The Militancy of the Peoples Democratic Party in Riau, Indonesia

15 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2012  

Andreas Wimmer

Deutsches Asien Forschungs Zentrum (DAFZ); Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Date Written: January 7, 2012


This paper will highlight: The revival of the old communist ideology in the post-Suharto democratic society in Indonesia attracts a new fascination with the militancy ideas of Trotsky, Marxism/Leninism and the global anarchist movement.

Contrary to the mainstream political view this force is ignored by the political center hence enjoying a steady growth in popularity. But, the STR/PRD in Riau poses as Marxists are in fact fundamentalists that have little comprehension of Marxism or Islam and hence qualify as a radicalized group. In Riau, like other provinces, the political struggle of the main parties created an environment of political induced violence to substitute and portray environmental and social issues as part of this new found purpose for the old communist ideals.

In Riau alone the PRD counts for 25,000 members . The ideals attract an emerging group of Indonesians in a pursuit to capture local power in search of an alternative purpose in the political life of the individual. Many feel the economic model has failed them and push for more aggressive pursuits of change either using the methods of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary movement .

The ideology is however a regurgitation of an unsolved past, glorification of communist and socialist ideals often promoted through foreign, militant Australians and South American doctrines disseminated through social media . The attraction to the radical teachings communist teaching is wider than compare the Jihadists since the disenfranchised, the fringe and the poor can associate with the cause, its history and endorse that violent change is needed to liberate Indonesia from its neo-colonial oppressors.

And like its distance cousins, the Partai Keadilan Sejahtera (PKS) and the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia (HTI) hypothesizing as being merely “symbolic” is a miscalculation. Militancy is easier to accept and promote as part of the “people’s struggle”. The democratic freedom in the new Indonesia allowing these new players to go unnoticed and unchallenged since government political leaders nor do the security apparatus comprehend the propensity of violent nature of these new forces. The People’s Democratic Party/PRD and its clones attract a steady flow of young radicals ready to take up the “people’s struggle” and conducting a “people’s war” to set Indonesia free from oppression and neo-colonial forces.

Keywords: Militancy in Riau, Revival of communism in Indonesia, militant environmentalism, anarchism, non-state actors, social media, fundamentalist socialists, neo-communists

Suggested Citation

Wimmer, Andreas, The Militancy of the Peoples Democratic Party in Riau, Indonesia (January 7, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Andreas Wimmer (Contact Author)

Deutsches Asien Forschungs Zentrum (DAFZ) ( email )


Nanyang Technological University (NTU) ( email )

S3 B2-A28 Nanyang Avenue
Singapore, 639798

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