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Soeharto's New Order and Its Legacy

Soeharto's New Order and Its Legacy: Essays in honour of Harold Crouch

Edward Aspinall
Greg Fealy
Volume: 2
Copyright Date: 2010
Published by: ANU Press
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  • Book Info
    Soeharto's New Order and Its Legacy
    Book Description:

    Indonesia's President Soeharto led one of the most durable and effective authoritarian regimes of the second half of the twentieth century. Yet his rule ended in ignominy, and much of the turbulence and corruption of the subsequent years was blamed on his legacy. More than a decade after Soeharto's resignation, Indonesia is a consolidating democracy and the time has come to reconsider the place of his regime in modern Indonesian history, and its lasting impact. This book begins this task by bringing together a collection of leading experts on Indonesia to examine Soeharto and his legacy from diverse perspectives. In presenting their analyses, these authors pay tribute to Harold Crouch, an Australian political scientist who remains one of the greatest chroniclers of the Soeharto regime and its aftermath.

    eISBN: 978-1-921666-47-6
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Edward Aspinall and Greg Fealy
  4. Preface: Honouring Harold Crouch
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Glossary
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. Contributors
    (pp. xix-xx)
  7. Introduction: Soeharto’s New Order and its Legacy
    (pp. 1-14)

    On 21 May 1998, one of the most effective and enduring of the world’s Cold War military-based authoritarian regimes came to an end. On that morning, Indonesia’s President Soeharto read a simple statement announcing his resignation and handing over power to his deputy, B. J. Habibie. He did so against a dramatic backdrop: the Asian financial crisis had brought catastrophe, student protesters occupied the national parliament, the smoke was still rising from parts of Jakarta’s skyline after days of rioting a week earlier, the previous evening fourteen of his cabinet ministers had told Soeharto they were no longer willing to...

  8. The New Order and its Antecedents

    • 1 One Reasonably Capable Man: Soeharto’s Early Fundraising
      (pp. 17-26)

      In the post-independence history of Indonesia, Soeharto played a hugely important role. Yet the man, as has often been observed, was frustratingly enigmatic, closed and difficult to read with any confidence. That, I believe, makes it even more important than is usual in such cases for anyone writing about Soeharto to examine closely his formative years in Central Java and his first twenty years in the army, looking for any clues that may tell us more about his character and personality.

      Much of what we know about Soeharto’s early years has come from Soeharto himself or from his associates, or...

    • 2 Soeharto’s Javanese Pancasila
      (pp. 27-38)
      KEN WARD

      On the evening of 19 July 1982, President Soeharto received a delegation from the Golkar-affiliated National Indonesian Youth Committee (Komite Nasional Pemuda Indonesia, KNPI) at his private residence. The talk he gave was never published in Indonesia but was surreptitiously recorded on tape and then transcribed (Anon. 1982). Copies of the text were eagerly passed around in diplomatic and intelligence circles as evidence of what really made Soeharto tick. In it, he combines the role of political leader outlining to youthful supporters the concrete tasks ahead with one akin to that of the guru of a Javanese mystical sect explaining...

    • 3 New Order Repression and the Birth of Jemaah Islamiyah
      (pp. 39-48)

      One argument about Islamic extremism goes something like this: among Sunni Muslims, particularly over the last two decades, one can find three strands of activism: religious outreach or dakwah to make Muslims better Muslims or convince them to purify their practices; political activism, or non-violent efforts to achieve power by political means; and jihadism, involving the use of violence to overthrow corrupt regimes, reclaim occupied land or wage war against the enemies of Islam, including the U.S. and its allies (ICG 2005). The surest way of encouraging jihadism is to cut out the possibility of political participation for Islamist organisations....

    • 4 Managing Industrialisation in a Globalising Economy: Lessons from the Soeharto Era
      (pp. 49-66)

      One of the first decisions of the Soeharto administration was to re-engage with the global economy through a series of sweeping policy liberalisations. As a result, since the late 1960s Indonesia has been a largely open economy, and it has industrialised rapidly during most of this period. These two observations—openness and rapid industrialisation—immediately raise a number of interesting and important analytical questions, for the country itself, for any evaluation of the Soeharto regime, and for development issues more generally.

      For example, are these events connected and, if so, which way does the causality flow? More generally, how has...

    • 5 The Historical Roots of Indonesia’s New Order: Beyond the Colonial Comparison
      (pp. 67-80)

      In the middle of the 1960s, Indonesian politics took an apparently profound turn. The personalised, charismatic rule of the country’s first president, Sukarno, gave way to the dour, sometimes almost anonymous, administrative style of a new president, Soeharto, a general and former head of the army’s strategic reserve. Indonesia’s strident leftist engagement with world affairs gave way to a quiet alignment with the West. Within Indonesia, the permitted space for public politics contracted sharply: whereas shrill ideological assertion had been the motor of politics under Sukarno’s Guided Democracy, the regime of Soeharto relegated explicit ideology and demonstrative politics to the...

    • 6 Patrimonialism: The New Order and Beyond
      (pp. 81-96)

      Harold Crouch’s 1979 article on ‘Patrimonialism and Military Rule in Indonesia’ was in my view one of the most illuminating contributions to our understanding of the New Order political system published anywhere during its thirty-two year history (Crouch 1979). By drawing attention to the importance of patronage and the various forms of patron-client relationship which became so prominent under Soeharto’s rule, it provided a more satisfactory macro-level explanation of some of its most puzzling features than has ever been advanced by any other political scientist. Various forms of patronage are to be found in most developing countries, of course, perhaps...

  9. The Legacy

    • 7 The Habibie Presidency: Catapulting Towards Reform
      (pp. 99-118)

      President B.J. Habibie was an unlikely reformer. As a technology specialist and President Soeharto’s hand-picked vice-president, he did not seem to possess the necessary trackrecord or credibility to oversee reform. After the resignation of President Soeharto in May 1998, critics regarded President Habibie’s government as a continuation of the New Order status quo. They depicted his reforms as nothing more than insincere and half-hearted efforts to gain popularity and cling to power in the face of intense public pressure. Yet several years after the collapse of the New Order and Indonesia’s often painful journey through reformasi, it can be seen...

    • 8 Semi-Opponents in Power: The Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati Soekarnoputri Presidencies
      (pp. 119-134)

      Indonesia’s transition between authoritarian and democratic forms of government was marked by a curious combination of circumstances: the most far-reaching reforms were carried out by a leader from the old authoritarian regime; once critics of that regime came to power, reforms slowed down.

      As Dewi Fortuna Anwar explains in the preceding chapter, most of the major structural reforms that occurred during Indonesia’s transition took place during the brief presidency of Habibie. Habibie, of course, had been a prominent member of the New Order elite. After he fell, Indonesia was ruled in quick succession by two individuals, Abdurrahman Wahid and Megawati...

    • 9 The Legacy of the New Order Military in Local Politics: West, Central and East Java
      (pp. 135-150)

      Post-Soeharto scholarship regarding the Indonesian military (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI) has largely concentrated on two areas of military politics: first, institutional reform at the national level, such as the elimination of the socio-political section in the military organisation and military neutrality in national elections; and second, the military involvement in political violence in remote areas.¹ Such studies leave an important question untouched: civil-military relations in the everyday politics of ‘non-conflict’ areas where most citizens live. How have democratisation and decentralisation re-shaped local elite politics and civil-military relations? What legacies of the New Order military remain consequential for political dynamics at...

    • 10 The Political Economy of Reform: Labour after Soeharto
      (pp. 151-172)

      The dramatic changes of 1998 in the political and economic environment brought to the fore tensions between economic and social policy that had simmered near the surface for three decades under Soeharto. These strains were felt acutely especially in areas where the interests of large, disadvantaged, social groups were perceived to have been sacrificed in the quest for faster economic growth and crony business expansion. In several key areas where economic and social policy intersect, such as labour, agricultural policy and land rights, since Soeharto fell there has been a significant shift in favour of social groups disadvantaged during the...

    • 11 Indonesia’s Direct Elections: Empowering the Electorate or Entrenching the New Order Oligarchy?
      (pp. 173-190)

      Despite its sudden collapse, Soeharto’s New Order regime left behind important political legacies. These legacies, formed and consolidated over decades of autocratic rule, emerged as serious challenges to Indonesia’s democratic transition after 1998. Most importantly, the political inheritance of the New Order included paradigms of highly centralistic rule and notorious distrust of electoral empowerment of the masses. This chapter will study a core element of the post-Soeharto reforms designed to address these legacies: the direct elections of governors, regents and mayors that began in June 2005. These ballots, which were launched in order to further increase the competitiveness of Indonesia’s...

    • 12 Exemplar or Anomaly? Exiting the New Order in Comparative Perspective
      (pp. 191-208)

      In monitoring democracy’s progress, Southeast Asia was famously evaluated during the mid-1990s as the world’s most ‘recalcitrant’ region (Emmerson 1995). Thus, in contrast to many other parts of the world, a great variety of authoritarian and even post-totalitarian regimes endured, attributable to ‘viceregal’ colonial legacies, compliant cultural outlooks, divided social structures, invasive, if flabby state apparatuses, the functional requisites of late industrialisation, and, where industrialisation had taken place, the preoccupation of new middle classes with careerist and consumer pursuits. Indonesia’s authoritarian politics under the New Order, a protean combination of personal, military, and single-party rule, gained particular resilience.

      But even...

  10. References
    (pp. 209-224)