20th Century – Guided Democracy in Indonesia (1957–1965)

Introduction

  • Guided Democracy  was the political system in place in Indonesia from 1957 – 1966.
  • Brainchild of President Sukarno
  • Sukarno believed that Western-style democracy was inappropriate for Indonesia.
  • Sukarno use the traditional village system of discussion and consensus, under the guidance of village elders.
  • Sukarno proposed a threefold blend of nasionalisme (‘nationalism’), agama (‘religion’), and komunisme (‘communism’) into a co-operative ‘Nas-A-Kom’ government.
  • Intended to appease the army, Islamic groups, and the communists.
  • With the support of the military in February 1957, ‘Guided Democracy proposed a cabinet representing all political parties
  • Since then, there was no Western-style parliamentary democracy in Indonesia until the 1999 of the Reformasi era.

Establishment of Guided Democracy

  • President Sukarno made an official visit to the People’s Republic of China in October 1956.
  • He was impressed with the progress made there since the Civil War, due to the strong leadership of Mao Zedong, whose centralisation of power was in sharp.

mao_zedong_large

Mao Zedong (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), was a Chinese Communist revolutionary and the founding father of the People’s Republic of China

  • Sukarno had called for the political parties to be buried.
  • Initially the parties were opposed to the idea
  • However Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and Indonesian National Party (PNI) threw its support behind Sukarno.
  • Sukarno envisioned that the president would guide nation at the national level.
  • National consensus could express itself under presidential guidance.
  • Meanwhile, the army was trying to enhance its role by establishing functional groups of its own.
  • In June 1957 Nasution began trying to woo the parties’ functional groups and managed to unite the veterans groups under army control.

Nasution

Abdul Haris Nasution (3 December 1918 – 6 September 2000) Appointed Army Chief of Staff and who escaped an assassination attempt during the 1965 coup attempt by 30 September Movement.

  • Nasution also arrest several politicians for alleged corruption, while regional army commanders restricted party activities.
  • After the failure of a United Nations resolution calling on the Netherlands to negotiate with Indonesia over the West Irian issue, on 3 December, PKI and PNI unions began taking over Dutch companies, but 11 days later, Nasution stated that the army would run these companies.
  • This gave the army a major economic role.

End of Guided Democracy

  • 1964 Independence Day speech, Sukarno publicly denounced the United States due to US secret intervention to support rebellion in Indonesia and the formation of Malaysia in North Kalimantan by Britain
  • An anti-American campaign
    • American companies were threatened
    • American movies were banned
    • American libraries and other buildings were attacked
    • American journalists banned
    • American flag was often torn apart.
    • American aid was stopped.
  • In August 1965, Sukarno announced that Indonesia was withdrawing from the IMF -International Monetary Fund and the World Bank,
  • Jakarta-Phnom Penh-Hanoi-Peking-Pyongyang Axis is formed, and  people would be armed.
  • On 27 September, Nasution announced that he opposed the “Fifth Branch” and the “Nasakomization” of the army.
  • 30 September 1965, six generals were kidnapped and murdered and a group calling itself the 30 September Movement.
  • Crushed by Suharto and marked the end of guided democracy and of Sukarno as an effective president.
  • The New Order regime established by Suharto had its own ideology — Pancasila Democracy.

30 September Movement

  • The 30 September Movement/ G30S/ Gestapu for Gerakan September Tiga Puluh – for its similarity to “Gestapo”, the name of the Nazi secret police – was a self-proclaimed organization of Indonesian National Armed Forces members who assassinated six Indonesian Army generals in an abortive coup d’état.
  • The army blamed the coup attempt on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI).
  • Campaign of mass killing was underway, which resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of alleged communists.
  • Under the “New Order” regime of President Suharto the movement was usually referred to as “G30S/PKI”

 

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