Download file doc: CCCS – Communism
What comes to our mind as an Indonesian when we hear the term ‘Communism’ or ‘Communist’? An ideology which negates or rejects the existence of God and opposes with values in our national philosophy (Pancasila)? Or a group of vicious, cruel and sadistic people that is willing to do everything to get what they want?
These views are ‘forcibly’ acceptable.
Indonesians ever had a ‘dark’ history (read: darkened by New Order regime by means of their repression and stereotype of Left-subversive movement as well as their ideological oppression of anti-Communism) with Communism, namely the aborted ‘Communist’ coup of October 1965 (G30S/Gestapu), which almost plunged this nation into an abyss. Because of this reason, the regime banned books that contained or perceived as containing Communist ideological teachings, such as Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. The reasons cited for the banning of books may even sound strange sometimes: it has a ‘harmful impact on the national stability’. Consequently, people often detest Communism severely without ever learning it.
Communism, in brief, is a notion to fight against the ideology of industrial capitalism which began to flourish in 19th century. Communism identifies themselves in three main assumptions: firstly, that there are disparities and alienation in the society due to the class division; secondly, since the alienation is caused by the class division, so that the main purpose of society is to eliminate the class division and unite themselves in the one commune; lastly, the class elimination will likely to occur since capitalism has dug their own graves because of internal contradiction in its own body.
Meanwhile, the evidences of the allergic reaction of Indonesian people toward all related to Communism are the burning of Franz Magnis-Suseno’s book entitled ‘Pemikiran Karl Marx: Dari Sosialisme Utopis ke Perselisihan Revisionisme’ by Aliansi Anti-Komunisme (AAK) and the banning of Eros Djarot’s ‘Lastri’ movie by Front Pembela Islam (FPI) which was considered as ‘intentionally’ re-emerging the nuances of Communism. However, the discourse of Communism in post-New Order era ever arrived at its culmination in the dispute between the House of Representatives and former President Abdurrahman Wahid related to the abolishment of Tap MPRS XXV/1966 about the banning of Communism and Marxism-Leninism.
These acts obviously reveal the intensely psychological trauma of many Indonesians caused by New Order’s 32-years anti-Communism propaganda. The regime constantly depicted Communism as the anti-Pancasila, anti-religion and vicious ideology in order that they were acceptable, even compulsory, to be eradicated. Hence, John Roosa, as written in ‘Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Soeharto’s Coup d’Etat in Indonesia’, argues that under Soeharto’s rule, anti-Communism became one of the state ideologies, as well as Pancasila. The regime used ‘the threat of Communism’ for their political interest. Therefore, this anti-Communism ideology was intended to give the legitimacy and justification of Soeharto’s murderous repression toward all ‘Communism-related or –affiliated people’.
But, what about now? What is the proof that New Order’s legacy of anti-Communism ideology still exists in people’s minds?
If you notice a banner on the fence of Dr. Soetomo hospital about two weeks ago (this banner had been there for 1-2 months), you will find a caution saying “Komunisme: Musuh Bangsa, Basmi dan Hancurkan” by Front Penegak Pancasila (FPP). This is the obvious evidence that Soeharto’s legacy of anti-Communism is still existent in our society, even until now.
Compatible with Antonio Gramsci’s hegemony theory, New Order regime incessantly carried out hegemony practices to all Indonesians in order to create passive and submissive attitude. The regime has constructed self-discipline for people (the opposition) to adjust with the norms determined by the country (the government), in a concerted belief that what has been determined by the country is the best way to survive and attain the prosperity. This regime’s norm is especially the hatred to all related to Communism, or the so-called anti-Communism ideology.
The New Order’s hegemony practices of anti-Communism were not commonly performed through the coercive practices which utilize the executive and legislative power, but mostly through the ideology. The regime constantly implanted the minds of the populace by every method of state propaganda: textbooks, monuments, street names, films, museums, commemorative rituals, and national holidays. The regime maintained the ‘latent danger of Communism’ and kept Indonesia in a constant situation of emergency so that, as stated by the anthropologist Ariel Heryanto, Communism never died in Soeharto’s Indonesia. Consonant with Louis Althusser’s notion of Ideological State Apparatus (ISA), the subject (Indonesians) didn’t feel of getting force, on the contrary, getting ‘interpellation’ due to these methods of anti-Communism propaganda. As a result, people ‘willingly’ accepted and performed all the regime had determined, namely detesting and eradicating all Communism-related and –affiliated things.
In case of FPP’s banner, FPP attempted to romanticize people of New Order’s anti-Communism campaign, which always put Communism as the state enemy, and also call for people to eradicate and destroy this ideology. FPP convinced people that Communism is still ‘dangerously’ existent in our society. As a matter of fact, Communism has been considered suffering destruction following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the Cold War, the symbol of world Communism. Thus, FPP’s banner can be supposed as the continuation of Soeharto’s hegemony practices of the anti-Communism ideology as the means of justification of their oppression toward all ‘Communism-related and –affiliated people’.