Reading the mass violence in Indonesia 1965–1966 as a form of primitive accumulation.
Abstract A human rights perspective is compromised in its ability to understand and respond to the mass violence that took place in Indonesia, largely against members and supporters of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) from 1965–1966. In “Indonesia’s Original Sin: Mass Killings and Capitalist Expansion, 1965–66,” Hilmar Farid makes the point that a human rights standpoint is limited when capital or its various actors, are involved in propagating and/or perpetrating mass violence. In starting to fashion an alternative reading Farid proposes Marx’s notion of primitive accumulation. While Farid’s position is suggestive, I contend that his analysis is marred by a number of theoretical weaknesses, which I attempt to sublate in this article. As such, I will offer an alternative reading of primitive accumulation perceived through a multi-dimensional local/global dialectic.
Keywords: Indonesia 1965, mass violence, human rights, primitive accumulation.
Colm McNaughton is an award winning radio documentary producer. He teaches literature at Trinity College, Melbourne University. He is currently writing a novel.