Talk:Transition to the New Order

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Page created[edit]

Just a message to anyone who may be editing this article, from the person who created it. Part of my hope with this article is to gather and sort as much available research on the topic of the timultuous period of late 1965-66 in Indonesia on the 40th anniversary of the events. An unofficial goal I am setting is to have this page be of such a quality that on March 11, 2006 (the 40th anniversary of Suharto taking power), it can be put in the "Selected Anniversaries" area of the main page, (e.g.: 1966: Sukarno assigns Suharto emergency powers over the nation in the outcome of the Indonesian Civil War, beginning the New Order period.)

Trying to piece together the events of these years, I find that there are a number of conflicting reports and interpretations of events, in which people very passionately hold on to their "take" on events. There is an "official" version by Suharto, and several unofficial versions by dissident Indonesians, American and British academics and former diplomats, muckraking journalists, leftists, rightists, etc. This is truly a Rashomon of history.

So it's my hope that those with a particular insight or expertise related to these matters will come forward and illuminate some of the more confusing issues. In no particular order, and excluding no one whose interest is piqued, these include

  • Westerners who have a general interest or knowledge about modern Indonesia
  • Indonesians who have a general interest or knowledge about the '65-'66 years and the aftermath.
  • "War buffs" , experts on warfare, and experts on military history.
  • Experts on military intelligence, espionage, and intelligence agency operations.
  • People with knowledge of U.S. and U.K. Cold War foreign policy.

comment retractedNunamiut (talk) 00:12, 17 May 2009 (UTC)


Is it necessarily correct to refer to the perceptions of Chinese-Indonesians by Indonesians of other ethnicity as a "stereotype." According to the book "The Emergence of a National Economy" by 3 Western authors and 1 Singaporean author the average income of Chinese residents at this time was over eight times that of other Indonesians. Also, the violence was not only carried out by Indonesians of Malay descent. Attacks were carried out by Melanesians against Chinese-owned buildings in what became West Irian/Irian Jaya/Papau.

That first point (that Chinese-Indonesians on average are more affluent) may be true, though it doesn't change that it's a stereotype to believe all Chinese are inherently more affluent. Moreover, the allegation that the Chinese were all simultaneously capitalists and behind the PKI is rather absurd, in the same way that Nazi propaganda that Jews were simultaneously conspiring to spread "Bolshevism" and enrich themselves as a race was absurd.
Moreover, I pointed out that ethnic Malay Indonesians were used against the Chinese, because this friction had been established and exploited in the Malayan Emergency by the UK Secret Intelligence Service/MI6. On the attacks by Melanesians, I would by all means invite you to mention them in the article if you can provide some sources. As I think I mentioned above, I'm horribly deficient on knowledge of the actual fighting that took place outside of Jakarta. --Daniel 00:01, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
What I'd love to see is the actual *distribution* of wealth within the population of the Indonesian Chinese, versus Indonesians in general. It may be the case that the few tycoon such as Sudomo Salim are the largest contributors to the general perception of wealth, and hence talking about averages is closer to a stereotype than otherwise. Proponents of the belief that Indonesian Chinese are wealthier than Indonesians should visit places like Tangerang, where the Cina Benteng farmers and laborers live. They are not any more affluent than even the "average" Indonesian, yet they are ethnic Chinese and they are numerous. I did a search on such statistics, at least to get both the "mean" and the "mode" of wealth among the different groups, but can't find anything so far. One other aspect is that many Chinese Indonesians preferred to register as native Indonesians, and many get away with it. These cases are more common among those on the lower economic rungs, as a means of affording extra protection for themselves, and to reduce the amount of extortion they face when they have to take care of bureaucratic stuff. Julius.kusuma 16:59, 2 December 2005 (UTC)


The six generals killed in the 30 September Movement are:

Besides that, several other peopel were also killed:

Hayabusa future 11:57, 7 November 2005 (UTC)

Left Wing Generals[edit]

  • Mayjen TNI Mursyid (One of the people considered to be Panglima Angkatan Darat on 1st October)
  • Marsekal Omar Dhani (Air Force Commander)

Jakman 07:07, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Right Wing Generals[edit]

  • Mayjen TNI Umar Wirahadikusumah: Future Vice President and Commander of the Kodam Jaya on 1st October
  • Mayjen TNI Basuki Rachmat

Jakman 07:07, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Title of this article - Indonesian Civil War[edit]

Is this an appropriate title for this page? After all, 'civil war' implies two sides in conflict, whereas the events in late 1965 and early 1966 seem to have been a series of organized, opportunistic and spontaneous killings with little or not resistance being offered by the victims. Surely an article with this title should focus on the events of the 1950s such as the 'Darul Islam' and 'Permesta' movements. Just a thought. Davidelit 07:48, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

This has been raised before in other talk pages, a number of editors do not agree with the title, but...

No one in the actual place it took place in (ie many Javanese and Balinese survivors, would not in any way consider it to be so) would not know of the events in this terminology. The irony of it is the number of articles that achieve "status" despite the fact that in some academic circles the title would be laughed out of court!! 13:04, 13 June 2006 (UTC)

I've addressed this before. I chose Civil War as a compromise toward NPOV. This is an area of history that is still debated, and is extremely polarized. To give the two extremes that can be taken, we could go with Suharto and call it the G30S Plot -- which totally omits Suharto's own role in the conflict; or we could go with the PKI's version and call it the Nasution/Suharto Fascist White Terror.
The truth is that this fulfills every requirement of a civil war - it was an armed contest for political power over a nation. That one side (the PKI) was virtually wiped out does not make this any less a civil war; that the other side (Suharto) so totally took control of the country afterward that it rewrote the history texts afterward mean that we have to go with the inertia.
And for any who are wondering: please see the What Links Here page for this article to see the numberous redirects for more commonly used names for the conflict. --Daniel 19:36, 13 June 2006 (UTC)
BUT are what links here a sufficient justification for a title that is clearly at odds with printed academic scholarship and general collective memory of the people involved? Was Daniel in Java in the 1960's? Is the wikipedia project enough for one editor to more or less "trap" parts of history in his verbal hangup? 03:54, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi again Daniel. Sorry to go on about this, but I still don't wholly agree with the tile. I have two reasons. Firstly, given that the events following the G30S incident were not a two-sided battle, but largely unopposed killings, were they a war? The military seemed to have used the G30S incident as an excuse to wipe out their main enemy - the PKI - and even if you could call that a civil war, the countless other killings of people utterly unrelated to the PKI were not. Secondly, I have been unable to find anybody else, right or left, Indonesian or western, who calls this period a civil war. The term civil war is sometimes used to describe the events of the late 50s (see 'Subversion as Foreign Policy", Audrey R & George McT. Kahin, The New Press, New York, 1995 pp143 onwards and 'Indonesia: The Possible Dream',Howard Palfrey Jones, Hoover Institute Publications, 1971 p68 onwards). I see that period is on your 'to do list'. How do you plan to refer to the PRRI, Permesta and DI/TII episodes? By the way, well done for the articles you have written so far. Davidelit 05:13, 18 June 2006 (UTC)

My simplistic response is: it's not as simple as you put it. "The military" and "the PKI" were not discrete groups -- this as evidenced by the fact that high-ranking members of the military were PKI sympathetic or at least fellow-travellers. Moreover, the PKI was a very big supporter of keeping the Konfrontasi going -- which is quite possibly why the killing was so lopsided, as the left-wing military faction was so busy with Malaysia, while Nasution and Suharto's forces were all in the capital region.
To elaborate a bit more on the actual pick of Indonesian Civil War over the others, was that Wikipedia has an explicit NPOV policy. If I had my way, I'd actually take the PKI's side and call it the Indonesian White Terror -- because that, in my view, was exactly what it was. But Wikipedia's not served by taking up some all-defining ideological position. I just found Indonesian Civil War to be the least-worst of all possible names. It's not the only possible one, and feel free to suggest others.
In the end, consider this: Indonesia itself has not yet had something like the accounting of casualties or assignment of responsibility as have, say, Sudan, Argentina, or Chile. In the absence of an official accounting (and even then, a rigorous test of that accounting) we are really all just left without much of a clue. The fact that direct victims of the slaughter are dying off quickly, and Suharto and co. now have a case of collective amnesia, are not encouraging developments.
By the way, in case anyone is wondering - I haven't been working on this or many other articles, as I've been consumed by duties at work. I am looking forward to having some more free time around the end of August / early September, which is coincidentally when John Roosa will be releasing the book Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto's Coup d'Etat in Indonesia (ISBN 0299220346). I am planning on bringing this into the article as a source. --Daniel 04:15, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

The Suharto military coup had all the hallmarks of a CIA planned operation. False flag, a percieved enemy, pansies and scapegoats that had cloes ties to Suharto right up until the start of the coup, then dressed up as enemies of both the military _and_ PKI. The notion that the PKI would lead a coup against PKI, the so called G30 military men with no affiliation to the PKI but cloes ties to Suharto suddenly having more extreme wishes and views than even the communists themselves. The smokescreen on history afterwards is also a frequent telltale sign of CIA involvement, now thouroughly documented by both scores of ex CIA officers themselves, former US military personell and described in detail by the recently documented "[[Economic Hitmen]" such as the recent american operative in his book confessions of an economic hitman, which actually deals with the post-coup period and the run up to the coup. there are so many tell tale signs that it would be almost like pretending Stalins purges and trials were not visible fakeries to the rest of the world. In serious judicial investigation it would have to be said that with this amount of leads and evidence there is little room for any honest dissent to the fact that this is more probably than not, a CIA operation from beginning to the end. The "purge" killings and murders that took place after the coup bear a striking resemblance to the CIA initiated coup in chile and all other CIA operations, as for example in the Latin Americas, Guatemala, El Salvador, etc. Nunamiut (talk) 00:27, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

GA delistment[edit]

This article is severely lacking images and the only one it has doesn't give its fair use rationale. If it is done, the GA will be given back but for now it is failing a GA criterion. Lincher 03:23, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

If there are no good images available, what then? In fact, the guidelines as to GA nomination specifically state that a lack of images does not in itself prevent an article from achieving GA status. If this is the only reason for the delisting (and it is the only one stated) then i suggest it be relisted. THe delisting is in fact contradicts WP:WIAGA:
6. It contains images, where possible, to illustrate the topic. In this respect:
(a) the images are tagged and have succinct and descriptive captions;
(b) a lack of images does not in itself prevent an article from achieving Good Article status.
--Merbabu 05:55, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

I agree, WP:GA is different with WP:FA, and Merbabu has the point there, that a lack of images does not in itself prevent an article from achieving Good Article status. Cheers -- Imoeng 06:15, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

i just realised that this Discussion was started in July without actual delistment, rather the delistment was actually made today by another editor. So, from my reckoning - and I am happy to be corrected - not only was the delistment against WP:WIAGA, but the July "delistment" itself was botched. I suggest more care be taken on both counts, particularly given the difficulty in getting GA in the first place. --Merbabu 06:20, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
Hi Lincher, I think we cannot say the lack of images will fail for GA, as it has been written above in criterion 6.b. I noted also copyrighted status of the two images. However, their tags are obsolete and they should be directly linked to the same images in Commons. (I don't know why it does not, by default, links to Commons). We're going to correct for that. — Indon (reply) — 06:22, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

I've raised this issue over at [[1] ]. --Merbabu 07:58, 14 October 2006 (UTC)

So why did it fail? What is the procedure? Wouldn't it be more reasonable to do a review before delisting, just like the discussion at AfD is done before the article is deleted (or not)? The link above does not work. Are there permanent links anywhere to the text of the review, like there are for AfD's? Checking against the criteria of WP:WIAGA I find no fault: well written, good introduction, plenty of inline citations, follows MoS meticulously, etcetera. This all is puzzling and worrisome.  --LambiamTalk 06:21, 30 October 2006 (UTC)
Ah - it has since been move into archives. Here: [2] Have a read and let us know what you think. Yes, a review process would have been preferable. It seems like it was removed because of incorrect interpretation of a criteria, but needs furhter work against another criteria before it gets back. I begrudgingly agree with that assessment. --Merbabu 06:27, 30 October 2006 (UTC)

Change of Title[edit]

Welcome back Daniel! Good to see you are back.Hope being back in wiki land is ok for you! Trust you might consider the following in good faith!

Could I nominate please - Indonesia in Crisis 1965-1966, or perhaps Indonesia Crisis 1965-1966, or similar variants.

I think you will find that some well heeled academics would sigh a deep breath and let their students quote from wiki once again after the change :) The removal of 'Civil War' would be much appreciated - But - do we put it up for a vote, or get an admin to do it simply? I think a number of anonymous and named editors would feel a great relief if the current title was changed. User:SatuSuro 11:53, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

This sounds fine to me. I'd say put it up for a vote, and I will graciously abstain. --Daniel 14:29, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Daniel, in view of my entrenched views, and yours (viva la difference?) lets hope a third party will do so! :) In other words, if there are others concerned - there should be someone prepared to do it, in deference to your hard work I will not :) User:SatuSuro 14:42, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

I am new to this page, but I have to say that calling it the Indonesian Civil War lacks scholarly credibility. I would suggest calling it the Overthrow of Sukarno, which was the pivotal event in the crisis. In effect that is what this article is about, detailing its causes, course and effects. I wouldn't have thought that 'overthrow of Sukharno' is offensive to any particular POV as it is a statement of fact. I feel the current title is actually a bit POV as a civil war implies a contest for power between competing armed groups, which the elimination of the PKI clearly was not. Any combination of the words 'Indonesia' and 'Crisis' would be ok, but once again it does not make clear to a lay-reader at first glance what the 'crisis' is about.
May I also suggest that the headings be re-worked somewhat, as I can imagine that to a lay reader it is not entirely clear what this is all about; for starters there seems to be very little text describing what is titled a civil war. Secondly,

I think labelling what should be the central section G30S is a mistake as once again it presumes a certain degree of prior knowledge from the reader. Headings should make clear to any reader looking at the content box what the relevant section covers. I suggest it be renamed 'Counter-coup and coup'. Since I have no specialist knowledge in Indonesian history I refrained from making these changes myself, but I think they would improve the article. Also, less dependence on contemporary newspaper reports and a few more scholarly works would be welcome. Just my tuppence! Cripipper 19:29, 11 September 2006 (UTC)

  • OK, since no-one has replied to this suggestion of a month ago, I am going to move it.

On the 1965 Indonesian Massacres of civllians[edit] 16:39, 12 November 2006 (UTC) (More Sources and documentation coming shortly)

INDONESIA: Rehabilitation and Redress for Massacre Victims Essential for True Commemoration

  • Asian Human Rights Commission

(Ed. note: This statement was circulated by the Asian Human Rights Commission [AHRC] on Oct. 6, 2005.) (photography caption)A skull unearthed in a mass grave is believed to be one of the victims of Indonesia's 1965-1966 massacre that claimed the lives of an estimated 500,000 to three million people. (Photo: AHRC)

Forty years have passed since the occurrence of one of the largest and least known crimes against humanity of the 20th century: the 1965–1966 massacre of some half a million to a million unarmed civilians in Indonesia who were alleged to be Communists.

In addition to those killed, hundreds of thousands more were tortured and imprisoned, including political opponents of the ruling regime. The families of those killed or imprisoned were also victimised through a programme of institutional ostracism that denied them the opportunity to engage in normal economic and social life.

To this day, Sept. 30 is officially commemorated in Indonesia by mourning the six generals killed during the purported leftist coup attempt that Gen. Suharto used as the means to seize state power in 1965.

  • (note: people,especially military generals, who gain power through extreme violence are said to _seize_ power, not to have "maneuvered themselves into the presidency" , at the very least if one has some dignity to keep, this is the way one comments upon mass killings and mass murder in an honest and real world).

  • By contrast, nothing is officially said of the millions murdered afterwards. In fact, the survivors and family members of those targeted during the massacre continue to be discriminated against in every aspect of their lives. They have been imprisoned, dismissed from their jobs, denied access to education and faced social ostracism by having ex-Tapol (ex-political prisoner) put on their identification documents.

This is the case seven years after the downfall of Suharto and his New Order regime, which were responsible for the atrocity. Indonesia is presently being governed by its first elected president.

  • There can be no legitimacy to a government that ignores the massacre of a million of its citizens, however. Elected representatives have a responsibility to the people. By ignoring evidence painstakingly compiled by victims' families and concerned groups, eyewitness reports and the uncovering of mass graves, the Indonesian government is blatantly shirking this responsibility.

By continuing the institutional ostracism of the survivors through legal and social regulations that prevent them from enjoying their fundamental human rights, the present government is perpetuating the atrocities committed by its predecessors rather than upholding its reported commitment to human rights and democracy.

This year a week of activities was initiated by numerous groups to commemorate the massacre and inform the public of a truth that is still not officially being told. The activities included public discussions, the viewing of documentary films, the launching of books of victims' testimonies and a demonstration to the president's residence demanding that the victims be compensated and rehabilitated with dignity and honour. The focus of these activities continues to remain the same: the truth be told, enabling the victims to shed the stigma they have lived with for four decades.

This truth must begin with the revision of school textbooks.

Indonesian students are learning the same lessons of history as they did under the New Order regime. They learn that the country was threatened by communism and saved by quick army intervention. They learn a mythological account of the events surrounding Sept. 30. They learn nothing of the millions murdered in the bloodbath that followed.

Although these textbooks were earlier exchanged for ones that made no mention of the coup attempt and subsequent atrocities, they are in use again after the new ones were removed from school curriculums by the Ministry of National Education due to public complaints.

Like the education system, the country's legal system is also discriminatory in nature, leaving it unable to serve justice to the victims of the massacre.

  • A class action lawsuit by a group of individuals imprisoned after 1965–1966 was recently heard in court against the current and former presidents of Indonesia.

The victims, demanding the restoration of their honour and compensation for the discrimination they experience to date, were harassed and threatened when they appeared in court. The judge decided the case purely on jurisdictional issues, not on its merits (the court can apparently only hear cases that are filed within a certain period of time after the incident).

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Bill, passed by the government in September 2004, is yet another act of injustice delivered to the victims. The bill omits any definition of who is a perpetrator and further forces the victims to forgive their perpetrators if they want compensation. According to the bill's provisions, only when the perpetrators are given amnesty by the government can the victims be given compensation, and amnesty is given after the victims grant forgiveness. While the commission is presently in the process of being established, it has understandably little support from victims and other concerned groups. Without provisions for genuine justice, which would include legal remedies for the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators as well as compensation for the victims, the commission is a tool to whitewash the massacre rather than an attempt at reconciliation.

  • Genuine national reconciliation is possible only when the truth is told. To this end, the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) urges that school textbooks be immediately rewritten with accurate accounts of the events of 1965–1966 and that legal mechanisms be established for the purpose of giving redress to the victims as well as to monitor and investigate the existing forms of discrimination suffered by the survivors and family members. To aid these mechanisms, it is necessary to enact the Witness and Victim Protection Bill that is currently pending in Parliament. All concerned groups and individuals should urgently take these issues up with the relevant government agencies.

Asian Human Rights Commission

sources on the indonesian massacres of 1965[edit]

just a quick google: indonesia + massacre, gave several sources.

And if google is anything to go by with their system of putting links to the most linked to and accepted in a kind of peer reviewing system,and having them appear first these should not be to extreme for even wikipedia to swallow.
(the asian human rights commisson)

INDONESIA: How the West backed the massacre of a million people

Clinton Fernandes The destruction of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), 40 years ago following the seizure of power by pro-US military officers headed by General Suharto was a decisive event in the history of South-East Asia in the second half of the 20th century.

By 1965, the PKI had three million members and was said to be the largest Communist party in the world outside of the Soviet Union and China. In addition to its large membership, about 15 million people had indirect connections to the party through their membership of peasant associations, labour unions and other social movement organisations led by PKI members. It was, according to a September 1, 1965, US National Intelligence Estimate, “by far the best organized and most dynamic entity in Indonesia”.

Within a few months of the October 1, 1965, Suharto-organised military coup, however, the PKI would be destroyed in a cataclysmic campaign of political terror and mass murder carried out by the Indonesian armed forces (ABRI) and right-wing Islamic organisations.

  • According to a 1968 study by the CIA, “in terms of the numbers killed the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century, along with the Soviet purges of the 1930s, the Nazi mass murders during the Second World War, and the Maoist bloodbath of the early 1950s”. At least one million Indonesians were slaughtered in the anti-PKI massacres.

Nowadays, of course, Western policy-makers are trying to rehabilitate the Indonesian military's reputation in order to fight Jemaah Islamiyah.

This article, therefore, examines Western support for this anti-PKI terror campaign, which seriously weakened Indonesian political life and set the scene for the emergence of Islamic terrorism in the region. For reasons of space, it takes up the story after the massacres had commenced. Once the killings were underway, Western policy-makers and diplomats were keen to support the ABRI. The problem they faced was that President Sukarno's previous anti-imperialist rhetoric had resonated strongly with the Indonesian public. Any overt support would therefore serve only to expose the Indonesian army as a tool of the West.

Sukarno's towering reputation presented a significant obstacle. A deft touch was required. US ambassador Marshall Green understood that economic aid should not be offered because economic difficulties hurt the reputation of the civilian administration, not the army. His military contacts told him that there was an urgent need for food and clothing in Indonesia but it was more important to let Sukarno and his foreign minister, Subandrio, “stew in their own juice”.

Western media coverage

The information campaign in support of the killings was created along similar principles. The ABRI secretly urged that foreign news broadcasters not give the army “too much credit” or criticise Sukarno.

Instead, they should emphasise PKI “atrocities” and the party's role in the mutiny by left-wing ABRI officers that preceded the Suharto-led coup. While Sukarno could not be directly attacked, an Indonesian general offered to provide Western agencies background information on foreign minister Subandrio, who was regarded as more vulnerable.

Australian ambassador Keith Shann was told by his superiors that Radio Australia should never suggest that the ABRI was pro-Western or right-wing. Instead, credit for the anti-PKI campaign should be given to other organisations, such as Muslim and nationalist youth groups.

Radio Australia had an important role to play because of its high signal strength and huge audience in Indonesia. Its listeners included the elite as well as students, who liked it because it played rock music, which had been officially banned. It was therefore told to “be on guard against giving information to the Indonesian people that would be withheld by the Army-controlled internal media”.

The Australian ambassador worked to ensure that it gave “prominent coverage” to “reports of PKI involvement and Communist Chinese complicity” while playing down or not broadcasting “reports of divisions within the army specifically and armed services more generally”.

Another senior official recommended that Radio Australia “not do anything which would be helpful to the PKI”. Instead, it “should highlight reports tending to discredit the PKI and show its involvement in the losing cause”.

The US, Britain and Australia co-operated closely in the propaganda effort. Marshall Green urged Washington to “spread the story of PKI's guilt, treachery and brutality”, adding that this was “perhaps the most needed immediate assistance we can give army if we can find [a] way to do it without identifying it as [a] sole or largely US effort”.

  • The British Foreign Office hoped to “encourage anti-Communist Indonesians to more vigorous action in the hope of crushing Communism in Indonesia altogether”. Britain would emphasise “PKI brutality in murdering Generals and families, Chinese interference, particularly arms shipments, PKI subverting Indonesia as the agents of foreign Communists”.

  • British ambassador Sir Andrew Gilchrist wrote: “I have never concealed my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change”.

Throughout this period, Western radio stations continued to recycle stories from Radio Jakarta or the army newspapers and broadcast them back to Indonesia. US embassy officials established a back-channel link through the US army attache in Jakarta, who regularly met with an aide to Suharto ally General Haris Nasution.

  • The US embassy also compiled lists of PKI leaders and thousands of senior members and handed them over to the Indonesian military. While these kinds of lists were based entirely on previous reporting by the PKI's press, they proved invaluable to the military which seemed “to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership at the time”, according to a report Green sent to Washington in August 1966.

General Sukendro, a senior army intelligence officer, secretly approached the US embassy in early October 1965, asking for assistance in the army's operations against the PKI.
This included supplying “small arms to arm Muslim and nationalist youths in Central Java for use against the PKI”.

  • Green authorised the provision of 50 million rupiahs to the Kap-Gestapu movement, which was leading the anti-PKI terror campaign. He advised the State Department that there was “no doubt whatsoever that Kap-Gestapu's activity is fully consonant with and coordinated by the army. We have had substantial intelligence reporting to support this.” Overall, the US provided the ABRI with money, medicines, communications equipment, weapons and intelligence. It was satisfied with the return it received on this investment.

On February 21, 1966, Sukarno tried to reshuffle his cabinet and sack General Nasution as defence minister.

But with the public cowed in fear of the killings, Sukarno's attempt to assert his authority failed. There were large demonstrations backed by the army, and on March 11 soldiers mounted a show of force outside the presidential palace. Sukarno signed a letter of authority handing over executive power to General Suharto.
He remained president until 1967, continuing to defend the PKI and to speak out against the massacres and anti-Chinese racism that accompanied them. Without access to the media, however, his speeches failed to achieve political traction.

  • In the wake of the massacres, Indonesia's pre-eminent cultural and intellectual organisations — the Peoples' Cultural Institute, the National Cultural Institute, and the Indonesian Scholars' Association — were shut down, and many of their members were arrested or imprisoned.
  • More than one and a half million Indonesians passed through a system of prisons and prison camps.

The PKI was physically annihilated, and popular organisations associated with it were suppressed.

  • The whole of Indonesian society was forcibly depoliticised. In village after village, local bureaucrats backed by the army imposed a control matrix of permits, rules and regulations. Citizens were required to obtain a “letter of clean circumstances” certifying that they and their extended families had not been associated with the left before 1965. Indonesian society became devoted to the prevention of any challenge to elite interests.

  • Control of the universities, newspapers and cultural institutions was handed to conservative writers and intellectuals, who collaborated with Suharto's New Order regime and did not oppose the jailing of their left-wing cultural rivals. Along with the violence, certain cultural values were strongly promoted. Discussion of personal, religious and consumerist issues was encouraged, while discussion of politics was considered to be in bad taste. The conservative establishment also monopolised Indonesia's external cultural relations.

Suharto would rule for more than 30 years until a popular uprising and a crisis-ridden economy forced his resignation on May 21, 1998.

[Dr Clinton Fernandes is a historian and author of Reluctant Saviour: Australia, Indonesia and the independence of East Timor (Scribe, 2004). He is currently a visiting fellow at the Australian National University.] 16:38, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

On "POV" - Furter comments and discussion[edit]

  • 'further comments:

It gets very difficult to get anywhere serious or useful if one discredits what has become the new, (recent, and current,) mainstream version of events by calling it "POV". We are not talking about gossip magazines here. The sources provided are from the BBC, The ITV (UK), The official U.S. National Security Archive, and other official US sources, also The Washington Post, The Guardian and scores of other well known and respected newspapers. These are all very reputable and respected sources.
(somewhat paraphrasing earlier similar comments by other users, but hopefully gets the point out). -- Sincerely John Smith (nom de guerre) 19:49, 7 December 2006 (UTC)

Rise of islamism (Citation needed)[edit]

I don't think this sub-topic is accurate. In fact, in Bali, most of the massacre probably done by Hindu Balinese. And during Suharto reign, Indonesia was (and still) a secular country, compare to Malaysia and Brunei. If there is such thing, please add the citations. i don't want this wikipedia to be a bias media. 01:51, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

Provide your source that there was massacre in Bali. 06:29, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Say "please" per WP:CIVIL. --Merbabu 07:14, 3 August 2007 (UTC)
Firstly, Ricklefs (1991), A Modern History of Indonesia, 2nd edition, p.287 "...the worst massacres were in Java and Bali". Also, the documentary "Shadowplay" mentions - from memory - 40,000 deaths in just two weeks. There are many sources - but, this is not mentioned in the article. It should be added. --Merbabu 07:18, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

"Overthrow of Sukarno" => "Transition to the New Order"[edit]

The article name "Overthrow of Sukarno", which although an improvement on the old "Indonesian Civil War", is still problematic. Davidelit's suggestion of "Transition to the New Order" strikes me as a vast improvement. Are there other suggestions? We need to change this. But it's not urgent - let's discuss and get it right first. --Merbabu 06:38, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Having been one of the antagonists from an earlier and most inapropriate title of the era - to the overthrow - I have no problem with this further change - specially if it takes out any possible implication of POV in the content of a title - well done it is a good change! SatuSuro 08:07, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
  • I like the new name. It sounds more neutral to me. — Indon (reply) — 08:37, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
  • The new article should also have a slightly different emphasis. I think that at last there should be e seperate page called The 30 September Movement, and the Transition... page could include a brief review of the events leading up to G30S such as the "fifth force" proposal. Omar Dhani's trip to China and the Gilchrist Document, as well as the aftermath, particularly the massacres and the way Suharto and co took care to ensure the transition had the appearance of legality, including the Supersemar and the various Tap MPRS used to reduce Sukarno's role. Could be partly a cut and paste job... Davidelit 10:33, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
How about keeping this as the overview/mother/summary page - ie, part of the template series from which the other more detailed articles hang off? So, this article would mention and tie together the failing Sukarno regime in the 1960s, the "coup", the killings, Supersemar, then the entrenching of the new New Order. lol - that's essentially the 1960s(!) but to me it makes sense. Then, we can have separate more narrowly defined articles as required for more detailed coverage - such as Supersemar. That's pretty much how we handled Indonesian National Revolution - there are maybe two dozen articles that hang off the mother page. What do you think? --Merbabu 13:42, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Good idea- better a completed and sufficient overview page - then things can develop from that - i like the idea SatuSuro 13:54, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Merbabu's point is a good one, but I think it is important that there is sufficient information about the process, which was fairly linear in nature, of the overthrow of Sukarno so readers can go to "hanging off" articles for more info, but still get a good idea of the Gilchrist document -> Dewan Jenderal rumors -> G30S -> ABRI's careful and incremental attacks on the PKI -> Supersemar -> Suharto's creeping coup -> Suharto becoming acting president -> Suharto becoming president process. Davidelit 15:30, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't saying this article was 'complete' - but I do feel that each "period" in the template should have a mother article, from which we hang more detailed ones. --Merbabu 08:15, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

Proposed Changes[edit]

This page is now getting lengthy. I think there is enough information about to justify this page covering the enture Sukarno-Suharto transition (ie from the initial blaming of the PKI to the gradual erosion of Sukarno's power via demonstrations, the Supersemar and the MPRS decrees) only, with the G30S section put on a page of its own. I am currently putting together the G30S page (offline), but would like to suggest that large chunks of Transition to the New Order be cut and pasted onto it, and then more detail added about the transition process to this page. As this would be a major change, I would like to hear the views of others before going ahead. Any thoughts? Davidelit 09:35, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

I think it is a good idea - as long as this article remains as a summary that at least mentions each part of the period. Although, i don't think it's length actual word count is a problem, but perhaps its too long and meandering in nature which is more a comment on quality than quantity. --Merbabu 10:33, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks so much for taking the initiative, Davidelit. Great ideas! The Anderson theory would be good on a G30S page and the "was the PKI involved" section too. My only request is that we maintain a fairly good chunk of the conspiracy controversy. I mean, this transitional time, as its been called here, is one of the most impt. periods in "Indonesia's" long history. The New Order (and the state to this day) pounded the official version of G30S into the populace for four decades (counting the post-Soeharto yrs). So a solid discussion of the conspiracy has remain here: it was the raison d'etre for the New Order. If we truncate the events here we may end up inadvertently diminishing the singular event used as an excuse for Soeharto's rise, and the event which was used to help rationalize/characterize the New Order. In sum, great call, Davidelit. Cheers, --Smilo Don 14:53, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Transition to a New & Better Name[edit]

How do I break this to all of you? I know from reading this talk page that a tremendous amount of effort was expended in the struggle to come up with an acceptable name for the article. But I'm afraid that the current name is so generic and non-specific that it is utterly devoid of meaning for the average (i.e. non-specialist) reader. It could mean just about anything! At the very least, the title has got to include some reference to Indonesia. Sorry guys, but it's back to the drawing board... Cgingold (talk) 07:44, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Nah go on you are joking surely - try something else - it took also a year to get an intransigent i own the article (viz WP:OWN withstanding) to even budge on indonesian civil war (which it wasnt) - and if you want really exciting reading (not) try the word java and what has happened to it while it was temporarily overtaken by geographically challenged computer geeks - I wouldnt apologise if I were you - just remember it has taken over a year and half to get to the current title - just add the word Indonesia in the title if you are that worried about it - why not consider how many other nation states on this poor little lump of rock had the term new order in their historical chronology - not many. As for New and Better - bah humbug - there will never be a better name for the subject and as for new - that in itself is a redundancy - it was for the victims of the era known by acronyms that most editors have not chosen to put up as a title - just add indonesia and try to drop the new and better from your vocabulary - if you know how many people suffered because of it - i would devote more time and energy to content than titles - and after watching the java saga and this article saga - i would even come out of pseudo retirement to be ready to debate in the nicest possible way to anyone who wants to tinkle further than add the word Indonesia. cheers, selamat hari raya dan tahun baru - matur nuwun and see ya later SatuSuro 08:40, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

half million[edit]

How is the massacre of half a million people not worth putting in the introduction? MisterSheik (talk) 01:50, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Good point – can’t argue with it. The lead needs to be developed, it’s a huge topic and the lead can easily do with 3 paragraphs as a summary.
But, you know, you can always be bold. You should be confident, as most likely your edit will be an improvement. If not it can always be modified/removed.
This is fascinating topic and is underdeveloped (like many Indonesian history articles) – so, as I said, be bold. --Merbabu (talk) 06:21, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. You've done a great job of summarizing the key points. I tried to shorten the introduction a bit while maintaining the content. MisterSheik (talk) 17:44, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

The edit summary in this change requesting "suspected communists" seems to be based more on logic applied to the English language. While I agree with the edit summary logic in isolation, when applied to the actual circumstances, "suspected communists" could easily be read that there was widespread and fundamental uncertainty over who was communist. While it is true some weren't communist (and some killings were based on personal grudges, etc), the fact is that the vast majority were indeed communist, which was no secret. Nor for the purpose of this article is calling communist a value judgment, rather a statement of fact. Perhaps better than my previous "real and suspected communist" would have been "both real and alleged". Once again, "suspected communists" implies a whole lot more uncertainty to the issue. If we can't agree now, I'm happy to leave it while I develop the section on the killings (as I started over at Suharto) and revisit the lead later - ie, doing the lead first-a summary of the article-is kind around the wrong way. --Merbabu (talk) 01:24, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

I understand what you're getting at now, but I don't think that the wording "(real or suspected)" makes the reality that you describe any clearer. I think it's best then to remove the word suspected from the introduction, and maybe explain this additional information in the body of the article. MisterSheik (talk) 18:09, 29 April 2008 (UTC)


"By 1965, the PKI extensively penetrated all levels of government and gained influence at the expense of the army." "In contrast to the stormy nationalism, revolutionary rhetoric, and economic failure that characterised the early 1960s under the left-leaning Sukarno, Suharto's pro-Western "New Order" stabilised the economy and created a strong central government." "...a left-wing faction overlapping with the Communist Party of Indonesia and the Comintern of which it was a part." And the entire conspiracy theories section. All this needs to be cited soon, or I will go through it and excise the broader claims. For example, there are several reasons for the stability of the economy, the most important being the fact that Western funds were suddenly available. --Relata refero (disp.) 08:42, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

No problem. Can be cited - I will take the above to mean that you will at least let people make the changes. But please don't assume that because the article is not perfect that what is not cited needs to be removed. --Merbabu (talk) 08:45, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
Anything that overstates the stated reference should eventually be removed. We're not here to repeat anti-imperialist conspiracy theories or, equivalently, blame the victim. This has to be written neutrally and without judgments of the sort visible in the lede. No tearing rush, however. There is no WP:DEADLINE. --Relata refero (disp.) 08:48, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
Relata will indeed need to show his cites as much to support his views - as the few eds of the indonesian project might find theirs - soon - if agf is exercised is not that soon at all SatuSuro 08:51, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
A request for cites is perfectly fine - particularly if they are specific. If one looks at the section above, the lead is new and done in round-about manner, in that I did it before I fixed the body. (and the new lead was in response to another suggestion of pov). I will attempt to look into it by adding the info to the body with the cites as I go. --Merbabu (talk) 09:15, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

In detail[edit]

Although citing is not a problem (and I'd be doing it if I wasn't writing here now), I'm wondering whether these points are actually in dispute?...

  • "By 1965, the PKI extensively penetrated all levels of government and gained influence at the expense of the army."
  • "In contrast to the stormy nationalism, revolutionary rhetoric, and economic failure that characterised the early 1960s under the left-leaning Sukarno, Suharto's pro-Western "New Order" stabilised the economy and created a strong central government."
  • "...a left-wing faction overlapping with the Communist Party of Indonesia and the Comintern of which it was a part." (hmmm - not sure about that one).
  • Conspiracy Theory section - I'm not too familiar with it, but it can be worked on.

enough talking for now --Merbabu (talk) 09:24, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

As there are three articles so far included in this discussion - please take it to unless it is very specific to a particular item of information here - thanks SatuSuro 09:26, 28 April 2008 (UTC)

29 April[edit]

User:Relata refero would be assisting editors a great deal if clarified whether his concerns are a indeed "balance" or, simply a lack of citations. I suspect it is in fact more of the latter - or the latter giving the impression of the former. Note, there is a reasonably extensive and long standing list of general references.

Given that there is yet to be anything particularly outrageous pointed out, then citation requests are a far more positive and constructive approach that can be acted on, rather than blanket accusations of imbalance (whatever that means on the day). Not only constructive, but it shows good faith and spirit of collaboration in doing a bit to help what we all know are far from perfect articles. Indeed, a general note requesting citations already exists, and new cite request tags were placed.

Thus, I will be removing the less than helpful imbalance tags soon if no further response is made. --Merbabu (talk) 12:33, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

And I will go through the articles adding inline cites - I think I have most of the necessary info, and tomorrow is a public holiday here :-) Davidelit (talk) 02:39, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm - that's a good offer. On the other hand, I've been promising a bit of a re-write for the last 12 months. So, do the cites, and I will retain what you cite (if I ever get around to it). Cheers. --Merbabu (talk) 03:03, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Works for me. I will cite what you retain. I'll be careful as confusion might blight the slight cite rewrites. All right? Davidelit (talk) 03:48, 30 April 2008 (UTC)
Cripes. Seriously though, your time is limited - just limit your work to citing what might be deemed controversial/contestable. Ie, the date for Supersemar is not contested. Remove what you think is bull or irrelevant. And if anyone has any more issues, then they can add cite tags. In short, don't get to hung up about it. :-) --Merbabu (talk) 03:51, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Death toll incorrect[edit]

Sukarno himself is quoted as saying only 78,000 were killed. Adam Malik stated 160,000. Also I think you should also write that only Western scholarship consensus agrees on a contentious figure of 500,00 which inflates every year. In Indonesia itself- 500,000 is considered a gross exaggeration, pan-politically. Here's the relevent link- commonly used by academics:

which states the MEDIAN estimate of 19 sources (which you do not elect to name)- is 400,000. BUT Clodfelter: states "estimates vary from 150,000 to 500,000" and "more widely accepted": 200,000 to 250,000.

Please correct this error to make the article as intellectually honest as possible. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:58, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Reorganize the Discussion Page?[edit]

Is it possible in WP to reorganize/consolidate all the info on this discussion page? Very hard to follow multiple threads on similar topics, such as title of WP entry, death toll, etc.

Article as I found it in April 2009 still had plenty of POV. For example, the phrase "stand up to Sukarno". He was the President, for God sake! Didn't SBY wait 3 or 4 years before repealing the law about criticizing the Indonesian President?

There is also a strong undercurrent of "left wing vs right wing generals" that almost completely lacks in-text citations. If you read history from shortly before this tumultuous period (e.g., Kahin & Kahin's seminal Subversion as Foreign Policy about Permesta period), the simplistic division of left and right becomes blurry. So, I wonder why that dichotomy should be axiomatic in this WP entry.

Please look at revisions without resorting to knee-jerk "reverts". There are plenty of places where this WP page needs polishing of grammar, regardless of disputes about content. Martindo (talk) 12:28, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

REply to part - the talk page is getting too long and should be archived (we usually archive rather than ever re-organise) - you have a problem with the article - please help improve - the project is short on editors who actively either read the material you talk about - or have the adequate literacy of the general threads of academic debate from either close to the time or more recent trends - if you know about it please contribute!! SatuSuro 01:57, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

Military Split section[edit]

No citations in this short section, which appears to overlap other sections. Most of the content is vague. The left-right split is concisely introduced at the end of the preceding section (Background) and then developed later, so why do we need this short section at all? I recommend cutting it.

In addition, *no* mention is made of land reform on this page, so the reader is given the impression in this section that peasants (a POV label?) mysteriously organized and allied themselves with PKI. A more thorough analysis would clarify that land reform was a serious issue, rooted partially in landlords having bought land at heavily discounted prices from departing Dutch in the early years of the republic -- philosophical and legal questions arose about whether those colonialists "owned" such land after independence. (Similar arguments arose when Timor gained independence.) Martindo (talk) 01:29, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

You make some good points. Land reform probably should be mentioned (in the background section?) But, I don't believe that notable info necessarily has to be long or the point an indeed significance to be expressed. Ie, rather than devoting a section to a pivotal and/or topic, one only needs to write one to sentences and point out that they were "pivotal" and/or "central". Why not add the info (by using good referencing) but keep it concise? The rest of us can always change it in the wikipedia way (he he). regards --Merbabu (talk) 08:57, 30 August 2009 (UTC)

This has to be the worst wikipedia article I've yet to see...[edit]

One of the worst Wikipedia articles around. Right wing propaganda from beginning to end. Newspeak and outright lies, pure western propaganda and insinuations presided over by a couple of wikipedia admin-kings and their little personal cliques with their ludicrous american far right wing views that passes for "objectivity" or even sanity in US media/academia. George Orwell's worst fears have indeed been thoroughly justified... Ludicrous. (talk) 11:46, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Where to begin? Hard to spot for the average person but here goes: a couple of examples: pretending there was any kind of "turmoil" from 1945 - 1965 in comparison with the western backed Suharto coup that murdered around or over 800.000 human beings is so ludicrous that it defies belief and sanity. Secondly, using "communism" up and down as a scare word in a country of 99% peasants and pretending the social political struggle could at all be compared with any communism as we knew it from the Soviet union of Stalin or Mao is equally insane. The article goes on to blame an "execution" of 6 military officers on Sukarno, an event that is highly dubious. The list goes on...This is insane. Viewed from any reasonable historians viewpoint this article looks like it is written by Fransisco Franco's propaganda ministerium. It's a disgrace and an affront to any reasonable adult or anyone with a minimum of degree of academic honesty or decency! (talk) 11:54, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Like most articles on wikipedia, there is room for considerable improvement here. But it is by no means a bad article, let alone "the worst" article on wikipedia. Picking out your more specific 3 examples:
  • I can't see where the article compares "turmoil" between two periods (ie, 1945-165 vs. 1965-66).
  • Fact: The army and Suharto used "communism" as a justification for his actions. Fact: the army and Suharto blamed the killing of the generals on the PKI (Indonesian communist party). No-one questions that the army and Suharto did both these things. But, no matter whether "communism" or the "communists" were involved or not, it doesn't change the highly significant fact that the army and Suharto blamed them. I don't understand the rest of your point about "99% peasants" and the Soviet Union, Stalin, or Mao.
  • The article does not blame the killings of the generals on Sukarno. (however, I did change the word "executed" to "killed" - ie, it's less emotive in good wikipedia style - what do you think?).
As for the rest of your posting, once one takes out the hyperbole (ie, "worst article on wikipedia", "ludicrous", "defies belief and sanity", "insane", "Fransisco Franco's propaganda ministerium, "disgrace", "minimum of degree of academic honesty or decency!") there's nothing else to address. regards --Merbabu (talk) 20:51, 28 February 2011 (UTC)