Tan Malaka, portrait as published in his autobiography
|Other names||23 aliases[a]|
2 June 1897
West Sumatra, Dutch East Indies
|Died||21 February 1949
Selopanggung, Kediri Regency
|Main interests||Epistemology, Socialism, Marxism, Pan-Islamism|
|Notable ideas||Madilog, Pan-Islamic Marxism|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Thought
- 3 Legacy
- 4 Bibliography
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
Tan Malaka's given name was Ibrahim, while Tan Malaka was a semi-aristocrat name he got from the maternal line. His full name was Ibrahim Gelar Datuk Sutan Malaka. His birthdate is uncertain,[b] and his birthplace is now known as Nagari Pandan Gadang, Suliki, Limapuluh Koto, West Sumatra. His parents were HM. Rasad, an agricultural employee, and Rangkayo Sinah, a daughter of a respected person in the village. As a child Malaka studied religious knowledge and trained pencak silat. In 1908 Malaka attended Kweekschool (state teacher's school) at Fort de Kock. According to his teacher G. H. Horensma, Malaka, although sometimes disobedient, was an excellent student. At this school, Malaka enjoyed his Dutch language lessons, so Horensma suggested that he become a Dutch teacher. He also was a skilled soccer player. He graduated from that school in 1913. After graduating Malaka was offered a datuk title and a fiancée. However, he only accepted the title. He received the title after a traditional ceremony in 1913.
Education in the Netherlands
Although Malaka became a datuk, in October 1913 he left his village to study at Rijkskweekschool (government teacher education school), which was funded by engkus of his village. Arriving at the Netherlands, Malaka experienced shock culture, and until ther of 1915, he suffered pleuritis. During his study, his knowledge about revolution began increasing because he read de Fransche Revolutie, a book given to him upon his departure by Horensma. After the Russian Revolution of October 1917, Malaka increasingly became interested in communism and socialism, reading books by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and Vladimir Lenin. Friedrich Nietzsche was also one of his early political role models. During this time Malaka hated Dutch culture and was impressed by the German and American societies. He then signed up to be a German soldier; however, he was rejected because the German Army did not accept foreigners. There Malaka met Henk Sneevliet, one of the founders of Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereeniging (ISDV, forerunner of Partai Komunis Indonesia or PKI). Malaka was also interested in Sociaal-Democratische Onderwijzers Vereeniging (Association of Democrat Social Teachers). In November 1919 Malaka graduated and received his diploma, hulpactie.[c] According to his father, during that time they communicate via mystical means called tarékat.
Returning to the Dutch East Indies
After graduating Malaka returned to his village. He soon accepted an offer by Dr. C. W. Janssen to teach the children of tea plantation coolies at Sanembah, Tanjung Morawa, Deli, East Sumatra. Malaka went there in December 1919; he began teaching the children Malay in January 1920. In addition to teaching he also produced subversive propaganda for the coolies, known as Deli Spoor. During this period he learned of the deterioration of the indigenous people that had occurred. He also made a contact with ISDV and wrote some works for the press. One of his earliest works was "Land of Paupers", which tells about the striking differences in wealth between capitalists and workers; it was included in Het Vrije Woord's March 1920 issue. Malaka also wrote about the suffering of the coolies in the Sumatera Post. In the Volksraad's 1920 election he was a leftist party candidate. He decided to resign on 23 February 1921.
Briefly Joining Partai Komunis Indonesia
Malaka chose Java island as the starting point of his struggle, considering that there were many figure who had the same views as him. He first arrived in Batavia when his old teacher, Horensma, offered him a job as a teacher; however, Malaka rejected it. Malaka told that he wanted to establish a school, and Horensma accepted the reason and supported him. Malaka arrived at Yogyakarta in early March 1921. He stayed at a house belonging to Sutopo, a former leader of Budi Utomo. There he wrote a proposal about grammar school. He participated in Sarekat Islam's 5th congress and met H.O.S. Tjokroaminoto, Agus Salim, Darsono, and Semaun. The congress discussed the topic of double membership. Agus Salim and Abdul Muis forbade it, while Semaun and Darsono were PKI members. Malaka offered a solution that excluded PKI because both organizations had the same vision; however, the prohibition was applied in the end. Sarekat Islam was splitted as a result, forming SI Putih (White SI), led by Tjokroaminoto, and SI Merah (Red SI), led by Semaun and based in Semarang. After the congress Malaka was asked by Semaun to go to Semarang to join PKI. He went to Semarang and then accepted it. Arriving in Semarang, Malaka became sick. A month later, he had returned to health and participated in a meeting with fellows SI Semarang members. The meeting concluded that a rival to government schools was needed. The school opened to enrollment on the day after the meeting. The school, named Sekolah Sarekat Islam (which was later better known as Sekolah Tan Malaka, and spread to Bandung and Ternate), was officially opened on 21 June 1921. As a guidebook for the schools, Malaka wrote SI Semarang dan Onderwijs. In June 1921 Malaka became the chairman of Serikat Pegawai Pertjitakan (Printing Workers Association) and served as the vice chairman and treasurer of Serikat Pegawai Pelikan Hindia (SPPH or Indies Oils Workers Association). Between May and August his first book, Sovjet atau Parlemen? (Soviet or Parliament?), was serialized in PKI's journal Soeara Ra'jat; his other works, including articles, were published in the journal and PKI's newspaper Sinar Hindia. In June he was one of the leaders of Revolutionaire Vakcentrale. In August that year he was elected to the editorial board of SPPH's journal Soeara Tambang. Malaka then replaced Semaun, who left the Dutch East Indies in October, as the chairman of PKI after a congress on 24–25 December 1921 in Semarang. Whilst Semaun was more cautious, Malaka was more radical. Malaka also maintained a good relationship with Sarekat Islam. The Dutch East Indies' government felt threatened and was worried about it. The government arrested Malaka on 13 February 1922 in Bandung when he visited the branch school. He was first exiled to Kupang; however, he wanted to be exiled to the Netherlands. He then left the Dutch East Indies in March and arrived there on 1 May.[d]
There Malaka joined Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPH) and was appointed as the third candidate of the party for Tweede Kamer at the 1922 elections for the Estates-General of the Netherlands. He was the first subject of the Dutch East Indies ever to run for office in the Netherlands. He did not expect to actually be elected because, under the system of proportional representation in use, his third position on the ticket made his election highly unlikely. His stated goal in running instead was to gain a platform to speak about Dutch actions in Indonesia, and to work to persuade the CPH to support Indonesian independence. Although he did not win a seat, he received unexpectedly strong support. Before the counting of votes was finished he went to Germany. In Berlin he met Darsono, Indonesian communist who was related to West European Bureau of the Comintern, and might meet M.N. Roy. Malaka then continued to Moscow and arrived in October 1922 to participate in the Executive Committee of the Communists International. At the Fourth World Congress in Moscow, 1922, Malaka wanted communism and Pan-Islamism could be cooperating; however, his propsal was rejected. In January 1923 Malaka and Semaun were appointed correspondents of Die Rote Gewerkschafts-Internationale. In the first half of that year he also wrote for journal of Indonesian and Dutch labor movements. He also became an agent of Eastern Bureau of the Comintern as he reported ECCI plenum in June 1923. Malaka went to Canton and arrived there in December 1923. He edited an English journal The Dawn for an organization of transport workers of the Pacific. In August 1924 Malaka requested to government of the Dutch East Indies to allow him going home due to illness. The government accepted it, but with burdensome terms; so Malaka didn't return home. In December 1924 PKI began to fall because it was suppressed by the government. As a respond Malaka wrote Naar de Republiek Indonesia (Towards the Republic of Indonesia), which was published in Canton in April 1925. It explains situation of the world, from the Netherlands, which suffered economic crisis, the Dutch East Indies, which had opportunities to do a revolution by nationalist movements and PKI, to his prediction between United States and Japan who "settle with the sword which of them is the more powerful in the Pacific."
In July 1925 Tan Malaka moved to Manila, Philippines because the environment was similar to Indonesia. Malaka then arrived in Manila on 20 July. There he became a correspondent of nationalist newspaper El Debate, edited by Francisco Varona. Publication of Malaka's works such as second edition of Naar de Republiek Indonesia (December 1925) and Semangat Moeda (Young Spirit; 1926) might be helped by Varona. There Malaka also met Mariano de los Santos, José Abad Santos, and Crisanto Evangelista.
In Indonesia, PKI decided to do a revolt within six months from the meeting, which was held around Christmas 1925. The government knew this and exiled some of party leaders. Alimin then, in February 1926, went to Manila to request approval from Malaka. Malaka eventually rejected it and stated that the condition of the party was still weak and had no power yet to do a revolution. He described in his autobiography his frustration with an inability to find information about events in Indonesia from his place in the Philippines, and his lack of influence with the PKI's leadership. As Comintern representative for Southeast Asia, Tan Malaka argued that he had authority to reject the PKI's plan, an assertion which was denied by some former PKI members in retrospect. Malaka sent Alimin to Singapore to convey his views and ordered him to organize impromptu meeting between the leaders. Having no progress, Malaka went to Singapore to meet Alimin. Malaka then learned that Alimin and Muso traveled to Moscow to seek for help to do a revolt. In Singapore, Malaka met Subakat, another PKI leader, which also had same view with him. They decided to thwart Muso and Alimin's plan. During this period Malaka wrote Massa Actie (Mass Action). It contains his view on Indonesian revolution and nationalist movements. In this book Malaka proposes Aslia, a social federation between Southeast Asia countries and northern Australia. This book was intended for helping his effort to reverse the direction of PKI and gaining some cadres to his side.
Partai Republik Indonesia, Persatuan Perdjuangan, later life, and death
In December 1926 Malaka went to Bangkok. There he studied the defeat of PKI. Malaka, along with Djamaludin Tamin and Subakat, established Partai Republik Indonesia (PARI) in early June 1927, distancing himself from the Comintern as well as, in the new party's manifesto, criticizing the PKI. While PARI did have a small membership inside the country, it never grew to be a large organization; however, with the PKI gone underground, it was the only organization in the late 1920s that was publicly calling for immediate independence for Indonesia.[e] Some of party cadres were Adam Malik, Chaerul Saleh, Mohammad Yamin, and Iwa Kusumantri. Malaka went back to the Philippines in August 1927. The Dutch wanted to expel Malaka to Digul concentration camp, and asked the authorities to arrest him. On 12 August 1927, Malaka was arrested on charges entering illegally the Philippines territory. Dr. San Jose Abad helped him in the court; however, Malaka just accepted the verdict that he will be deported to Amoy, China. In Amoy, he was waited by the Dutch, but he managed to escape by jumping from the ship, and stayed in Sionching village. Malaka then traveled to Shanghai in the end of 1929. Poeze writes that Malaka might meet Alimin there in August 1931, and made an agreement with him that Malaka would be working again for the Comintern. Malaka moved Shanghai in September 1932 after the attack made by the Japanese forces, and decided to go to India, disguised as a Chinese-Filipino and using an alias. When he was in Hong Kong in early October 1932, he was arrested by British officials from Singapore, and was detained for several months. He hoped to have a chance to argue his case under British law, and possibly seek asylum in the United Kingdom, but after several months of interrogation and being moved between the "European" and the "Chinese" sections of the jail, it was decided that he would simply be exiled from Hong Kong without charges. He was then deported again to Amoy.
When Japan invaded and occupied Shanghai in September 1932, Tan Malaka fled south to Hong Kong, disguised as a Chinese-Filipino and using an alias. Almost immediately upon his arrival, however, he was arrested by British authorities, and imprisoned for several months. He hoped to have a chance to argue his case under British law, and possibly seek asylum in the United Kingdom, but after several months of interrogation and being moved between the "European" and the "Chinese" sections of the jail, it was decided that he would simply be exiled from Hong Kong without charges.
Malaka was waited by the Dutch again, and escaped once again. Malaka then traveled to Iwe village, south of China. There he was treated a traditional Chinese medicine for his illness. After his health improved in the beginning of year 1936 he traveled back to Amoy and formed a school named Foreign Language School. Abidin Kusno argues that this stay in Shanghai was an important period in shaping Tan Malaka's later actions during the Indonesian revolution of the late 1940s; the port city was nominally under Chinese sovereignty but was dominated first by European nations with trading concessions in the city, and then by Japan after its September 1932 invasion. The oppression of the Chinese he saw under both of these powers, Kusno argues, contributed to his uncompromising position against collaboration with the Japanese or negotiation with the Dutch in the 1940s, when many prominent Indonesian nationalists were adopting a more conciliatory stance.
In August 1937 he went to Singapore and faked his identity as a Chinese; there he became a teacher. After the Dutch surrendered to Japanese he returned to Indonesia via Penang. He then sailed to Sumatra. In mid-1942 he arrived in Jakarta. He stayed for around a year in the southern border of Jakarta; there he wrote his work Madilog. After he felt he had to have a job, he applied for a job to Social Welfare Agency. He was soon sent to a coal mine in Bayah, southern coast of West Java.
After the proclamation of the independence of Indonesia, he began to meet his generation people and the younger generation. He also started to use his real name after 20 years using a lot of aliases. He then traveled to several places in Java. He saw Surabaya people fighting against the British army in November. He realized the differences of struggling between the people in some places and the leaders in Jakarta. He thought the leaders were too weak in negotiation with the Dutch. Tan Malaka's solution to this perceived disconnect was to found the Persatuan Perjuangan (Struggle Front, or United Action), a coalition of about 140 smaller groups, but notably not including the PKI. After a few months of discussion, the coalition was formally founded at a congress in Surakarta (Solo) in mid-January 1946. It adopted a "Minimum Program", which declared that only complete independence was acceptable, that government must obey the wishes of the people, and that foreign-owned plantations and industry should be nationalized. The Persatuan Perjuangan had widespread popular support, as well as support in the republican army, where General Sudirman was a strong supporter of the coalition Tan Malaka was organizing. In February 1946 the organization forced the temporary resignation of Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir, a proponent of negotiation with the Dutch, and Sukarno consulted with Tan Malaka to seek his support. However, Tan Malaka was apparently unable to bridge political divisions within his coalition to transform it into actual political control, and Syahrir returned to lead Sukarno's cabinet.
Upon his release, he spent late 1948 in Yogyakarta, working to form a new political party, called the Partai Murba (Proletarian Party), but was unable to repeat his previous success at attracting a popular following. When the Dutch captured the national government in December 1948, he fled the city for rural East Java, where he hoped he would be protected by anti-republican guerrilla forces. He established his head quarter in Blimbing, a village surrounded by rice fields. He connected himself to major Sabarudin, leader of the Battalion 38. In Malaka's opinion Sabarudin's was the only armed group that was really fighting the Dutch. Sabarudin however was in conflict with all other armed groups. On 17 February, the TNI leaders in East Java decided that Sabarudin and his companions were to be captured and convicted following military law. On the 19th they captured Tan Malaka in Blimbing. On 20 February the infamous Dutch Korps Speciale Troepen (KST) happened to start the so-called 'operation Tiger' from the East Javanese town of Nganjuk. They advanced quickly and brutally. Poeze describes in detail how the TNI soldiers fled into the mountains and how Tan Malaka, already injured, walked into a TNI-post and was promptly executed on 21 February 1949. No report was made and Malaka was buried in the woods. Malaka was shot to death at foothills of Mount Wilis, Selopanggung, Kediri Regency after an arrest and detention in Patje village. According to Poeze, the shoot was ordered by Second Lieutenant Sukotjo of Sikatan battalion, Brawijaya division.
Marxism and religion
Tan Malaka argued strongly that communism and Islam were compatible, and that, in Indonesia, revolution should be built upon both. Thus he was a strong supporter of the PKI's continued alliance with Sarekat Islam, and was troubled when, while he was in exile, the PKI broke away from SI. On an international scale, Tan Malaka also saw Islam as holding the potential for unifying the working classes in vast parts of North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia against imperialism and capitalism. This position put him in opposition to many European Communists and the leadership of Comintern, who saw religious belief as a hindrance to a proletarian revolution and a tool of the ruling class.
Malaka described Nietzsche's, Rousseau's, and Marx-Engels' thoughts as thesis, antithesis, and synthesis respectively; while Wilhelm–Hindenburg–Stinnes', Danton–Robespierre–Marat's, and the Bolsheviks' thoughts as genesis, negation, and the negation of negation respectively.
According to Harry A. Poeze, Malaka assumed that the colonial government used the educational system to produce educated indigenous people who would repress their own people. Malaka founded Sekolah Sarekat Islam to rival the government schools. Syaifudin writes that Malaka had 4 different methods of teaching: dialog, jembatan keledai, critical discussion, and sociodrama. In dialog method, Malaka used two-way communication while teaching. During his time teaching in Deli, he encouraged students to criticize their teacher, or the Dutchman, who was often wrong. In the SI school, he entrust students who received higher grades to teach students with lower grades. Jembatan keledai was inspired by al-Ghazali; in addition to memorizing knowledge, the students were instructed to understand and apply it to their daily lives. Syaifudin writes that it is the opposite of bank style concept, and that it is similar to contextual teaching and learning. On critical discussion, Malaka not only verbally gave a problem to the students, but attempted to expose the problem directly. This method is similar to the problem-posing method of Paulo Freire. The fourth method, sociodrama, aims to make the students understand social problems and resolve them through role playing, and to provide entertainment to amuse the students after studying.
Indonesian historians describe Malaka as a "communist, nationalist, national communist, Trotskyist, Japanese agent, idealist, Muslim leader, and Minangkabau chauvinist".
Tan Malaka's best-known written work is his autobiography, Dari Pendjara ke Pendjara. He wrote the three-volume work by hand while imprisoned by the republican Sukarno government in 1947 and 1948. The work alternates between theoretical chapters describing Tan Malaka's political beliefs and philosophy and more conventional autobiographical chapters that discuss various phases of his life. Volume three has an especially loose narrative structure, containing commentary on Marxist historiography, his positions on the ongoing fight with the Netherlands over Indonesia's independence, and reprints of sections of key documents related to the struggle. Dari Pendjara ke Pendjara is one of a very small number of autobiographies set in colonial Indonesia. The translated book, From Jail to Jail (1991), attracted the English speaking labor movement's attention.
- Parlemen atau Soviet - Parliamentary or Soviet (1920)
- SI Semarang dan Onderwijs - SI Semarang and Education (1921)
- Dasar Pendidikan - Basic of Education (1921)
- Tunduk Pada Kekuasaan Tapi Tidak Tunduk Pada Kebenaran - On the Subject of Power, But Not in Truth (1922)
- Naar de Republiek Indonesia (Menuju Republik Indonesia) - Towards of the Republic of Indonesia (1924)
- Semangat Muda - Spirit of Youth (1925)
- Massa Actie - Mass Action (1926)
- Local Actie dan National Actie (1926)
- Pari en Nasionalisten - Pari and Nationalism (1927)
- Pari dan PKI - Pari and PKI (1927)
- Pari International (1927)
- Manifesto Bangkok (1927)
- Aslia Bergabung - Aslia Merge (1943)
- Muslihat - Deception (1945)
- Rencana Ekonomi Berjuang - Struggling Economic Plans (1945)
- Politik - Politics (1945)
- Manifesto Jakarta (1945)
- Thesis (1946)
- Pidato Purwokerto - Purwokerto Speech (1946)
- Pidato Solo - Solo Speech (1946)
- Madilog - Materialism, Dialectics, and Logic (1948)
- Islam dalam Tinjauan Madilog - Islam in Madilog Views (1948)
- Gerpolek (Gerakan Politik Ekonomi) - Political Economy Movement (1948)
- Pidato Kediri - Kediri Speech (1948)
- Pandangan Hidup - Views of Life (1948)
- Kuhandel di Kaliurang - I'm Holding in Kaliurang (1948)
- Proklamasi 17-8-45, Isi dan Pelaksanaanya - 17-8-45 Proclamation, Contents and Implementation (1948)
- Dari Pendjara ke Pendjara - From Jail To Jail (1970)
- Syaifudin (2012, p. 63) writes that Tan Malaka used 23 aliases. Malaka used Elias Fuentes, Esahislau Rivera, and Alisio Rivera in the Philippines. While in Singapore he used Hasan Gozali. Ossorio was used when he was in Shanghai. Tan Min Sion when he was in Burma. While in Hong Kong he used 13 different names, one of them was Ong Song Lee. In other part of China he used Cheung Kun Tat and Howard Lee. While in Indonesia he used Dasuki, Ramli Hussein, and Ilyas Husein.
- Tamin (1965, p. 3) says that Malaka's birthday was 2 June 1896, and Jarvis (1987, p. 41) writes it is around 1896. According to Suwarto (2006, p. 29), it is 14 October 1897, while Poeze (2008, p. xv) states that Malaka was born around 1894.
- Actually Malaka wanted hoofdacte, which was a higher diploma than hulpactie. However, his poor health meant that he could only achieve hulpactie.
- Jarvis (1987, p. 43) writes that the date was 24 March, while Syaifudin (2012, p. 192) states it was 10 March.
- Jarvis (1987, p. 47) writes that it was on 1 June, while Syaifudin (2012, p. 61) cites it was on 2 June.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 41.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 53.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 53–54.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 54.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 55.
- Poeze 2008, p. xv.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 56.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 57.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 57–58.
- Mrázek 1972, p. 7.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 182.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 58.
- Mrázek 1972, p. 6.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 184.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 59.
- Poeze 2008, p. xvi.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 41–42.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 42.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 186.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 186–187.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 187.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 60.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 188–189.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 190.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 42–43.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 43.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 191–192.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 61.
- Malaka & Jarvis 1991 Vol. 1, p. 81.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 43–44.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 44.
- Poeze 2008, p. xvii.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 44–45.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 45.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 45–46.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 46.
- McVey 1965, p. 206.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 46–47.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 47.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 47, 49.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 61–62.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 49.
- Jarvis 1987, pp. 49–50.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 50.
- Malaka & Jarvis 1991 Vol. 2, pp. 33–52.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 51.
- Kusno 2003.
- Malaka & Jarvis 1991 Vol. 3, pp. 109–119.
- Kahin 1952, pp. 174–176.
- Jarvis 1987, p. 52.
- Poeze 2007.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 64.
- Mrázek 1972, p. 8.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 175.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 223, 225, 231, 233.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 223.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 224.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 226–227.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 227–228.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 232.
- Syaifudin 2012, p. 231.
- Syaifudin 2012, pp. 233–234.
- Kusno 2003, p. 328.
- Watson 2000.
- McInerney 2007.
- Jarvis, Helen (1987). "Tan Malaka: Revolutionary or Renegade?". Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars 19 (1): 41–55. ISSN 0007-4810.
- Kahin, George McT. (1952). Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-87727-734-7.
- Kusno, Abidin (November 2003). "From City to City: Tan Malaka, Shanghai, and the Politics of Geographical Imagining". Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography (Blackwell Publishing) 24 (3): 327–339. doi:10.1111/1467-9493.00162.
- Malaka, Tan; Jarvis, Helen (1991). From Jail to Jail. Research in International Studies, Southeast Asia Series 1. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies.
- Malaka, Tan; Jarvis, Helen (1991). From Jail to Jail. Research in International Studies, Southeast Asia Series 2. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies.
- Malaka, Tan; Jarvis, Helen (1991). From Jail to Jail. Research in International Studies, Southeast Asia Series 3. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Center for International Studies.
- McInerney, Andy (1 January 2007). "Tan Malaka and Indonesia's Freedom Struggle". Socialism and Liberation 4 (1).
- McVey, Ruth T. (1965). The Rise of Indonesian Communism. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
- Mrázek, Rudolf (October 1972). "Tan Malaka: A Political Personality's Structure of Experience". Indonesia (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University's Southeast Asia Program) 14: 1–48. doi:10.2307/3350731.
- Poeze, Harry A. (2007). Verguisd en vergeten: Tan Malaka, de linkse beweging en de Indonesische Revolutie, 1945–1949. Leiden: KITLV. ISBN 978-90-6718-258-4.
- Poeze, Harry A. (2008). Tan Malaka, Gerakan Kiri, dan Revolusi Indonesia 1. translated by Hersri Setiawan. Jakarta: Yayasan Obor Indonesia. ISBN 978-979-461-697-0.
- Suwarto, Wasid (2006). Mewarisi Gagasan Tan Malaka. Jakarta: LPPM Tan Malaka. ISBN 978-979-99038-2-2.
- Syaifudin (2012). Tan Malaka: Merajut Masyarakat dan Pendidikan Indonesia yang Sosialistis. Yogyakarta: Ar-Ruzz Media. ISBN 978-979-25-4911-9.
- Tamin, Djamaludin (1965). Kematian Tan Malaka. No publisher.
- Watson, C.W. (2000). Of Self and Nation: Autobiography and the Representation of Modern Indonesia. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-2281-1.