Jakarta Methods: The Full Series on Indonesian Genocide, 1965-1966
An annotated link post
One of my projects this fall has been a historical analysis of the Indonesian genocide. Informed by the literature on pre-state modes of warfare, I set out to contextualize the systematic murder of 500,000-1.5 million people within the modes of political violence that were familiar to the killers, with full appreciation for the role of western policy in the slaughter. Thanks to American transfer, “disappearances” and death squads — “Jakarta methods” — became the primary modes of anti-leftist violence in Central and South America. Right wing forces throughout the Americas issued coded threats; “Jakarta is coming” was a common graffiti slogan in Santiago on the eve of Pinochet’s coup.
While the final product is organized with this order mostly reversed, each post here represents the discrete first draft of one portion, so I am leaving them in chronological order.
Sukarno provides a perfect point of departure for radical feminist arguments in favor of female separatism, especially in regards to political organizing. As long as men decide the fate of women’s issues, women’s organizing will always walk one step behind and to the side of whatever patriarchy values more.
I am also a keen student of radio warfare history, and Indonesia qualifies as the world’s first radio-powered genocide.
The spark that lit the Indonesian powder keg was a poorly-planned coup by communist officers in the Indonesian Army. It is a complex story, with some elements that remain mysterious to this day, so I wanted to untangle the important narrative threads in a single post.
Another post was necessary to untangle the political history of Sukarno and the Old Order. Like most Americans, I knew almost nothing about this topic when I chose it.
Finally, the piece-de-resistance: a chance to apply all the anthropology, ethnography, and archaeology I have been reading in my study of primitive warfare. On the island of Bali, the Army issued traditional klewang swords (the diagonal blades in the photo above) to militiamen for their nocturnal dirty work killing communist prisoners.
This has been Phase One of my genocide studies. In Phase Two, I want to look at another impossible country, one that shows disturbing signs of coming apart at the seams. What would genocide look like in the United States? How real is the possibility? What are the independent variables that matter? Rather than a single scenario, I plan to offer realistic possible futures along a few different negative trend lines.