NGEPAS VILLAGE BOOKS AND ART SPACE LIBRARY OPENING SOON

Hi everybody,

Hi to all our 97 donors. First, I would like to announce that building the Library, receiving the books and shelving them is completed. We still need to arrange the books better on the shelves and create a catalogue. However, we will be ready to organise a soft opening for the Library and start registering members by the end of April. There are now about 4,000 books shelved.

Second, we must thank all of you who have donated through this website. Others have donated directly. Donations have covered approximately half the cost of building the Library, shipping the books to Indonesia and setting things up. We would not have been able to build this Library without your assistance.

We are committed to ensuring that the books are used to the maximum benefit. We will soon start a program of digitising the whole collection, which will then eventually be held by an Indonesian university.
The space in the Library can also be used as a meeting room for classes and discussions for up to 50 people.
There is accommodation (bedroom and bathroom) attached to the Library for short-term stay-overs (2-3 days).

If you wish to be informed of activities at the Library please let us know and we will put you on our email list. Once again thanks again everybody!

Stay in contact and follow what the Library gets up to.

Max Lane&Faiza Mardzoeki
Ngepas Village Books and Arts Space

A New Ideological Contestation Emerging in Indonesia? (Article by Max Lane)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 A long period of ideological vacuum in mainstream politics came to an end in the
lead-up to the 2014 presidential elections and was further confirmed in the 2017
Jakarta gubernatorial elections.
 This was initially reflected in the different stances of 2014 presidential candidates
Joko Widodo and Prabowo Subianto on issues such as the direct election of the
president and regional heads, and was a reflection of support or opposition to the
political liberalisation that has occurred since reformasi.
 Since the 2014 presidential elections, opposition to political liberalisation has shifted
towards the adoption of religious ideology.
 The weak defence of political liberalisation by President Widodo is manifested in
his policy of making concessions to both sides within the framework of the state
ideology, Pancasila.
  The outcomes at the grassroots level of Widodo’s economic policies will heavily
influence the evolution of this new ideological contestation.

For full article read here.  

The Politics of Wages and Indonesia’s Trade Unions (Article by Max Lane.)

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY.
 In 2015, all unions opposed a new regulation on wages that restricted the use of the
dignified standard of living condition.
 In the 2017 Jakarta gubernatorial elections, a coalition of unions signed a Political
Contract with one set of candidates who promised wage increases above those
mandated by recent government regulations.
 The new Governor of Jakarta has not adhered to the Political Contract he signed,
causing tensions with some unions.
 Indonesia’s two largest union confederations have now become aligned to
competing political blocs.
 It is likely that there will be no serious union challenge to the new regulations.
However, de-escalated campaigning and strong alignments with existing political
blocs may open up space for some of the many other unions to grow.

For full article click HERE

The Further Erosion of an Indonesian Political Taboo (Article) by Max Lane

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
 On 16-17 September 2017, groups opposed to alternative perspectives on the events
of 30 September 1965 (G-30S/PKI) and its aftermath, mobilised to disrupt a seminar
held in Jakarta.
 These were the same groups that mobilised against ethnic Chinese Christian former
Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama in late 2016 to early 2017.
 The mobilisation reflects the political polarization that currently exists between
conservative hard-line groups, and politically progressive groups.
 Although the seminar was stopped, it did nevertheless further the erosion of old
political taboos standing in the way of alternative views reaching wider national
audiences.
 Resistance to the erosion of the G-30S/PKI taboo will continue, even if President
Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government’s stance on the opening up of public
discussion about 1965 remains ambiguous.

For full article click HERE

New essay (working draft): Indonesia: 1965 and the Counter-Revolution against the Nation.

Indonesia:  1965 and the Counter-Revolution against the Nation.

By Max Lane

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“The impact of the counter-revolution was, however, even deeper than the sum of these combined policies – from mass murder and terror to totalitarian imposed ignorance and passivity. The 1965 counter-revolution was a pre-emptive purge aimed at the prevention of the final unfolding and completion of the revolutions that were brewing: a national revolution as well as a social revolution.”

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Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world, of immense geopolitical strategic importance straddling the sea and air lanes between the Indian and Pacific oceans, and with substantial mineral resources. Yet today, and for the last 50 years, its international political presence has been almost zero, including on the Left. The primary reason for this is the 1965 counter-revolution in Indonesia and the consequent radical remaking-cum-unmaking of the country, the nation. On the one hand this counter-revolution produced an Indonesian state and economy that posed no threat to either western or Japanese imperial economic or geo-political interests, and on the other a society whose new post-counter-revolutionary experience would emasculate any progressive class fightback for decades, even until now, and thus also its intellectual and cultural life.

Continue reading “New essay (working draft): Indonesia: 1965 and the Counter-Revolution against the Nation.”

Article Link: INDONESIA AND THE FALL OF SUHARTO: PROLETARIAN POLITICS IN THE “PLANET OF SLUMS” ERA by Max Lane

Published June 2010 in JOURNAL OF LABOR AND SOCIETY

Abstract

This essay summarizes some of the basic features of the “informal proletariat” in Indonesia using the definition presented in Mike Davis’s Planet of the Slums. These include features that flow from the low levels of industrialization of the national economy as well as those related to the day-to-day socioeconomic reality of this specific segment of the urban proletariat. The essay goes on to show that the fact that the “informal proletariat” predominated within the proletariat as a whole facilitated forms of different political mobilization and organization than that usually associated with proletarian politics, such as trade unions, during the period of intensifying political struggle against the authoritarian Suharto government, especially in the 1990s. It also notes how the relationship between radicalizing students, convinced of the idea of “democratic revolution,” as espoused by V.I. Lenin, also facilitated these non-trade union forms of organization. It identifies the interacting relationship between the mobilization of the formal and informal sectors of the proletariat during periods of political struggle as a possible important element of addressing the question as to what extent the informal proletariat might be able to assert political agency.

Get full article here