Deployed quite early on against non-communists, anti-communism evolved with time into a general tool for the suppression of dissent. Goodfellow provides a brief survey of the institutionalisation of anti-communism during the 70s and 80s, with its incorporation into government ritual, school texts, and so forth. He then presents three case studies from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Chapter two describes the bersih diri and bersih lingkungan campaigns, in which the cleansing of the public service from the taint of "communism" (which came to include distant family ties to known communists, as well as general "wrong-thinking") was used as a weapon in inter-elite disputes. Chapter three covers the crude use of anti-communist rhetoric to demonise student unrest in the Yogyakarta subversion trials. And chapter four describes how accusations of communism were levelled against protesting farmers during the building of the Kedung Ombo dam.
Quite apart from its historical legacy, the ideology of anti-communism is likely, despite recent changes, to have continuing influence in Indonesia. It will be a key factor within the army and will constrain the development of left-wing politics. Api Dalam Sekam therefore provides critical background for understanding contemporary Indonesian politics.