Friday Forum: Vincent Bevins

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In 1965, the US-backed Indonesian military carried out the intentional murder of approximately one million innocent civilians. The victims were members of the popular Partai Komunis Indonesia, or accused of being affiliated with the legal Communist party, and they were exterminated so that General Suharto could consolidate power and create an authoritarian capitalist state allied with Washington. This was one of the most important turning points of the Cold War, seen as such a success by other right-wing movements, and US allies, around the world, that they took inspiration from the massacres, and created copycat programs.

Overall, in the second half of the 20th century, the intentional mass murder of leftists was carried out in over twenty countries, and Vincent Bevins argues in his book, The Jakarta Method, that this was such an important part of the way global US hegemony took shape that it profoundly affected the nature of the globalized world in the 21st century. Now that the relative power of the United States seems to be in secular decline; that Washington seems a site of instability rather than a guarantor of any global order, brutal or otherwise; in short, that North American hegemony is contested, for better or worse – what does this particular history tell us about our current world system, and the ways it might change?

For more about Vincent Bevins and his published works, please click here. You can RSVP and share our Facebook event here!