Oct 5th, 2007, in History, by

Remembering the Communist Party (PKI) in the post Suharto era.


Under General Suharto, after 1984, every September 30th citizens, particularly schoolchildren, were obliged to watch Arifin C Noor’s propaganda film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (The Treason of the September 30 Movement and the Indonesian Communist Party), which portrayed the events of 1965, including the murders of six Indonesian Army generals on the night of the 30th, according to the official view, that is, that the murders constituted an attempt by the Communist Party to overthrow the government.

Pengkhianatan G30S PKI

The Executive Director of the Institute for Public Studies (IPS), Fadli Zon, however complains that these days the traditional view of events is being attacked from all sides and ordinary people are becoming confused.

The efforts to change the story of G30S/PKI and to make the PKI look like they were the victims and not the instigators keeps going on and is getting more and more intense.

There were now at least five versions of the events of 1965, he said, some of which blamed the PKI for part involvement in a coup attempt, some exonerated the PKI entirely, and some blamed the CIA and MI6.

Some of these alternative views managed to find their way into school history text books in 2004, which were later banned, and some of them then confiscated and publicly burned, as the authorities attempted to re-assert the primacy of the orthodox view of history.

Fadli said the aim of the PKI was always to establish a dictatorship of the proletariat and they had attempted to do so three times, in 1926, 1948, and then 1965. antara


Akhyar, a resident of Kanigoro village in Kediri, remembers how on 19th January 1965 thousands of Communist Party members attacked a meeting of the Indonesian Islamic Students association, (PII, Pelajar Islam Indonesia) being held in a mosque in the village. Some of the students were tortured and killed, he said.

Akhyar says however that after the events of September 30th local people had their revenge on the communists, and Kanigoro became a centre of anti-communist activity, with the bodies of murdered communists being buried in a mass grave, today called “Makam Parik”. antara


Madiun, like Kediri, was once known as a stronghold of the Communist Party, but the deputy mayor of the regency, Gandhi Yunita, said on 1st October, Pancasila Day, that he hoped this stigma had finally been erased.

Gandhi said that in the 1940’s the PKI moved its base from Solo to Madiun and in 1948 staged a rebellion in the town, led by Amir Muso, in an attempt to establish a Peoples’ Republic. In the village of Kresek in September 1948 Gandhi says communists murdered many clerics, policemen, teachers, health workers, and journalists, before their rebellion was crushed by the Siliwangi division of the Army. tempo

Even to this day the people of Madiun have not gotten over the psychological trauma of the PKI’s atrocities.

33 Comments on “G30S PKI”

  1. Andrew says:

    Millions of people disappeared following the G30S incident – allegedly murdered by the ORBA regime — is that fact or fiction? If that is fiction, then the horrible story of G30S PKI may just be another tale.

    In politics, right or wrong depends on which side you are on.
    Morality takes a backseat. Honesty has a new name.

  2. Sylvester says:

    Yup Andrew. Indonesia was a battleground for the US/NATO vs China/Soviet Union in the 60s.
    The US won it and with suharto’s help, took many indo natural resources afterwards.

  3. Chris says:

    Under General Suharto, after 1984, every September 30th citizens, particularly schoolchildren, were obliged to watch Arifin C Noor’s propaganda film Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI (The Treason of the September 30 Movement and the Indonesian Communist Party), which portrayed the events of 1965, including the murders of six Indonesian Army generals on the night of the 30th, according to the official view, that is, that the murders constituted an attempt by the Communist Party to overthrow the government.

    They also banned “The Year of Living Dangerously”, the 1983 Peter Weir film with Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver:

    IMDB page
    Wikipedia (English)
    (Indonesian, less detail)

    persumably becaused it dared to challenge the official version of history, and to say some less than heroic things about Sukarno and the Indonesian military. It was allowed to be screened at Jakarta International Film Festival in 2000 under President Wahid, and was shown on Metro TV – minus a few scenes – in 2004.

  4. Colson says:

    To learn about the truth of 1965 it seems to me to be worthwhile to read the entries of 30.9, 26.9 and 6.9 at http://www.overseasthinktankforindonesia.com/

    To come to terms with the crimes against humanity by Suharto and his gang, Indonesia should recognize the facts and should follow the lead of South Africa: the culprits who are still alive, should be tried by some tribunal of reconciliation.

  5. Sputjam says:

    Those cold war days.
    US and Soviets/china used remotes in third world country for domination.
    It was a fight between two systems and the battlefield stretched far and wide, from central america to South East asia.
    In Vietnam alone more than a million died, including 50000 american GIs.
    These 2 ideologies are no different from religious ideologies. since the fall of the soviets, it is the islamic ideology that is fighting the US, each convinced their system is better than the other.
    A day will come when all men will see the futility in ideologies. Every person should impose a self discipline to honesty, love and refrain from lewdness, evil and profiteering/greed.

  6. Beni Bevly says:

    There is another movie shows how 30th September Movement and afterwards happened in Indonesia. The title of the movie is “Shadow Play” and here is the link http://www.thirteen.org/shadowplay/index.html .

  7. Ross says:

    Sputjam is surely wrong to equate democracy with other ideologies, as if they are commercial brands of toothbrush, equally useful.
    Communism, like its sister Nazism, was a homicidal dementia, which still has. sadly, many defenders even outside the remaining slave states where it holds sway. You can spot them by their almost invariable waffling when asked to condemn the marxist evil, always rubbishing on about ‘social progress’ ( i.e. an irreligious anti-national ruling class replacing either free elections or a religious and patriotic ruling class), or often they give themselves away with open lies about Cuba’s great health services – which are of course reserved for Castor’s clique and foreign freedom-haters like Michael Moore.
    As for Islamist ideology, not to be confused with Islam as a religion, then we see what it means to impose on all nations – death to adulterers apostates, brutal floggings of kids and working men who dare to cuddle lovers or play cards, and banning mixed marriages.
    Let’s not kid ourselves. America’s way of life, and the West’s in general, has in the past been infinitely superior to any other system, and those non-West lands that have adopted it, South Korea, Free China, Japan, are much better off than any of their neighbours.
    As the Indonesians mentioned above clearly know, the PKI was a malignant cancer, just as any Communist party is, a current example being that in little Nepal. There the mainstream parties made the grave error of treating reds as normal politicians, despite their long record of terrorism. Now those Nepalese reds have realised they won’t win elections, so they have pulled out of the deal.
    They should be taken on and taken out. Like the PKI, who were excised and a good thing too.

  8. Oigal says:

    Still at it hey Ross,you blood thirsty old facist! Cute words “who were excised and a good thing too” as if we are talking about like banning a political party or something. Too bad they also mean that hundreds of thousands of barely literate, village people were slaughtered by roving gangs of thugs and their children’s children are still being harrassed today (of course, many of those slaughtered weren’t even “token” communists).

    Tell us Ross how many women and children had to die before the end didn’t justify the means anymore.

    As for Nepal ..yea far better they revert to the old Monarchy, dang Serf’s getting above their station. Or are you really going to pretend that Nepal was/is a just and fair democracy?

  9. Sputjam says:

    I did not condemn democracy. If US is referred to, it meant capitalism. China embraced capitalism before England was formed, never mind the US.
    Capitalism flourished when a monetary unit was formed, making things easier to trade.
    Democracy has its flaws. In the US, the native indians were denied the right to vote until too late.
    If the voice of the majority is upheld, then what do the minorities do when they are subjected to unfair practices, such as in malaysia and singapore, or even in indonesia?
    In a multiracial settings, I think the vote of the majority will marginalised the minorities. Democracy works in a single ethnic entity, not in multiracial settings.Much like to european union, only by consensus will the minority voices be heard.
    The countries Ross mentioned as being successful have also eliminated religion from the government, as all government and mankind should, using common sense to promote good governance and a civil and caring society, and keeping the priests and dictators from enslaving the masses.

  10. Ross says:

    Well, ‘bloodthirsty old fascist’ (get your spelling right) is a step up from ‘frog, goose and dinsaur,’ as I was previously abused. I guess moving into political terminology from zoological is progress of sorts.
    Turning to serious commentators, Sputjam, I apologise if I misunderstood your views on America, and gladly accept your assurance that you believe in democracy.
    Whilst the free parts of Korea and China, and also Japan have no state-established churches or faiths, they do have freedom of religion and I rather think they operate in accordance with the religous/moral beliefs of the bulk of their citizens (though I am open to correction on this -no expert on Korean religion, among other things)
    As you say, the E.U. is incompatible with democracy, which Brits sense, and know from experience, hence their hostility towards it. ASEAN nations should beware siggestions that they imitate the Brussels Empire.
    Returning to the lunatic lefty Ogle…
    Nepalese politics may be worth arguing about, maybe, but the point I made was that the reds entered into a deal and left when they faced exposure to democratic elections. The other parties were, and are, unwilling to abolish the monarchy, wishing to transform their little nation into a constitutional kingdom, like Japan or Malaysia, which may not be perfect but are infinitely better and more free than any of Ogle’s pet tyrannies in Vietnam or Laos or Red China, which is what his ‘innocent’ PKI would have imposed on Indonesia. Yes, there were Indonesian peasants killed who shouldn’t have been, because they were conned by communist propaganda into PKI fronts. But the ‘intelligentsia’ knew very well what horrors lay in store if Adit and his comrades took power -why cry for them?
    ‘Bloodthirsty’ – you fellow-travellers never give up ignoring or making excuses (making omellettes, breaking eggs, etc) for the large and small holocausts in Thirties Ukraine and elsewhere or the Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camps (and I refer to the ones re-opened by Ogle’s Soviet ‘liberators’ in 1945 after the nazis had been evicted.)

  11. Oigal says:

    It is simply impossible you isn’t Ross. We have spoken about mis-direction and mis quoting before its dishonest and really a sad portrayal of a pint of view.

    Now you have managed to jump around the globe and the era, but avoided the point ‘How many of those Indonesian peasants (such a yesterday term) had to be killed before the end did not justify the means anymore, a 100,000, 200,000 a million”?

    Ogle’s pet tyrannies in Vietnam or Laos or Red China, or

    his ‘innocent’ PKI

    When did I say PKI was innocent??

    Could there be a sillier statements. Just because someone does not think its ok write off millions of people to support a far right tyranny does not make then a far leftist nor a communist.

    Here’s a tip Roscoe, just because some one finds your views on the world and your disregard of human life repugnant does not make them a leftist.

  12. Ross says:

    Poor Wee Robbie Ogle!
    I offer riposte to his ignorant observation on Nepal and he flies off the handle, waggling his ‘Third Grade Debater’s Handbook’ and weeping over my sins of ‘misdirection.’ Mind you, his reference to a ‘pint of view’ may indicate a less than sober appraisal of other people’s opinions.

    Actually, this is a free forum and debate may go where it pleases, which makes its site much more interesting, but in any event, Oggly’s narrow focus is inherently misplaced, especially from a fellow-travelling lefty. (he is surely no righty!) because the marxist virus is a worldwide menace, and has been around for a long time. If we fail to put its Indonesian variant in a broad geo-political and historical context, we risk forgetting the nature and extent of its evil.
    Check your TGDH ,Oggle, and seek help for your problem of ‘repetition.’ I said already that it was not right that unlettered peasants should have been murdered. I see no need to repeat it again.
    Pity you don’t give a toss about the unlettered peasants murdered by Mao, Bela Kun, your dear old Uncle Joe and the others in your pantheon of dieties, not least the Kim Dynasty in North Korea, so admired by the PKI’s Aidit, who got what he deserved. Though of course your pink oggling heart is doubtless bleeding for him still.

  13. Janma says:

    Ross, i think the communist threat is over… you can relax now…. the world has moved on.

    Remember two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do.

  14. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Oigal’s not a lefty. Seriously. Even if he was, the chardonnay socialists weren’t great friends of Mao once they found out what he really did.

    More to the point: the reds debate is over, pal. No-one, including the reds think Marxist-Leninism is a good way to run an economy anymore. You’re about 40 years out of date.

    In terms of Indonesia, history’s being re-written because the G30-S-PKI as depicted in the movie was just bullsh*t. The truth is pretty ugly for the left. Peasants killed peasants, often over little more than an extra rice field they’d been arguing about for generations or because some neighbor got to marry the prettiest girl.

    But we just don’t know what drove the whole thing. The answers are lost in the shadows of 1965. We can, however, find them, through the light of scholarship and debate. But yammering away at cobwebbed arguments, my friend, isn’t helping anything, anyone, and is no credit to the memory of those lost in the night.

  15. Sam says:

    Has this Ross been like down a well for the past two decades?

    I’d like to give him a news flash:

    It’s 2007.

    The Soviet Union no longer exists.

    China is only really communist in name only.

    Vietnam is opening up for trade.

    Castro is literally on his last legs and will die soon as will communism on that crumbling island.

    North Korea is an internationally recognized basket case which no country would like to emulate.

    No one gives a sh*t about Nepal.

    Better Ross finds some contemporary things to fear like radical Islam; for example.

  16. Ross says:

    Well, three critics, but more articulate and infinitely less infantile than Ogle.
    Okay, Sam, so you think communism is a dead duck. I wish it were truly plucked but if you look at Latin America, Chavez is coercing Venezuela down the Castro road to tyranny, and others may be close behind. Communism of course is economic garbage, but the despotic political core holds firm in all CP-run countries. Prisons for dissenters, no free unions, no opposition press or parties -it hasn’t changed essentially, still denies its subjects what we often take for granted.
    Ogle doesn’t care about that, merely whines about the past, eager to have the PKI rats rehabilitated- that’s why I don’t let it drop, because Ogle’s type loves to paint vermin like the PKI as some kind of agrarian reformers- not so. They were vicious totalitarian hypocrites, like all CPs everywhere.
    And yes, I see the menace of Islamist fanatics. But most everyone does, whereas uninformed people might think PKI deserved sympathy, if Comrade Ogleski were to have his white-washing way.
    Achmad, and Jamma, you are too quick to count them out. There were thousands, millions of marxists around until the Berlin Wall fell- did they all just disintegrate? Universities were churning them out through the 60s and 70s and now those grads are the profs and professionals – of course some grew up, but a lot still evince every sign of ideological infection. Cultural marxist power-grabs would make a nice next topic!

  17. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    A better effort. And yes, since the Berlin wall fell, it’s been possible to be an intellectual Marxist. But as a way to run a society, it’s been discredited for a long, long time. Chavez’s antics are more populism than Marxism, who very few people have actually read, including you, my friend.

    Marx’s analysis of globalization, written 150 years ago was prophetic, quoted by the likes of arch-liberal Thomas Friedman in the World Is Flat just last year. Modern neoclassical economics hasn’t matched his analysis of recession and depression. Above all, it’s very unlikely the red-guard thugs of the PKI would have understood it.

    Pal, Oigal ain’t a communist. He ain’t. Oigal’s a gentleman skeptic and free thinker who’s sometimes conservative, sometimes liberal but never communist.

    We don’t know what happened in 1965. The CIA was probably involved. Suharto probably re-wrote history. The PKI probably couldn’t been as bad. Alot of neighbours killed neighbours for sure. We just don’t know. The answers are lost in the night, but as mentioned previously, squeezing the episode into cold war rhetoric won’t shed any light or uncover the lost history.

  18. Achmad Sudarsono says:

    Correction: above should’ve read PKI probably would’ve been as bad, or killed as many people.

  19. Pakmantri says:

    Ha ha ha ………….. lol, rotf :-).

    I could not believe I am cheering for pak Achmad Sudarsono!!! Go Achmad go …… 🙂


  20. Oigal says:

    Truely scary, AS on my side, tis but weird world!

    Now back to our neocon Ross. Sorry my spelling errors annoy you, wait …no I am not. Lucky I used “pint” instead of word litre as it is about 30 years to recent for you Rip Van Winkle.

    the marxist virus is a worldwide menace

    straight from the Salem Witch Trials in

    Actually what is a greater menace, is fanatics like you who believe its ok to slaughter thousands because they don’t support those “ism” that those in power do

    I do admire your squirming although how you equate todays Nepal into (the)

    Indonesian variant in a broad geo-political and historical context

    is feat that even David Blaine would be proud of. By the way the “pint” still stands if you are going to use Nepal as a example fo the red menace you really should be prepared to defend its alternative not duck away to Japan. Here’s a tip, stick with the Koreas, they make a far better (albeit hardly relevent as Nth Korea is a sick abberation of the norm) case for your dated debate.

    You are of course correct that Communism leads to

    Prisons for dissenters, no free unions, no opposition press or parties -it hasn’t changed essentially, still denies its subjects what we often take for granted.

    how is that different from the world you so desire, you have already stated that it was only a “shame” that a few peasants got slaughtered in 1965. In fact could you not say the same existed in Indonesia after the PKI was routed and those couple of hundred thousand peasants were killed. “Prisons for dissenters, no free unions, no opposition press or parties” sounds awfully post 65 Indonesia to me or are you going to quote the free press of Nepal to me. Do we really want to go into all the other despots raised and supported in the fight against the red menace. If you travel too far to the left or right the results are the same ..always the same.


    Been a bit busy today do feel free to spell check if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

  21. Ross says:

    ‘few people have actually read…including you my friend..’ Achmad, you may have great self-perceived qualities but being a dukun ain’t one of them. Please don’t assume too much in your attempt at intellectual machtergreifung.
    As a wise doctor studies disease, of course I studied marxism, to postgraduate level, though the mention of higher education will presumably provoke a resentful jibe from the Ogglet, who in turn obviously ain’t very well-travelled, as he’d know that pints are alive and well in the Mother Country.
    The comparison with Nepal today and Indonesia pre-1965 is pretty obvious, collaboration in coalitions as the PKi had been operating under Sukarno, not that far different from the pretence of fair play and democratic discussion in Nepal, until the Reds sussed they were on a loser if free elections were held. Now they are doing their best to scupper things.
    Poor Ogglet can’t get his head round the fact that we can talk to each other as liberals, conservatives, social democrats – but communists are a breed apart. Yes. they can see the light, become good citizens, but until that happens, they should be beyond the pale. Otherwise you just bring up another generation of gullible Ogglets who think reds are like normal folk. And whose literacy is such that they interpret ‘it’s a shame’ as ‘it’s okay’,
    Sorry Achmad, I am prepared to listen to your arguments but not accept that such a sad little rude-boy as the Ogglet qualifies as a ‘gentleman.’ You degrade the word by bracketing it with his ‘name.’

  22. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    OK. Reading is different from understanding. Let’s not get waylaid into an arcane debate about what Marx really meant, but the fact is most people in academia don’t have either the technical knowledge or concentration to get through his economic arguments, which actually drew heavily on Adam Smith, believe it or not. But let’s take you on your word.

    As a humble ukele player and pencak silat teacher, I don’t know what machtergreifung. means. Please explain.

    Let’s cut to the chase:

    Why are you picking on Oigal ? He’s really a pretty fair-minded and decent chap and seriously, is no communist.

    Why are you whipping a dead horse (communism) ?

  23. Oigal says:

    Ross makes a fine spokesman for the NEW (OLD?) Order, you don’t agree with my repression and summary imprisionments etc etc ergo you must be a far left communist!

    Edgar Hoover..Where are you??

  24. Oigal says:

    Oh…and Ross…temper temper now..

  25. Ross says:

    Seriously, Achmad, I do not pick on people, unless they are very infantile people who mix into adult debate. They should be seen and not heard if they cannot hold a steady discussion without the sort of tantrums evinced in the post just above this.
    I do not let temper dictate my posts, but type them equably, addressing civilised critics in a civilised manner. However, I reserve the right to make exceptions of little reds like Ogglet, who first made my acquaintance with the greeting ‘sac of pus’ in another thread. That was his sophisticated analysis of a theory supported by many historians, notably the Dutchman Dake, and which accords with all that’s known of communist practice everywhere.
    I must express surprise at your claim that he is not a commie, or fellow-traveller, but then, as you say, ‘reading is different from understanding.’ I shall take you at your word also, and assume you read all his gunk yet did not see the cultural marxist undercurrents. (like his last throwaway phrase on J. Edgar Hoover- types like Ogglet usually parrot the Comintern smear about Hoover, regardless of the fact it was a figment of some NKVD agents’s imagination.)

  26. Achmad Sudarsono says:


    Well, if you want get obsessed with a debate that’s over for the time being go ahead. No one will stop you. But Oigal works for some sort of mining, oil and gas company, in a sector which at the moment is run on very capitalist principles, so unless he’s a well-pumper or minesite satpam, which I doubt, he’s probably in favour of the system that rewards him well – capitalism.

  27. Sputjam says:

    Communism activities in asia was backed by china. It was succesful in vietnam, as it has a very sizeable chinese population, and most chinese merely folllow the ideology of the motherland.
    In Malaysia, the radio broadcast of communist party of Malaya was from beijing. Even their leaders reside there, letting the peasant army of mostly chinese immigrants do all the fighting.
    I am not sure who the main backers of PKI are. But sukarno and zhou-En-lai were bossum buddies. During their time, the non-aligned movement were in their hands. I heard, after the downfall of PKI, millions of migrant chinese communities in indonesia either abandoned or fled to neighbouring countries or returned to china if they managed to escape persecution. There are chinese in china who still have the ability to speak bahasa indonesia.
    Communism did not get much support in the phillipines and thailand, probably because the chinese communities there fled communism.

  28. Oigal says:

    Ross, However outdated and silly your “pints” may be, it’s not nice to tell “big fat porkies” in order to belittle someone.

    “Ogglet, who first made my acquaintance with the greeting ‘sac of pus’ in another thread.”

    Naughty man what was actually said was

    Does anyone with an ounce of education and free thought actually believe that crock of pus anymore. Belly laughs all round, except for the hundreds of thousands who were slaughtered to satisfy a certain someone’s lust for power of course.

    Tad different context, most would agree. Anyway you have become boring again till next time

    Wait thats not fair..not totally boring

    parrot the Comintern smear about Hoover, regardless of the fact it was a figment of some NKVD agents’s imagination

    Is an absolute classic which stands tall on its own paraniod and delusional merits.. Seriously well done.

  29. Ross says:

    Here he goes again, accusing his antagonist of lying because I used the word sac instead of crock. They are both containers, and he used the phrase to describe his opponent’s explanation of what happened in 1965. By his own age-ist account, he was probably not born then and so should read other people’s books (besides the Jakarta Post’s pin-up lefty authors)who have something useful to say.

    Achmad, many’s the red who battens on capitalist bucks to feed his face while subverting the system that feeds him.
    But, now, friends and comrades, far from being obsessed, I am bored witless with Ogletski’s ranting fury, and until there is a new and more interesting thread, I propose to bow out, leaving the minerals satpam/commissar to froth about delusions whilst he swallows red propaganda whole. Of course the Soviet Secret Services never smeared anybody, Ogski, they were just nice guys who enjoyed chess and torture. Bleat on, Og, or read the Venona Papers, or at least something other than the Jakarta Post’s poster-child authors.

  30. Oigal says:

    laugh, lots of abuse but nothing of interest Mr Hoover, don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out. However, I do apologise for using crock of pus to describe your sad version of history, it was way too kind.

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