The Anticommunist Crusades

In this Socialist Night School session, journalist Vincent Bevins joins us to discuss his new book The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program that Shaped Our World.

In 1965, the U.S. government helped the Indonesian military kill approximately one million innocent civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the twentieth century, eliminating the largest communist party outside China and the Soviet Union and inspiring copycat terror programs in faraway countries like Brazil and Chile. But these events remain widely overlooked, precisely because the CIA’s secret interventions were so successful.

For decades, it’s been believed that parts of the developing world passed peacefully into the U.S.-led capitalist system. However, using recently declassified documents, archival research and eye-witness testimony collected across twelve countries, Bivens demonstrates how the brutal extermination of unarmed leftists was a fundamental part of Washington’s final triumph in the Cold War.

Vincent Bevins is an award-winning journalist and correspondent. He covered Southeast Asia for the Washington Post, reporting from across the entire region and paying special attention to the legacy of the 1965 massacre in Indonesia. He previously served as the Brazil correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, also covering nearby parts of South America, and before that he worked for the Financial Times in London.

Among the other publications he has written for are the New York Times, The Atlantic, The Economist, the Guardian, Foreign Policy, the New York Review of Books, Folha de S.Paulo, The New Republic, The New Inquiry, The Awl, The Baffler, and New York magazine. Vincent was born and raised in California and spent the last few years living in Jakarta.

Below, you will find a recording of the session.