Youth and Struggle to Control Power
Youth always has its own place in the journey of Indonesia as a nation state. This time, in the 2019 general election event, the number of young or millennial voters is estimated at 40 percent of the national vote. Therefore, many political parties offer programs that are more than “young people”.
It seemed good for young people, because political parties that had been filled with old people with abstract ideas, began to accommodate the needs of young people. However, what actually happens is that young people are only taken by political parties to get their votes in elections. In fact, there are political parties that claim to be a party of young people, but cannot show differentiation of ideology with other parties.
Pity? Of course! Because in the course of history, young people always play a major role in various fields. Young people are subjects, not objects. Meanwhile, if necessary, young people are willing to be supported by the status quo or ruler, because they maintain the values of the struggle they believe in. Romanticism impressed and not in accordance with the spirit of the times? Every age does have its own children and enthusiasm, but more substance must be maintained and continue to be practiced.
Maybe the message the publisher of the Komunitas Bambu wanted to send when the book Students, Nationalism and Prison was published by John Ingleson’s. A book that reveals the struggle of the organization of the Dutch East Indies students in the Netherlands called the Association of Indonesia (PI) 1923-1928. Like many written in history books, PI is the first organization to formally use the name Indonesia.
The presence of a group of young people studying abroad is not a fate or something given by God for free. They can get education both at mother land and abroad, is an ethical political policy that was put in place 1901. At present politicians, Van Deventer in the Netherlands revealed practices that were not carried out by humane cultivation carried out by the colonial government. Therefore, the colonial government must return the favor by running an education, management and emigration program.
According to Ernest Henri, Philippe Baudet and Izaak, Johannes Brugmans (1987), the education program is actually intended to create indigenous workers who can be bought at low wages. With the presence of a group that feels Education, Robert Van Niel (2009) calls them the modern elite in Indonesia. Because before, said Van Niel, the outline of the development of the Indonesian elite was from the traditional, cosmologically oriented, and based on the modern elite which was oriented to the state of prosperity, based on education.
Modern elites who were destined to become laborers, turned out to get the awareness to be able to liberate themselves or at least demand equality of position between the citizens of the Dutch East Indies and the Netherlands. This awareness and equality is obtained directly by the Indonesian Association in the Netherlands, one thing they have never felt in their own country (page 3). Not surprisingly, the Indonesian Association places national unity, solidarity, non-cooperation, and self-reliance as the four main ideologies or the basis of struggle (page 15).
This ideology can be regarded as a statement of the attitude of rebellion by the Indonesian youth elite in opposing more moderate ideas from the national parties in Dutch Hinidia such as Budi Utomo and Sarekat Islam. Because, moderates will only fill the House of Representatives or the Volkskraad who have never been able to realize their struggle and alignments with the citizens of the Netherlands East Indies. In addition, the four foundations of the Indonesian Society’s struggle cannot be ruled out as the influence of the intellectual school that developed in Europe in the 1920s, especially Marxism-Lenninism. Therefore, the Indonesian Association was impressed by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) as the most radical anti-Dutch party in the country (page 45). However, the Indonesian Association did not fully agree with the PKI. There were differences in principles in determining how to achieve Indonesian independence between the PI and the PKI. All at once, the PKI leadership at that time declared the need for an organization to prepare a revolution with violence. Meanwhile, Hatta believed that the most important thing was to gradually educate the people and prepare them to become an independent nation. However, Hatta and Semaun signed a private convention, namely Semaun, agreeing that PI would lead the nationalist movement, promising cooperation and offering PKI printing tools for use by PI (page 62).
When the PKI resistance occurred in 1926, the convention documents were discovered by the Dutch and were used as evidence to arrest Hatta and other PI leaders because they were considered to be involved in the resistance of the PKI in 1926. However, the colonial government was defeated by Hatta. Post-trial, Hatta convinced the nationalist movement not to give up on fighting for Indonesian independence, even making his arrest a driver of struggle (page 98). The cause is that young people and especially educated people have moral and social responsibility to ordinary people. So, a diametrical position without compromise with power is a necessity to control power which always has the potential to be corrupt. As Soedjatmoko stated, youth and intellectuals must remain outside the government, apart from direct involvement in politics, to enable it to provide intellectual institutions and voluntary associations needed to ensure a balanced balance between the state and society. (*)
*) Virdika Rizky Utama: Researcher at Narasi. TV