“What Is to Be Done”: notes on Prabowo’s speech

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Dr. Syahganda Nainggolan
Sabang Merauke Circle

IO – Prabowo Subianto’s speech resounded throughout the Archipelago. Tens, even hundreds of millions bore witness to the speech presenting his Vision and Mission. Prabowo is an amazing orator, worthy of the title “the lion at the podium”. He explained his ideas by interacting freely with the audience: it is as if he was not reading from a text. Let us now see the amazing substance of Prabowo’s ideas.

First, Prabowo emphasizes reorientation of development. This signifies transformation of development, which at present is mostly dependent on imports and foreign financing, instead shifting towards independence and national sovereignty. We seek sovereignty in food, energy, and water, because these are the three precious yet rare items that people fight for throughout the ages.

Other than sectoral sovereignty, reorientation of development is also related to Industrialization. Experts have claimed that deindustrialization has occurred in Indonesia. To be specific, Prabowo stated that the automotive industry, for example, must be made a reality in the upcoming year. And not a false automotive industry that are based on reconstructing what other countries have designed, but something that our own people build. Reorientation is closely related to funding, efficiency, and productivity. In terms of funding, foreign debt must be controlled. It must not be our primary support, but only a supplement to domestic circulation of capital. In terms of efficiency and productivity, Prabowo compares us to China and Vietnam, and encourages the formation of an Incremental Capital Output Ratio (ICOR) per dollar to match that of those countries.

Reorientation is further directed towards the creation of job opportunities for our people, in order to ensure that all the people have the opportunity to become prosperous – not just a few capitalists and elites. Reorientation does not negate the fair participation of entrepreneurs, whether private or state-owned. However, State-owned enterprises as business institutions controlled by the State and carrying out its mission must be big, strong, and healthy.

Second, in terms of the State and the people, Prabowo believes that a strong State is necessary to realize this reorientation of development. The State must be present to execute a “big push” strategy, marked by clean, corruption-free State institutions. Just as important, the State must protect its people, ensuring that none of its citizens are malnourished, let alone starving. The State must guarantee sustainable justice: cross-generational support of the environment and education. Lastly, the State must be strong and must have sufficient armed forces to defend its citizens.

From the people’s perspective, development in the future must be centered on the people. This means that the people must be the subject of development, instead of merely being objects. “People-centered” development also means that development is for everyone, instead of being for some fortunate elites, as what we experience now. Prabowo further notes that our enemy in the future is poverty itself. He promised to fight to his utmost to eliminate poverty from the country. In short, the end goal of development is to drastically narrow social gaps in Indonesia.

Third, in terms of democracy, Prabowo emphasizes that criticism is part of the checks and balances of authority. Without criticism, a regime will collapse into tyranny. Proper criticism provides good input to the government. In consequence, persecution and criminalization of the opposition, such as what is happening right now, is unnecessary. Monitoring political opponents through State intelligence is wrong. It is also inappropriate to mobilize other State apparatus to bring down political opponents.

“What is to be done” and “What has to be done”
Realization of the above three core elements will naturally require hard work from both the State and all of its people. Even though Prabowo emphasizes the role of the State, the sheer scale of things to achieve will require a strong conscience and awareness of the people, in the struggle to reorganize themselves. This is where Prabowo must determine both “what is to be done” and “what has to be done”. After all, Prabowo wants nothing less than a cultural revolution – “a great leap forward”. He must establish solid social connections with the people’s forces, such as the forces of Habib Rizieq, NGOs, campuses and college students, and other forces of the people, in order to ensure that everyone works their hardest day and night without any ulterior motive.

If Prabowo relies only on existing bureaucratic powers – the local bourgeoisie, the intellectual prostitutes, bootlickers, rent-seekers and neo-liberalists, his aspiration will be meaningless. A “big push” strategy must authentically develop people’s power – allowing them to become productive and work day and night to bring life and prosperity to factories, farms, forests, and fisheries.

Prabowo’s victory must be a victory for the people. It must be a revolution for the lifestyle of the common people. There is a spirit of “something to wait for”, which inspires great energy among the people. Prabowo’s power should be the power of the people: from the people, by the people, and for the people.

During the effort to welcome the people’s revolution, we must continue to pray to Allah SWT in order for Him to bless Prabowo’s struggle for the people and grant them victory.