The Communism and the Emergence of Communist Party in Indonesia
This paper will briefly explain the history, the principles and the main actors of communism and its role in stimulating the emergence of communist party in Indonesia (PKI). Communism is a theory and system of social and political organization that was a major force in world politics for much of the 20th century . Communism is born as the strict reaction towards the capitalism in 19th century, which they truly prioritize to the individual interest and really ignoring the labor interest.
Today communism plays two quite separate roles. In a number of countries it sustains a political system, which is the official, or, as we called it, the status quo ideology. This is the clearly the case in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and some of Balkan countries. In Asia, such countries as Republican China, North Korea, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia have communist regimes. Today at least 30 percent of all peoples of the world live under the communist regimes and the communist ideology.
In Communism the social change must be started from the communist party. The logic is that every social exchange must be started from proletariat, but the succession of labors only can be realized by the existence the good governance party which can accommodate the interest of labors. This ideology truly limits the liberty and the religion to its followers.
The History of Communism
Communist idea has already existed since the ancient times. Greek philosopher Plato maintained that minimizing social inequality would promote civil peace and good government. In Plato’s ideal republic, an elite class of intellectuals, are deserved to be a leader and to govern the state to be welfare state.
In the 16th century English writer Thomas More, in his treatise Utopia (1516) , depicted a society based on common ownership of property, whose rulers administered it through the application of pure reason. But this idea got a lot of critics because of misgoverned of European states moreover in 17th-century England a Puritan religious group known as the Diggers advocated the abolition of private ownership of land.
Criticism of the idea of private property continued into the Enlightenment of the 18th century, through such thinkers as Immanuel Kant in Germany and Jean Jacques Rousseau in France. Philosophers of the Enlightenment maintained that it is the natural condition of human beings to share equally in political authority and the rewards of labor. The French Revolution (1789-1799), the upheaval of the Revolution brought stimulated a flurry of communistic ideas. François Noël Babeuf, a revolutionary prominent people, adopted and promoted the goals of common ownership of land and total economic and political equality among citizens .
The theory of communism was developed systematically by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in the 1840s, who asserted that human society underwent development through a series of historical stages or modes of production, and that out of the development of capitalism and the organized activity of the working class would emerge a communist society or workers' state as the culmination of history. Marx gave only the most general indication as to what constituted a communist society, and later writers modified his vision by giving a central place to the state in the organizing of such societies, and by arguing for a prolonged transition period of socialism prior to the attainment of full communism.
Almost a century and a half ago, in 1848, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto; it transformed communism from only a theory into a strong political movement. In his opening sentence he spoke of “a specter” that haunted Europe – “the specter of communism.” Today it is a reality. Communism in the form of established political regimes or as a powerful political revolutionary movement, inspires, mobilizes, and organizes for political action a greater number of people than any other political ideology.
The Communist Founding Father
The communist ideology was founded by Karl Marx (1818 – 1883). He was born in Germany, where he studied law, philosophy, and history, Karl Marx and his family settled in London when he was thirty years old. There he began a lifelong cooperation with Engels to develop a communist ideology and to translate it into political action. In 1848 they produced The Communist Manifesto, urging the workers to rise and to take over the means production from the exploiting capitalist class. In 1864 he founded the first International aiming at uniting the workers everywhere in a revolutionary struggle. Marx like Freud half a century late suggested a new way of looking at social life and history. Accordingly, material, economic conditions are responsible for the shaping of our values, morality, attitudes, and political institution.
Four sources combined to produce the overall synthesis that constitutes Marxism. They are:
1. Hegel’s philosophy, especially his philosophy of history
2. The works of the British economists; notably, Ricardo, Adam Smith, Malthus and others
3. The French utopian socialists, even though they were criticized sharply by Marx and Engels
4. The social and economic reality of the mid-nineteenth century, particularly in England.
According to Marx, ‘All history is the clash of classes.” It also represents the emergence and the collapse of economic system. He argued that the model of historical development is throughout steps or production method: Asiatic, ancient, feudal, bourgeois (capitalist), and finally communist. Marx is the historical determinist explaining the inexorable process which free from want, awareness and human intelligence.
The communist terminology consists of two meanings. First, the commune state with his own government and federation. Second is the collective ownership. The collective ownership terminology was used by Cabet to promote the communist ideology and it was well accepted in British in 1840.
Marx and Engels purposely wrote The Communist Manifesto to emphasize the collective ownership and mutual interest. It was also functioning as the guidelines for its follower’s in implementing the communist ideology.
The True Believers
The true believers of communist ideology are the proletariat people particularly labor as the main object of it. sThe basic of this ideology is abolishing the private ownership and it supposed belong to all people.
The Communist Principals
First, the communist ideology particularly Marx has the great influence in attracting the people and gives them a promised hope. The age where a lot of social disorder are happened and they feel suffered of malaise. And Marx philosophy was the social salvation for the people.
Second, the communists believe to the historical materialistic, because they believe that spiritual factor is the result of materialistic development including economy. Therefore, they do not really concern to the spiritual development aspects. They distrust of God. Religion is strictly prohibited because considered as the opium of the people. Qur’anic Interpretation was truly condemn and regarded as the criminal action and will be punished about 6 years in jail. According to Marx, the religion appears because of class distinction. A religion is a trap for the proletariat people built by the elite ones.
The communist ideology also denying others reason and distrust it, they also deny the human equality values and the economic interpretation of history. Therefore they will do everything ward off their enemy even if from their own party.
Third, the behavior code of communist ideology is based on violence. They do not acknowledge the declaration of human rights. Marxism also do not believe to the family relationship supporting the bourgeois hegemony and they must replace it by the sexual discourse.
Fourth, the main aim of communist ideology is diminishing the state, and building society with full of freedom with no social class and all are equal, the communist ideology has the international characteristic in a politic, social, economy, and culture.
Fifth, every policy control is under the certain people called by Polit Biro and automatically it will create the central economic system with dictatorial management and government by the view.
Sixth, the abolition of the private ownership is the main factor in communism because there is no private ownership but the general ownership. It can be attained by several measures;
a. The abolition of private industry from the progressive tariff.
b. The abolition of the land owner, the capitalist through the binding of compensation.
c. The effectiveness of labor management and the proletariat in several factories.
d. the centralization of the credit fund in the national bank by using the kingdom capital at the first place
e. The education program for the child when their mothers work which fully funded by the nation
The Historical Background of communist party emergence in Indonesia
Communism ideology was stimulating working class and poor people (world) to unite against capitalism-liberalism. Thus, the communist ideology was the international ones. Therefore, international communism, called (Komintern).
Ideology and the teachings of communism began to develop in Europe (in German) by Karl Marx. The main ideology is collecting all the labor of the world, and the poor (proletarian, tacky) that considered oppressed by the capital (capitalists, the rich). Ideology make the life of this working class and poor people are more prosperous; retake the rights of those who seized and occupied by the capitalist (capitalism, liberalism) that traverse the nations.
Some of the young students of Indonesian students studying in Europe is stuck with the communist ideology. When they return to Indonesia, the students are also being a cadre of communism. They began sneak in various organizations struggle against Dutch colonialism. They are the pioneer of Indonesian communists. When they feel strong enough then they express their self as the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI) in 1926.
In the Netherlands a labor leader named HJFMSneevliet establish the Labor Party-Social Democrats (Sociaal Democratische Arbeiderspartij (SDAP) as the communist movement in the Netherlands. This movement is growing to become Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereniging (ISDV), and a pioneer communist party. The cadre of ISDV sneaked to be a member of Sarekat Islam (SI), then finally they established the Red SI-1924; as embryo of PKI in 1926.
In the process of that, figures began to struggle as a communist follower marxisme-sAtheism-communism; such as: Semaun, Darsono, Alimin, MUSO, dal others. They, as a tribe of Java of Indonesia (Moslem abangan) obsessed and enamored with the ideology of socialism-communism began to show its struggle through October revolution in Russia in 1917.
The basic principles of Communist party organization
The labor class has the variety of opposing organization. There are several labors who involved in the battles with the capitalist class. There are several cooperative organizations from the labor to help and to alleviate the burden of their members. There are several collective organizations of education, the youth organization. The main goal of these organizations is to increase the awareness of the labors.
But the high awareness and the political skill from those labors organization is not fully enough to oppose the capitalist hegemony and to make their position even stronger and join force to overthrow the capitalistic system. Therefore there must be the organized political party from the proletariat class, means that the theory of struggling must be injected to the labor movement. Marxism-Leninism is the appropriate theory to do that because it is the revolutionary party. The communist party is the labor’s party. Therefore the communist party is the organized vanguard of communism. But in order to be the vanguard, the capable and reliable organization the labor party has to have the basic organizations as follows ;
a. Centralist – Democratic principle
The party must have the political integrity and the organization union. The political integrity as well as organization are the major requirement of the communist party. To get and attain the political integrity the centralist – democratic is needed and the communist party is formed by those principals. Centralist democratic principal is the main principal of communist party which has the function to manage the authority distribution to every the head of party and also as the highest democratic implementation in the party. It means that the centralism in the party is built on the democratic principal. The implemented democracy is the centralized headquarter of leadership in the party.
The main requirements to implement the centralist – democratic principal in the organization are:
a. All of the leaders of party from the bottom to up hierarchy are elected by the members democratically.
b. All of he the party leadership board has to give the reports in a certain time to the party organization which elect them.
c. Every single party has to bow to the party organization. The small party has to bow to the biggest ones
d. The discipline of party must be undertaken as effective as possible and the party decree must be totally implemented
The centralist model guarantees the centralist leadership. by using that model, the integrity of party will be solid. This system will result to the massive trust of society and it is the credit point and the main requirement for this party to gain the victories in every actions.
The democratic model will support the members of party to actively participate in solving any problems in everyday of life. The democratic model will develop the initiative measures of the party.
The centralist democracy in the party is one of the integrity of two sides which really inherently correlated. The centralism without democracy values only resulted to the authority or ultra – democracy or unguided democracy. This democracy is sometimes well – known by the liberal democracy.
b. The discipline
The communist party has to accumulate all powers and the organization of proletariat class. The discipline is the main point of organization. Party has the agreed democracy for all the members of party from the members to be until the highest functionaries’. Only by this strong discipline integrity the party can be survive and able to maintain the relation with its members.
c. Critics and self-criticism
The party constitution stated that “the communist party has continuously introspected every mistakes and shortcomings by using the critical thought and self-critic. By knowing the self shortcoming the party can educate the party cadres. The communist party has to oppose the arrogant attitude.
In order to solve the mistakes and shortcoming of internal party we have to introspect the party it self. By using critical thoughts and self – critic in every works we can repair the false and the shortcomings of party. The party will integrity will be well developed.
In order to undertake the appropriate critical thought and view we have to remember several factors: the mistakes and the shortcomings must be regarded as the disease that can be healed. For the persons who want to criticize he must act like a doctor who want to heal the sick and for the criticized persons they have to act like the sick which always accept the constructive suggestion from the doctor as long as good for them. Therefore the critic and self – critic is needed in order to diminish the negative impacts in the internal party organization.
The critical thought and self – critics can be articulated by several mediator such as the periodic meeting and discussion. They play an effective role in developing the critics and self – critics.
d. The collective leadership
The party leadership is truly determined by good leadership and especially the collective leadership. The collective leadership method can be implemented by accumulating the aspirations from the mass. And the collective assumption can be the guideline for the collective leadership. The collective leadership is really different with the personal leadership. The personal leadership sometimes betray the aspiration of the mass and only prioritizing the personal interest. Therefore the personal leadership is truly subjective.
The collective leadership mechanism doesn’t disregard the personal responsibility. If the party doesn’t have personal responsibility it will be trapped in the bad management. In every organization there must be the distribution of the jobs, and every person has to be responsible in their jobs. Every collective board elects the reliable member who has the significant progress and good achievement. The party organization will be more consolidated and more has an influential effect to the mass if every communist works based on the collective leadership.
PKI rebellion on November 1926
In November 1926 PKI led the rebellion against the colonial government in West Java and West Sumatra. PKI announced of a republic. This rebellion was destroyed by the brutal colonial regime. Thousands of people were killed and about 13,000 people arrested. Some 1308 people, usually the party cadres, sent to the Boven Digul, a detention camp in Papua . Some people died in custody. Many political activists of non-communist government also targets to be colonial, with the reason of oppressing the communist rebellion. PKI was prohibited by the Netherlands government in 1927.
Madiun Affairs on December 1948
Current Madiun (or Madiun Affairs) is a violent conflict that occurred in East Java in September - December 1948. This begins with the proclamation of Soviet state Republic of Indonesia on 18 September 1948 by MUSO in Madiun, a prominent Communist Party of India also supported by the Ministry of Defense at that time, Amir Sjarifuddin.
At the beginning of the Madiun conflict, the Dutch government pretends to offer help to quell the rebellion, but the bid is clearly rejected by the government of the Republic of Indonesia. Indonesian military leaders even take into account; the Netherlands will soon take advantage of the situation to initiate attacks against the total armed forces of the Republic of Indonesia. Indeed, the left groups including Amir Syarifuddin Harahap, the strength to build the Indonesian Government, which has accused the U.S. tend to be aligned.
In May 1948 together with Suripno, Vice Indonesia in Prague, Musso, back from Moscow, Russia. Musso arrived in Yogyakarta on 11th August and immediately re-occupy the leadership position in the Communist Party of Indonesia. Many socialist politicians and army commanders to join Musso, Mr. Amir Sjarifuddin Harahap, dr. Setiajid, Patuk discussion groups, etc. And finally, the kidnapping and killing each other start happening, and they start blaming each other as simulator in triggering the conflict.
Strength of the Musso forces was attacked and quelled from two directions: from the west by Division II troops under the command of Colonel Gatot Subroto, who was appointed to be Governor of Military Region II (Semarang-Surakarta) dated 15 September 1948, and troops from the Division Siliwangi, while from the east attacked by troops from Division I, under the command of Colonel Sungkono, who appointed Military Governor of East Java, on 19 September 1948, and the Brigade of troops Mobiele (MBB) of East Java, under the command of M. Yasin.
The general commander of Sudirman conveyed to the government, that the TNI troops can quell army-supporting Musso within 2 weeks. It is true, the strength of the core troop-supporting Musso can be destroyed in a short time
At the end of November 1948 all the leaders and troops supporting Musso killed or arrested. Eleven leaders of the group left, including Mr. Amir Syarifuddin Harahap, former Prime Minister of the Republic of Indonesia, executed on 20 December 1948, on the Kol. Gatot Subroto.
The Future of Communism
In the classic writings of Marx and Engels, capitalism was a dark presence and communism a thinly sketched picture of a shining future. The intellectual forefathers of the communist regimes of the 20th century supposed to study and criticize capitalism by means of exact science; communism they approached through a form of prediction.
In my opinion, the future of communism will be fully determined by the state political condition where it will be implemented. The communism ideology may get a shining future in the socialist, authoritarian or totalitarian countries where the elite politics are playing a big role in determining every policies making of the government. and also those countries have the closed system government characteristic and long future oriented.
In the other hand, the communism will be not growing well in the countries which implementing the democratic systems, because those countries truly appreciate the freedom of speech, and guaranteeing the right of every citizen including embracing a certain religion which strictly prohibited by communism and regarded as the opium of the people. Democratic countries have the open government system where every decision will be determined by the majority interest through the legislative people.
The Critiques on Communism
Karl Marx idea on communism resulted to several critics and supports. But here are the own critics of mine on this ideology:
1. Karl Marx fully believe on the dialectic theory of historic materialism which glorifying the materialism as the basic of life. And the true human is not measured by the only materialism but also the spiritual aspect of them.
2. Communism disregards the existence of religion while religion is the most important in guiding the people to be the good ones which have good moral and high integrity.
3. Communism disregards the liberty and the right of their people
4. Communism allows every measures to achieve their goal including implementing the violence and killing the enemies
The emergence of communist party in Indonesia actually is really inspired by the Russian revolution on October in 1916. They did believe that the Dutch colonialization can be overthrown by the good governance of the political party it self. The history of communism was leaving the bloody story because of the strict doctrine and the ideology. The basic of ideology of communism is the labor ideology which firstly emerged because they want to get their independence from the capitalist class. The communist has no the private ownership. The existence of communist party was formally banned in 1960 leaded by the president Soeharto.
1. Syam, Firdaus. Dr. 2007. Pemikiran Politik Barat, sejarah filsafat, ideology dan pengaruhnya terhadap dunia ke-3, first edition. Jakarta: Bumi Aksara Press.
2. C. Macridis. Roy. 1983. Contemporary Political Ideologies, second edition. Boston Toronto: Little, Brown and Company
3. Noer, Delia. 1982. Pemikiran Politik di Negeri Barat. Jakarta: C.V rajawali Press
4. Budi Hardiman, Fransisco. Dr. 2003. Ideologi – ideologi Politik Kontemporer, Roger Eatwell dan AnthonyWright, Jakarta: Mediator
5. More, Sir Thomas. Utopia. Translated and edited by Adams, Robert M. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1992.
6. Colton, Timothy J. "Communism." Microsoft® Encarta® 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.s