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M. Ferares, De revolutie die verboden werd; Indonesie 1945-1949.

M. Ferares, De revolutie die verboden werd; Indonesie 1945-1949. Amsterdam: Abigador, 2014, 290 pp. ISBN 9789079319022. Price: EUR 29.50 (paperback) (to order from the publisher:

Maurice Ferares (1922) has a history of seventy years of political involvement in the radical-socialist movement. In the forties and fifties he was prominent in Trotskyite organisations. In its periodicals he published on Indonesia, with a special interest in Tan Malaka, then considered as close to the Trotskyite political thought. This specific interest in Indonesia remained, and now, at last, he published his De revolutie die verboden werd, a manuscript that has already circulated in a smaller circle for a number of years. It is a polemical report, in a sharply critical tone, first on the development of a communist movement in colonial Indonesia. This Partai Kommunis Indonesia (PKI) affiliated with the Moscow-dominated Communist International (Comintern), and was soon the victim of the capricious Soviet policies, dictated by intra-Russian controversies, in particular the Stalin-Trotsky feud. In 1926-1927 in China and Indonesia this resulted in disastrous collapses, all, in Ferares' opinion, the result of Stalinist bureaucratic dictatorship. Blame for the failures was laid with Trotsky, and the PKI, reduced to an underground group, remained faithful to Moscow, with Muso as its leader in exile. Ferares includes a number of interesting documents from the Comintern archives, hitherto unpublished, in the 38 appendixes of his book. After the hundred or so pages on pre-1942 developments--the period given in the title is somewhat misleading--Ferares turns to the post-war developments. The Dutch social-democrats in power betrayed their lofty ideals of a new relationship with Indonesia, by opposing the Republic of Indonesia. And by sending troops, the Dutch communists (cpn) supported this recolonisation until 1948, as did the Perhimpoenan Indonesia, the influential Indonesian students organisation in the Netherlands. Their stand was copied by the PKI in Indonesia, which followed a moderate course, cooperated in bourgeois-dominated governments, and supported the Linggajati Agreement, that contravened the ideals of the proclamation of independence of 17 August 1945. Ferares emphasises that the choice for a revolutionary mobilisation of poor peasants and workers was not made, causing the failure of a socialist revolution. Notwithstanding his sympathy for Tan Malaka, he also reproaches him for not having made this choice. The PKI policies changed when Moscow in 1948 engaged itself in a Cold War with the West. Muso returned from Moscow and promoted a radical course which led to the Madiun Insurrection. Ferares' analysis of this revolt is rather shaky, and omits available evidence. In all, this book is a polemical, partisan account. For the insiders, it opens up a number of new sources and some new vistas, especially in the appendixes included. Unfortunately references are rather scanty and inconsistent, and too many errors mar this monograph.

DOI: 10.1163/22134379-17004013

Harry A. Poeze

KITLV/Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies

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Author:Poeze, Harry A.
Publication:Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania
Article Type:Book review
Date:Oct 1, 2014
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