No Place for Communism in Indonesia

No Place for Communism in Indonesia

In a discussion of a book review entitled “Sisi Gelap Demokrasi, Munculnya Kelompok Masyarakat Madani Intoleran” organized by Fakultas Adab dan Humaniora, UIN Syarif Hidayatullah, Ciputat Tangerang on 23 Mei 2016, Sidney Jones (Direktur Institute for Analysis of Conflict/IPAC) was one of the speaker who shared her view on the development of democracy in Indonesia. Some of her statements are interesting to be examined: first, her accusation regarding the role of Indonesian civil society that become more intolerant especially related to the issue of Papua and communism / PKI. This statement was a response towards the sweeping conducted by some mass organization such FPI and supporters of Pancasila regarding attribute and symbols of communism spreading in some areas.

Second, Jones presumes that there is sort of cooperation between TNI/Polri and the organizations, especially Islamic organization and the supporters of Pancasila, to repress minority group including ex-PKI by doing vigilant actions such as in Tolikara incident, the rise of ANAS (Anti-Shia Alliance) in East Java that she thought getting support from Middle East Salafi group to fight Shia in Indonesia.

Third, Pancasila, in her opinion, is an exclusive solution that has not been successful to be implemented in Indonesia. She mentioned the enforcement of Pancasila during new order era by using authoritarian style and the subversive Law. She suggested that the interpretation of Pancasila must be widened to accommodate those who do not believe in God, communist/atheist as a form of tolerance. Restriction towards PKI is not right and a form of hyperbolic paranoia.

No Grasp of the Context

To some extent, Jones’ statement is relevant and can be a good suggestion to handle religion-nuanced intolerance problem, such as regarding Moslem minority in Tolikara and anti-Shia movement in East Java that potentially followed by violence that can trigger horizontal conflict in the society.

However, her opinion regarding communism in Indonesia and Pancasila status is indeed need to be clarified. Jones’s statement shows her lack of understanding of Indonesian ideology, history, and sociopolitical realm that are far different from the western experience constructed based on liberalism. The western world is clearly upholding the freedom and democracy, yet historically speaking, something that Jones might forget, the Western also opposes Nazi’s fascists and the communism of Eastern Block during cold war era. Jones cannot understand that the history of communism in Indonesia, although in different context and political practice, has created a deep and traumatic wound for Indonesians.

The sweeping must be seen as a form of public spontaneous action motivated by the trauma towards freedom euphoria being exploited by ex-PKI or communist to return back to Indonesian political arena. The people’s reaction regarding communism issues, in the development, of course might not be vigilant, thus the security apparatus must play a role in order to save the state ideology and enforce the Law especially MPR decree XXV/1966 stating that PKI is a forbidden organization and was dissolved as well as mentioning the restriction to spread and practice Marxism-Leninism/ Maoism/Communism.

Pancasila as Final Solution

Jones’ statement regarding Pancasila as an exclusive solution is a very narrow –minded perspective we do not need to listen to. We must believe that our founding fathers’ decision to make Pancasila as our ideology is final and binding all state’s element. Pancasila is not only reflect the noble values of our nation, but also as a final consensus representing this country’s potential and power. As an ideology, the principles comprised in Pancasila is a united value that cannot be interpreted partially, or even compared with western liberal ideology that becomes the foundation of Jones’ perspective. Pancasila is a complete ideology that goes beyond communism and liberalism. Thus, Pancasila is a final solution for all ideological conflict in the country as well as a heritance from our founding fathers.

The idea to accommodate atheism/communism in the interpretation of Pancasila does not have legitimation and factual support in Indonesia. Sociologically, Indonesian society recognized the Oneness of God reflected in many belief systems and religions growing in Indonesia. This reality of religious society becomes the foundation for the “Belief in the one and only God” principle in Pancasila. Thus, Jones cannot compare this with the western reality and experience which is secular and tolerate any denial towards the existence of God.

For Indonesians, the principle to believe in one God is a foundation for human-to-human relationship, government system, governance and all aspect in life. This, of course, is not in line with communism that refuse the God concept and put material as the foundation for their social life that eventually create totalitarian system that is not only have no faith in God but also no faith in humanity. Therefore, the spirit of anti-communism developed in Indonesian society must be seen as not only a trauma of the past, but also as a reflection of our loves for humanity and democracy .

*) Otjih Sewandarijatun is an alumni of Udayana University Bali, former Director of Mass Communication in Lembaga Studi Informasi Strategis Indonesia (LSISI), Jakarta.


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