Anarchists of the Netherlands and the Anti-Colonial Movement in Indonesia

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Institute of World History, RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameNovaia i noveishaia istoriia
EditionIssue 4

The desire to weaken the colonial state prompted anti-colonial movements to seek an alliance with opposition forces in the metropolitan countries, including with left-wing social and political movements. The anarchists of the Netherlands since 1904 have opposed colonial rule in the Netherlands India (modern Indonesia). Without creating their own organizations in the colony, they strove to establish close contacts with representatives of the Indonesian national movement, first of all, with Indonesian students who studied in the metropolis. In 1927, the anarchists managed to establish cooperation with the leaders of the organization “Perhimpoenan Indonesia”, which brought together students from Indonesia in the Netherlands. The interaction took place in the form of solidarity campaigns, the struggle against repression and the sending of troops to the colony, as well as in the process of cooperation within the League against imperialism. However, true to their anti-authoritarian, anti-militaristic and pacifist doctrines, the Dutch anarchists refused to support the idea of creating an independent Indonesian state. This, along with pragmatic considerations (the desire to gain support from more politically influential forces) prompted the Indonesians to focus more on cooperation with the Dutch communists and socialists. After members of the Indonesian Communist Party came to the leadership of “Perhimpoenan Indonesia” in 1931, regular co-operation with the anarchists was gradually phased out. However, Dutch anarchists continued to express solidarity with the struggle against colonial rule and protested against the repression of the Indonesian national movement. After the proclamation of Indonesia's independence in 1945 and the beginning of the Dutch military intervention against the former colony, the anarchists of the Netherlands, together with other radical left-wing organizations and groups, tried to organize protests against the sending of armed forces by the Netherlands state to Indonesia. The Dutch anarchists failed to gain significant influence among Indonesians, although the leaders of the New Republic, despite their political differences, maintained contacts with some of their old anarchist acquaintances.

KeywordsAnarchists, Anti-colonial movement, Indonesia, Netherlands, “Perhimpoenan Indonesia”, League against Imperialism
Publication date05.08.2021
Number of characters37088
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