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Indonesia :

Revindo which someone else has mentioned has been one recent effort to restart the PKI, but it is unclear as to whether it is a domestic Indonesian group or a group of Indonesian exiles as a number of PKI leaders and cadres did escape the massacres (Suniti K. Ghosh, editor of Liberation - the theoretical journal of the historical CPI(ML) - met some of their cadre in Albania for example after the massacres, they had been kicked out of the USSR after the massacres occurred and the Albanians were the only people willing to take them in). Also, when the PRD was formed in Indonesia in the 1990's they were accused of being front group for a revived PKI. Furthermore, there were at least 2 different factions within the PKI, one of which was pro-Soviet and one of which was pro-Maoist. You can read more about it in Arnold Brackman's book on Indonesian Communism.

Mike Ely : The short story is a) I see no link between the PKI and Maoism. The PKI was not following the approach of New Democracy. b) The Maoists in china circulated a sharp summation of the massacre in Indonesia. We posted it on Kasama (in part because Indonesia is such an important warning to revolutionary forces.) http://kasamaproject.org/2011/09/02/lessons-of-indonesia-1966-revolution-requires-a-peoplesarmy/ c) I don't think it is helpful to write "bloc of four classes" without including the key and defining thing "under the leadership of the proletariat." The strategic alignment in china was a matter of a revolutionary united front (in Maoist theory, a united front is an alignment of classes on a common revolutionary road) where the leadership by the communist party is key to the character and program of the overall movement. That's why the Chinese flag has four stars around one big star -- i.e. the popular masses of the chinese people in four main classes led by the communist party (which is itself in turn seen as the political representative/embodiment of the socialist working class). d) the four classes were the unity of the New Democratic revolution -- with the worker-peasant alliance as the core of the united front. But the view of the Maoists was that once 1949's victory (and the subsequent uprooting of landed feudalism through agrarian revolution and land reform)

had happened, the principal contradiction of china became the struggle between the capitalist class and the working class (i.e. between the capitalist and socialist road). As I pointed out before, this captures the basic orientation: "In his Report to the Second Plenary Session of the Seventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China in March 1949, Chairman Mao Tsetung made a penetrating analysis of the class relations and economic conditions prevailing in China at that time, clearly pointing out that following the countrywide seizure of power by the proletariat the principal internal contradiction was "the contradiction between the working class and the bourgeoisie." The focus of the struggle remained the question of state power. Chairman Mao called upon the whole Party to continue the revolution, rely on and strengthen the people's democratic dictatorship, that is, the proletarian dictatorship, develop the socialist state economy and carry out step by step the socialist transformation of agriculture, handicrafts and capitalist industry and commerce and socialist industrialization so as to "build China into a great socialist state." (from the Three Major Struggles) --- In leftist_trainspotters@yahoogroups.com, "John Holmes" <jdholmes@...> wrote: > > An interesting depiction, which fits more or less, formally speaking at any rate, with my impressions. > > If I understand this rightly, it was during the Cultural Revolution that the concept of New Democracy as a form of proletarian rule was formalized, whereas it was only implicit circa 1949 when Mao was in fact setting up a state on new class foundations, in the very peculiar and extemely unusual conditions of the late '40s. > > Very well described, by the way, in Peng Shu-Tse's writings of the period, which for a number of years I supported against "Spartacist orthodoxy," in the name of "orthodox Trotskyist" orthodoxy. (P'eng Shuzi if you prefer, I like the old orthography better myself.) > > Here's his report to the Fourth World Congress of the FI on the 1949 Revolution: > > http://www.marxists.org/archive/peng/1951/nov/causes.htm > > My spotterly question is this. Quite obviously in Indonesia the Indonesian Communist Party, following Mao's teachings abut "New Democracy" and the "bloc of four classes," repeated the 1926 disaster all over again, with Sukarno and the military filling the role of Chiang Kai Shek. As the Cultural Revolution began. > > Now, Mao himself, to the best of my knowledge, never criticized the course of the Indonesian CP. Is my knowledge correct? > > And did any of the Cultural Revolutionaries say anything about Indonesia indicating that they did?

> > -jh> > ----- Original Message ----> From: mike e > To: leftist_trainspotters@yahoogroups.com > Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 3:39 PM > Subject: ['spotters] Splits in the ruling class (was Re: The passing of Carl Oglesby ) > > > > > > --- In leftist_trainspotters@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen" <srdiamond@> wrote: >> > > Mike, >> > > I don't understand your claim that the reality of the Chinese Revolution--as opposed to Mao's teachings--is what counts, when the *subject* is Maoism as a theory, NOT the _correct_ theoretical depiction of Chinese reality. If Mao conceived of the Chinese revolution as new democratic rather than proletarian and didn't revise his position subsequently, the _analysis_ is what's important for Maoism as a theory. > > Let me break it down: > > Mao led the creation of a New Democratic state that was a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. > > In Maoist theory, New Democracy is a form of the dictorship of the proletariat (i.e. when Maoists in the GPCR discussed new democracy they discussed it as a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat, when Maoists in the third world fight for a New Democratic revolution they are calling for a form of the dictorship of the proletariat.) > > But at the time in the 1940s, Mao did not discuss these questions theoretically. He made public popular and programmatic statements. > > The discussion of the class nature of the New Democratic state appears in Maoist theory, but not in Mao's public writings before 1949. > > But what he did (in real life) was create a dictatorship of the proletariat in 1949, the beginnings of a socialist planned economy, a peoples army rooted in the oppressed and led by the communist party etc. on the basis of the destruction of the old state and army. > > Mao conceived of this as a dictatorship of the proletariat (in other words, it didn't happen by accident).

> > A materialist analysis of the political change in china confirms what the Maoists have held theoretically -- that the 1949 established a new democratic state (through a process of antifeudal and anti-imperialist warfare and social transformation). > > New Democracy is not considered a system (something to be consolidated with its own character). It is simply a society undergoing socialist revolution. And Maoist theory holds that 1949 marks the *end* of the New Democratic revolution, and the start of the socialist revolution. > > In other words, the issue is not what Mao said (in the few available places he discusses New Democracy) but what he was doing/conceiving -- which is discussed in Maoist theory since then. > > Mao was operating in a complex international environment -- not just the actions of the U.S., but also the context of a world communist movement which had its own views and which imposed complex constraints on what communists said in public. > > The communists in Eastern Europe (based on the armed force of the Soviet Army in some cases, except for Yugoslavia and Albania) also created states they called peoples democracies. > >> > > The main practical difference between a new-democratic view of the Chinese revolution and a proletarian view is the former's advocacy of political alliance with the national bourgeoisie (the formula guiding the PKI before the debacle). And the Chinese view was expressed not only in their supporters' positions in the neocolonies but in the formal Chinese practice, after 1949, of allowing political parties _said_ to be representative of the national bourgeoisie--even, if I'm not mistaken, welcoming them into the government. >> > > I'm not going to discuss "what is a proletarian view of revolution" -> > But (to try to give this a spotterly spin), I think that having a united front with the national bourgeoisie was necessary and positive -- and did not create an obstacle to the transition to socialism (for reasons I will discuss). > > Second, the issue with the PKI is not "whether to have an alliance with revolutoinary democratic sections of the bourgeosie" -- it is who leads and directs that united front. > > In China, Mao and the CCP lead the united front. They had the army. Their party was the glue that held together the new state. They had allies in the left wing of the GMD, that (ultimately) reflected the outlook of a relatively small and weak class (the national bourgeoisie). > > But in Indonesia, the PKI was a junior partner to the Sukarno government, and did not have an army of their own. This is very different from the Chinese situation, in ways that should be obvious. > > In general, the complaints about that are based on some rather mechanical thinking ("we have a

principle of no united front with any capitalist, the Chinese national bourgeoisie is capitalist, therefore it is class collaboration to have an alliances with them... and so on...") This is the kind of thinking and theory that requires no analysis, investigation or even thought. You establish apriori principles, and then "cut the toes to fit the shoes." > > The alliance with the national bourgeousie was positive, because there was a section of the Chinese merchant and industrial owning classes that were genuinely radical -- antifeudal and antiJapanese. And there was a basis for a real unity, for specific programatic goals. > > The idea was not to make some fixed alliance but to make an alliance when they were playing a good role, and to break that alliance when they werent. > > Also it is worth noting that the Chinese revolution of 1949 expropriated the capitalist property of comprador capitalists, imperialists, large bureaucrat capital, and traitors who allied with invading imperialists. When you add that up, my best recollection (without looking it up again) is that this was about 80% of the productive capacity of China (which was not yet heavily industrialized). In other words, the New Democratic revolution led to the core of a socialist planned economy. > > The "national bourgeoisie" was not capitalist industrialists, but overwhelmingly people employing 5-15 people (i.e. what we would consider to be almost artisan workshops). These were tiny enterprises in the main. (Again, the median size of enterprises was very small, thought the bulk of productive capacity owned by naitonal bourgeoisie was in small subset.) > > Over the course of the following years, these natoinal bourgoeis enterprises were more and more circumscribed by the emerging socialist economy. This worked on the level of standards of treatment of workers. Laws on inheritance. And increasing socialist interaction in the operation of the enterprise. In one case, still-private meat-processing plants send spoiled meat to the revolutionary fighting forces in Korea (during the war with the UN/US) and in the aftershocks there was an increase in socialist oversight of still-private enterprises. > > By the time of the GPCR, this was basically over... and the economy did not have significant remnants of the political arrangements with the national bourgeoisie. > > In other words, this alliance was a necessary and positive thing during New Democracy, and in practice it was not an obstacle to the socialist revolution. > > By analogy, we could discuss what our policy would be toward family farms in the U.S., even those that hire five or fifteen farm workers during harvest time? Well such things can't be settled on the basis of some pre-established and inherited principle. It is (quite simply) a concrete political matter -to be resolved in the course of the revolution. Are these farmers hostile to the revolution? Can they be won as allies or to a friendly neutrality with a policy of canceling bank debt or a promise of socialist price parity for agricultural products? Should we at the beginning expropriate agribusiness and those enterprises employing significant numbers of working people -- while surrounding family farms with socialist economy? And (another question) CAN a new socialist state simply expropriate everyone, and manage all that instantly in a socialist way -- or does the process of developing a

socialist economy REQUIRE the socializaiton in waves over time? > > Short story: > > New democracy is an anti-feudal antiimpeiralist stage of revolution in previously colonial countries. It is a state of the socialist and communsit revolutin and produces a form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. > > In that New Democratic revolution it was possible (at times) to ally with some small employers in china (who had genuinely antifeudal and antiimperialist interests), and this happened without creating significant obstacles to ongoing socialist revolution (or to the creation of a new planned socialist economy in basic industry shortly after 1949).

Martin Glaberman

The East Is Red


(Winter 1966/67)

From Reviews, International Socialism (1st series), No.27, Winter 1966/67, p.36. Transcribed & marked up by Einde OCallaghan for the Marxists Internet Archive.

The Rise of Indonesian Communism Ruth T. McVey Cornell/Oxford, 80s. An Introduction to Indonesian Historiography Ed. Soedjatmoko et al. Cornell, $9.75. The Rise of Indonesian Communism joins a small but growing library of books in English on Indonesia. It is one of the fruits of the Modern Indonesia Project (as is the other volume under review). It deals with the little known early years of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). It is not very profound theoretically (with, correspondingly, little selectivity in dealing with events) and its report of the 1926-27 revolution is much too meagre. But it has two advantages which make it useful. It is very detailed and heavily documented for the period that it covers and there is a minimum of cold war anti-communist agitation to distort the record. In this it is far superior to Arnold C. Brackmans Indonesian Communism, which can only be recommended to students who are sophisticated enough to distinguish fact from fiction in a strange and distant land.

The importance of Ruth McVeys book is that it documents a little known period. Because of the complete destruction of the PKI in 1927 there is no continuity in organisation, leaders or historiography. Sneevliet, founder of Indonesian Communism and, for a while, under the name of Maring, a Comintern functionary in the colonial world, broke with Stalin and moved close to Trotsky and the Fourth International as leader of a small Dutch left-socialist organisation. (He was killed by the Nazis during World War II.) Darsono broke with the Communists before World War II. Another leading Indonesian Communist, Semaun, became a, Russian citizen and was not a significant part of the post war PKI leadership. The third major figure of the early period, Tan Malaka, became known as a Trotskyist-Titoist (with how much justification it is difficult to say, although he was rather erratic politically over the years). He was killed in Indonesia in 1949 by Republican troops who thus removed a thorn in the sides of both Sukarno and the postwar PKI. The PKI provides the only serious parallel to the Chinese CP to test Comintern policy. Where the Chinese were completely dependent on the Russians and the CI from the foundation of the Party in 1920 to the destruction of the Chinese Revolution in 1927, the PKI was almost completely independent, following whatever policies it pleased. Although some of the PKI leaders in exile were functionaries of the Comintern, they did not, on the whole, attempt to impose Comintern policy on the PKI, first, because they usually disagreed and, second, because communication between Europe and Indonesia was very difficult and haphazard. In addition, of course, during the earlier Leninist years, it was Comintern policy to base itself on the initiative of its colonial sections (China was the main exception), not on directives from above. Chinese and Indonesian policies were as divergent as their organisational history. The Chinese followed the classic Stalinist policy of the Bloc of Four Classes, making the Party and the Chinese proletariat subordinate to the bourgeois nationalists embodied in the Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek. This led to the disaster documented in Harold Isaacs Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution. The Indonesians (although, there were differences among them) followed what can be called the Trotskyist policy of Permanent Revolution: an independent proletarian policy in the colonial country aimed at achieving a proletarian revolution with the peasantry following behind. Trotsky, of course, cannot be held responsible for the putschist policies which became part of the PKIs tactics in 1926, but nevertheless, that policy, too, ended in disaster with the abortive revolt on Java and Sumatra in 1926 and 1927. The PKI was completely destroyed. One ironic consequence was that Musso, the PKI leader who most embodied the anti-Stalinist putschist line, became a hero and hack of the Comintern because the Indonesian revolts coincided with the need for Stalin to find some objective justification for the ultra-left turn that followed the Chinese debacle. Indonesia was thus made to justify the abortive Cantonese uprising in 1927 and the Third Period. Ruth McVeys story ends in 1927. Here, too, the strange parallel development of Indonesia and China persists. In June 1927 the first secular bourgeois nationalist organisation is formed in Indonesia, the Nationalist Party of Indonesia (PNI) with Sukarno as chairman. In China the turn from proletarian to bourgeois revolution is made within the CP. The new leadership of Mao, Chou, etc abandon the proletariat, abandon the great cities of the China coast, form a peasant army in the mountains and embark on the Long March. McVeys book suffers for the lack of a political map of Indonesia. An Introduction to Indonesian Historiography is a collection of essays which provides a comprehensive survey of all aspects of Indonesian historiography, from pre-historic times to the present and including the various distinct national sources of Indonesian historical material.