Programme of the Communist Party of Indonesia

Agitprop Department of the Communist Party of Indonesia (1953)

Source: Agitprop Department of the Communist Party of Indonesia

Adopted at the Fifth National Congress of the Communist Party of Indonesia, March 1953

I. Present-day Indonesia, a semi colonial and semi-feudal country

The task of national liberation, and democratic reform in Indonesia have not yet been carried out. The desire of Indonesian people to win complete national independence, democratic liberties and to better their well-being remains unfulfilled.

The Round Table Conference Agreement signed by Hatta and Dutch governments on November 2, 1949, secured the colonial position of Indonesia. The so-called transfer of sovereignty effected on December 27, 1949, in accordance of the above-mentioned agreement, had as it object to create the illusion among the Indonesian people that Indonesia had been given complete independence and that the transfer of sovereignty had been real, complete and unconditional.

Actually The Round Table Conference Agreement and the transfer of sovereignty” was simply a maneuver by Dutch Imperialism and an act of treachery on the part of the Indonesian reactionaries. Under pressure of the national liberation movement which developed after the Second of World War, and especially after the people’s revolution of 1945-1948. Dutch Imperialism could no longer rule in the old way, it had to make certain concessions in order to preserve its interest in Indonesia. As for the Indonesian reactionaries who capitulated wholly to the imperialists, they tried with the aid of this agreement to check and suppress the national liberation and democratic movement of the Indonesian people.

The Dutch Imperialists succeeded in retaining their control in Indonesia. Indonesia became a member of the so-called Dutch-Indonesian Union under the aegis of the Netherland’s queen. Indonesia’s foreign policy and foreign trade is controlled by the Dutch Government.

Under the terms of the agreement the Indonesian government has no right, independently, to conclude treaties and trade agreements with other states. All industrial, trade and finances enterprises: bank, factories, mines, hydropower plants, transports, plantations etc belonging to the Dutch colonizers in Indonesia, are declared inviolable by the agreement and are zealously protected by the reactionary government of Indonesia. The agreement obliges the Indonesia government to restore to all foreigners (with the exception of the Japanese and Germans) their enterprises and concessions, to restore the special right enjoyed by foreigners and to recognize the validity of these rights in the future.

The Dutch officials and military mission continue to remain in Indonesia, and all expenditure connected with their up keep is borne by the Indonesia Government. The salaries of the Dutch officials are much higher than those of Indonesian employees. The Dutch civil and military officials continue to control the state-apparatus and army in Indonesia.

All these facts show just how real, complete and unconditional is the sovereignty transferred by the Dutch colonizer: they reveal the main aspect of The Round Table Conference Agreement that enslave Indonesia and the secure her semi-colonial status.

There has been much talk by the ruling circles about plans for the reconstruction, industrialization and economic prosperity of the country. Actually, however, the country is in the grip of perpetual economic crisis and on the verge of ruin. Despite the fertility of the land there is not enough food to meet the minimum requirements of the population. The people live in a state of semi-starvation. As a result of the uncontrolled power of the monopolists and result of the embargo imposed by the American capitalists on trade with China prices on goods produced for export  --rubber, tin, copra, etc, are catastrophically falling , and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a market for them. Indonesian currency is depreciating and commodity prices are going up. As a result of Dutch, American, and of late, Japanese competition, the few national industries and trading enterprises are being ruined and closing down. With the exception of a small handful of feudal lords, compradors and high officials, the overwhelming majority of the Indonesian people are poverty-stricken.

The worker’s wage is low and real wages are steadily dropping in face of the increasing prices on articles of prime necessity. The number of the unemployed is continually increasing. The government protects the interests of the foreign monopolists. A decree has been issued prohibiting strikes in the enterprises of the vital impotence (railways, automobile, air and water, transport, electric power stations, post and telegraph, etc). Which afterwards has been substituted by another on settling conflicts between labor and capital but which actually prohibiting strikes too. These decrees deprive the workers of the right to strike and to defend their interests. The leaders of the labor movement are hounded and arrested. Attempts are make to split and suppress the trade-unions. 

The position of the peasantry is no better than it was before. The peasant still suffers from a shortage of arable land at all. Some 20 percent of all cultivated area, the best and most fertile in the country, is held by colonizers. The different forms of feudal exploitation, such as “polorogo”, labor conscription, etc, prevail to this day. The overwhelming majority of peasants are weighed down by usurer’s yoke and heavy taxes. The colonizers plantation owners and Indonesian landlords forcibly wrested from the peasant the land formerly belonging to the plantation owners but which had been cultivated by peasant since the Japanese occupation. These colonizers and Indonesian landlords have organized in the rural districts terrorist bands which set fire to villages and murder peasants. Thousands of peasants are compelled to flee from the terrorist bands to the city where they lead a wretched existence.

The intelligentsia too has no prospects. Poor material conditions and difficult working conditions afford no possibility for fruitful work in the sphere of science and culture.

The government does not uphold the interest of the poorly developed national industry and trade. Not only has the national bourgeoisie opportunity to broaden its activities and build new industrial enterprises; it is also unable to hold its existing position against the onslaught of foreign competitors.

And so Indonesia at the present time is a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country. As long as the situation in Indonesia remains unchanged, that is, as long as the domination of imperialism is not overthrown and the survivals of feudalism not abolished, the people of Indonesia will not be able to do away with poverty, backwardness, in equality and indefensibility in face of imperialism. Imperialist rule and the survivals of feudalism will not be liquidated in Indonesia as long as the state power in the country is held by the feudal lords and compradors who are closely connected with foreign capital because they want to retain the imperialist yoke and feudal survivals in the country, because they fear the Indonesian people most of all.

If Indonesia is to develop from a semi-colonial and semi-feudal country into an independent, democratic, prosperous and advanced country it is essential, above all, to remove the government of the people’s democracy.

II. The necessity of achieving complete national independence and democratic reforms

The people’s democratic government will be an entirely new government compared with all formerly existing government.

It will be a government that bases itself on masses.

It will be a government whose object will complete national independence.

It will be a government of a united national front, formed on the basis of the alliance of workers and peasants under the leadership of the working class.

Taking into account the country’s backwardness, the Communist Party of Indonesia considers that this must not be a government of the dictatorship of the proletariat but a government of dictatorship of the people. This government will effect not socialist but democratic reforms. It will be a government capable of uniting all anti-feudal and anti-imperialist forces, of transferring the land of the peasants without compensation, of ensuring the democratic rights of the people; a government capable of defending the national industry and trade against foreign competition, of improving the material conditions of workers and abolishing unemployment. In a word, it will be a people’s government capable of securing the national independence of the country and its development along the path of democracy and progress.

The Communist Party of Indonesia considers that the new people’s democratic government must carry out the following programmed.

With the object of obtaining national independence

1) Indonesia’s withdrawal from the Indonesian-Dutch Union. To recall the Dutch military mission and “advisers” from Indonesia; to annul the Round Table Conference Agreement and to establish diplomatic relations with the Netherlands on the basis of full, equality and mutual advantage.

2) Confiscation and nationalization of all factories, banks, plantations, transport facilities, mines, trade companies and other enterprises belonging to the Dutch colonizers in Indonesia.

3) Maintenance of Western Guinea as territory of the Indonesian Republic, the withdrawal of Dutch troops and the recall of Dutch colonial authorities from Western Guinea.

In the sphere of State structure

1) Realization of the people’s sovereignty. This means handing over all power to the people. This means handing over all power to the people. The supreme power must be in the hands of the representatives elected by the people who can at any time be recalled by a decision of the majority constituents.

2) All citizens who have reached the age of 18 to be given the right to elect and be elected to parliament irrespective of their property status, sex, “sukubangsa” (such as Javanese, Sundanese, Minangkabau, Minahasa, Ambon, etc.), or religious belief. To introduce the system of proportional representation during elections.

3) Election of democratic local organs of power enjoying extensive autonomy. Abolition of the sultanate system.

4) To guarantee the inviolability of person and domicile, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, speech, press, association, assembly, right to hold demonstrations, right to strike and to form unions, freedom of movement and choice of profession, the right of all citizens to equal pay for equal work.

5) Separation of the state from all religious institution. The state to be secular.

6) Introduction of a sliding income tax scale and levy of low tax for workers, peasants and handicraftsmen.

7) The right of all “sukubangsa” to speak in their native tongue in the schools, court and everywhere else while using the Indonesian language as the All-Indonesian and State language.

8) The compulsory, free education of all children of both sexes up to the age of twelve.

9) The creation of a public health system with a broad network of medical centers and hospitals. Measures to combat and liquidate malaria, cholera, dysentery and other epidemic centers.

In the sphere of agrarian relations and agriculture

1) Confiscation, without compensation, of all lands belonging to foreign landlords (plantations owners, landlords owning the private lands [By private lands are meant lands sold to foreigners by the government of Dutch-Indies in the beginning of the 19th century], etc.) and Indonesian landlords (jasan-landlords, aristocrats-landlords, etc.).

2) The free transfer and distribution of the land among the peasants of the first place among the landless peasants and peasant of small arable plots; the establishment peasant landownership, that is private peasant ownership of the land. The confiscated land of foreign landlords, Indonesian landlords, and vacant plots to be distributed among the peasant with the exception of the lands not scheduled for distribution, as, for example, he plantations with modern technique. These lands and also the forest land must be handed over to the state. The lands to be distributed among the peasants per person.

3) The lands and other property of the rich peasants do not come under confiscation; the lands and other property of the middle peasants will be protected by government.

4) Abolition of the system of labor conscription, “pologoro” and other forms of feudal servitude. Cancellation of the debts of peasants, fishermen and handicraftsmen to usurers.

5) The granting of long-term, easy and cheap credits to the peasants so as enable them to acquire agricultural implements, seed and fertilizer. Similar credits to be granted to small handicraftsmen and fishermen.

6) To help the peasantry in measures to improve the old irrigation system and build a new one.

7) To organize with government forces and means the gradual resettlement of part of the Java population to other island shortage on Java while other islands have large tracks of untilled land suitable for cultivation. A sufficient number of agricultural implements.

In the sphere of industry and labor

1) Protection of the national industry against the competition of foreign foods, introduction of protective customs. Development of the national industry and preparing the conditions for the industrialization of the country by utilizing all the forces and resources of the state.

2) To fix a minimum wage for industrial workers and estate laborers and a minimum salary for employees of government and private offices.

3) To introduce a 6-hours working day in underground pits and in industries injurious to the health. To introduce annual vacation of no less than 14 days with full pay.

4) To introduce the social insurance system at the expense of the state and capitalists in all cases of disability and unemployment

5) To prohibit the employment of woman, children and juveniles in industries injurious to the health

6) To do away with the semi-feudal exploitation of labor, for example the onerous recruitment of labor power, the apprenticeship and contract system, etc.

7) To ensure the free development of the trade unions and the right to conclude collective agreements.

8) To establish strict control over commodity prices.

In the sphere of foreign policy

1) To pursue a consistent policy of peace and cooperation with all the peace-loving countries with the object of preserving peace into prohibit the propaganda of war

2) To pursue a policy of economic cooperation with all states on the basis of mutual advantage and full equality

3) To annul the treaties and agreements concluded between Indonesia and other states which are detrimental to the independent and peaceful existence of Indonesia

III. Creation of a united national front on the basis of the alliance of workers and peasant

The creation of a people’s democratic government and the carrying out by this government of the above programme means securing the possibility for putting an end for all time to the domination of the imperialists, land-lords and comprador bourgeoisie in our country, means ushering in a new era in the history of the development of our people.

What path must the Indonesian people follow if it is to attain its object? What forms of struggle must the Indonesian people employ? Can a people’s democratic government be formed by talks between the Communist Party and the other progressive parties in parliament? Can such a government be formed through the efforts of the Communist Party and other Left parties in election campaigns to obtain a majority of seats in parliament?

The history of the national liberation struggle of the Indonesian people, like the history of the struggle of other peoples, shows that the parliamentary struggle alone is not enough to achieve the aim of establishing a people’s democratic government.

The participation of Communists in the government of 1945-1947, and the formation of the government led by Communists which was in office from July 1947 to January 1948, did not contribute towards these governments becoming a people’s democratic government which would steadfastly carry out a people’s democratic and revolutionary policy.

The reason for this was that the imperialists, feudal lords and compradors crushed every attempt directed against their colonial domination and feudal exploitation. They were compelled under circumstances to tolerate more or less progressive governments. But as soon the relation of forces shifted in their favor they immediately overthrew these governments and put in power reactionaries obedient to their will.

Where is the way out of the situation? The way out lies in shifting the balance of forces between the imperialists, landlord class and comprador bourgeoisie on the one hand and the people on the other. The way out lies in rousing mobilizing and organizing the masses, above all the workers and peasant.

The working class must head the struggle of the whole people. With this aim in view the working class itself and become a strong and conscious force. The working class must not only wage a struggle to improve its living standard, it must also raise its tasks on the broader scale and higher level. It must support the struggle of the other classes. The working class must support the struggle of the peasantry for land, the struggle of the intelligentsia for its vital rights, the struggle of the national bourgeoisie against foreign competition, the struggle of the whole Indonesian people for national independence and democratic liberties. The people can count on victory only when the working class of Indonesia becomes an independent, conscious politically mature and organized force capable of heading the struggle of the whole people, only when the people will see the working class their leader.

But it is not enough to raise the consciousness and organization of the working class alone; there are still the peasants who need to be roused and organized. Without the active the participation of the peasantry who comprise over 70 percent of country’s population, there can be no talk of any victory by the people. The struggle of peasant for land and of the liquidation of all forms of feudal exploitation – this constitutes the main content of the struggle of the people for national independence and a people’s democracy. That is why the working class must support the struggle of the peasants. The alliance of workers and peasants form the basis of the people’s struggle, it is the foundation stone on which the struggle of the entire people against external enemies must support itself. The creation of an alliance of workers and peasants, an alliance of conscious, active and organized fighters herein liesthe guarantee of the victory of the people.

The intelligentsia, petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie might join the struggle of the people for national independence and democratic liberties. The intelligentsia is interested in the creation of an independent democratic republic of Indonesia with a developed culture. The petty bourgeoisie - handicraftsmen, small merchants and manufacturers - will support the common struggle of the people because its interests are also encroached upon in semi-colonial and semi-feudal in Indonesia.

Also the national bourgeoisie might take part in the struggle for national liberation but not so the comprador bourgeoisie which is linked by a thousand threads to the imperialists and whose interests merge with the interests of the colonizers. The national bourgeoisie, and primarily the national industrialists, want to see an end put of foreign competition, want to see the development of the national industry and trade.

Thus the working class, the peasantry, petty bourgeoisie and national bourgeoisie must unite in a single national front.

The alliance of the working class and peasantry must become the basis of this united national front.

The working class must become the leader of the united national front. Only a united national front, formed on the basis of an alliance of workers and peasants, led by the working class, and established as a result of the broadest people’s movement and revolutionary struggle of the masses, will make it possible for the Indonesian people to form a people’s democratic government which will carry out the programme of a people’s democracy and lead the people to victory.

IV. Demands to the Ali Sastroamidjojo government.

The Communist Party of Indonesia sets as its aim to unite the Indonesian people into one national front and as a result of the revolutionary struggle of the many million masses to create a people’s democratic government. The Communist Party of Indonesia regards its work in parliament not the main work of the Party and the parliamentary struggle not the only form of struggle. Does it follow from this, therefore, that the Communist Party is indifferent to parliamentary elections and to the parliamentary struggle, and that it maintains one and the same attitude to all hitherto existing governments and to governments that will be in office until a people’s democratic government is formed?

Not at all the Communist Party of Indonesia bases its policy on a Marxist analysis of the concrete situation and relation of forces. The Communist Party of Indonesia has taken and continues to take a most active part in parliamentary struggle. The Communist Party of Indonesia, fully conscious of its political responsibility, treats parliamentary work with the utmost seriousness. The Communist Party of Indonesia did not take an indifferent attitude to any of the former government. In some cases, the Party was in opposition to the government, and called upon the masses to overthrow it, in others the Party supported the government, and in still others participated in the government.

When the reactionary Sukiman government withdrew from the scene – a government which had pursued a reactionary, anti-popular home and foreign policy that expressed itself in such measures as reactionary decrees annulling democratic liberties, the arrest of 2000 progressives in August 1951, the signing of the separate “peace” treaty with Japan by the Indonesian representative in San Francisco, the signing of the “Mutual Security Act” with USA, etc, – and the Wilopo government was formed and announced that it would revoke the anti-popular policy of the former government and grant democratic liberties to the people, the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Indonesia declared that it would support this government.

The Communist Party of Indonesia considers that in the beginning of its function the Wilopo government has carried out certain democratic measures. But afterwards, as a result of the inadequate strength of the democratic elements within this government and as a result of the policies of the ministers from the reactionary anti-people’s and anti-national parties, the Wilopo government was leaning over to the right, particularly with the incident which occurred in Tanjong Morawa, when peasant were driven away from their lands and shot down.

It was because of its anti-people’s and anti-democratic measures that the Wilopo government was forced to resign by the democratic forces. After the downfall of the Wilopo government, public meetings and demonstrations were held in many places with the participation of tens of thousands of people and in some places even more than a hundred thousand people, demanding the formation of a government with a democratic programme.

After 58 days of government crisis, the pressure of the people succeeded in bringing about the formation of the Ali Sastroamidjojo government on July 30, 1953, which promised to carry out a programme as demanded by the people’s public meetings and demonstrations.

The Communist Party of Indonesia considers that the Ali Sastroamidjojo government has the necessary conditions to do much more and to act more vigorously than the Wilopo government to satisfy the demands of the people. The Ali Sastroamidjojo government can draw lesson from the Wilopo government, i.e. that a government can get the support of the people only when it consistently carries out a programme which is in the national interests, which is democratic and progressive. The Communist Party of Indonesia advances the following demands to the Ali Sastroamidjojo government:

1). To give the people and people’s organizations the broadest democratic liberties. To annul all laws restricting the freedom of the patriotic movement and, above all, alto annul the “Martial Law”.

2). To hold general elections to the Constituent Assembly in the near future. To appoint the commission, which will include Communists and representatives of all the progressive parties, to draw up a draft constitutions on the most democratic principles. This draft constitution to be submitted for nation-wide discussion.

3). To grant workers every right and liberty to defend their legitimate interests. To annul the “Tedjakusuma act” and other laws prohibiting workers strikes. Unemployment relief. To pay out of the treasury the salaries overdue industrial workers and civil servants. To prohibit arbitrary dismissals.

4). To improve the conditions of the peasant by having the landlords lower rents by compelling the usurers to register themselves and to reduce the interest of their loans and also by relieving peasant of state taxes and annulling their arrear land tax : to abolish compulsory peasant deliveries, the “pologoro” system and other feudal measures. To prohibit the confiscation of peasant lands formerly belonging to plantation owners but cultivated by the peasant over a long period of time. To transfer, without compensation and distribute among the landless peasants and peasants with small arable  plots all the vacant and unused lands. Payment of the government debt to the peasants. To abolish the “land lease-act”, which provides authority to the minister of the interior of fixing the amount of rent to be paid by “rosella”-, sugar-, and tobacco-foreign estate owners to the peasants for their small plots which were rented by these foreign estate owners. The amount of rent should be fixed by the peasants themselves and peasant-organizations and be secured by the government. To repurchase private-lands from the foreign landowners: the prices of land and the form of payment to be fixed by the government and the rice fields of these private-lands to be distributed among the landless and poor peasants.

5). To suppress and uproot the “Darul Islam” and other terrorist organizations. To grant peasants the right to take up arms in defense against: the “Darul Islam” and other terrorist organizations which murder peasants and ruin whole villages. To render assistance to refugees who have fled from these terrorist bands.

6). To democratize the rural and local organs of power, these being established on the electoral principle. To annul the “Sukiman act” (which abolishes the rural committees), passed by the Hatta government in September 1948. To restore the rural committees.

7). To democratize and reorganize the state apparatus. To dismiss from government posts national traitors, reactionaries, embezzlers and grafters and see that they are punished. To staff the state-apparatus with persons who are devotee to the cause of the people. To democratize the army and establish contact between it and the people. To remove from the army national traitors, grafters, supporters of the Dutch military mission and fascist elements who are opposed the Constitution, to the democratic principles of the Republic and favor the liquidation of parliament and the establishment of a military dictatorship in the country.

8). To wage a struggle to improve the economy of the country, to raise the grain crop by compulsory methods in relation to the plantation owners and by giving support to the peasants. To cut down somewhat on the cultivation of rubber, coffee and other export products to replace these with other crops in order to provide population with food and clothing. To protect the national industry from the competition of foreign goods. To introduce protective customs. To control commodity prices. To establish independent foreign trade relation with all countries proceeding from the interest and advantages to Indonesia and not to Holland or other states. To remove the embargo on trade with China.

9). To return school-buildings still used for other purposed to the school-institution, to increase the number of schools and school-buildings, to guarantee educational facilities for pupils and students and to improve the living conditions of teachers.

10). Indonesia’s withdrawal from the Indonesian-Dutch Union. To establish normal diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Holland on terms of full equality and mutual advantage. The maintenance of Western Guinea as the territory of the Republic of Indonesia. The Dutch military mission to be recalled.

11). To refuse to recognize the San Francisco Treaty with Japan. To demand reparations from Japan. To protest against the remilitarization of Japan with jeopardizes the security of Indonesia and peace in Asia and the Pacific.

12). To follow a consistent peace policy: To fight against Indonesia being drawn into the bloc of war and aggression. To annul the “Mutual Security Act” concluded with the United States and the so-called “agreement on technical aid”. To protest against giving military bases in Indonesia to other states and against Indonesia’s participation in any action of the bloc of aggressors.

The Communist Party of Indonesia considers that the above demands are demands that the present government can fully realize if it wants to win the support of the people, if it wants to walk upon the path of national independence, democracy and progress for Indonesia.

The Communist party of Indonesia declares its readiness to continue to support the present government and to give it every assistance if it carries out these demands, if it is prepared in carrying out these demands to surmount the difficulties and resistance of reaction.

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