Posts made in September, 2015

PKI Chairman Dipa Nusantara Aidit’s Death

Posted by on Sep 26, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

PKI Chairman Dipa Nusantara Aidit’s Death

Taking their cue from the President, key players in the failed putsch on October 1, 1965 fled Halim Air Base before the Army Special Forces (RPKAD) assault. The principal conspirators deserted their troops and went into hiding around Jakarta. Around midnight, Brigadier General Mustafa Syarif Supardjo conveyed an urgent request from Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) Chairman D.N. Aidit (photo inset) to Air Force Commander Omar Dani to provide an airplane to fly the PKI leader to Yogyakarta. At around 1:00 a.m., Saturday, October 2, on orders from Air Commodore Leo Wattimena, Aidit left Halim aboard a C-47 Dakota transport for Adisucipto Air Base near Yogyakarta. Aidit was said to have been arguing with his Special Branch assistants Sjam and Pono at the airfield before the plane departed. Apparently, Aidit was furious at Sukarno’s failure to endorse the September 30th Movement and his decision to abandon Halim for the security of his Bogor Palace. [1] The PKI Chairman angrily tossed his jacket on the tarmac and stomped on it, but regained his composure during the flight to Yogyakarta. Aidit realized his cause was lost before leaving Halim. On the ground in Yogyakarta, he told PKI comrades he was preparing for President Sukarno’s arrival. [2] He instructed party officials to call off any demonstrations, to express absolute support for the President, and to avoid any actions that might provoke an army response. “The PKI should play the Bung Karno card for all it was worth, indicate complete, unconditional support for any policies that the President might declare and at all costs give no further offence to the Army.” [3] Aidit abandoned his usual white suit and donned Muslim garb – white shirt, sarong, black pici (fez) and sunglasses – and then departed by car, arriving around 8:00 a.m. in Semarang, where he met PKI Politburo members M.H. Lukman and Sakirman (who he had sent ahead), and leftist acting Central Java Governor Sujono Atmo. After meeting local PKI officials and dispensing the same guidance he had in Yogyakarta, the four men left in the governor’s limousine to Surakarta, stopping along the way to meet PKI officials in Boyolali. In Surakarta, Aidit again issued guidance to local PKI leaders who were gathered at the home of Mayor Utomo Ramelan, a PKI official and brother of Mrs. Utami Suryadarma, the former Air Force Commander’s wife. Aidit’s cautionary instructions to party members probably served to minimize PKI resistance to the army-led pogrom that followed. The Surakarta Panasan Air Base Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Sutojo, refused Aidit’s request for an aircraft to fly him to Bali. Sutojo accepted a letter from Aidit addressed to President Sukarno, but, having second thoughts after hearing the news from Jakarta, returned the letter to Aidit the next day. Aidit drafted a statement the PKI Information Bureau in Jakarta issued October 5 denying any party involvement with the September 30th Movement and expressing full support for a political settlement by the President. Aidit and Lukman were determined to attend the plenary cabinet meeting publicly announced for October 6 at the Bogor Palace. Lukman traveled by car and was present at the meeting....

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Communist Party Involvement in the October 1, 1965 Putsch

Posted by on Sep 11, 2015 in Uncategorized | 6 comments

Communist Party Involvement in the October 1, 1965 Putsch

If the September 30th Movement had backing from Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) leaders, it seems a remarkably foolish repetition of the blunders made during the 1926-1927 and 1948 rebellions. There are surprising similarities between the October 1, 1965 Affair and those earlier uprisings. In November 1926 communists seized the telephone and telegraph building in Batavia (Jakarta) in coordination with minor operations in other Javanese cities. They expected their actions to trigger a widespread popular uprising against the Dutch, but their revolution failed to materialize. In Madiun, armed laskar militias under communist influence kidnapped and executed local military officers, dumping their bodies in a ditch. Then too, leftist leaders proclaimed the rebellion was an internal army affair. For years following the Madiun disaster, the PKI had been exceptionally cautious, repeatedly warning cadre to avoid provoking another vicious army crackdown – a repeat of the so-called “White Terror” by “reactionaries” in the Armed Forces. Such trepidation was well-founded. During the anti-communist bloodbath that followed the October 1 Affair, top party officials were either immediately executed or put to death following summary tribunals. Dipa Nusantara Aidit understood that Sukarno was the key to power. Despite his essentially sycophantic relationship with the President, the PKI Chairman was undoubtedly frustrated with Guided Democracy, which severely limited Parliament, the regional legislatures, the governors, bupati and mayors while, especially before martial law was terminated in May 1963, granting the Army extralegal powers to harass PKI members and circumscribe their activities. With army support, Sukarno had kept the party out of the cabinet and under physical assault in the provinces. He had indefinitely postponed national elections, the PKI’s pathway to legitimate political power. The PKI’s dramatic advance within the Indonesian political system had stalled. Perhaps the ambitious and proud Aidit had run out of patience. With genuine concerns about Sukarno’s health and fears the Army might reprise the White Terror, it is possible he decided to take preemptive action. If so, it was a careless and foolhardy decision. The game had changed considerably in the PKI’s favor since the low-intensity Malaysia Confrontation campaign started. The PKI had become more aggressive and Sukarno more accommodating to his communist friends. By 1965, Aidit and other PKI leaders were overconfident. They enjoyed Sukarno’s support, his accolades, and were clearly caught up in the revolutionary fervor. (See photo inset of Sukarno and Aidit.) In communist capitals around the world from Peking to Havana, Chairman Aidit was received with honors and hailed as a champion of Marxism-Leninism. Nobody in the PKI Politburo was bold enough to question his judgment. “Aidit had a brilliant record, a record of triumphs. He was infallible. Why should they doubt him now? [Jakarta PKI Chairman] Njono never considered the plot could fail. It simply did not enter his mind and he made no contingency plan.” [1] During a 1964 conversation in Amsterdam, PKI Second Deputy Chairman Njoto told Professor W. F. Wertheim it was too late for a military takeover in Indonesia since the PKI was already too strong among army officers, soldiers and the sister services. [2] On September 14, just two weeks before the attacks,...

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