After years of organized struggle for freedom, Indonesia gained its independence from the Netherlands in 1949. With the determination of the Indonesian people, Independence ended the colonial stranglehold that spanned for over 100 years and initiated a process of organizing and struggling for a society for a social and economic revolution to overthrow the vestiges of colonial societal relations and forms of exploitation.
However, only a few years later, in 1965, the world witnessed one of the most lethal mass killings of the century—over a million people were murdered in an anti-communist purge at the hands of General Suharto. With the support of the U.S. backed Indonesian military, hundreds of thousands of communists and leftists sympathizers were abducted, tortured and massacred. Following the massacre, Suharto established a military dictatorship, spanning over 30 years, that banned Marxist ideology and suppressed trade unions. This purge set a precedent for U.S. anti-communist crusades across the world, and was a fundamental tactic of the U.S.’s Cold War strategy in enforcing a hegemonic world capitalist order.
Today, the long shadow of the Suharto dictatorship and US anti-communist intervention continues to fall over Indonesia, but so does the legacy of organized struggle.
Join us for a three part seminar series, where we will study the complex history of the revolution and counter-revolution in Indonesia, the 1965 purge, the ousting of the Suharto dictatorship, and the political ramifications and legacy for Indonesia today.
Thursday, April 13, 6:30-8:30 PM ET, PART ONE: ORIGINS: NATIONAL REVOLUTION AND COUNTER REVOLUTION (AGAINST THE NATION): 1900-1975.
Friday, April 14 6:30-8:30 PM ET, THE OUSTING OF THE DICTATORSHIP: STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF THE MOVEMENT
Saturday, April 15 4 PM- 6PM ET, UNFINISHED FERMENT: Indonesia Today
Friday, April 21 6 PM ET, PLAY: THE SILENT SONG OF THE GENJER FLOWERS (Register here)
For related programming on the history and national liberation struggle of Indonesia, RSVP for our book talk on Indonesia Out of Exile with author Max Lane on Friday, April 7th @ 6:30pm and join us for a film screening of The East (2020) by Jim Taihuttu on Wednesday, April 12 @ 6:00pm!
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