Posts made in July, 2016

Pemuda Pancasila and the Militia Culture

Posted by on Jul 1, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Pemuda Pancasila and the Militia Culture

Pemuda Pancasila (Pancasila Youth) was the most prominent regime-sanctioned militia during the 1990s. The group was established in October 1959 as a youth wing for the Veteran’s Party (IPKI), founded by General Abdul Haris Nasution. A heated rivalry between Pemuda Pancasila and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) youth organization, Pemuda Rakyat, developed long before the 1965-1966 conflagration, when Pemuda Pancasila chapters in Medan and Aceh aggressively slaughtered PKI cadre and suspected communists. Members collected ears and penises as gruesome souvenirs of their labors. Traditionally, Pemuda Pancasila had been strong in North Sumatra, especially around Medan’s Belawan Port, where it was involved in smuggling, prostitution, gambling, drugs and the protection rackets. By the late-1990s, there were around 300,000 Pemuda Pancasila members in North Sumatra, significantly outnumbering the police. Pemuda Pancasila’s violent role during the anti-communist massacre helped cement its partnership with the New Order regime. With its stated mission to defend Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, Golkar adopted the group as an unofficial paramilitary. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s under the New Order’s protective umbrella, Pemuda Pancasila chapters around the country recruited small-time hoodlums and expanded into illicit protection and gambling rackets. [1] The regime acted to revitalize Pemuda Pancasila in 1980 under Yapto Soelistyo Soeryosoemarno (photo inset), the son of Major General Soetarjo Soeryosoemarno, an army officer with royal blood from the Surakarta Mankunegara Sultanate, and a Dutch-Jewish mother. Soetarjo was the Army Topography Director. As Ibu Tien’s distant cousin, he was a Soeharto family friend. As a sixteen-year old, Yapto led the Siliwangi Boys, a notorious gang in Jakarta’s Senen Market, during the 1965-1966 upheaval. After being in and out of jail several times and making a name for himself, Yapto was appointed to head the government party (Golkar) Youth Organization, Ampi (Angkatan Muda Pemuda Pancasila Indonesia). Through his aggressive behavior and the President’s patronage, he advanced to become the national Pemuda Pancasila Commander. Yapto put friends in charge of regional chapters and recruited gang members and ex-convicts. Most urban gangs and Major General Ali Moertopo’s mafia network were decimated during the 1983-1985 Petrus (Penembakan Misterius or “Mysterious Shooter”) anti-crime campaign, leaving Yapto’s Pemuda Pancasila with virtually unchallenged control over the underworld. In effect, Yapto and his Pemuda Pancasila lieutenants clawed their way to prominence over the piled up bodies of their gangster rivals. By 1990, Pemuda Pancasila dubiously claimed six million nationwide members. [2] Soeharto and his family employed Pemuda Pancasila members as bodyguards. The military and Golkar used Pemuda Pancasila thugs to do the regime’s dirty work – attacking pro-democracy rallies, staging counter-demonstrations against students and anti-government protestors, provoking mob violence, distributing bribes to vote for Golkar, clearing land for developers, and intimidating activists, civic groups and opposition figures – in contrast to its declared mission to encourage citizens to uphold the state ideology. Pemuda Pancasila chapters developed partnerships with the regional commands. With military sponsorship, the group operated above the law, shielded from criminal sanctions. The regime employed Pemuda Pancasila gangsters as proxies and then denied responsibility for their actions, generally excused as overzealousness in defending Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution. Regime opponents feared such...

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