “culture system”.
A Dutchman, Douwes Dekker, who was appointed assistant resident in 1865 in Lebak (Banten) published his famous book, “Max Havelaar” in 1860 which he wrote under the nom-de-plum, Multatuli. In his book, “Multatuli” condemned colonialism and the Dutch as being responsible for inhuman political suppression and economic exploitation under the cultural system. “Multatuli’s” writings were widely read among the young generation of intellectuals and leaders of the working class movements that was beginning to develop in Holland; this book also gave the warning to the Dutch bourgeoisie that the era of robbery a la “culture system” had to end, that it was no more necessary and that it was liability.
The period of the “culture system” was the worst period for the Indonesian peasants. The Dutch were never able to stamp out the rebellious spirit of the peasants and small uprisings broke out continuously all over the place. But after suffering the defeat in the Dipo Negoro War of 1825-1830, the feudal classes that had until then “led” the peasants uprisings, surrendered completely to the colonial exploiters and had no will to resist any more. Outside Java, uprisings still broke out but the Dutch colonialists did not consider their position on these parts of the country as being important. At this time, it was not yet possible to hope for leadership of the peasant uprisings from the Indonesian national bourgeoisie or the Indonesian proletariat.
The development of modern industry in Holland was delayed because that country had such a rich country as Indonesia in its possession. It was only in 1870 that the colonial government introduced the so-called Agrarian Law, a law which guaranteed the procurement of land for private Dutch capital to take part in colonial exploitation. This was a change from the monopolistic colonial policy of commerce capital to the “new” colonial policy of industrial capital, the switch over from a system of monopoly to the system of free competition. This era of free competition which ran from 1870 till 1895 was distinguished by the growing role of the colonial banks.
In the severe crisis of 1859, a large number of private capitalists in Holland were completely ruined with the result that the finance capitalists took over complete control. Thus, the period of industrial capital based on free competition did not last long in Indonesia, only about 25 years (1870-1895). Industrial capital based on free competition was quickly followed up by the era of imperialism which began in 1895, that is the era during which finance capital, the unification of bank capital and industrial capital wielded the monopoly over economic and political life in Indonesia.
The Dutch imperialists took two important steps to safeguard and guarantee the future of the capital they had explored from Europe: they conquered the entire territory of Indonesia, politically and militarily, and they investigated the possibilities of the unrestricted growth of capital. These steps were in conformity with the switch over from pre-monopoly capitalism to monopoly capitalism, the period of the domination of finance capital. This switch over was inseparable from the increasingly intensive struggle between the imperialists to divide the world. Finance capital in general strove to snatch up as much land as it possibly could, wherever in could and by any means at its disposal, for it counted on the potential raw material resources and was afraid of being left behind in the bitter struggle to obtain the last remaining patches of land which had not yet been divided out or strove to re-divide land which had already been divided.
In order to place the whole of Indonesia under Dutch domination, the Dutch waged large scale colonial war at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, and finally the Dutch succeeded in extending their domination to Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Dompo, Flores, Bone, Bandjarmasin, Djambi, Riau, Tapanuli, Atjeh, and other places. So as to guarantee super profits the Dutch Government undertook investigations in the fields of geology, geography, botany, biology, and the like. The Dutch also made a study of customs, languages, religions, and culture and the history of the nationalities.
Thus, imperialism destroyed the state monopoly of the “culture system” but at the same time erected a new monopoly in its place, the monopoly of finance capital. It was because the Dutch were weak militarily and were unable to defend Indonesia with arms that they were forced from the year 1905 to pursue an open door policy, a policy of opening up Indonesia as a field for exploitation to capitalists in all the capitalists countries, especially Britain and America. The Dutch imperialists calculated that such a policy would bring them two advantages: 1) increased profits from the imperialist enterprises, and 2) joint defense between the imperialist states to defend their interests in Indonesia, and at the same time, the Dutch imperialists would be able to keep a balance between the other imperialist states so as to prevent any one imperialist state, from grabbing Indonesia. Imperialism replaced the slavery of the “cultural system” variety with slavery of a “new” variety which took on among others the form of “penal sanctions”, or in other words, the introduction of regulations stipulating punishment for persons who violated contracts made within the framework of guaranteeing cheap labor for the foreign estates.
Since, in the pre-imperialism era, Indonesia had been bled white and totally ruined, imperialism had to create the elementary bases for a modern system of exploitation, the more intensive and systematic exploitation of the people and wealth of Indonesia. From the beginning of the era of imperialism, the Dutch East Indies Government pursued what was called the “ethical policy”, a policy which included among other things the reduction of forced labor, the introduction of health services, a slight expansion of irrigation installations and the establishment of primary schools, teachers’ schools, technical schools, general middle schools and the like, in order to meet the requirements of imperialism for workers and for cheap but educated native office workers.
During the era of imperialism, Indonesia was a source of cheap raw materials for the imperialist countries, a source of very cheap labor, a market for the products of the imperialist countries and a place for the investment of their capital (Dutch, British, American, Japanese, French, Italian and others).
The colonial policy pursued by the imperialists was in no way aimed at promoting industry in Indonesia but at promoting the industry of the imperialist countries themselves. The imperialists vigorously opposed the development of industry in Indonesia and this was the reason why the handicrafts of the people did not develop into modern industry as had happened in Europe.
Enterprises owned by Indonesians were allowed only very limited scope, for example, only for weaving hats, mats and baskets, making batik cloth and the kretek cigarettes. The more advanced of these were the batik enterprises, some of which employed tens and even hundreds of workers. These enterprises were heavily dependent upon the foreign importers who imported the things required by the industry. The kretek cigarette enterprises also depended on the foreign importers and encountered strong competition from the modern European cigarette industry. The larger batik and kretek enterprises were in most cases owned by Arabs, Chinese or Europeans.
During the era of imperialism, national industry met with great obstacles from imperialist policy in becoming acquainted with modern machinery. It was this above all which made it so difficult for Indonesia to meet its needs of industrial products during the Second World War and during the Revolution 1945-1948.
Indonesia possesses sufficient conditions to become a strong modern industrial country because it is rich in mineral deposits such as coal, iron ore, oil, tin, bauxite, manganese, copper, chromium, mercury, iodine, asphalt, gold, silver, zinc, uranium and others. But the imperialists did not make Indonesia into an industrial country. They established means of transport such as railways, motor transport and shipping, and built harbours to carry off goods such as tropical products, or to facilitate military mobility so as to exert control and guarantee security for their colonization. They set up auxiliary industries to meet the need for repairs and to process raw materials ready for export. The more advanced among the industries set up by the imperialists were the mining industry (oil, tin, bauxite, coal and so on), sugar factories, remilling factories, tea factories, coffee factories, coconut oil factories, rice mills, tobacco factories, and others.
As a result of the imperialist domination in Indonesia described above, Indonesia colonial society displayed the following characteristics:
The basis of the natural self-sufficient economy was destroyed, or in other words, production was directed for the market, but the exploitation of the peasants by the landlords -- the social basis of feudal exploitation -- remained. As a mater of fact, this exploitation had become interwoven with the exploitation of foreign capital, comprador capitalists and the money-lenders who occupied a decisive position in Indonesia’s social economic life. Feudal Indonesia had become semi-feudal Indonesia.
The scope for development of national capitalism was greatly restricted so that it did not occupy an important role in Indonesia’s political, economic and culture life. During the Japanese occupation, the national bourgeoisie were able to strengthen themselves a bit because the Japanese were forced to utilize them as assistants.
But even so, the Indonesian national bourgeoisie class remains extremely weak in political, economic and cultural affairs.
In modern Indonesia, the power of the autocratic kings had been overthrown but this did not mean to say that the feudalists did not still play a role in the colonial regime. The feudalists, that is, the nobles and the landlords, have been an important weapon in the hands of the imperialists to continuo with their economic exploitation and the political suppression of the people. Colonial power is the dictatorship of the big foreign bourgeoisie and the domestic feudal class. By means of this dictatorship, the foreign bourgeoisie not only controlled Indonesia’s financial and economic sectors but also the military and political situation in Indonesia.
The foreign imperialist also utilized the weapon of culture to break the spirit of resistance of the Indonesian people. By means of culture, they cultivated a felling of inferiority among the people and glorified foreigners and their agents. They cultivated feelings of incapability among the Indonesian people and spread the illusion that it was only the foreigners that were good and wise. They cultivated the belief that it was by studying in Europe, particularly Holland, that one could get a position, a good name and wealth.
The exploitation by imperialism and feudalism during the time the Dutch were in power and particularly during the Japanese regime more and more deeply impoverished the Indonesian people, especially the peasants, and pressed them into a state of bankruptcy, starvation, and of never being able to enjoy decent housing and sufficient clothing.
The basic contradiction in Indonesian society in the modern era, the contradiction between imperialism and the Indonesian nation, reached one of its climaxes with the outbreak in August 1945 of the national revolution in Indonesia. As a result, the Indonesian nation took independence into their own hands. During this revolution, the Indonesian people fought a heroic struggle against the most basic enemy, imperialism. But another basic enemy, the feudal landlord class which was the most important social basis for the forces of imperialism, was not overthrown. This means that the basic force in the Indonesian revolution, the peasants, were not sufficiently aroused and drawn into the revolution. The separation made in the implementation of the two tasks, that is, the anti-imperialist task of the national revolution and the anti-feudal task of the democratic revolution, was the main reason why the August Revolution failed.
The CPI Program states among other things :
“The tasks of national emancipation and democratic changes have not yet been carry out in Indonesia. The yearnings of the Indonesian people for complete national independence, for democratic liberties and for an improvement in the living conditions have not yet been realized.”
The CPI Program went on to say that, “the Round Table Conference Agreement on November 2nd, 1949, fixed Indonesia’s status as semi-colonial. The so-called transfer of sovereignty that took place on December 27th, 1949, in accordance with the above agreement, was aimed at creating the illusion among the Indonesian people that Indonesia had been granted complete independence and that that “transfer of sovereignty” was irrevocable, complete and unconditional". The actual state of affairs was that with the signing of the RTC Agreement, The Hatta Government restored Dutch imperialist power over Indonesia’s economy.
By means of the RTC Agreement, the Indonesian reactionaries who had completely capitulated to the imperialists strove to hold back and suppress the national independence movement and the democratic movement of the Indonesian people. But the result was quite the reserve! Under the strong and widespread pressure of the masses of the people, the RTC Agreement was abrogated unilaterally in April 1956 and later on, all the “debts” to Holland were unilaterally repudiated by the Indonesian Government. Although these were important political steps and were in keeping with the rising anti-imperialist spirit of the people, they did not bring about any important changes in Indonesian society.
The abrogation of the RTC Agreement meant that basically, the Indonesian people had obtained political independence in 80% of the territory of their country while in West Irian, the other 20%, there was as yet no political independence for the people. West Irian is still completely under Dutch domination. The political independence which the Indonesian people now possess is not full and stable political independence but it is only half and is under the constant threat of the reactionaries. The domestic reactionaries working in collaboration with the Dutch, American and other imperialists are doing all they can to restrict and destroy political independence for the people, and besides this, the national bourgeoisie are trying to limit the political independence of the working class and other progressive people.
Extremely clear evidence that Indonesian society is still semi-colonial is the fact that Indonesia is as yet not independent in the economic field. The imperialists (the big foreign capitalist) still dominate in the economic field in Indonesia. Utilizing their dominant position in the sphere of economy and by means of their mercenaries, the imperialists also participate in determining political, developments in Indonesia. Imperialists companies such as BPM (subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell), Caltex and Stanvac control our country’s oil reserves. Foreign estate companies still control the estate lands and an important part of sea transport is in the hands of the KPM (Dutch Royal Navigation Company). Import and export trade and internal trade are still controlled by what are usually referred to as the “Big Five”, the Internatio, Borsumy, Jacobson van de Berg, Lindeteves-Stokvis and Geo Wehry companies. Important trade facilities such as transport are in part or wholly in the hands of the big foreign capitalists. The big banks which dominate Indonesia’s economy such as the Factorij, the Handelsbank, the Escompto, the Chartered Bank, the Great Eastern Bank and others are all owned by the Dutch colonialists or other imperialists.
The policy of the imperialists in the field of economic affairs is not in principle different from what it was at the time Indonesia was fully colonized. They have continued to run their old enterprises and have opened up some new ones. This means that they can directly make use of Indonesia’s raw materials, extract Indonesia’s natural deposited wealth and utilize cheap Indonesian labor power. They are economically bearing down upon our national industry, both that run by the State and that run by the national bourgeoisie. The result is that the big foreign capitalists stand in the way of developing the productive forces in our country. It is the banks and finance as well as the goods for sale in the hands of the imperialists that play a decisive role in the economic life of our country at the present time. [Since this pamphlet was written developments in Indonesia have been such as to have changed the situation analyzed above. At the beginning of 1958 the Indonesian Governments decided to dismiss all Dutch officials as being no longer needed, took over all Dutch-owned transport companies, banks, plantations and factories, all Dutch attempts, both at establishing an economic blockade against Indonesia by the rapid withdrawal of all ships owned by the Dutch shipping company, KPM, aimed at paralyzing Indonesia’s home and foreign market, as well as by means of the reactionary counter revolutionary rebellion in Sumatera and Sulawesi which got the open assistance of foreign capital, as well as attempts of the domestic reactionary compradors at replacing Dutch capital by other foreign capital, proved all to e powerless at deviating the course taken by the people of Indonesia. From the 2836 Dutch concessions existing at that time in Indonesia, 2462 have been annulled while at the same time the Indonesian Government nationalized another 38 Dutch plantations. -- Translator]
In order to safeguard their capital and facilitate their exploitation of the broad masses of the peasants and others group of the people, the imperialists utilize compradors (agents) and usurers to throw out wide nets of exploitation extending from the busy commercial harbors on the coasts and from the towns right out to the remotest villages. The compradors class is the creation of the imperialists, their assistants in exploiting the broad masses of the people. The compradors not only serve the interests of one imperialism, but each of them serve the interests of certain imperialists. In order to obtain political power, the imperialists have placed their compradors in the bourgeois parties which they have turned into parties that faithfully serve their interests. But utilizing the bourgeois parties and masking their activities as being in the interests of “religion” and “ideology”, they have made use of the executive and legislative bodies as well as the bureaucratic apparatus of the government to serve the interests of the imperialists whose servants they are, doing all this with the aim to split unity of the people and obstruct the growth of the progressive forces under the leadership of the Communist Party.
Besides the economic power of the imperialists, important and heavy remnants of feudalism still hold sway in Indonesia, such as the following:
1). The right of the big landlords to monopolize the ownership of land worked by the peasants, the majority of whom cannot own land and are therefore forced to rent land from the land-owners on terms fixed by the landlords;
2). The payment of rent to the landlords in the forms of goods which account for an important part of the crops produced by the peasants, all of this resulting in impoverishment for the vast majority of the peasants;
3). The system of rent-payment in the form of work on the landlords’ land, a fact which places the peasants in the position of slaves;
4). And finally the accumulation of debts which are shackles around the needs of the majority of the peasants and which place them in a position of slavery vis-a-vis the land-owners
The continued prevalence of feudalist survivals has led to backwardness in farming techniques, to the impoverishment of the vast majority of the peasants, to the shrinking of the domestic market and to the inability of the country to carry out industrialization.
The double oppression by imperialism and feudalism has resulted in the broad masses of the people, particularly the peasants, becoming more and more destitute, and to some of them going bankrupt, living in conditions of slavery and semi-nakedness. The double oppression by imperialism and feudalism has also led to national industry and national culture being very heavily suppressed.
In modern-day Indonesian society, the contradictions between imperialism and the Indonesian nation and the contradictions between feudalism and the broad masses of the people, and above all the peasants, are the basic contradictions. There are of course other contradictions such as contradictions between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, contradictions between the reactionary classes themselves and contradictions between one imperialism and another imperialism. But, however that may be, the contradictions between imperialism and the Indonesian nation are the most basic of all contradictions. The struggle which arise out of these contradictions and the ever deepening contradictions within a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society will undoubtedly lead to the further development of the revolutionary movement. The Indonesian revolution has emerged and grown out of the contradictions existing in Indonesian society which are day by day becoming more intense.
These are the conclusions that we can draw from the characteristics of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society. These characteristics are not essentially different from the characteristics and conclusions of Indonesian society before the August 1945 Revolution. This is because the August Revolution did not complete the implementation of the two basic tasks of the revolution at once, that is the task of the anti-imperialist national revolution and the task of the democratic anti-feudal revolution.
The fact that these two basic tasks of the revolution have not been completed means that that August Revolution has not yet been completed in its entirety. Up to today, imperialism still holds sway in Indonesia whilst the most important social basis of imperialist power, the landlord class, has not yet been overthrown.
The Dutch government directly and officially held power over Indonesia from 1800, that is following the dissolution of the Dutch trade association, the VOC. Ever since 1800, with the exception of the interlude of British power from 1811-1816, up to the time Dutch power was thrown out by the Japanese troops on March 9th, 1942, the Dutch government directly and officially exercised despotic power over Indonesia.
The process of Indonesia’s transformation into a country fully under the power of Dutch colonialism was at one and the same time the process of the Indonesian people’s struggle against Dutch colonialism and its agents. It was only with the greatest difficulty that the Dutch government was able to suppress the armed uprisings of the people in Ambon, Java, Sumatera, Bali, Lombok, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and many other places. Among the most bitterly fought of the uprisings were the Ambonese uprisings in 1817 under the leadership of Pattimura, the Java War of 1825-1830 led by Dipo Negoro, and the Paderi War in Sumatera from 1830-1839 led by Imam Bonjol. The uprisings in Aceh was only suppressed after the Dutch army had fought a continuous war for forty years, from 1873 until 1913.
At the beginning of the 20th century, new forms of struggle in the revolutionary movement of the Indonesian people emerged as a result of the coming into being of new classes, the proletarian class and the national bourgeoisie. The Russian Revolution of 1905, which was led by the Russian Communists with Lenin as their foremost leader, had a great influence on the emergence of new form of struggle of the national revolutionary movement of the Indonesian people. The Russian Revolution dealt a severe blow at Russian Tsarist power whose position was greatly weakened. Frightened by the revolutionary developments at home, Tsarist Russia hastily came to terms with Japan so as thus to be able to strengthen its position and be able to grapple with the revolution at home. The Russian Revolution in 1905 played a very important role in arousing the people of Asia. The Indonesian people was also aroused and the oppressed classes began to organize them-selves.
In 1905, the first trade union, the trade union of railway workers called the SS BOND (State Railways Union), was set up. In 1908, a group intellectuals in Java set up an organization called “Budi Utomo”. Youth and students organizations on a regional basis grew up everywhere.
Indonesia student studying in Holland set up the “Indische Vereniging” in 1908, the name of which was changed to “Indonesische Vereniging” in 1922, and in 1925, the name was again changed to “Perhimpunan Indonesia”. The “Perhimpunan Indonesia” was an organization with a clear political character and which demanded independence for Indonesia.
In 1911, Indonesian bourgeois merchants set up the “Serikat Dagang Islam” (Union of Islam Merchants) which changed its name in 1912 to "Serikat Islam” (Islamic Union). In December 1914, the “Indische Sociaal-Demokratische Vereniging” (the ISDV, Association of Indonesian Social-Democrats) was set up, the first political organisation of Indonesian Marxists. The Great October Russian Revolution of 1917 had a great influence on the Indonesian proletariat and especially on the ISDV. In the middle of November, 1918, a united national front organisation was set up, the “Radicale Concentratie” the members of which consisted of the Serikat Islam, the Budi Utomo, the insulinde, the Pasundan and the ISDV. This Radicale Concentratie immediately raised the demand for a Constitution Parliament.
On May 3rd, 1920, the ISDV changed its name and became the Communist Party of Indonesia (CPI).
Within a brief space of time, the influence of the CPI extended far and wide among the people who were at the time suffering from the economic exploitation and political oppression by Dutch imperialism. The crisis rose to new heights in Indonesia, the living conditions became worse and worse and the unorganized people put up ever growing resistance to the government apparatus. It was in such circumstances that provocations from the Dutch colonial government followed in quick succession in the form of dismissals of strikers, arrest of peasants, the dissolution of school set up by the CPI and the Serikat Rakyat (People’s Union), prohibition of workers’ newspapers, arrest of workers’ leaders and the like. In dealing with the peasant, the Dutch organized terrorist gangs such as the “Serikat Hedjo”. All this led to the outbreak of the people’s revolt against Dutch imperialist power at the end of 1926 in Java and at the beginning of 1927 in Sumatera. The CPI did all it could to give leadership to this revolt. But because of inadequate preparations, lack of experience and the fact that the policy of the Indonesian proletariat and its political party was not yet correct, this revolt suffered defeat. The CPI was declared illegal and a white terror raged.
After the CPI had been outlawed by the Dutch government, the Indonesian national bourgeoisie led by revolutionary intellectuals set up a number of organization and political parties, continuing the revolutionary struggle which had already been begun by the CPI. Inspired by the revolutionary struggle of the Indonesian people, the “Sumpah Pemuda” (Youth Vow) was born in 1928, the unified determination of the Indonesian youth of various nationalities and various political trend to the effect that they had one nation, one language and one fatherland Indonesia. This was an extremely important event in the formation of the Indonesian nation. This was a correct answer to the splitting policy of the Dutch imperialists.
Like the thunderbolt out of the blue sky, a mutiny broke out on board the Dutch man-o’-war “De Zeven Provincien” in 1933, as a result of which the ship was directed and steered throughout the mutiny by Indonesian and Dutch seamen. The bomb dropped by the colonial government on this ship in mutiny did not succeed in extinguishing the spirit and solidarity of the Indonesian and Dutch seamen. This mutiny, although eventually suppressed, gave tens of millions of oppressed Indonesian people hope and confidence in themselves.
In March 1942, Dutch power was forced to quit Indonesia as a result of the attack launched by Japanese imperialism. During the occupation by Japanese troops, the Indonesian people continued with their revolutionary struggle by carrying out sabotage in the enterprises (including derailing trains transporting Japanese troops, blowing up important buildings), organized peasants’ uprisings (among others, in Singapura, Indramayu and the Karolands), organised revolts within the military forces (among others, in Blitar) and carried out resistance among the intellectuals, the students, the youth and the school pupils. Soon after it had been announced that the Japanese had surrendered to the Allied Powers in the Second World War, the Indonesian proclaimed its national independence on August 17th, 1945, and set up a Republic.
This young Republic Indonesia had to face up to strong enemies whose reputation was at that time on the upswing because they had just returned victors from the battlefields of the Second Word War, namely the British and Dutch armies who were assisted by American imperialism. Besides being armed with far superior military weapons than those being used by the armed forces of the Republic of Indonesia, the imperialist were also able to make use of the weapons of politics and diplomacy. They set up puppet states to encircle the Indonesian revolution and strove to split the force of the revolution from within utilizing reactionary persons who had important positions in the Republic.
By mean of intrigues and intimidations, the imperialists with the help of the Hatta clique succeeded in January 1948 in over throwing the revolutionary government of the Republic and setting up in its place a reactionary government headed by Hatta who was at that time Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia. It was this Hatta Government which later pursued a policy of hunting down and murdering the Communists and other progressives. After crushing the revolutionary forces during the bloody event known as the “Madiun Affair”, the way was open for the Hatta government to reach compromise with the Dutch Government under the supervision of a representative of the USA. On November 2nd,1949, the Hatta Government and the Dutch Government signed the Round Table Conference (RTC) agreement which was in essence nothing but an agreement which placed Indonesia in the position of semi-colonial country.
The national revolutionary struggle of the Indonesian people which had gone on for almost fifty years since 1908, which had gone on for more than 30 years since the revolt in 1926, and which had gone on for almost 30 years since the “Youth Vow” of 1928 and which had gone on for most than 11 years since the August 1945 Revolution has not yet fully completed its task, that is the establishment of completed national independence, the implementation of democratic changes and improvements in the living conditions of the people. The August revolution has not yet been completed in the its entirety. This is why it is the responsibility of the entire Indonesian people, and especially of the Indonesian proletariat and the CPI. to take into its hands the entire responsibility of completing the August Revolution in its entirety.
To avoid or reduce the mistakes made in the course of the work to finish the tasks of the August Revolution in their entirety, it is our responsibility to be properly aware of what the targets of the revolution are. What are its task? What are the forces which push it forward? These are the basic questions of the Indonesian revolution and this it what we shall speak about below.
Based on the analysis that Indonesia society is a semi-feudal society, the CPI, in its Fifth National Congress (March 1945) decided upon what are the targets of the Indonesian revolution at the present time, what are its task, what are the forces pushing it forward, what are its characteristics and perspectives. A clear understanding of Indonesian society is the indispensable condition for understanding all the basic and important problems of the Indonesian revolution as follow:
A. Concerning the Basic Target or the main enemy of the Indonesian revolution at the present stage, the CPI program states that it is imperialism and feudalism. As regards the basic targets of the Indonesian revolution, the CPI Program states among other things: "As long as condition do not change, or in others words, as long as imperialist power has not been overthrow and the remnants of feudalism not yet wiped out, the Indonesian people will not possibly be able to free themselves from impoverishment, backwardness, distortions, and powerlessness to face up to imperialism. The forces of imperialism and the survivals of feudalism will never be abolished from Indonesia so long as state power in our country is held by the landlords and compradors who are closely related with foreign capital, because they want to preserve imperialist oppression and the survivals of feudalism in our country, because they are most of all afraid of the Indonesian people”.
When we say that the basic targets of the Indonesian revolution are imperialism and feudalism this means that the principal enemies of the Indonesian people at this stage of the revolution are the big bourgeoisie of the imperialist countries and the landlord class at home. These are the classes which conspire to exploit the Indonesian people. Since imperialism’s oppression of the Indonesian people is the most brutal of all, imperialism is the principal and most bitter enemy of the Indonesian people.
The Indonesian revolution must not only resist the big bourgeoisie of the imperialist countries and the domestic landlord class but it must also resist the compradors or the agents of foreign imperialist which are composed of Indonesian themselves. Resisting foreign imperialism without resisting the compradors who are its agents is futile, because the foreign imperialist would not possibly be able to remain in power today if it were not for the network of agents which infiltrate everywhere, for example in the central and local government apparatus, in the government departments, in the economic and financial organ, in the political parties, in the mass organizations, in the press, in the cultural bodies, in the universities, the armed forces and police forces, in the various official and unofficial committees, in the research institutes, in the religious circles and in the gangs of bandits. There are some among these agents of imperialism that have capital alliances with the big foreign capitalists but some of them do not have such alliance and get paid out of the special funds or other forms of bribe provided by the imperialists.
Thus it is clear that enemies of the Indonesian revolution are still strong, they are still very dangerous, namely a combination of imperialists, compradors and feudal landlord who regard the Indonesian people as their enemy. The fact that the enemies of the Indonesian revolution are still strong does not mean that they are still in a stage of growth; on the contrary, they are in stage of disintegration and decay. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake for us to underestimate the strength of these enemies of the Indonesian revolution.
Since the enemies of the Indonesian revolution are still strong, the struggle to defeat these enemies is a bitter, difficult and protracted struggle. It is a mistake to regard the revolutionary struggle of the Indonesian people lightly, just as it is a mistake to believe that this struggle can be completed within a short space time and hastily.
As we give leadership to the bitter, difficult and protracted struggle of the people, we must adopt tactics of taking the revolutionary struggle of the Indonesian people forward slowly and cautiously, but surely. In the course of carrying out this protracted struggle, we must increasingly oppose two deviations, the deviations of surrenderism and of adventurism, both of which originate from petty bourgeois wavering.
Since the enemies of people make use of all forms struggle; we too must be skillful at making use of all forms of struggle. We must be skillful at utilizing all forms of open and legal struggle, the forms which are permitted according to law and regulations, and according to habits and customs in society. The Fourth Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPI drew attention, among other things, to the fact that we “must be vigilant and must always hold ourselves in readiness and prepare the people in all respects so that the reactionaries will not be able stand in the way of the people’s desire to achieve fundamental social changes peacefully, by parliamentary means”. Of course, the CPI’s activities are not confined to parliamentary work alone but also and especially include activities among the masses of working people and democratic masses. All these activities, both within and outside Parliament, are aimed at changing the balance of forces between the imperialists, the landlord class and the compradors on the one hand and the forces of the people on the other. In order to attain the objectives of the party, we must, in making use of these forms of struggle, base ourselves on the principles of justice, advantage and a knowledge of how far we can go. The most important thing is not how great are the results but that this struggle should succeed, and that these successes should become the basis for achieving greater and more successes.
In short, in the course of the protracted work of mobilizing all forces to defeat enemies which are still strong, hoarse shouting and hasty actions will not bring the Indonesian revolution to the destruction of its targets. Perseverance and persistent hard work is what our Party demands of every member, particularly of its cadres.
B. On the task of Indonesian revolution. The CPI Program states that the task of the Indonesian revolution is to create a people’s government which “is not to carry out socialist changes but democratic changes. It will be a government which is capable of uniting all anti-imperialist and anti-feudal forces, which will be capable of giving land free of charge to the peasant, which will be capable of guaranteeing democratic right for the people; a government which will be capable of protecting national industry and commerce against foreign competition, which will be capable of raising the material living standards of the workers and of abolishing unemployment. In brief, it will be a people’s government which is capable of guaranteeing national independence and its development through the path of democracy and progress”.
It is clear that the most important task are to fight against two enemies, that is, to carry out the national revolution to overthrow the forces of imperialism, the enemy from without, and to carry out the democratic revolution to overthrow the forces of the feudal landlords at home. Of these two important task, the principle one is the national revolution to overthrow imperialism.
By saying that the principal task is to overthrow imperialism, it does not mean that these two important task of the Indonesian revolution can be carried out separately. No! These two important task are closely linked. Without overthrowing the forces of imperialism, the forces of the landlord class could not possibly come to an end because imperialism is the most important supporter of the landlord class. On the other hand, since the feudal landlords are the important social basis of imperialist power over Indonesia, it will not be possible to overthrow the forces of imperialism without overthrowing the forces of the feudal landlords. This latter can only be overthrown if the proletariat is capable of arousing the basic forces of the revolution, that is, the peasant masses, by way of helping them overthrow the feudal landlords. This makes it clear that the anti-feudal front of the workers and the peasants is the basis of the anti-imperialist united national front. Thus, the two tasks of the Indonesian revolution differ from each other, but at the same time they are also linked up one with the other.
The idea of “finishing the national revolution first” and then only “after the national revolution has been completed” of carrying out the “anti-feudal democratic revolution” is a dangerous and incorrect idea. Thus is because the idea of “completing the national revolution” without struggling for the emancipation of the peasants from the exploitation by the survivals of feudalism means not drawing the peasants over to the side of the revolution. This mistaken idea is basically inspired by a desire not see the position of the feudal landlords disturbed. They claim that if that landlords were troubled then they would quit the anti-imperialist national front and oppose the revolution. But this true? Not at all! If this idea were to be accepted, then the result would be none other than that the landlords will continue not to strengthen the national front in real earnest; while the peasant, the basic force of our revolution, would not be aroused and mobilized into opposing imperialism because the basic and direct enemy of the peasants, the feudal landlords, are not dealt with at all and are left free to continue with their economic exploitation and political suppression of the peasants. Without arousing the peasants and drawing them into the revolution, the national revolution cannot possibly be completed in its entirely.
The party already has a program to complete the demands of the August Revolution in their entirety, that is, co-operation between the CPI and all parties, and with all democratic and patriotic groups and individuals in order to complete all the demands of the August revolution. Besides carrying out propaganda for its general program, the CPI unites the people on the basis of the present-day concrete political and economic demands and makes these concrete demands the platform for co-operation at the present time with all democratic and patriotic parties, groups and individuals. The urgent political demand to unite people as much as possible at the present stage is the demand for the 100% implementation of President Soekarno’s Concept, as an important step towards achieving the strategic objective of the Indonesian revolution, that is, the implementation of the August Revolution in its entirety.
C. On the Driving Force or the Force Pushing the Indonesian Revolution Forward, the General Program of the Constitution of the CPI states that “the driving force of the Indonesian revolution is the working class, the peasants, the petty bourgeoisie and other democratic elements whose interest are harmed by imperialism”. All these make up the progressive forces in Indonesian society. The question of the forces pushing the revolution forward or the driving forces of the revolution is the question of which classes and sectors in Indonesian society consistently fight against imperialism and feudalism. The problem of the basic tactics of the Indonesian revolution can only be correctly solved if this is clearly understood.
The CPI Program states that “the workers, the peasants, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie must unite in one national front”. The national front is the unification of the progressive and the middle-of-the-road forces. The middle-of-the-road forces are basically the forces of the national bourgeoisie.
The CPI Program also states that the way out of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal situation lies in “changing the balance of forces between the imperialists, the landlord class and the comprador bourgeoisie on the one hand, and the forces of the people on the other. The way out lies in arousing, mobilizing and organizing the masses, especially the workers and the peasants”. The IVth Plenum of the CPI Central Committee, (held at the end of July, 1956) stated among other things that there are in Indonesian society three forces, the diehard forces, the middle-of-the-road forces and progressive forces. It further stated that at the present time, the forces of the people, that is the combination between the progressive forces and the middle-of-the-road forces, are striving for the formation of an Indonesian state which is independent in the political and economic spheres. But this efforts are strongly opposed by the comprador and feudal classes who are in alliance with the imperialist who are stubbornly doing all they can to convert Indonesia into a satellite state, that is, a state that is independent in form only but in essence has surrendered to imperialism. The CPI’s political line in dealing with these three forces is: “with all its power and tirelessly to develop the progressive forces, unite with the middle-of-the road forces and isolate the diehard forces”. The implementation of this line is very important in changing the balance of forces in society.
There is in Indonesian society today a landlord class and a bourgeois class: the upper strata of the landlord class and the upper strata of the bourgeois class are the classes that govern. The governed are the proletarian class, the peasants and all types of petty bourgeoisie besides the peasants; all these make up by far the largest group in society. Thus, it can also be said that the way out of the semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions in Indonesia is by changing the balance of forces between the classes that govern on the one hand and the classes that are being governed on the other.
The attitudes and position of all classes, both those that govern and those that are being governed are completely determined by their social and economic position. Thus the character of Indonesian society not only determines the targets and task of the revolution but also determines the forces pushing the revolution forward. Which classes can be included within the forces pushing the Indonesian revolution forward? In order to know this, we need to make an analysis of the classes within Indonesia society.
The landlord class which exploits and suppresses the peasants and which does more to oppose the political, economic and cultural development of Indonesian society than to play a progressive role, is not a force pushing the revolution forward but is a target of the revolution.
The bourgeois class is composed of the compradors and the national bourgeoisie. The big bourgeoisie that is comprador in character directly serves the interest of the big foreign capitalists and is thus fattened up by them. In the Indonesian revolution, the comprador bourgeoisie is not a driving force but an obstacle in the way of the revolution, and this is why it is a target of the revolution. However, the national bourgeoisie displays two features. As a class that is also suppressed by imperialism and whose development is also stifled by feudalism, this class is anti-imperialist and anti-feudal, and in this respect it is one of the revolutionary forces. But on the other hand, this class does not have the courage fundamentally to fight imperialism and feudalism because economically and politically it is weak and it has class ties with imperialism and feudalism. The dual character of the national bourgeoisie is the reason why we have two sets of experiences with them, that is, at certain limits, this class can take part in the revolution against imperialism, against the compradors and against the landlords (for example during the August Revolution), but at other periods they trail behind the comprador bourgeoisie and become their ally in the counter-revolutionary camp (for example, during the “Madiun Affair” in 1948 and during the August Mass Arrest in 1951).
As regards this Indonesian bourgeoisie, the Fifth Congress of the CPI drew the following conclusion, on the basis of the experiences during some phases of the struggle of the Indonesian people (the periods from 1920 – 1926, from 1935 – 1945, the period from 1945 – 1948, and the period since 1951):
“The Indonesian national bourgeoisie, because it too is oppressed by foreign imperialism, can, in certain circumstances and within certain limits, take part in the struggle against imperialism. In such specific circumstances, the Indonesian proletariat must build unity with the national bourgeoisie and preserve this unity with all its strength. In other more specific circumstances, if the Party’s policy is at a particular time only directed at one imperialism, then a part of the compradors bourgeoisie can also be an additional force opposing that particular imperialism. But even so, the comprador bourgeoisie is still very reactionary and still aims at smashing the Communist Party, smashing the proletarian movement and other democratic movements.
“Because of the weakness of the Indonesian national bourgeoisie economically and politically, under certain historical circumstances, the national bourgeoisie which is by nature wavering, can vacillate and betray. This is why the Indonesian proletariat and the Communist Party of Indonesia must be on guard against the possibilities that under certain circumstances, the national bourgeoisie will not participate in the united front but under circumstances, it will again participate.”
In facing the wavering characteristics of the Indonesian national bourgeoisie attention should be paid to the fact that it is precisely because it is politically and economically weak that is not very difficult to pull this class to the left to make it stand firmly on the side of the revolution so long as the progressive forces are large and the tactics of the Communist Party correct. This means that the wavering nature of this class is not fatal, it is not insurmountable. But on the other hand, if the progressive forces are not large and the tactics of the Communist Party not correct, than this economically and politically weak national bourgeoisie can easily run to the right and become hostile to the revolution.
The petty bourgeoisie besides the peasants, that is, the urban poor, the intellectuals, the small traders, the handicraft workers, the fishermen, the independent workers and so on, have a status which is almost the same as that of the middle peasants. They also suffer from the oppression of imperialism, feudalism and the big bourgeoisie and are every day pressed further toward bankruptcy and ruin. This is way they are one of the forces pushing the revolution forward and are a reliable ally of the proletariat. They can only attain their freedom under the leadership of the proletariat. The intellectuals and the student youth are not a class in society but their class position is determined by family origin, by their conditions of living and by their political outlook. The small traders in general have stalls and small shops and either employ just few assistants or none at all; they live under the constant threat of bankruptcy because of the exploitation by imperialists, the big bourgeoisie and the money lenders. The handicraftsmen and fishermen possess their own means of production, they do not employ any workers or perhaps employ only one or two. The independent worker are persons in various spheres of work, such as private doctors and lawyers, they work on their own, they do not exploit others or exploit others only very slightly. All the petty bourgeoisie besides the peasants can generally support the revolution and are good allies of the proletariat. Their weakness is the some of them easily come under the influence of the bourgeoisie and this is why special attention must be devoted to carrying out propaganda and undertaking revolutionary organizational activities among them.
The peasants account for 60% – 70% of the population of Indonesia, they make up the biggest group and together with their families number tens of millions of people. The peasants are basically divided into the rich peasants, the middle peasants and the poor peasants. There are indeed some persons among the rich peasants that lease out a part of their land, carry out money lending and brutally exploit the peasants-laborers and they are by nature semi-feudal, but besides this, they themselves generally participate in labour, and in this sense they make up a part of the peasantry. Their productive activities will continoe to be utilized for a certain period to come and they can also help the struggle against imperialism. They can adopt an attitude of neutrality in the revolutionary struggle against the landlords. The middle peasants are independent economically, they generally do not exploit others and do not earn interest on money, on the contrary, they suffer from the exploitation of the imperialists, the landlords and the bourgeoisie. Some of them do not own sufficient land for them to work it themselves. The middle peasants can not only become part of the anti-imperialist revolution and the agrarian revolution, but they can also accept Socialism. This is why they are one of the important forces pushing the revolution forward and are a reliable ally of the proletariat. Their attitude towards the revolution is a decisive factor for victory or defeat because the middle peasants comprise the majority in the countryside after the agrarian revolution. The poor peasants together with the agricultural laborers comprise the majority in the villages in our country, prior to the agrarian revolution. The poor peasants do not have any land or do not have sufficient for them to work it themselves, they are the village semi-proletariat, they are the largest force pushing the revolution forward and it is natural for them to be the most reliable of the allies of the proletariat and a basic part of the forces of the Indonesian revolution.
The poor peasants and the middle peasants can only attain their emancipation under the leadership of the proletariat, and the proletariat can only give leadership to the revolution if it has made a firm alliance with the poor and middle peasants. What we mean when we use the term “peasants” is mainly the poor and middle peasants that make up the majority of the inhabitants of the villages. In leading the people’s struggle in the countryside, the Party must always strive to be able to draw in and mobilize 90% of the village inhabitants and must firmly base itself on the poor peasants and the peasant laborers as well as make an alliance with the middle peasants.
The Indonesian proletariat consist of about 500,000 workers in modern industry (transport workers, factory-workers, repair-shop workers, mine-workers, etc.). The workers in small industry and the handicrafts in the towns number more than 2,000,000. The agricultural and forestry proletariat and other groups of workers make up a every large number. All this amounts to about 6,000,000 or, together with their families, some 20,000,000 which is about 25% of the entire population of Indonesia. Besides this town and village proletariat, there are also in the villages of Indonesia millions of peasant laborers, those village inhabitants who generally own no land and agricultural implements and make a livelihood out of selling their labour power in the villages. The peasant laborers are the group which suffers most in the villages and their position in the peasant movement is just as important as that of the poor peasants.
As is also the case with the proletariat in other countries, the Indonesian proletariat has very fine qualities. Their work makes them unite in the most advanced economic forms, it gives them a strong understanding of organization and discipline, and because they do not own any means of production, they are not individualistic by nature and apart from this, since the Indonesian proletariat is exploited by three forms of brutal exploitation, that is, imperialism, capitalism and feudalism, they become more firm and more thoroughgoing in the revolutionary struggle than the other classes. Since Indonesia is not fertile soil for social-reformism as is the case in Europe, the proletariat in its entirely is very revolutionary indeed, of course with the exception of a small number who have become the scum. It is because the Indonesian proletariat has been led by its revolutionary political party, the Communist Party of Indonesia, ever since it appeared on the arena of the revolutionary struggle that it is politically the most conscious class in Indonesian society. Since a large part of the Indonesian proletariat consists of bankrupt peasants, it has natural bonds with the broad masses of the peasants, a fact which facilitates its alliance.
Although the Indonesian proletariat contains within it certain unavoidable weaknesses, such as for example its smallness in number by comparison with the peasants, its young age by comparison with the proletariat in capitalist countries and the low level of its culture by comparison with bourgeoisie, it is nevertheless the basic force pushing the Indonesian revolution forward. The Indonesian revolution will not succeed unless it is under the leadership of the Indonesian proletariat. As a recent example, the August Revolution was successful in the beginning because the proletariat more or less consciously took an important part in it, but latter on, the revolution suffered defeat because the role of the proletariat was pushed into the background and the upper strata of the bourgeoisie betrayed the alliance with the proletariat (the “Madiun Affair”) besides the fact that the Indonesian proletariat and its political Party had not yet gained enough revolutionary experience. Without the proletariat taking an active part, nothing will ever run properly in Indonesian society. This had already been proved and will continue to be proved by history and experience.
It must be understood that although the Indonesian proletariat is the class which has the highest political consciousness and organizational understanding, the victory of the revolution can never be achieved without the revolutionary unity under all circumstances with all other revolutionary classes and groups. The proletariat must build up a revolutionary front. Of the classes in society, the peasants are the firmest and most reliable ally, and the national bourgeoisie is an ally under certain circumstances and within certain limits: this is the fundamental law which has already been and is being proven by Indonesia’s modern history.
The loiterers and vagrants are one of the products of a semi-colonial and semi-feudal society in view of the fact that this society has given rise to unemployed in the villages and towns and these unemployed then live a live of vagrancy without any idea of what to do, and eventually dragged down into adopting the path of crime, becoming thieves, robbers, gangsters, beggars, prostitutes and all other such abnormal ways of living or working. This group is wavering in character and some of them can be bought up by the reactionaries, while others can be bought into the revolution. In the case that they enter the revolution they can become the ideological source of roaming destructive elements and anarchism within the ranks of the revolution. They can easily be made to waver both with material bribes as well as with incitement to hatred and to the destruction of anything constructive. They can easily be told by the counter-revolutionaries to mouth revolutionary phrases so as to oppose and destroy the Party of the working class, the workers’ movement and the revolutionary movement in general. This is why we must be skillful at changing their characteristics, especially their destructive nature.
Based on the above analysis of the classes in Indonesian society, it is clear which classes and groups are the pillars of imperialism and feudalism, that is, the landlords and the compradors. They are obstacles standing in the way of the revolution and that is why they are the enemies of the people. The above analysis also makes it clear which classes and groups are the basic driving force of the revolution, the working class, the peasants and the petty bourgeoisie. It makes clear too which classes can take part in the revolution, that is, the national bourgeois class. This is why the workers, the peasants, the petty bourgeoisie and the national bourgeoisie are the People, and make up the forces of the revolution, the forces of the united national front.
D. On the nature of the Indonesian Revolution the CPI Program has the following to say, among other things: “Bearing in mind the backwardness of the economy of our country, the CPI is of the opinion that this government (the People’s Democratic government) is not a government of the dictatorship of the proletariat but a government of the dictatorship of the people. This government does not have to carry out socialist changes but democratic changes.” In other words, the character of the Indonesian revolution at the present stage is not a proletarian-socialist revolution but a bourgeois democratic revolution.
We can determine the character of our revolution after we understand the specific conditions of Indonesian society which is still semi-colonial and semi-feudal, after knowing that the enemies of the Indonesian revolution at the present time are imperialism and the feudal forces, that the tasks of the Indonesian revolution are to complete the national revolution and the democratic revolution so as to overthrow the two basic enemies (imperialism and feudalism), that the national bourgeoisie can also take part in this revolution and that if the big bourgeoisie betray the revolution and become an enemy of the revolution, the direct blows of the revolution must continue to be aimed more at imperialism and feudalism than at capitalism and private ownership of the national capitalist in general.
But, the Indonesian bourgeois-democratic revolution of today is no longer general in character, is no longer of the old, out-dated type, but is something special, a new type. This new type bourgeois-democratic revolution is also called the new democratic revolution or the revolution of people’s democracy. It is a part of the world proletarian revolution which firmly opposes imperialism, that is, international capitalism. In the present era it is no longer possible to have a bourgeois democratic revolution that does not harm the interest of the international capitalism and that does not benefit the world proletarian revolution which was begun with the Great October Russian Socialist revolution of 1917.
The People’s democratic revolution politically means the joint dictatorship of the revolutionary classes over the imperialist, the compradors, the landlords and the other reactionaries, and opposes transformation of Indonesian society into society under bourgeois dictatorship such as happened with the French bourgeois revolution of 1789. Economically, the People’s democratic revolution means the nationalization of all capital and enterprises of the imperialists, the compradors and other reactionaries, the division of the landlords’ land free of charge to the peasants, and together with that, general protection of the enterprises of the capitalists, while the rich peasants are left alone. Together with the general protection for individual enterprises of capitalists, the People’s democratic revolution creates the preparatory conditions for Socialism. The period of People’s Democratic power is a period of transition to Socialism and not a form of society in itself quite apart from Socialism.
The present stage of the Indonesian revolution is the national stage between the end of semi-colonial (West Irian is still completely colonized) and semi-feudal society and the building of a socialist society. This process of transition began with the movement for national independence at the beginning of the twentieth century. One of the climaxes of this transitional process was the August 1945 Revolution. But the August Revolution was not able to fulfill its task, that is to overthrow the forces of imperialism, the enemy from without and to overthrow the feudal landlord forces at home, because it was betrayed by the upper strata of the bourgeoisie and because of the lack of revolutionary experience of the Indonesian proletariat.
In 1948, the upper strata of the Indonesian bourgeoisie threw down the banners of the August Revolution, betrayed the alliance with the proletariat and capitulated to imperialism. It is an honour and a source of pride for the proletariat to have remained faithful to the August Revolution under such circumstances, and to have picked up again these banners that had been thrown down and to have called upon the entire Indonesian people not to stop half-way, to re-unite and struggle on for the completion of the demands of the August Revolution in their entirety, to bring this revolution to its completion by putting an end to imperialism and landlord power on Indonesian soil.
The experience with the August Revolution and the experience with the struggle of the Indonesian people against colonialism and for democracy during recent years show that anyone or any class will fail in determining Indonesia’s fate if it underestimates and separates itself from the proletariat, the peasants and the other sections of the petty bourgeoisie. The democratic republic for which the Indonesian revolution is struggling at the present stage can only be realized if the workers, the peasant and the other section of the petty bourgeoisie occupy a decisive role. A democratic republic that does not want to fail must be based on the revolutionary alliance of the workers, the peasants, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the other anti-imperialist and anti-feudal people.
The experience of the Indonesian people shows that the Republic of Indonesia under the leadership of the bourgeoisie is not capable of putting an end to imperialist and landlord power. It is only under the leadership of the proletariat that the republic of Indonesia can become a Republic which is truly democratic, which can put an end to the power of the imperialists and feudalists.
E. The perspective of the Indonesian revolution become evident when the targets, tasks, driving force and character of the revolution at the present stage have been clarified. Knowing all this clarifies the problem of the perspectives of the Indonesian revolution, the problem of the link between the Indonesian bourgeoisie-democratic revolution and the Indonesian proletariat-socialist revolution, the link between present and the future of the Indonesian revolution. Since the Indonesian revolution at the present stage is marked by world Socialist construction and the disintegration of world capitalism, there can be no doubt that the future of the Indonesian revolution is not capitalism but Socialism and Communism. Whether we like it or not, whether we agree or not, whether we oppose it or not, this is the perspective for the Indonesian revolution.
But do not the perspectives of “Socialism” and “Communism” conflict with objective of the revolution at the present stage which ‘should not carry out socialist changes but democratic changes”? No, there is no conflict. It is indeed so that, seen from one angle, a capitalist economy will develop within certain bounds after the victory of the people’s democratic revolution in view of the fact that the obstacles standing in the way of capitalism's growth will have been swept aside. But this is not surprising nor should it be cause for anxiety. The growth within certain bounds of national capitalism is only one aspect of the victory of the Indonesian revolution. Another aspect is that the victory of the democratic revolution will mean the development of socialist factors, such as the growing political influence of the proletariat, the growing recognition by the peasants, the intellectuals and other petty bourgeois elements of the leadership of the proletariat, the growth of state enterprises as well as co-operation among the peasants, the handicraftsmen, the fishermen and other sections of the people. All these are socialist factors which provide the guarantee that the future of the Indonesian revolution is Socialism and not capitalism.
If we know that the perspective of the Indonesian revolution is Socialism and Communism, the task of our Party at the present stage of the revolution and in the future becomes clear. Our party has a dual task in leading the Indonesian revolution. Firstly, under the slogan ‘Fulfill the demands of the August Revolution in their entirety”, we carry out to their completion the task of the bourgeois-democratic revolution; secondly, after the first task has been carried out, we carry out to their completion the task of the revolution which is proletariat-socialist in nature. This is in total, the task of the Indonesian revolution. Every member of the CPI must be ready to carry out this complete task of the revolution and must unwaveringly continue without stopping half-way. The Indonesian revolutionary movement led by the CPI is not a half-hearted revolutionary movement but a complete revolutionary movement and that is why it embraces two revolutionary processes which differ in character but which are linked up with each other. The first stage is the preparation necessary for the second stage, and the second stage is impossible until the first stage has been completed.
In order to carry out these great and difficult yet glorious task, we must struggle on to make our Party a party which covers the entire nation, which has a broad mass character, which is completely consolidated in the ideological, political and organizational sphere. All members of the CPI must take an active part in building such a Party. For such a Party, there is no fortress that cannot be stormed, including the fortress of a Domestic Republic and the fortress of a Socialist Republic.