Any self-identifying socialist will be met with the question at some point in their lives, how many people have been killed in the name of socialism? They might have pointed out in response that Soviet-style state socialism is about as far removed from the democratic socialism proposed by politicians such as Jeremy Corbyn as Chinese state capitalism is from its free-market cousin. But they are unlikely to have noted that the world’s largest empire engaged in a programme of international assassinations more deadly than Stalin’s purges – all in the name of capitalism.
In his new book The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World, Vincent Bevins reveals the staggering death toll of the US’ foreign policy throughout the Cold War. The book centres on the anticommunist massacres that took place in Indonesia in 1965-66, as US-backed dictator Suharto deposed his anti-imperialist, developmentalist predecessor Sukarno.