In my June 20 post on the escalation of ideological warfare in the United States, I argued that the propaganda offensive by the Trump alliance in defense of their policy of separation of children from parents crossing into the US without documents was aimed at achieving a “we win, you lose” outcome: a decisive victory. I observed that the only resistance to this was from the left of the Democratic Party. The most recent developments need to be explained with some further elaboration of these propositions.
The United States, under Trump and likely for the foreseeable future, is on a dominate-the-world-totally (and space) trajectory. This is a consequence of the economic situation where imperialism (as the highest stage of capitalism) is now confronted with intensifying contradictions, whose symptoms are the various crisis on the imperial periphery of Southern Europe and the two temporary collapses since 1997. The capitalists at the center of contemporary imperialism, in the USA, need to achieve the most intense monopoly conditions for themselves possible. This requires maximum political dominance worldwide, both vis-a-vis the 3rd world, including the large 3rd world countries as well as the other imperialist countries (the EU, Japan, Australia, New Zealand) and also Russia.
Australia is a small country of 25 million people. It ranks between 12th to 14th in the world in terms of the overall size of its economy. Although the gap between it and the large population, industrialised countries is substantial. Its military spending, ranking also around 12th in the world, therefore matches its ranking in size of economy. However, while the US economy is almost 20 times larger than the Australian economy, Australian defence spending per capita is very high at about 65% of that of the United States. Australia spends high on the armed forces for its small population. Military spending rose by 29 percent in inflation-adjusted terms between 2007 and 2016 and is projected to grow from $35 billion in 2017-18 to $42 billion by 2021.
“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.
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 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.