Our country not yet economically independent

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Defining the significance of Independence. (photo: IO/Dan)

IO, Jakarta – During the celebration of Indonesia’s 74th year of independence, Soekarno-Hatta Institute’s Director Hatta Taliwang stated that Indonesia is still not independent. “I am telling you that we are still colonized even now. Guess who owns the skyscrapers of Jakarta? Who owns the lands along the coasts of Java; who controls the lands of our mines, our oil reserves, and other resources? Where are our native people, the original people of Jakarta? They have become more marginalized,” he stated in the “The Post-Colonial Architecture of Our Country” discussion held at Yarsi University recently.

He further stated that whoever controls our land and natural resources will control the political constellation in 2024. “I really cannot imagine what Indonesia will be like in the future. Who will become the master, who will become the marsose (native soldiers in the Dutch colonial army, infamous for being more oppressive against fellow natives than the Dutch themselves), and who will become the slaves? Indonesia really only became independent for 20 years, i.e. during President Soekarno’s rule (1945-1965),” he said.

Hatta believes that our country’s independence has been slowly but surely eroded since the time capitalism entered as a “houseguest” during the rule of President Soeharto with his enactment of a Capital Investment Law. In fact, capitalism continues to control the people’s livelihood despite purported reforms. “Despite reforms, capitalism has sunk in its claws and managed our very kitchens. We are strongly in the clutches of global capitalism,” he said.

Similar to Hatta, Economic Observer Ichsanuddin Noorsy stated that capitalism has strengthened greatly in post-colonial eras. Even products that are a basic need of the people, for example drinking water, are now commercial goods. This, despite the Constitution Court’s declaration that water is not a commercial good.

Ichsanuddin believes that as the people of an independent country, our people should be free from oppression, lack of intelligence, poverty, inequality, and humiliation. “That is the mandate of our Constitution. This nation can become independent for real by making use of technology, as long as we do not hand over our unique technology to other countries,” he said.  

Hendrajit, Geopolitical Analyst from the Global Future Institute, interprets “Post-Colonial State Architecture” as the replacement of foreign government by native government. However, despite 74 years of formal independence, we are still not economically independent. We still rely strongly on imports. “Even though our resources are abundant, if we keep on importing so much, the quality of our resources will steadily drop,” he said.

Meanwhile, State Civil Apparatus Commission Commissioner Priyono Tjiptoherijanto said that Indonesia’s democracy has gone too far after Reforms. This is obvious from lack of good governance: Indonesia keeps on getting further from good government every day.

Priyono further stated that Indonesia has a history of having cycles. “The Soekarno era was 20 years long, Soeharto era was 32 years long, and Reforms have been going on for 21 years. There should be a new movement now,” he said. “Hopefully President Jokowi can leave something for our country despite its being too far from democracy, instead of going the other way by enacting regulations that would allow him to serve for 3 terms.”

Nusantara Centre’s Executive Director Yudhie Haryono stated that the solution for Indonesia to really enjoy independence is by staging a “Pancasila Revolution”. According to him, being a Pancasilaist is not proven just by saying that you are one. You must change your mentality and lifestyle through enthusiasm, wisdom, and consistency, based on the desire to eliminate the inferiority complex our people suffer due to prolonged colonialization. “The people must be provided with proper perspectives of divine spirituality, civilization, unity, commonality, and justice,” he said. (Dan)