New essay (working draft): Indonesia: 1965 and the Counter-Revolution against the Nation.

Indonesia:  1965 and the Counter-Revolution against the Nation.

By Max Lane

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“The impact of the counter-revolution was, however, even deeper than the sum of these combined policies – from mass murder and terror to totalitarian imposed ignorance and passivity. The 1965 counter-revolution was a pre-emptive purge aimed at the prevention of the final unfolding and completion of the revolutions that were brewing: a national revolution as well as a social revolution.”

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Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, of immense geopolitical strategic importance straddling the sea and air lanes between the Indian and Pacific oceans, and with substantial mineral resources. Yet today, and for the last 50 years, its international political presence has been almost zero, including on the Left. The primary reason for this is the 1965 counter-revolution in Indonesia and the consequent radical remaking-cum-unmaking of the country, the nation. On the one hand this counter-revolution produced an Indonesian state and economy that posed no threat to either western or Japanese imperial economic or geo-political interests, and on the other a society whose new post-counter-revolutionary experience would emasculate any progressive class fightback for decades, even until now, and thus also its intellectual and cultural life.

Continue reading “New essay (working draft): Indonesia: 1965 and the Counter-Revolution against the Nation.”

Article Link: INDONESIA AND THE FALL OF SUHARTO: PROLETARIAN POLITICS IN THE “PLANET OF SLUMS” ERA by Max Lane

Published June 2010 in JOURNAL OF LABOR AND SOCIETY

Abstract

This essay summarizes some of the basic features of the “informal proletariat” in Indonesia using the definition presented in Mike Davis’s Planet of the Slums. These include features that flow from the low levels of industrialization of the national economy as well as those related to the day-to-day socioeconomic reality of this specific segment of the urban proletariat. The essay goes on to show that the fact that the “informal proletariat” predominated within the proletariat as a whole facilitated forms of different political mobilization and organization than that usually associated with proletarian politics, such as trade unions, during the period of intensifying political struggle against the authoritarian Suharto government, especially in the 1990s. It also notes how the relationship between radicalizing students, convinced of the idea of “democratic revolution,” as espoused by V.I. Lenin, also facilitated these non-trade union forms of organization. It identifies the interacting relationship between the mobilization of the formal and informal sectors of the proletariat during periods of political struggle as a possible important element of addressing the question as to what extent the informal proletariat might be able to assert political agency.

Get full article here

 

ARTICLE (re-post): WHY YOU SHOULD READ INDONESIA’S “THIS EARTH OF MANKIND” by Max Lane

“In January 2014 Joshua Oppenheimer’s film on Indonesia, The Act of Killing, was nominated for an academy award, reflecting its penetration into mainstream film watching. Many people will be introduced to Indonesia by this vivid study of the country’s ruling lumpen elite. Another, very different, introduction to Indonesia might be reading Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s historical novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind).

The English language edition of This Earth of Mankind was published by Penguin in 1983. The sequels to this novel, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass, were published over the following several years by Penguin in Australia and the United Kingdom. They were launched into the United States by William Morrow, Hyperion and Penguin in the 1990s. As their translator, I am very pleased to see that they are still in print 30 years later, having had many reprints. The four novels are likely to appear soon as eBooks, Penguin USA having bought the eBook rights. They appear already to be advertised as eBooks for Kindle on Amazon.com.

teom1

Pramoedya’s work has, on the whole, met with critical acclaim in the West, in particular the United States. The publication of other translations followed, such as Silent Songs of a Mute,Fugitive, Girl from the Coast and collections of short stories. In 1992 the New York Times reviewer wrote:

Now comes a book of far greater scope and depth from independent Indonesia’s greatest but still most controversial fiction writer, whose career spans more than 40 years. “This Earth of Mankind,” the first in a cycle of four novels, is the tale of a bittersweet coming of age in Java, Indonesia’s dominant island, almost a century ago. Through it, we are taken back to the days of nascent Indonesian nationalism. But the author is a humanist, not a propagandist, and so his novel is also a wonderful example of the best storytelling tradition of his country.[1]

In 1996, after House of Glass appeared, the Washington Post reviewer wrote:

The Buru Tetralogy is one of the 20th century’s great artistic creations, a work of the richest variety, color, size and import, founded on a profound belief in mankind’s potential for greatness and shaped by a huge compassion for mankind’s weakness.[2]

Jamie James in his article “The Indonesiad” in The New Yorker wrote:

Pramoedya’s masterwork is the Buru Quartet, a cycle of novels set in the final, decadent years of Dutch colonialism in Java. The series follows the life of a revolutionary journalist named Minke. The first native Javanese boy to attend the elite Dutch colonial high school, Minke is full of idealistic notions about European progress. The process of his disillusionment and forging of his Indonesian identity – a new element in the periodic table of history – [forms] the novels’ core. The Buru Quartet is saturated with the gothic gloom and steamy atmosphere of the rain forest. With the publication this month, by William Morrow, of the quartet’s final volume, “House of Glass,” and the paperback reissue, by Penguin, of its predecessors, “This Earth of Mankind,” “Child of All Nations,” and “Footsteps,” American readers can now follow Pramoedya’s saga of Minke – one of the most ambitious undertakings in postwar world literature – from beginning to end.[3]

Continue reading “ARTICLE (re-post): WHY YOU SHOULD READ INDONESIA’S “THIS EARTH OF MANKIND” by Max Lane”

Buku UNFINISHED NATION (edisi Bahasa Indonesia) oleh Max Lane sudah dijual di GRAMEDIA dan toko buku lain.

Buku:

UNFINISHED NATION: Ingatan Revolusi, Aksi Massa dan Sejarah Indonesia
oleh Max Lane,
Penerbit Djaman Baroe (Versi Bahasa Inggeris penerbit VERSO, Lodon/New York)

Sudah beredar di berbagai toko buku, termasuk Gramedia. Kalau belum beli dan membaca: silahkan.

Kalau mau membantu mengedarkan silahkan SHARE posting ini. Dibawah ada komentar2 ttg buku tsb.

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Buku ini dengan sangat baik menggambarkan betapa penting peran kelompok pelopor mobilisasi massa dan aksi massa dalam menggerakkan sejarah Indonesia. Itu sebabnya buku ini hampir sepenuhnya berlawanan dengan pandangan peneliti tentang Indonesia selama ini, baik dari Indonesia sendiri maupun luar negeri, yang selalu menghilangkan peran massa, mobilisasi massa, aksi massa dan ingatan akan revolusi dalam melihat sejarah Indonesia paskakemerdekaan. Pradipto Niwandhono, Pengajar Sejarah Universitas Airlangga

Unfinished Nation ditulis dari sudut pandang seorang aktivis…manfaat buku ini tidak terbatas hanya pada pembaca yang memiliki perhatian yang sama dengannya. Saat mengetengahkan peran kekuatan rakyat dalam mengarahkan alih-ubah Indonesia, penulisnya merujuk dan memberikan ilham yang sangat bernilai…Unfinished Nation adalah kajian yang bernilai…Sangat kaya secara empirik dan menunjuk hal-ihwal yang penting bagi kalangan luas pembaca…” J.D Kenneth Boutin, Deakin University, Australia2014

“Unfinished Nation…adalah karya yang menakjubkan dalam berbagai segi yang menawarkan tinjauan mengenai Indonesia dengan padat dan menyeluruh sejak kemerdekaan…Ini adalah sebuah bahan yang bermanfaat; Saya membeli karya ini di Inggris dan membacanya tanpa henti hingga kembali ke Amerika…Bagi mereka yang tahu dan tidak tahun tentang Indonesia, inilah buku yang hebat. …Unfinished Nation tentu saja salah satu karya sejarah dan analisis politik terbaik saat ini. Max Lane berhak mendapatkan penghargaan dari kita karena telah menulisnya…” James Peacock, Profesor Antropologi di University of North Carolina

“Kesepakatan para sarjana ilmu politik pengamat Indonesia ditandai oleh ketidakpercayaan pada kemungkinan perubahan revolusioner ataupun kemampuan transformatif dari kelompok-kelompok tertundukkan. Pada studi politik Indonesia di Australia kita lantas menemui sedikit sekali perbedaan pendapat mengenai dinamika dasar dari politik Indonesia, sifat dasar masyarakatnya atau arah dari transformasi demokratik yang sebaiknya dijalani. Namun Max Lane merupakan satu-satunya penulis Australia ahli Indonesia yang berdiri di luar kesepakatan para ahli tadi.” Edward Aspinall, Knowing Indonesia, Monash, 2012

The slave Spartacus and reading Dalton Trumbo

Reading Dalton Trumbo

(Spontaneous thoughts.)

It was Hollywood that got me. In particular the film Spartacus, produced and starring Kirk Douglas, directed by Stanley Kubrick and screenplay by Dalton Trumbo. The other main roles were played by Jean Simmons, Laurence Olivier and Peter Ustinov. The film was inspired by Howard Fast’s wonderful novel, also called Spartacus. The film was a Hollywood spectacular, with a “casts of thousands”, huge battle scenes between the rebel slave army and the Roman Legions. There was no CGI then, back in the 60s, just extras from the Spanish Army. I saw it first when I was quite young, so the spectacular romance and adventure would have been very appealing to a boy from the boring Western suburbs of Sydney.

6762254467_6d6ae347bb_b
Dalton Trumbo

But the story was also inspiring. Millions of so-called ordinary people, oppressed under a violent and anti-human slave system, led by their most militant section – gladiators – rise up and refuse to be slaves and keep the most powerful army in the world at bay for years. And they do it right in the heart of the Roman Empire – in Italy.

It is a beautiful film, both visually and its words; its dialogue. In today’s world, ridden with cynicism, in general, and on the intellectual Left, with cynicism over-layered with layers of artificially created “nuance”, some may react to this beauty as corny. But there is nothing corny about an idealistic desire to be free so that human beings can savour the beautiful things around them without the embitterment of being treated as an animal or a thing: the stars, knowledge of nature and the world, a kiss and embrace. “A tool with a voice”: that was a slave.

spartacus_sheeta

Continue reading “The slave Spartacus and reading Dalton Trumbo”

Indonesia Community and Activist Library (ICAL)

The Project.

Also visit this CROWDFUNDING SITE FOR ICAL.

This project is to establish a Library for the use of community and campus activists in the student city of Yogjakarta, Indonesia.  Indonesia experienced 33 years of authoritarian government from 1965-1998 during which time book acquisitions for school, university and community libraries were underfunded and, when funded, narrow and censored. The ICAL will, in a small but effective way, help improve this situation. The Library will comprise a selection of mostly English language books in the humanities, social sciences and literature.  The books comprise the collections of Australian progressive activists and intellectuals. About 3,000 books have already been shipped to Indonesia and are in storage waiting for the construction of the Library building to be completed.

library
Half completed library building and manager’s bungalow.

The Library will be open to members. The first members will be invited on the recommendation of a panel of university professors and also social justice activists. New members can join by applying with recommendations from two existing members.

The Library will be managed by well-known Indonesian woman playwright and theatre producer and director, Faiza Mardzoeki. (Faizamardzoeki.com)  She will be assisted by a Principal Consultant, Dr Max Lane (www.maxlaneonline.com). Dr Lane is a well-known writer on Indonesian and Southeast Asian Affairs and is also the translator of several of the novels of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, including the Buru Quartet published by Penguin Books. (see http://www.penguin.com/author/pramoedya-ananta-toer/242697)

Continue reading “Indonesia Community and Activist Library (ICAL)”

Why you should read Indonesia’s THIS EARTH OF MANKIND by Max Lane

In January 2014 Joshua Oppenheimer’s film on Indonesia, The Act of Killing, was nominated for an academy award, reflecting its penetration into mainstream film watching. Many people will be introduced to Indonesia by this vivid study of the country’s ruling lumpen elite. Another, very different, introduction to Indonesia might be reading Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s historical novel Bumi Manusia (This Earth of Mankind).

The English language edition of This Earth of Mankind was published by Penguin in 1983. The sequels to this novel, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass, were published over the following several years by Penguin in Australia and the United Kingdom. They were launched into the United States by William Morrow, Hyperion and Penguin in the 1990s. As their translator, I am very pleased to see that they are still in print 30 years later, having had many reprints. The four novels are likely to appear soon as eBooks, Penguin USA having bought the eBook rights. They appear already to be advertised as eBooks for Kindle on Amazon.com.

teom1

Pramoedya’s work has, on the whole, met with critical acclaim in the West, in particular the United States. The publication of other translations followed, such as Silent Songs of a Mute,Fugitive, Girl from the Coast and collections of short stories. In 1992 the New York Times reviewer wrote:

Now comes a book of far greater scope and depth from independent Indonesia’s greatest but still most controversial fiction writer, whose career spans more than 40 years. “This Earth of Mankind,” the first in a cycle of four novels, is the tale of a bittersweet coming of age in Java, Indonesia’s dominant island, almost a century ago. Through it, we are taken back to the days of nascent Indonesian nationalism. But the author is a humanist, not a propagandist, and so his novel is also a wonderful example of the best storytelling tradition of his country.[1]

In 1996, after House of Glass appeared, the Washington Post reviewer wrote:

The Buru Tetralogy is one of the 20th century’s great artistic creations, a work of the richest variety, color, size and import, founded on a profound belief in mankind’s potential for greatness and shaped by a huge compassion for mankind’s weakness.[2]

Jamie James in his article “The Indonesiad” in The New Yorker wrote:

Pramoedya’s masterwork is the Buru Quartet, a cycle of novels set in the final, decadent years of Dutch colonialism in Java. The series follows the life of a revolutionary journalist named Minke. The first native Javanese boy to attend the elite Dutch colonial high school, Minke is full of idealistic notions about European progress. The process of his disillusionment and forging of his Indonesian identity – a new element in the periodic table of history – [forms] the novels’ core. The Buru Quartet is saturated with the gothic gloom and steamy atmosphere of the rain forest. With the publication this month, by William Morrow, of the quartet’s final volume, “House of Glass,” and the paperback reissue, by Penguin, of its predecessors, “This Earth of Mankind,” “Child of All Nations,” and “Footsteps,” American readers can now follow Pramoedya’s saga of Minke – one of the most ambitious undertakings in postwar world literature – from beginning to end.[3]

Continue reading “Why you should read Indonesia’s THIS EARTH OF MANKIND by Max Lane”