Communism, Religion, and Revolt in Banten

Communism, Religion, and Revolt in Banten

Communism, Religion, and Revolt in Banten

Communism, Religion, and Revolt in Banten

Synopsis

Twice in this century popular revolts against colonial rule have occured in the Banten district of West Java. These revolts, conducted largely under an Islamic leadership, also proclaimed themselves Communist. Islamic Communism is seemingly a paradox. This is especially the case when one considers that probably no religion has proved more resistant to Communist ideology than Islam.

Michael Williams here details the complicated history of the Bantenese revolts in the twentieth century and probes the ideological riddle of Islamic Communism. Modern history is replete with examples of regions with a long history of organizing themselves politically to resist intrusion on their territory, resources, and people. This book establishes that in Indonesia, the Bantenese were among the most practiced exponents of resistance.

Excerpt

The sources for this study are varied. Because of the time period, I have been able to use a combination of archival materials, newspapers, and interviews. I have thus benefitted enormously as opposed to studies of the nineteenth century which are overly dependent on Dutch archival material and where newspapers, or at least Indonesian newspapers, and the possibilities of conducting interviews are deficient or totally absent. Again the researcher looking at the 1945-1949 period has to contend with the absence in many cases of regional newspapers and archival documents for that period.

For the period leading up to the 1926 revolt, I have made much use of the archives of the former Netherlands Ministry of Colonies, now deposited at the sub-depot of the State Archives at Leeghwaterstraat in The Hague. The documents I used can broadly be grouped into three categories: Memorie van Overgave, Mailrapporten, and Verbalen. The Memorie van Overgave written by each resident at the end of his term of office provided an invaluable and rich source of information on the region. Pre-war despatches (Mailrapporten or Verbalen) from Batavia to The Hague enclose a great variety of local reports and correspondence. Since the Banten revolt of 1926 was of major concern to the government in The Hague, considerable numbers of documents were sent back to the colonial ministry. Where a document was particularly useful and might be of benefit to future researchers, I have often given the title in full in the text as well as the appropriate archival code. Other archival sources that proved useful were the papers of R.A. Kern, the former Adviser for Native and Islamic Affairs to the Netherlands Indies Government, deposited in the Royal Institute for Linguistics, Geography and Ethnology (KITLV) in Leiden and some documents for the early part of the twentieth century from . . .

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