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Labor Action, 7 February 1949

 

Robert Magnus

Readers of Labor Action Take the Floor ...

Socialist Policy In Indonesia

 

From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 6, 7 February 1949, p. 2.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.

 

Editor:

Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution as applied to semi-colonial countries has proved false in many respects, as testified by the latest WP draft resolution on the international question. In Egypt, India, China, etc., national sovereignty has been attained under the leadership of the bourgeoisie (or at least through a bourgeois-peasant coalition). At the same time a complete bourgeois or democratic revolution has not occurred, the land problem has not been solved, etc. This has been caused more by the breakup and decay of the British and French colonial empires than by the strength of the indigenous capitalist class. But this has only been the case in the large semi-colonies. Up until now, as far as I know, no COLONIAL country has attained its independence under the leadership of the bourgeoisie.

Now Jack Brad’s article (on Tanmalaka) sows illusions in this respect. On the one hand he says that the republican forces are dedicated to the fight for national independence, and he cites constitutional clauses to us, while on the other hand he says, and rightly so, that “the greatest danger is of compromise, that sections of the Republican leadership will seek to come to agreement with the Dutch.” But hasn’t this already happened? It was the “Renville truce” which gave the Stalinists their opportunity to revolt. The Republican government was losing its popular support by its failure to institute a revolutionary policy; by its vacillating, compromising character.

Here, it seems to me, we have the classical example of the impotence of the colonial bourgeoisie. William Barton states, in the December 27 issue of LA (page 2) that “Many observers believe that the Republican armies could have driven the Dutch off the islands if the original fighting had continued.” He goes on to say that the Republican leaders were tricked by the “typical chicanery” of their own leaders, as anyone would suspect IN ADVANCE who knew the “typical” character of the colonial bourgeoisie!

Again, in the January 10 issue of LA, we hear that “the backbone of the Republic (that is, after their complete annihilation by the Dutch) has straightened up and nowhere is compromise spoken of seriously.” Instead of putting ramrods in the backbone of the Republican bourgeoisie, LA should be warning the workers and peasants of Indonesia that the flabbiness of this backbone is directly proportional to the size of its purse.

What meaning can we attach then to Brad’s Statement (LA, Jan. 17, pg. 4) that “the strategy (?) of class independence must be developed in a democratic manner, with utmost loyalty (?) to the Republic.” This is nothing less than an invitation for the workers and peasants of Indonesia (and Tanmalaka?) to keep the class struggle within legal (democratic) bounds. The Republican government with its social-democratic caretakers is hindering the struggle for national independence! The workers must attempt to sweep these compromisers away and take the defense, of the Republic out of their hands despite the fine phrases in their constitution. Class independence is not a strategical question. For the colonial working class, the strategical question is when and in what way they shall materially aid the bourgeoisie, and when, the time has come for a break with the compromisers. That time has now come. The Republican forces have been delivered of state power by the Dutch. They have lost a political, not a military battle.

As Brad says, “Socialists have the special task of regrouping workers’ and agricultural laborers’ cadres in underground leagues of struggle.” This is correct. Let me only add that this task must be accompanied by a fierce ideological struggle against the bankrupts of the Republican government.

Robert Magnus

 
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