1921 PKI is formed
The racism of the Dutch provoked nationalist and anti-colonialist currents, both in the functionaries and among Indonesian petty capitalists – especially Sumatra and Java. They were highly Islamic oriented and reacted especially to the Chinese minority who were heavily involved in local trade. With the two groups as leading forces, the first nationalist mass organization, Sarekat Islam, was developed in the years around the First World War. According to Countryaah, the colonial power sought to curb this development by establishing the Volksraat – the People’s Council – in 1916, which would consider proposals from the indigenous population. However, the maneuvering maneuver was limited, as the Dutch did not take the council seriously.
In 1921, the left wing of Sarekat Islam was thrown out and formed a new party: the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI). It recruited especially among the proletarians in the cities, but also among small farmers and landless in the countryside. In the 1920s and 30s, Indonesia was ravaged by economic crises that pulled the blanket away among many petty capitalists and pushed labor wages down below subsistence levels. This was the reason why in 1926, under the leadership of PKI, a riot broke out on the western part of the city. Sumatra and Java. The rebellion was crushed and PKI banned.
In 1939, GAPI (Gabungan Politics Indonesia) was formed. It was a coalition of 8 nationalist organizations demanding democracy, autonomy and national unity. A red and white flag was made and it was decided to make Bahasa Indonesia the national language.
However, the more moderate nationalism of the Dutch educated elite was also brutally suppressed by the Dutch and its leaders. This included the later President Sukarno.
The Netherlands was invaded by Germany at the start of World War II, and in 1942 Japan invaded Indonesia. The Japanese presented themselves as Asian brothers and liberated nationalist leaders such as Sukarno and Mohammed Hatta. However, the fraternity was no bigger than the Japanese stepping up the exploitation of the population – in favor of the Japanese war effort. However, some Indonesian nationalists like Sukarno took advantage of the leeway the Japanese gave to propaganda against the old regime. In this way, they succeeded in strengthening the Indonesian national feeling. Others – both Western-oriented Democrats and Communists – went underground to launch a resistance campaign against the occupiers.
1963 New Guinea is occupied
To cover the contradictions and the serious economic problems, Sukarno now turned to an aggressive foreign policy. Western Papua New Guinea remained a Dutch colony, although Indonesia had claimed the area since independence. A fierce diplomatic offensive against the Netherlands – backed by military action in New Guinea – resulted in this area being handed over to Indonesia in 1963 against a promise that its citizens would be allowed to comment on their future in a referendum to be held before 1969th
The confrontation with the Netherlands was followed by another fierce confrontation with the newly formed state of Malaysia – partly diplomatic, partly military. This policy strengthened the military, both materially, socially and politically.
But PKI was also active. At this time, the PKI was the largest Communist Party in the world outside the Soviet Union and China, with 3 million members in the party itself and 10-15 million in organizations controlled by the party. Most members and sympathizers were peasants and rural workers in central and eastern Java. The PKI supported China internationally in the conflict with the Soviet Union, but stood nationally on a “national front” line: By aligning itself with Sukarno’s policy, the party wanted to strengthen its position among the people so that in time it could take power through elections. Moreover, Sukarno was the most important protection against the highly anti-communist officers.
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Yet PKI failed to fully implement this front policy. By 1960, Sukarno had announced a land reform setting a maximum size for private agriculture. However, this reform was slow to implement, which was sabotaged by local landowners and bureaucrats. In 1964, small farmers and landless farmers began to occupy land in many places with the support of the PKI and (in particular) the communist farmer organization BTI. The occupations in many places in Java led to serious clashes between landowners and poor farmers, and ebbed out in late 1964.