Indonesian Communism: A History

Indonesian Communism: A History

Indonesian Communism: A History

Indonesian Communism: A History

Excerpt

The Communist movement of Indonesia, waxing and waning in relative obscurity for more than forty years, is the oldest in Asia. Presently, the Partai Kommunis Indonesia (PKI)--the Communist Party of Indonesia--is the largest in the world outside the Sino-Soviet bloc. Buttressed by a panoply of fronts, it possesses the most elaborate and disciplined political organization in the country. It has honeycombed Indonesia with paramilitary cells, and, directly and indirectly, exerts influence on almost every sector of Indonesian life. By the logic of the Cold War balance of power, the PKI has become an increasingly critical factor not only in Indonesia but also in world affairs.

Communism's gradual erosion of the non-Communist world and the peculiar nature of the nuclear balance of terror have dramatized Indonesia's international political position. There was a time when the Soviet Union was haunted by the fear of capitalist encirclement. Lenin's law of "uneven development" and Stalin's thesis of "socialism in one country" rationalized the concept of the Soviet Union as a Communist island in a hostile, capitalist sea. Khrushchev buried the concept of capitalist encirclement. He holds the emergence of Communism from within the bounds of a single country and its transformation into a world system to be the main feature of the present era. As evidence, Khrushehev has cited the astonishingly rapid expansion of the Communist world order. In less than two generations, the Communists have extended their control to over one-fourth of the earth's land mass and one-third of the earth's population and now account for onethird of the world's total industrial output. "At present," Khrushehev has said, "it is not known who encircles whom."

The crucial question, "Who encircles whom?"--the burning issue of the day--cannot be resolved by war. Nuclear capabilities have canceled out global conflict as an instrument of national policy. The power-politics vacuum has been filled largely by . . .

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