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Indonesia Betrayed

Indonesia Betrayed: How Development Fails

Elizabeth Fuller Collins
Copyright Date: 2007
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    Indonesia Betrayed
    Book Description:

    Supporters of neoliberalism claim that free markets lead to economic growth, the creation of a middle class, and the establishment of democratically accountable governments. Critics point to a widening gap between rich and poor as countries compete to win foreign investment, and to the effects on the poor of neoliberal programs that restrict funding for health, education, and welfare. This book offers a ground-level view from Sumatra of the realities behind these debates during the final years of Suharto’s New Order and the beginning of a transition to more democratic government. The author’s wealth of primary data from ten years of interviews and local newspaper reportage (1994–2004) shows how farmers and laborers were dispossessed by both government policies and crony capitalism. Elizabeth Collins relates the stories of populist efforts in South Sumatra to combat "development" policies responsible for producing extreme poverty and allowing corruption to flourish. She describes how student-led NGOs worked with farmers fighting to retain their livelihoods in the lowland forests of South Sumatra. She reports on a local branch of the Indonesian Environmental Forum as it battled multinational companies and Indonesian conglomerates responsible for damage to the environment; on contract workers protesting exploitation by a company with ties to a Suharto crony; and on systemic corruption under the New Order, which spread throughout all levels of government and into civil society organizations. She examines the sometimes strained relationships between Islamists and human-rights activists, arguing that there is no inherent contradiction between Islam and democratic politics. Collins concludes that for real change to occur, neoliberal capitalism must be recognized as a utopian ideology; democracy, imperfect as it is, offers the best hope for sustainable development in Indonesia.

    eISBN: 978-0-8248-6298-5
    Subjects: Political Science, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xi)
  4. Abbreviations and Acronyms
    (pp. xii-xviii)
  5. Prologue: Paris, France, 1848
    (pp. 1-6)

    On the evening of February 21, 1848, all across Paris groups of students, reporters, and members of workers’ guilds gathered to make final preparations for a demonstration planned for the following day. The democracy movement had started the previous year when a coalition of republican political leaders introduced a motion in the Chamber of Deputies extending the vote to all men who paid one hundred francs in direct taxes. When the Chamber, which had been elected by a limited franchise, rejected the reform, the democracy activists took their campaign onto the streets.¹ Alarmed by the growing strength of the democracy...

  6. Chapter 1 Land of the Nine Rivers
    (pp. 7-27)

    I first went to Sumatra in 1971 with my husband, who was doing dissertation research on the traditions and ethnic ties of the highland peoples of South Sumatra. We settled on the Pasemah Plateau, a fertile plain below the majestic volcano Gunung Dempo in South Sumatra. At that time there was no electricity or running water, no newspapers, and only one telephone at the post office in the market town of Pagaralam. On our first trip to the highlands cars and trucks had to travel in convoys so one vehicle could be used to help haul another through places where...

  7. Chapter 2 Reformasi in South Sumatra
    (pp. 28-52)

    The first student-led protests against New Order development policies took place on January 16, 1974, when Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka of Japan visited Indonesia. A crowd estimated variously at twenty to a hundred thousand joined students protesting that “development” primarily benefited foreign investors, political elites, and Chinese-Indonesian businessmen. This demonstration turned into a riot, and a mob began looting the commercial center of Jakarta. This riot, which came to be known as the Malari Affair, an acronym for “the January 16th disaster,” may have been instigated by thugs hired by Ali Murtopo, head of Special Operations for Intelligence and Subversion....

  8. Chapter 3 Who Owns the Land?
    (pp. 53-76)

    Rights to land in South Sumatra were traditionally managed accord ing to customary law(adat).Adatrecognized individual rights to cultivated land(tanah garapan)and rights to communally owned and managed land(tanah adatortanah ulayat). Individual land rights included irrigated rice fields(sawah)and land planted in rubber, fruit trees, or vegetable crops. Communal rights to forest lands were associated with amarga,originally a clan, transformed under Dutch administration into a territorial unit. By consensus a community might grant migrants the right to individually cultivate plots of communal land. Unlike a legal property right, individual usage rights...

  9. Chapter 4 No Forests, No Future
    (pp. 77-97)

    Indonesia has the third most extensive area of tropical forest on earth and is one of the richest centers of biodiversity. In the fifteen years between 1983 and 1998, however, over one-third of Indonesia’s forests were handed over to commercial logging companies, and another third were designated for conversion to plantations. In 2001 the World Bank predicted that the forests of South Sumatra would disappear by 2005.² This prediction is being realized. According to the South Sumatra Forestry Office, only 3.3 million out of 11.3 million hectares of forest remained in the province in 2001; two million hectares of the...

  10. Chapter 5 Struggling for Workers’ Rights
    (pp. 98-115)

    When oil prices collapsed in the mid-1980s, the New Order liberalized investment regulations in order to attract investors. Foreign corporations were given tax abatements and guaranteed a docile, low-paid labor force. The only legal labor union was the official, government-controlled All-Indonesia Workers’ Union (SPSI). SPSI was more committed to providing a cheap and disciplined labor force for international investors than to protecting the rights of workers. Independent labor organizing was a criminal activity, and an informal ban prevented strikes until 1990.² Military and police surveillance and harassment of labor organizers did not completely suppress labor strikes, which increased throughout the...

  11. Chapter 6 “Where’s My Cut?”: The State and Corruption
    (pp. 116-133)

    The central demand of thereformasimovement that brought down Suharto was an end to corruption, collusion, and nepotism(korupsi, kolusi, nepotisme),or KKN. The practice of bribery(sogok)is so rife that it has infected the language itself. Among the more colorful expressions areuang suap,literally a mouthful of money, which refers to the way a mother handfeeds a child;uang pelicin,slippery money that smoothes the way;uang rokok,or cigarette money;amplop,an “envelope” of money;titipan,which refers to money given in trust that a promise will be fulfilled;uang terima kasih,thank-you money;jatah,...

  12. Chapter 7 Local Autonomy: Democracy in Name Only?
    (pp. 134-151)

    In 1999, after the fall of the New Order government, Indonesia passed “local autonomy” legislation. Decentralization was a primary component of the effort to democratize government in Indonesia. In the early stages, the districts of Musi Banyuasin (MUBA) and Ogan Komering Ulu (OKU) in South Sumatra elected newbupati.The winning candidates, Alex Noerdin and Syahrial Oesman, have emerged as two of the most dynamic politicians in South Sumatra in the post-Suharto period. Both men promised to bring development to their districts and announced populist programs promoting local welfare. Alex Noerdin was awarded the Manggala Karya Kencana Prize in 2002...

  13. Chapter 8 Islam and the Quest for Justice
    (pp. 152-170)

    South Sumatra has a strong Islamic heritage. In the late nineteenth century, Palembang was known as a center of the “Hadrami Awakening,” a movement that brought new currents of Islam from the Middle East to Southeast Asia. The Hadrami are descendants of traders from Yemen, and many use the name Said (Sayid), which sometimes denotes a descendant of the Prophet. In 1848 Kemas Haji Abd Allah established an Islamic press in Palembang, where the journalal-Bashir(The Harbinger) was published. By 1885 the Hadrami community of Palembang consisted of two thousand people and was the second-largest Hadrami community in Indonesia...

  14. Chapter 9 Indonesia in Global Context: Development, Free-Market Capitalism, and Democracy
    (pp. 171-192)

    In ancient Rome justice(iustitia)was personified by the goddess Justice, represented as a woman carrying a sword and scales. Her image is still found in courthouses throughout much of the world. The image of Lady Justice symbolizes the ideal of the good society based on equity and fairness, moral principles encoded in law. In contrast to arbitrary rule by the strongest or a resort to violence, justice requires the rule of law. The law must be applied equally to the rich and powerful and to the poor, and the government has only the power given to it by law....

  15. Chronology: The New Order and Post-Suharto Era, 1965–2004
    (pp. 193-194)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 195-216)
  17. Glossary
    (pp. 217-218)
  18. Bibliography
    (pp. 219-254)
  19. Index
    (pp. 255-266)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 267-270)