President Joko Widodo wants to make it clear that he thinks communism is a threat to Indonesia and that he’s ready to whoop any reds that dare to show their face in the archipelago. You just need to show him one.
“The question is, where are they? Where?” Jokowi asked on Saturday during a speech at the University of Muhammadiyah Malang, as quoted by Tribun. “If you show them me to me, I will clobber them immediately because the law is clear.”
Ever since 1965, when a supposed coup plot by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) led to the assassination of four military generals, a power grab by the dictator Suharto and the death of an estimated 500,000-1,000,000 people in a bloody purge of everybody in and associated with the PKI, Indonesia has been haunted by the ghost of communism. Even today, military generals and politicians often speak about the dangers of communists infiltrating Indonesia.
The problem, of course, is that there isn’t a single credible communist threat to Indonesia today. The PKI are long gone, communism in almost all of its forms are banned from the country (even t-shirt form!) and the only semi-communist superpower left, China, is close trading and business partners with Indonesia.
But after decades of being subjected to propaganda about the evils of communism under Suharto’s New Order (such as forced viewings of the ridiculously inaccurate docudrama“Pengkhianatan G30S/PKI”) Indonesian fears about the mostly failed ideology remain high and no politician, including President Jokowi, wants to be seen as being soft on commies.
Since he first decided to run for president, Jokowi’s political enemies have attempted to trick regular citizens into believing conspiracy theories and fake news on social media about how Jokowi was either a secret Christian and/or an agent of the Chinese attempting to protect a new PKI threat.
Jokowi said during his speech on Saturday that, while he usually couldn’t be bothered to respond to those kinds of rumors, he wanted to finally take the opportunity to directly refute them.
“When the PKI were disbanded, I was only three years old,” he said. Addressing rumors that there were communist sympathizers in his family, he invited people to investigate his genealogical history as he had nothing to hide.
He reiterated once again that communist organizations were banned from Indonesia for being contrary to the country’s founding principles of Pancasila, and he would immediately disband any such organization in line with the constitution.
Last month, the government initiated the disbandment of the Indonesian chapter of Hizbut Tahrir, an Islamist organization with the goal of replacing all governments with an Islamic caliphate, with Jokowi citing the fact that the organization’s goals were contrary to Pancasila and thus banned by the government.