This chapter assesses the 1926-1927 Uprising in Indonesia across several interconnected geographic and institutional scales: In the Comintern, where exiled leaders of the Partai Komunis Indonesia conferred with Comintern representatives about the situation at home; in the highest levels of the Politburo, where disagreements over revolutionary tactics in China exacerbated the power struggle between Stalin and Trotsky; and in Indonesia itself, where colonial repression inspired the abortive uprising. In so doing, this chapter shows how the Uprising demonstrated the limits of internationalism. As PKI leaders were unable to maintain effective contact with the movement in Indonesia, gaps in information undermined decision-making and led to conflict over the applicability of Russian models to the Indonesian context. Debates over Moscow’s China policy diverted attention from other territories and drew PKI members into the Stalin-Trotsky feud. Comintern support for the Uprising, therefore, did not materialize, further undermining the communist movement in Indonesia.
The Dutch East Indies government adopted the so-called Ethical Policy in the early 20th century, resulting in complex repercussions for Chinese minorities. Education was among the most contended battleground between Dutch authorities and the Chinese community and within the Chinese community itself. While the establishment of the Tiong Hoa Hwe Koan schools galvanized the rise of Chinese nationalistic sentiment, the colonial government also founded a Dutch-language school system specifically tailored for the Chinese to counterweight the potential ideological threat. By exploring the competitions and intricacies between the two systems, this paper seeks to problematize the existing literature that predominantly focuses on only one side of the story. The paper argues that the emergence of the two systems was neither a natural result of the Dutch Ethical Policy nor merely driven by the Indies Chinese’s desperate demand for education. Instead, it vividly reflects various tensions within the heterogeneous Chinese community and its entangled relationships with the transforming colonial state and the ancestral homeland.
People often see the origins of communist movements in Southeast Asia and the region’s overseas Chinese community as closely intertwined. This perception is evident in the cases of densely Chinesepopulated areas such as Malaya and Siam (Thailand), as well as places like Vietnam and Cambodia, where China’s influence has been historically strong in both political and cultural domains. Admittedly, it is very convenient to connect many Chinese-involved communist activities in Southeast Asia to the emergence of the communist party in China, but the simplistic argument – that Southeast Asia imports communism from China – is severely problematic. While overseas Chinese...
Many historians consider the 1926/27 PKI Uprisings as important precursors of Indonesia’s nationalist movement, which ultimately led to the country’s independence. When it comes to the actual course of events, however, existing narratives tend to describe the abortive revolts as ill-prepared, poorly organised and easily suppressed – and consequently, of limited impact in shaking the foundation of the Dutch colonial regime. It is also commonly understood that in the aftermath of the rebellions, dutch authorities dealt a crushing blow to the pki and its associated organisations by carrying out large-scale arrests, imprisonments, executions, and banishments. Beyond these facts, however, very little attention has been paid to the deeper meanings that the revolt revealed. as the following sections will demonstrate, the movement created enormous anxiety in the NEI which forced the Dutch colonial government to act with a strong hand. moreover, with frequent exchanges of information and personnel across the Malacca Straits, the NEI uprisings also generated considerable uneasiness in British Malaya.