The laying of criminal charges under the Intelligence Services Act 2001 against Witness K and lawyer Bernard Collaery in relation to their exposure of the Australian government’s reprehensible bugging of the East Timorese government’s cabinet room is a case of a defeated and wounded elitist white imperialism lashing out at somebody at home because they can’t do it to the people who humiliated them: the leadership and people of Timor Leste. Of course, no doubt they also see it as a warning against others who might dare try to expose the criminal activity of the Australian state. But don’t under-estimate the resentment of humiliation and defeat that Australian imperialism has experienced at the hands of Timor Leste. The first court hearing is scheduled for July 25 in Canberra. If they are convicted, the maximum sentence is two years gaol.
“Suharto came to power in 1965 in events that brought this contestation to an end, by burying it via a genocidal wave of systematic mass killing and terror, repression, and a drastic dictatorship over historical memory. The 33 years of Suharto’s rule, therefore, in some ways represents 100% of the existence of the nation-state now known as Indonesia. Of course, this 100% is not 100% true. There are buried legacies in the memories of past struggles, many recorded in literature and political writings, and indeed also in the string of struggles since 1965, especially that of 1989–1998, which ended the dictatorship. Buried legacies that need to be dug up: are being dug up.”
For full article read here: Indonesia: 20 Years After Suharto, Is Something Starting Anew? Verso Blog, 24 May, 2018.
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
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.
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.
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
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
Published June 2010 in JOURNAL OF LABOR AND SOCIETY
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