Land for the People

Land for the People: The State and Agrarian Conflict in Indonesia

Anton Lucas
Carol Warren
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: Ohio University Press
Pages: 408
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt46n3nz
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    Land for the People
    Book Description:

    Half of Indonesia's massive population still lives on farms, and for these tens of millions of people the revolutionary promise of land reform remains largely unfulfilled. The Basic Agrarian Law, enacted in the wake of the Indonesian Revolution, was supposed to provide access to land and equitable returns for peasant farmers. But fifty years later, the law's objectives of social justice have not been achieved. Land for the People provides a comprehensive look at land conflict and agrarian reform throughout Indonesia's recent history, from the roots of land conflicts in the prerevolutionary period, and the Sukarno and Suharto regimes, to the present day, in which democratization is creating new contexts for peoples' claims to the land. Drawing on studies from across Indonesia's diverse landscape, the contributors examine some of the most significant issues and events affecting land rights, including shifts in policy from the early postrevolutionary period to the New Order; the Land Administration Project that formed the core of land policy during the late New Order period; a long-running and representative dispute over a golf course in West Java that pitted numerous indigenous farmers in Kalimantan against the urban elite; Suharto's notorious "million hectare" project that resulted in loss of access to land and resources for numerous farmers; and the struggle by Bandung's urban poor to be treated equitably in the context of commercial land development. Together, these essays provide a critical resource for understanding one of Indonesia's most pressing and most influential issues. Contributors: Afrizal, Dianto Bachriadi, Anton Lucas, John McCarthy, John Mansford Prior, Gustaaf Reerink, Carol Warren, and Gunawan Wiradi.

    eISBN: 978-0-89680-485-2
    Subjects: Sociology, History, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Glossary
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xx)
  6. Note on Legislative References
    (pp. xxi-xxii)
  7. Chapter 1 THE LAND, THE LAW, AND THE PEOPLE
    (pp. 1-39)
    ANTON LUCAS and CAROL WARREN

    When Sundanese villagers carved “Tanah Rakyat” (People’s Land) onto the fairway of the Cimacan golf course in 1998, shortly after the official demise of the “New Order” regime of President Suharto, they staked a claim against an unredeemed promise of the Indonesian revolution. Land and the welfare of ordinary people have been intrinsic to popular understandings of Indonesian nationhood since the early years of the nationalist movement. At every significant juncture in Indonesia’s recent history, land issues have played a pivotal role. “Land for the People” was the catch-phrase of the land reform movement and peasant actions supported by the...

  8. Chapter 2 LAND CONCENTRATION AND LAND REFORM IN INDONESIA Interpreting Agricultural Census Data, 1963–2003
    (pp. 40-92)
    DIANTO BACHRIADI and GUNAWAN WIRADI

    Fifteen years after Indonesian independence, on 24 September 1960, the Basic Agrarian Law (BAL) was promulgated,¹ placing agrarian justice at the center of the nation’s economic life² and reflecting a particular concern for the rights of marginal people.³ Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, in his famous speech on “The Progress of Our Revolution” in 1960 , declared that “the Indonesian revolution without Land Reform is like a building without foundation, like a tree without a trunk, like big talk which is empty. The implementation of Land Reform means the implementation of an absolutely essential part of the Indonesian Revolution. . ....

  9. Chapter 3 INDONESIA’S LAND TITLING PROGRAM (LAP)—THE MARKET SOLUTION?
    (pp. 93-113)
    CAROL WARREN and ANTON LUCAS

    While government policy in the early years after the Indonesian revolution was sensitive to populist and socialist demands for land redistribution and restrictions on the accumulation of land assets, land policy under the Suharto regime was thoroughly focused on market expansion and capital-intensive development. Although New Order rhetoric and even the law retained a veneer of earlier commitments to social justice and a people’s economy, this could not be said of policy and practice. The New Order agenda fitted comfortably with the political and economic philosophy of the times, focusing on capital accumulation and technical and market-oriented development strategies. The...

  10. Chapter 4 THE CIMACAN GOLF COURSE DISPUTE SINCE THE NEW ORDER
    (pp. 114-148)
    ANTON LUCAS

    The Cimacan golf course dispute was one of a number of high-profile land disputes in Indonesia that erupted in the late 1980s as a result of the insatiable demand for land stimulated by New Order economic development policies. There were several reasons for the prominence of land cases, particularly in West Java. These included the advocacy of the West Java Peasants Union (SPJB, Sarekat Petani Jawa Barat) throughout the 1980s;² the location of student groups and NGOs supporting farmers in Bandung, the West Java provincial capital; the involvement of legal aid institutes in advocacy work for farmers involved in land...

  11. Chapter 5 OIL PALM PLANTATIONS, CUSTOMARY RIGHTS, AND LOCAL PROTESTS A West Sumatran Case Study
    (pp. 149-182)
    AFRIZAL

    Before its development in the 1980s as an oil palm plantation area, Nagari Kinali was in a relatively isolated region in the northwest of the Province of West Sumatra on the coastal lowlands, at the end of a minor road winding around Mount Ophir 75 km from its then district capital, Lubuk Sikapang, located in the highlands. Today Nagari Kinali has been transformed into the West Sumatran center of plantations development, mainly of oil palm. The first such corporation in the region was established in 1934 and, by the end of 2012, there were seven oil palm plantation corporations operating...

  12. Chapter 6 TENURE AND TRANSFORMATION IN CENTRAL KALIMANTAN After the “Million Hectare” Project
    (pp. 183-214)
    JOHN MCCARTHY

    At the time of the widespread interethnic conflict in Central Kalimantan during March 2001, more than one report evoked the classical image of the frontier, comparing the province to the Wild West. The frontier is characteristically a physical place in rapid transition. Frontier areas tend to have low population densities and high rates of in-migration; the organs of the central state tend to be weak and consequently the law an abstract concept. Different actors compete to establish claims over the abundant natural resources that are up for grabs in a frontier context. Accordingly, violent conflicts can erupt between actors—indigenous...

  13. Chapter 7 LAND DISPUTES AND THE CHURCH Sobering Thoughts from Flores
    (pp. 215-242)
    JOHN MANSFORD PRIOR

    Land disputes are dramatically on the increase in Flores, and the Catholic Church is closely involved. Land disputes are a vital issue, and not only because land with its natural resources is the foundation of the local economy. Just as important, land, village, and house map out the religious, cosmological, and cultural values of the indigenous people of Flores (Erb 1999; Lawang 1999; Prior 1988; Tule 2004). Land disputes also focus our attention on the globalizing market and the local economies of Flores as they are appropriated by wider commercial concerns. In addition, land disputes reflect a resurgence of local...

  14. Chapter 8 LEGAL CERTAINTY FOR WHOM? Land Contestation and Value Transformations at Gili Trawangan, Lombok
    (pp. 243-273)
    CAROL WARREN

    The conflict over land on the island of Gili Trawangan, Lombok, is one of the many intractable cases inherited from the late New Order. It evolved in the context of rapid value transformations in the local, national, and global economies, as smallholders competed for land with commercial plantations, then resort development, and more recent incursions of the international property market. The case involved repeated government land clearance campaigns, reclaiming actions of local settlers, and emerging social divisions among the island’s smallholder farmers and tourism businesses in the ongoing struggle against eviction by a regional government openly allied with big capital....

  15. Chapter 9 DEALING WITH THE URBAN POOR Changing Law and Practice of Commercial Land Clearance in Post–New Order Bandung
    (pp. 274-307)
    GUSTAAF REERINK

    During the New Order, a considerable number of land disputes in Indonesia were related to the clearance of urban kampong¹ land for commercial development. This was particularly the case after the 1980s, when the Suharto regime undertook a series of deregulation measures to stimulate oil-independent economic growth, which resulted in commercial land development becoming one of Indonesia’s prime investment sectors. The urban poor residing in kampongs were often pressured by developers—who could generally rely on the government’s support—to give up their land for low compensation rates. As far as the urban poor dared to resist, such resistance had...

  16. Chapter 10 THE AGRARIAN MOVEMENT, CIVIL SOCIETY, AND EMERGING POLITICAL CONSTELLATIONS
    (pp. 308-371)
    DIANTO BACHRIADI, ANTON LUCAS and CAROL WARREN

    When Suharto was finally forced to step down in May 1998, in the face of an intractable economic crisis, Indonesia’s political constellation altered suddenly and dramatically. The crisis period was characterized by the emergence of ad hoc alignments of activist students, NGOs, and newly formed or revived community groups, which began to take on the mantle of long-repressed civil society. Government departments and international agencies now found themselves in round-table discussions with groups they formerly ignored or treated with suspicion.

    The role of nongovernment organizations and student activist groups in supporting resistance to compulsory expropriation of peasants’ land had become...

  17. Chapter 11 AGRARIAN RESOURCES AND CONFLICT IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
    (pp. 372-390)
    CAROL WARREN and ANTON LUCAS

    The symbolic relation between land and Indonesian identity, captured in the evocative aphorism “Tanah Air”—literally, meaning “land water,” and standing for the nation—remains closely tied to popular images of the “little people” (rakyat) for and by whom the Indonesian revolution was fought and in whose name the state claims its raison d’être.² For all that modern, capitalist, and developmentalist visions of the future came to dominate policy and the lifestyles of the emerging middle classes during the Suharto period, the shirtless farmer remains the iconic source of a popular subaltern narrative in political rhetoric and the Indonesian media....

  18. Index
    (pp. 391-402)
  19. List of Contributors
    (pp. 403-405)