The Failure Of Liberal Democracy In Our Country

What are the usual forms of democracy? Liberalism, free competition, the rule of the absolute majority, opposition to the needs of the cause: it is a caricature of the real participation of the people in the act of governing. It is true, however, that for a few years we have followed this formula of liberal democracy; but that brought us so near the national disaster that we were almost overwhelmed. As many other newly independent countries in Asia or Africa have since discovered, this form of government was not suited to our needs or our traditions.

So we used this system for a while in independent Indonesia. In 1955, general elections and very successful elections were held for the simultaneous appointment of a Chamber of Deputies and a Constituent Assembly. At the time, we had more than forty political parties that fought for these elections, won seats in Parliament, fought a battle, and accumulated more and more delay in the bills they had to vote. More and more, they entered the paths of the controversy and could not come to an end in four years of the elaboration of the constitutional text. In the end, we got rid of this heavy stone wheel hanging from our neck, and we rejected this system based on the permanent conflict,

The path was not accessible. When I realized that the logic of our Revolution was against the Revolution of the human race, I understood that we had to go further and accomplish the things that logic commanded us. At first, and it was a massive task, I had to formulate the new principles, step by step, and consider the best way to apply them. I knew it would not be easy because I had first to get rid of classical conceptions so that everything new and unconventional in our revolutionary ideas would be welcomed. Experience had already shown that even among the famous leaders, even among the leaders who had been the most faithful and firm in the struggle for independence, many did not see that the revolution in which we were engaged extended well beyond our Indonesian limits. But it is evident that all the implications of this speech were not clear to them. In general, their minds were formed at the source of Western teachings; they had. And if that was the case for the chiefs, what about the people? For many generations we had been isolated from the world; this certainly saved the masses of our population from the loss of personality suffered by the intellectuals. But it also kept them in the dark about world affairs, away from the global trends and opinions of other peoples.

An aspect of the Great World Revolution

How then did we convince them of what we had thought about our Revolution, namely, that it appeared then as an aspect of the revolution that encompassed the whole world, the great Revolution of the human race? How to convince them that our Indonesian Revolution was only part of a much bigger revolution? Very few supporters were acquired on which I can rest. Indeed. My position as leader of a revolution may seem very peculiar in the sense that it is not due to the victory of this or that political organization or to that of a particular troop corps. I had not made a specific political follower who followed me, nor troops devoted to my words. I did not belong to any political party, and I had never led a fight, or even organized a coup d’etat. Local resistance within the country was supported by international interests that were threatened by our original conceptions and our definition of the ties that united us to the new world revolution. All forms of resistance were employed by these elements: political, economic and, at the height of fury, those of military rebellions. It was expected that this resistance would emerge, especially at a time when foreign intervention and subversion in the newly independent countries were intensifying to the point of becoming, as I pointed out recently, another in our time. All over the world, foreign intervention and subversion are found in different degrees and forms. Sometimes they are so subtle that they are almost undetectable especially at a time when foreign intervention and destruction in the newly independent countries were intensifying to the point of becoming, as I said recently, another of the characteristics of our time. All over the world, foreign intervention and subversion are found in different degrees and forms. Sometimes they are so subtle that they are almost undetectable especially at a time when foreign intervention and destruction in the newly independent countries were intensifying to the point of becoming, as I said recently, another of the characteristics of our time. All over the world, foreign intervention and subversion are found in different degrees and forms. Sometimes they are so subtle that they are almost undetectable; sometimes they know no bounds and are conducted with brutality, without any shame.

It was necessary to find ways of neutralizing or overcoming every moment all these physical obstacles which hindered the progress of the new ideas which Indonesia had produced. But, moreover, it was not enough to eliminate these only material obstacles. Faced with a political controversy within the country so intense that we were really threatened with administrative stagnation and almost total paralysis  ; confronted with economic sabotage measures from inside and outside  ; facing the foreign intervention and subversion that awaited us practically every moment ; faced with externally-assisted rebellions from the bases surrounding Indonesia, it was still necessary to take into account the fact that the forces we were fighting against still had another weapon in their arsenal: propaganda. A formidable weapon, which our adversaries directed against us unceasingly and without the slightest respect for the truth.

Let there be on our way a clump of earth; they will make a mountain of it; that we have a straw in the eye, they will produce a beam. A beam that would have been placed there “on  purpose, by chance.” If there is any difference of arguments among us, they cry out for disunity; if drought or floods cause crop failure, they cry out for economic corruption and managerial errors. If an attempted coup happens, they see the whole people raised against a dictatorial government. If our young people demonstrate against this or that act of neocolonialist domination, they see Dutch heads rolling on the ground or British women and children in peril of death. And always, every moment, on every occasion, they clamor to communism. Communism, communism: everything is communism.

Thus, under the guise of anti-communism and spreading a smokescreen woven with abuse and misrepresentations of reality, or even the most shameless lies, the forces of the old established order fought hard to defend and maintain their acquired privileges and protect the interests they claim under a divine right. It is understandable in these conditions that the inherent difficulties in our path have been considerably aggravated by the reaction on many occasions. However, my thinking about the Indonesian Revolution, its evolution and its relationship with the Human Revolution was increasingly confirmed by events.

A National Revolution In Line With The Political And Economic Transformations Of Our Time

Writing about the evolution of the Indonesian Revolution, my thoughts go back to the times that saw the long resistance to the colonial yoke and the development of the nationalist movement of the twentieth century. They also evoke the birth of the principles of the Pantja Sila that would give the state its philosophical foundation and our Constitution the ideas formulated in its preamble. Finally, I see the luminous image of August 17, 1945, when our independence was proclaimed.

Resistance; a nationalist movement seeking to free itself from the colonial yoke; the definition of philosophical principles; the rejection of the old order and the proclamation of a new state: what is so unique in all this? Have not many other nations followed suit? Throughout history, men have stood against injustice and oppression; men have fought foreign dominations and have regained the dignity conferred by freedom. Some may have fought more heroic struggles, others have consented to more massive sacrifices; others have no doubt had better successes.

The world keeps moving. Things that seem to be identical have significant differences, of great significance. The world is not the same today as it was last year and the most profound transformation humanity has marked the decades of this century has ever known. The aspirations of man, which in the early ages had materialized in religious beliefs or philosophical ideas, became in the twentieth century true political realities. For how long has the mind of men not rocked, as in a dream, views of a world where prosperity would exist for all, accompanied by social justice and human fraternity, and where the exploitation of man by his brother would be banned forever!

The rise of new nations

It was inevitable that with our time this old aspiration is transformed into political reality. The social consciousness of men has awakened. Unions were formed, and the labor movement organized itself; slavery has been abolished in much of the world; the notion of social justice has become more and more precise and more transparent; the need for well-being, bigger and bigger. The journey against the exploitation of man by man began to be conducted seriously. And the birth of the twentieth century was to herald the dawn of national liberation from the colonial yoke. The Filipino Rizal was one of the pioneers of this struggle in Asia where however we could note everywhere the apparent symptoms of this awakening. For us Indonesians, the battle started with the formation of the first modern-type organization in 1908. In 1929, I could already count the development of revolutionary situations and the outbreak of war in the Pacific between the imperialist powers. And I knew there was a good reason to hope that, in these situations, the Asian nations, including Indonesia, could conquer their national independence.…