Fight for the pacific

Marx-Engels |  Lenin  | Stalin |  Home Page

Fight for the Pacific


7. The Indonesian people in the struggle against the imperialist enslavers

The Indonesian people proclaimed the creation of an independent republic on August 17, 1945. On the basis of the guerrilla forces that fought against the Japanese invaders, an army was quickly created, which defended the republic against the British, Japanese, and Dutch troops.

Loyalty to the Indonesian Republic was shown not only by the population of Java, Sumatra, but also Borneo, Celebes and other islands. Under the pressure of the masses, even the feudal lords on Celebes, princes, and tribal leaders, numbering more than six hundred people, came forward in early 1946 demanding the unification of Celebes with the Indonesian Republic.

In the course of the revolutionary war led by the working class, there was an ever-sharper division between the masses of the people, and between the feudal lords and the traitorous elements of the bourgeoisie, who openly embarked on the path of betrayal of national interests and tried to entice the petty bourgeoisie and the backward part of the peasantry with them. In the course of the revolutionary people's liberation war, the fellow travelers of the national liberation movement weeded out and went over to the side of imperialism. So, for example, in Sumatra, already in 1946, the sultans of the local principalities agreed with the Dutch and the British. The people then opposed the sultans in Sumatra, forced them to abdicate the throne, their property was transferred under public control.

By force of arms and with unheard-of cruelty, the Dutch and Anglo-Indian troops suppressed in 1946 the national authorities created on Celebes, Borneo and a number of other "outer" islands and drove the national liberation democratic movement underground there. The population of these islands is more backward, and therefore the movement was less organized than in Java and Sumatra. Yet even there, the people created armed detachments that resisted the Dutch occupiers. In 1946, on Celebes, the Dutch troops fought with many thousands of armed detachments of the people's forces.

Despite the extensive use of aviation, artillery, and the navy, which supported the Dutch army of 130,000-150,000 men, the imperialists were unable to stifle the national revolutionary movement in Java and Sumatra. It was impossible to liquidate the Indonesian Republic by force of arms.

Among the parties that participated in the early years in the struggle for the independence of Indonesia was the “national” party, which reflected the interests of the native bourgeoisie and part of the native feudal lords, the Muslim Masiumi party, organized by the Muslim bourgeoisie and the clergy and keeping part of the Muslim peasantry under its influence. The Socialist Party united the petty bourgeoisie, part of the intelligentsia and part of the workers. It had a right and a left wing, reflecting various class elements. The left wing acted largely under the banner of communist ideology. The Communist Party marched at the head of the class-conscious elements of the working class, drawing into its ranks also the intelligentsia and peasants.

The bourgeois "national" party and "Masiumi", which existed legally during the Japanese occupation, were more organized at the beginning of the movement and possessed material resources and personnel, seized leading positions in the government of the republic during the first period of the struggle. Sukarno, the leader of the "national" party, became the President of the Indonesian Republic.

Ruthlessly suppressed Communist Party, both under the Dutch before the Second World War and during the Japanese occupation, emerged from the underground few and relatively weak. However, it grew very rapidly, became stronger organizationally and expanded its influence among the masses. Prior to the establishment of Sharifuddin's government in 1947, representatives of the Communist Party were not part of the government, but already in 1946, they headed the "National Concentration" - an organization that embraced Indonesian political parties and coordinated their actions. The party was initially infiltrated by Trotskyists and other treacherous elements, but in 1946 the party was purged, and after that it quickly became a mass party of Indonesian workers.

In 1946, the numerous socialist organization "Rayat Indonesia" and the people's organization "Gerakan Masakarat" joined the Communist Party. Following this, the Gerindo Party and some other people's organizations joined the Communist Party. In 1948, the Socialist Party of Indonesia merged with the Communist Party.

The Communist Party enjoyed great influence not only in Java, but also in Sumatra, where even before the war there were large oil enterprises and extensive rubber plantations, and where there was a significant working stratum among the population.

In areas occupied by the Dutch, the Communist Party and revolutionary trade unions were outlawed. At the beginning of 1947, a congress of the Communist Party was held in the Indonesian Republic, which approved the program for its further activities.

When the Hatt government openly went against the people and began to pursue a policy of reaction and terror, it banned the Communist Party.

After the Dutch and American imperialists finally reached an agreement with the Hatt government, this government in August 1949 ordered the cessation of hostilities against the Dutch expeditionary forces. But the popular masses of Indonesia, while continuing their liberation struggle against imperialism, also came out against the government of Hatta.

Without stopping fighting for a bigger piece of the Indonesian pie, the governments of Holland, the United States and England agreed in late 1949 to create a "United States of Indonesia" consisting of 15 separate states. They hoped that such a maneuver would help to strengthen the position of imperialism in Indonesia.

Given that Holland in December 1949 transferred sovereignty to the government of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia, the Soviet government on January 25, 1950, informed Holland and Indonesia of its decision to recognize the United States of Indonesia as an independent and sovereign state and establish diplomatic relations with them (1) .

The years 1950 and 1951 were marked by new actions by the working people of Indonesia against the imperialists and their agents. In August-September 1950, the strike of 800,000 agricultural workers continued for a month. They secured their economic demands for massive wage increases after Indonesia's central trade union organization threatened a general strike if the farm workers' demands were not met.

The political program of the strikers included the demand for the nationalization of the most important industries and plantations.

In Indonesia in 1951, the movement for a united national democratic front, as well as the movement for peace, intensified. In addition to the Communist Party, which lead the struggle against imperialism, the Communist Youth League, trade unions and peasant democratic organizations actively participate in this movement. The appeal for the conclusion of the Peace Pact was signed in Indonesia by January 1, 1952, by 609,000 people.

In a number of mountainous regions, not only on the island of Java, but also in Sumatra and Celebes, the partisans created organs of people's power.

In August 1951, a large partisan detachment even tried to capture the port of Tanjongprok, through which the maritime trade of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, passes.

The reactionary government tried to suppress the people's liberation movement by brutal terror. Acting on the instructions of the American imperialists, on August 16, 1951, it again arrested many leaders of the democratic parties, including twelve members of parliament (including five communists, three representatives of the peasant party). As a result of mass arrests in August 1951, 15 thousand people were thrown into prisons and concentration camps.

The Indonesian people continue their great struggle for their just cause with unflagging energy. The Eastern Economist, an organ of the Indian big bourgeoisie, stated in an article on Indonesia in September 1951: “It is known that partisan detachments operate in many parts of the country, especially in West Java. These detachments are continuously replenished by dissatisfied elements: peasants and workers who believe that the government is not taking measures to improve their living conditions, national minorities and others. Large detachments of partisans at the beginning of 1952 operated on the island of Celebes.

When it became known to the Indonesian people that the foreign minister of the Sukiman government had signed a secret military agreement (January 6, 1952) with the United States, such a storm of discontent arose that the Sukiman government was forced to resign. The Vilopo government, which came to replace it, representing a coalition of bourgeois parties in Indonesia, as well as the parliament, under pressure from the masses, refused to approve an agreement that turns Indonesia into a military base and a source of cannon fodder for the United States.

(1) See Pravda, January 26, 1950.