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Power and Political Culture: The Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) and the Decline of the New Order (1986-98)

Eklöf Amirell, Stefan LU (2003)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Under Indonesiens auktoritära regim Den nya ordningen under president Suharto, avsågs det lilla nationalistkristna koalitionspartiet Indonesiska demokratiska partiet, PDI, spela rollen av ett regeringstroget statskorporatismiskt parti, vars existens skulle demonstrera regimens påstådda demokratiska karaktär. Från den senare hälften av 1980-talet började partiet emellertid utvecklas i en kritisk och oppositionell riktning och kom därigenom att bli betraktat som den främsta företrädaren för reform inom ramarna för det formella politiska systemet. Denna utveckling var kopplad till framträdandet av en ny generation av PDI-politiker, inklusive intellektuella och medlemmar av Indonesiens förre... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Under Indonesiens auktoritära regim Den nya ordningen under president Suharto, avsågs det lilla nationalistkristna koalitionspartiet Indonesiska demokratiska partiet, PDI, spela rollen av ett regeringstroget statskorporatismiskt parti, vars existens skulle demonstrera regimens påstådda demokratiska karaktär. Från den senare hälften av 1980-talet började partiet emellertid utvecklas i en kritisk och oppositionell riktning och kom därigenom att bli betraktat som den främsta företrädaren för reform inom ramarna för det formella politiska systemet. Denna utveckling var kopplad till framträdandet av en ny generation av PDI-politiker, inklusive intellektuella och medlemmar av Indonesiens förre presidents Sukarno familj. Dessa nya politiker började ifrågasätta den manipulativa och repressiva politiska kultur som regimen representerade. Den nya ordningens politiska kultur innefattade en sammansmältning av makt och etik, så att närhet till makt i princip frikopplade de inblandade aktörerna från etiska begränsningar och från folkligt ansvar. Inom ramarna för den elitistiska politiska kulturen var utrymmet vidare litet för bredare folkligt deltagande i politiken. "Folket" åberopades istället som en symbol för det som man påstod var rättfärdigt eller bra för alla. Det fanns ett starkt motstånd mot att erkänna att det fanns djupa motsättningar mellan olika grupper av befolkningen. Den politiska kulturen framhävde en modell för beslutsfattande baserad på förhandling i avsikt att uppnå samstämmighet. Inom ramarna för denna modell ansågs det oetiskt att bryta mot samstämmigheten, och meningskiljaktigheter sopades istället under mattan. Mäktiga nationalistiska symboler, som landets grundlag från 1945 och statsfilosofin Pancasila, gjordes till ikoner och användes av makthavarna som instrument för ostracism och förtryck. Den restriktiva och repressiva politiska kulturen resulterade i en avsaknad av substantiell politisk diskussion, och hindrade det politiska systemet från att fungera som en arena för förhandling mellan olika politiska grupper och åsikter. Makthavarnas ovilja mot att inlåta sig i konstruktiva politiska diskussioner visade dessutom på ett bristande självförtroende som var relaterat till den Nya ordningens alltmera uppenbara moraliska korruption under dess sista år. De kritiska elementen inom PDI formulerade i stor utsträckning sin kritik av regimen i termer av makthavarnas manifesta ideologi och den hegemoniska politiska kulturens ikoner. Denna strategi, tillsammans med regeringens och militärens machiavellistiska reaktioner på partiets utmaningar, belyste de stora skillnaderna mellan den officiella ideologin å ena sidan och regimens maktutövning i praktiken å andra sidan. Det regeringsstödda avsättandet av den populära PDI-ledaren Megawati Sukarnoputri i mitten av 1996 skadade särskilt regimens legitimitet och moraliska ställning. Händelsen utlöste också en formell splittring av PDI i ett regeringsvänligt parti och ett reformorienterat och mer kritiskt parti, PDI-P, som efter Suhartos och Den nya ordningens fall 1998 kom att bli Indonesiens största parti. (Less)
Abstract
Under Indonesia's authoritarian New Order regime of President Suharto, the role envisaged for the small nationalist-Christian coalition the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) was that of a pliant state corporatist party, the existence of which was meant to demonstrate the ostensibly democratic character of the regime. From the second half of the 1980s, however, the party began to develop in a critical and oppositional direction and came to stand out as the major proponent of reform within the formal political system. This development was linked to the emergence of a new generation of PDI politicians, including intellectuals and members of the Sukarno family, who began to contest the exclusionary, manipulative and repressive hegemonic... (More)
Under Indonesia's authoritarian New Order regime of President Suharto, the role envisaged for the small nationalist-Christian coalition the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) was that of a pliant state corporatist party, the existence of which was meant to demonstrate the ostensibly democratic character of the regime. From the second half of the 1980s, however, the party began to develop in a critical and oppositional direction and came to stand out as the major proponent of reform within the formal political system. This development was linked to the emergence of a new generation of PDI politicians, including intellectuals and members of the Sukarno family, who began to contest the exclusionary, manipulative and repressive hegemonic political culture of the regime. In this political culture, power was conflated with ethics, so that proximity to power largely relieved the actors involved of any ethical constraints as well as of any notions of popular accountability. The elitist political culture, moreover, left little room for broader popular political participation, and the ‘people’ (rakyat) was instead invoked as a symbol of what was claimed to be good, right or just for everybody. There was a strong reluctance to admit that there existed deep-seated lines of division between different sections of the people. The political culture favoured a model for decision-making based on deliberation (musyawarah) in order to reach a consensus (mufakat), in the context of which dissent was seen as unethical and differences were swept under the carpet. Powerful symbols with nationalist connotations, such as the country's 1945 Constitution and the state philosophy Pancasila, were iconized and used as tools of exclusion and repression by those in power. The restrictive and exclusionary political culture resulted in a lack of substantial political discussion, and the political system failed to function as an arena of negotiation between different political aspirations. The failure of those in power to engage in constructive political discussions, moreover, indicated a lack of confidence related to the increasingly obvious moral corruption of the New Order during its last years. The critical elements in the PDI largely framed their criticism of the regime in terms of the manifest ideology of those in power and the icons of the hegemonic political culture. This strategy on the part of the PDI, paired with the government's Machiavellian responses to the party's challenges, exposed the wide discrepancy between the officially propagated ideology on the one hand and the regime's exercise of power in practice on the other. The government-engineered deposing of the popular PDI leader Megawati Sukarnoputri in 1996 significantly damaged the popular legitimacy and moral standing of the regime. The event also triggered a split of the PDI into one pro-government party and one reform-oriented party, the PDI-P, which subsequently, after the fall of Suharto in 1998, became Indonesia's largest party. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Prof. Houben, Vincent
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
History, Megawati Sukarnoputri, Pancasila, New Order, PDI-P, PDI, democracy, elections, political parties, political opposition, political development, Indonesia, political culture, Historia, Political history, Politisk historia
pages
369 pages
publisher
Department of History, Lund university
defense location
Karolinasalen
defense date
2002-06-07 10:15
external identifiers
  • Other:ISRN: LUHFDA/HFHI-2002/1112-SE+369
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3281feb9-b837-416d-87c2-75ae6baabe6f (old id 21462)
date added to LUP
2007-05-28 15:19:34
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:10
@misc{3281feb9-b837-416d-87c2-75ae6baabe6f,
  abstract     = {Under Indonesia's authoritarian New Order regime of President Suharto, the role envisaged for the small nationalist-Christian coalition the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) was that of a pliant state corporatist party, the existence of which was meant to demonstrate the ostensibly democratic character of the regime. From the second half of the 1980s, however, the party began to develop in a critical and oppositional direction and came to stand out as the major proponent of reform within the formal political system. This development was linked to the emergence of a new generation of PDI politicians, including intellectuals and members of the Sukarno family, who began to contest the exclusionary, manipulative and repressive hegemonic political culture of the regime. In this political culture, power was conflated with ethics, so that proximity to power largely relieved the actors involved of any ethical constraints as well as of any notions of popular accountability. The elitist political culture, moreover, left little room for broader popular political participation, and the ‘people’ (rakyat) was instead invoked as a symbol of what was claimed to be good, right or just for everybody. There was a strong reluctance to admit that there existed deep-seated lines of division between different sections of the people. The political culture favoured a model for decision-making based on deliberation (musyawarah) in order to reach a consensus (mufakat), in the context of which dissent was seen as unethical and differences were swept under the carpet. Powerful symbols with nationalist connotations, such as the country's 1945 Constitution and the state philosophy Pancasila, were iconized and used as tools of exclusion and repression by those in power. The restrictive and exclusionary political culture resulted in a lack of substantial political discussion, and the political system failed to function as an arena of negotiation between different political aspirations. The failure of those in power to engage in constructive political discussions, moreover, indicated a lack of confidence related to the increasingly obvious moral corruption of the New Order during its last years. The critical elements in the PDI largely framed their criticism of the regime in terms of the manifest ideology of those in power and the icons of the hegemonic political culture. This strategy on the part of the PDI, paired with the government's Machiavellian responses to the party's challenges, exposed the wide discrepancy between the officially propagated ideology on the one hand and the regime's exercise of power in practice on the other. The government-engineered deposing of the popular PDI leader Megawati Sukarnoputri in 1996 significantly damaged the popular legitimacy and moral standing of the regime. The event also triggered a split of the PDI into one pro-government party and one reform-oriented party, the PDI-P, which subsequently, after the fall of Suharto in 1998, became Indonesia's largest party.},
  author       = {Eklöf Amirell, Stefan},
  keyword      = {History,Megawati Sukarnoputri,Pancasila,New Order,PDI-P,PDI,democracy,elections,political parties,political opposition,political development,Indonesia,political culture,Historia,Political history,Politisk historia},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {369},
  publisher    = {ARRAY(0xb017228)},
  title        = {Power and Political Culture: The Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) and the Decline of the New Order (1986-98)},
  year         = {2003},
}