Prior to the October I, 1965 coup attempt, the leaders of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) controlled the largest Communist organization in any non-Communist state. The Party itself, with some three million members, was the center of a web of mass organizations claiming 15 million members and seeking to mobilize specific segments of the population: workers, peasants, youth, women, students, cultural workers, university teachers, and even village officials. D. N. Aidit, M. H. Lukman and Njoto, the triumvirate that had led the Party since January 1951, were honored by President Sukarno at home and by the major Communist parties abroad. A Djakarta-Peking axis was the base of a vociferous confrontation against the West, and Communist youths spearheaded government-sponsored demonstrations against “neo-colonial” establishments within the country. Meanwhile, several non-Communist politicians and military officers appeared to be plotting their own opening to the left in preparation for a Communist takeover.
Two excellent studies describe political developments in the period from 1945 to 1957:
Information on the officer corps is to be found in
Although there have been several rebellions in Indonesia since the end of the war of independence in 1949, those of Moslem fanatics have been generally the most persistent and bloody: in Atjeh in the 1950's, in West Java and adjacent areas of Central Java until 1962, and in South Celebes until 1965. Reports in late 1964 and during 1965 indicated that in at least parts of East Java the Moslems were beginning to employ violence against Communist village workers.
For an account of the development of the PKI under Aidit's leadership, see the author's
That the Sukarno-army dismissal of the parliamentary system faced the PKI leadership with distasteful but unavoidable choices is seen most clearly and pathetically in Sakirman, “Apa Arti Sokongan PKI kepada UUD 1945 dan Demokrasi Terpimpin” (The Meaning of the PKI's Support for the 1945 Constitution and Guided Democracy), Bintang Merah, part I, May-June 1960; part II, July-August 1960.