Thursday, August 27, 2009

New Order's Rerun, Not

Many observers and pundits warned that the recent maneuvers of political parties and politicians to regroup and form coalition, regardless their stands in the last elections, is the sign for the return of New Order's regime.

They misunderstood the situation while too easy labeled it as the New Order's rerun.

These political observers puts too much attention to political parties and overlooked the people as voters and interest groups. Important as it is, political parties (and their coalition tendency) is not the essence of democracy. You need to look at what happens to the voters, interest groups, and the game itself.

As voter, can you voice your concern without fear of being kidnapped? Can you openly disagree with the current administration? Can you say that President is stupid in a public forum, and next day you are still walking free? Can the voters punish the political parties if they go to unwanted direction? Can the voters generate pressure group?

Lest you forget or wasn't yet aware of those repressive days, it wasn't long ago that you can not do all of these. We are by far not in New Order-like regime --no matters who wins the last election.

Addendum: Even if those pundits insist on just looking at political parties, the very possibility that the parties can easily regroup and form non permanent coalition dismisses the idea of the return of New Order era.


  1. _

    How would it be possible that we have political regimes shifting when there are no significant shifts in capital/resource ownerships?

    At least there are two forces needs to consider in creating true change, I presume: (1) what the power in motion holding as true life for the people; and (2) what the controlling capital/resource owners holding as true benefits for the society. Both act and interact.

    People may change. Young generations may replace the older. But, it doesn't necessarily mean the same applies with paradigm.

    Do we see newer ones in each side now? Newer than what we had in the New Order era?

    NOTE: Indonesia had reformasi a.k.a. reformation. It's not about finding or changing new essence. It's about RE-formation.


  2. Paul, on capital configuration. I have no data in hand, but I guess there has been a significant shift of capital ownership. Some old hands might still be able to reorganize their capital power, but much more limited.

    Or think this way. The money politics in the last election shows that now the powerfuls need to transfer huge amount of capital to wider audience/voters (even without guarantee for the votes in return) just in order to ensure they don't lose the political power.

    In other words, the link between capital and political power has now been severely cut, in comparison to the New Order era. Capital as well as politics are now much decentralized.

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  4. .

    In fact what I mean by capital/resource ownership is not ownership per se. The uses and who are entitled for the returns are much more important. The shift of ownerships may lead to the shift of uses and welfares, however, it may also end up with the same old pattern rolled by different owners. The later is not favorable. Should politics be the issue, it’s highly relevant, as always, to see how a regime leads us to prosperous and just society.

    Yes, we now have capital and politics decentralized all right. However, it doesn’t confirm anything. In contrary, the symptoms—such as absolute & relative poverty, disparities among sectors/regions, ineffective policies, inefficient budgets, regional authorities disharmonies, and spreading corruption—remain intimidating. (Bambang PS has his own tone for this published in Kompas, August 18).

    In the context of politics as vehicle to prosperous and just society, I’m still wondering: have we truly ever had new regime in the first place? Or, is it now RE-formation, RE-configuration, a continuation of the same institution: same soul, somewhat similar rules, different forms, and different actors? If so, it’s no longer about re-run or not to re-run.

    Besides, what's in a name?