A New Perspective of Mass-Murder: A Political Ontology of Threat Reading to Indonesian Short Stories on the Abortive Communism Coup of 30th September 1965 (G30S)

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts major in Literary and Cultural Studies



First Advisor

Mr. Francis Sollano


This thesis proposes that the New Order‘s political affective ―Threat‖ becomes the reason behind the worst mass massacre in the 20th century in Indonesia, namely the Communist purge as seen in the analysis of selected short fictions. Sadly, such atrocity is not widely acknowledged even in present-day Indonesia due to The New Order‘s massive political Threat through its state apparatuses. Brian Massumi‘s ―Political Ontology of Threat‖ becomes the main lens to scrutinize the said political conducts as seen in the short stories. The aim of the research is to contribute to a whole new perspective of the events; a perspective which is yet widely acknowledged in Indonesia. The trigger of the atrocity centers on the New Order‘s version of events associated with what the regime referred to as Gestapu (Gerakan September Tiga Puluh or The Thirtieth of September Movement). Crouch stated that the movement was a self-proclaimed organization of Indonesian National Armed Forces members who assassinated Indonesian military-men in an abortive coup d'état. The people involved in the movement named the operation as G30S. However, the regime coined the term Gestapu with the intention of investing it with an aura of evil due to the similarity with the term ―Gestapo‖. The army, socio-political, and religious group blindly accused the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) solely for the coup-attempt. This is due to the PKI‘s strong political power as well as their history of conflicts with the said elements before the G30S. Such ―accusations‖ led to the purge, exiles and imprisonment without trial towards any Communists elements; even to those not involved in the movement including innocent women and children. This is so despite the circulation of historical works on the G30S from researchers after the fall of the regime (post-reformation era). These researchers ponders over that 1) Suharto, using some military officers, was the mastermind behind the Gestapu, 2) The PKI and the army have equally important roles in the movement, 3) The PKI was only a supporter of the movement while the army was the head of it. Ultimately, these researchers come to terms that Suharto and the army took advantage of the movement and by doing so, declared himself as the savior amidst the chaos. While doing so, he toppled the presidential seat of Sukarno who was the country‘s first president and respected founding father. Numerous literary works depict these atrocities during the times of Suharto (1966-1998). However, literary works of 1966-1970 are those that delivered the most active and hardest literary oppositions since it was a period of minimum hegemony of the regime. Yapi Taum in his research selected ten literary works as bastions of literary opposition from this period. Whereas eight among which are apparently translated by Harry Aveling in his work. These works are namely Usamah‘s ―War and Humanity‖ (1969), Kipandjikusmin‘s ―Cain‘s Lamb‖ (1968) and ―Star of Death‖ (1967), Muhammad Sjoekoer‘s ―Death‖ (1969), Satyagraha Hoerip‘s ―The Climax‖ (1966), H. G. Ugati‘s ―The Threat‖ (1969), Gerson Poyk‘s ―A Woman and Her Children‖ (1966), and Martin Aleida‘s ―Dark Night‖ (1970). Close-reading the short fictions lead to the finding that the authors present ―hints‖ to invite the readers to act critically towards Suharto‘s version. Those hints inspire a threshold for this study to inject the Post-Reformation era Gestapu reading. Most essentially, the short stories‘ literary devices play the most salient role of oppositions against the regime‘s Communist purge policy. By way of Massumi‘s theory, this study found that the regime‘s politics of Threat was the main reason behind the upsurge of the people‘s hatred toward Communist elements which led to the said purge.

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