PKI in 1965

C. Petersen ottilie at
Sat Jul 11 11:10:42 PDT 1998

> >wouldn't be hard on the CIA agents who effectively passed death sentences on
> >five thousand members of the Indonesian Communist Party, the PKI, by handing
> >their names over to Suharto and the insurgent generals during the '65 coup.
> I don't like Suharto, but when I think about what happens in the first
> generation or two after a Communist victory...
> Total Killed/Average
> Rulers Population...
> ====== ============
> USSR 25%
> China 9%
> North Korea 12%
> Vietnam 5%
> Cambodia 32%
> Laos 1%
> Cuba 0.4%
> Nicaragua 0.1%
> Chile 0.0%
> It looks to me as though a successful PKI coup in 1965 would have been
> likely to lead to the violent deaths of 9% of Indonesia's population in the
> years since...
> Suharto was no slouch at genocide: getting about 0.7% of Indonesia's
> population during his reign. But we would have had to have had a *very*
> good draw from the set of Communist regimes--the leaders of the PKI would
> have had to turn out to be like Castro rather than like Kim Il Sung--for a
> successful PKI coup in 1965 to have led to a better outcome than we
> actually got.
> So I find it very difficult to condemn the CIA's actions in Indonesia in
> 1965. Eurasian Communists have been very bad news...

I certainly don't disagree with your assessment of Stalinists - and if anything, the modern history of asia is undertaught in schools. In high school, they only got up to world war two, with the U.S. gloriously beating the nazis, then they skipped everything after that. But I think your list of % killed is an awfully poor argument to generalize that fascists are better than Stalinists. First of all, you left Germany off that list. My mother grew up in nazi germany and got her town bombed and saw large numbers of people get killed or starve to death. I don't know what percentage of the 1938 german population was killed, but I'd expect it was at least 20-25%.

Secondly, you attribute all the deaths in vietnam and cambodia to the communists, failing to set aside a category for civilians killed by the U.S. in vietnam, and civilians bombed or starved to death in Cambodia in the pre 1974 era. Incidentally, the United States gave aid to Pol pot, both indirectly by making the khmer rouge relevant and popular when we were bombing the shit out of them, and later on directly, so that they would aid in defeating Vietnam. What about a category for countries like Zaire where while not traditionally 'fascist', Mobutu sese seku, who the CIA installed after murdering and laughingly disguring the dead body of Lumumba, caused the extreme poverty and disease and starvation deaths of untold numbers of his people. Actually, you could group the majority of African nations and areas of India/bangladesh etc. into a 'rightwing victims' category because most of their problems (which result in millions of very real deaths every year) stem from imperialism of the past, and more subtle imperialist pressures of the present.

So basically - right wing authoritarianism = bad, left wing authoritarianism = bad. It's pretty inane to favor one over the other because both are quite unnatural states of human society.

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