Posts made in March, 2015

The Pancasila State

Posted by on Mar 20, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Soeharto’s religious policies were animated less by an enduring commitment to Javanism or Pancasila tolerance than by cold calculations as to what was required to defeat opponents and remain in power.[1]   Soeharto treated Islam as a minority religion even though most Indonesians (nearly 90 percent) professed it as their faith. The country’s dominant Muslim demographics had never translated into meaningful political power, mainly due to the traditional abangan–santri divide. (The Sunni-Shia division was less significant. Most Indonesian Muslims are Sunni. The Shia minority lacks significant social influence or political clout.) Throughout the New Order, Indonesians were required to carry identification cards identifying them by religion. Atheists, agnostics or anyone who did not declare a religion was suspected of leftist sympathies. Islam was the default for most who were otherwise non-practicing. Thousands of Javanese, mostly former Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) supporters and marginal abangan Muslims, converted to Christianity (and Hinduism to a lesser extent) following the Muslim-led killing in 1965-1966, a phenomenon abetted by hostile public outcries from both the Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah figures calling for PKI supporters to be mercilessly exterminated.[2] Exact figures are unknown, but conversion to Christianity since then has been marginal. According to government statistics, the overall Indonesian Muslim population remained fairly constant at 88 percent (although many were non-practicing) while Christians increased slightly from 7.39 percent in 1971 to 8.92 percent in 2000, with most gains in remote areas among tribal groups that did not already belong to a recognized religion.[3] The unofficial approach toward political Islam during Sukarno’s Guided Democracy and Soeharto’s New Order effectively replicated colonial policies, as articulated by nineteenth-century Dutch Islamologist Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje – to “encourage Islamic religious activities, while proscribing attempts by Islam to develop a powerful political base.”[4] The Dutch feared Muslim fanaticism. Early colonial policy sought to “Christianize” select minorities on the outer islands, where Islam had not taken firm root. As religious affairs advisor to the colonial administration from 1889 to 1906, Hurgronje crafted a more enlightened approach, one intended to promote Muslim religious and social activities, while discouraging Islam as a political force. Hurgronje’s progressive policies significantly improved relations between colonial administrators and Muslim leaders, by 1908 allowing an end to the Colonial Army’s bloody thirty-six-year pacification campaign in Aceh. With support from Vice President Mohammed Hatta and Republican leaders, Army Chief Colonel Abdul Haris Nasution and his allies used the rationalization program to systematically eliminate the irregular Muslim militias following the December 1949 transfer of sovereignty. Army actions to combat the thirteen-year Darul Islam insurrections in West Java, South Sulawesi and Aceh discouraged practicing Muslims from entering military service throughout the 1950s and early-1960s. Consistently one-half to two-thirds of the officer corps was Javanese, with even greater disparity at the top ranks. Almost 80 percent of general officers were Javanese, mostly from the marginal abangan genus. Such over-representation during the Republic’s early days is understandable since most fighting during the Revolution was on Java. The Javanization trend persisted and was reinforced during the West and Central Java Darul Islam insurgency, the outer island uprisings, and later PRRI and Permesta rebellions on Sumatra...

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The Second Army Seminar

Posted by on Mar 12, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The national dynamic had changed completely by the time the Second Army Seminar convened at the Army Staff and Command School (Seskoad) on August 25-30, 1966. The Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) had been destroyed and Sukarno’s political fortunes were in acute decline, while General Soeharto (Presidium Chairman in the Ampera Cabinet) with the Army behind him had become the most powerful figure in the country. Soeharto was first and foremost a soldier. He lacked experience in non-military affairs and had no master strategy for the military’s social-political role or any clear idea how to proceed. His New Order had no real defining ideology. It was founded on a vague commitment to Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, the nation’s unity and integrity, security, stability and development – and strongly influenced by the banned Indonesian Socialist Party’s (PSI) pro-western, corporatist, authoritarian ideas. With urging from Seskoad Deputy Brigadier General Suwarto, Soeharto sanctioned the Second Army Seminar to chart the political, economic and security policies that would become a roadmap for his New Order regime. The First Army Seminar, sixteen months earlier, had been strongly colored by Sukarno’s own revolutionary concepts, including Nasakom, which the Army now utterly rejected. Indeed, the Second Army Seminar constituted a “total correction” to wipe clean the vestiges of Sukarnoism from army doctrine. Its stated purpose was to establish “broad policy outlines and implementation plans for political and economic stability.” Seminar participants coined the terms “Old Order” (Orde Lama, Orla) and “New Order” (Orde Baru, Orba) to frame the seismic shift that had taken place. Based on the “call of history” (panggilan sejarah), seminar participants rejected Sukarno’s Old Order and all it stood for. They eagerly charted a course for the New Order, anchoring revised army doctrine to a central anti-communist pillar. “We acknowledge that the greatest challenge facing this nation is the establishment of a new order of government to realize the goals and aspirations of the revolution.”[1] Major General H. Sudirman was Seskoad Commander, but Brigadier General Suwarto was the driving force behind the second seminar, as he had been for the first. Suwarto was already an important advisor to Soeharto. He set the agenda and skillfully steered the discussion. Newly promoted Deputy Army Commander Lieutenant General Maraden Panggabean chaired the Second Army Seminar. Most participants idealistically viewed the New Order as a guardian for Indonesian values and the ideals epitomized by the independence struggle, and a force to restore the rule of law, social justice, political and economic stability. They accepted the need for strong centralized government to achieve those goals. They idealistically vowed “to construct and cultivate a respectable government, a government which is powerful and progressive.”[2] Separate syndicates dealt with military, political and economic affairs. Civilian participants included Foreign Minister Adam Malik, Ampera Cabinet Presidium Member for Economy and Finance Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX, Catholic Party leader Frans Seda and western-educated economists from the University of Indonesia Economics Faculty. Some went on to became officials in the New Order government, including Wijoyo Nitisastro (National Development Planning Board, Bappenas, Chairman), Ali Wardhana (Finance Minister), Mohammad Sadli (Foreign Investment Board Chairman), Subroto (Director General for...

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