A Political Party for Youth by Youth: Building the Indonesian Solidarity Party
Inspirasi

A Political Party for Youth by Youth: Building the Indonesian Solidarity Party

Posted by Rachael Abigail, Generation Democracy Member, Indonesia

Young people are often excluded or overlooked as political candidates. Politics is typically regarded as a space for politically experienced men. Young people are systematically marginalized because of their age and perceived lack of experience.

In Indonesia, 65 million people of the current population are young people aged 10 to 24 years old—around 28 percent of the total population. However, only 17.9 percent of Indonesian Parliamentarians are under 40 years old.

This underrepresentation of youth in Indonesian politics inspired me to help build the Indonesian Solidary Party (PSI), with 90 percent of the governing committee below the age of 40. Driven by youth, this party aims to improve the representation of youth and women in the policy-making process, ensuring a fair and meritocracy-based election system, as well as providing a stable and supportive political platform for those who remain voiceless after all these years.

Given that Indonesia is a multi-party system, many questioned the need for another party. As a young person with no prior political experience, I wanted to help create a platform for my peers and to finally be heard. We use social media as our main campaign platform and realize that if we want to engage with younger generations, we must speak their language. Social media is the fastest and easiest way to communicate the party’s goals with our target audience. Indonesia is a vast country with more than 17,000 islands. By using social media, we want to reach our young peers, for example, who live in the eastern part of Indonesia, which is challenging to engage in regard to physical reach. We also use Instagram and Facebook to broadcast live interviews with our legislative candidates.

PSI is pushing for the representation of more women. Recently, the National Election Committee praised our party for being the only party that had more than 50 percent representation of women within the governing committee. Over half of Indonesia’s population are women, yet they occupy only 17.3 percent of seats in parliament, or less than the 30-percent quota.

Most parties in Indonesia and across the world are not focused on advancing the capacity of their young members. Without a comprehensive program and/or proper curriculum to build the skills of youth, young people will not have the capacity and confidence to run for office. This gap in skills has led to the lack of youth representation. Mentorship is one critical way to help build a generation of dedicated and action-oriented legislators capable of developing well-articulated policies. Personally, I’ve been inspired by other movements globally, particularly with the rise of En Marche, a party launched by the then 38-year-old Emmanuel Macron in 2016.

It is time for older generations to realize that youth have a strong capacity and determination to contribute. As for my fellow young people, our world needs us more than ever. Either by building your own party or developing mentorship programs to build the capacity of next generation of legislators, youth should not give up on engaging in politics.

Rachael Abigail is a member of Generation Democracy and attended the Generation Democracy Asia Regional Academy. At the Academy, IRI convened 25 young leaders from 15 countries across Asia to exchange ideas and identify barriers to youth participation in decision-making processes.

Generation Democracy is a global network of more than 400 young elected officials, civil society leaders, activists and journalists across 70 countries that provides young leaders with a platform to exchange ideas and share best practices to increase political and civic participation among youth. The initiative builds upon IRI’s more than 30 years of experience helping youth across Asia develop their leadership potential and become more civically and politically engaged.

Democracy speaks

PSI: Indonesia’s new millennials party
Liputan

PSI: Indonesia’s new millennials party

A new political party dubbed the “millennials party”, officially called the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), has risen in Indonesia and is set to take part in next years general election.

The PSI is one of four new parties the General Election Commission is allowing to compete in next year’s legislative and presidential elections.

Two of the new parties are fronted by establishment figures. The United Indonesia Party (Perindo) is headed by US President Donald Trump’s business partner in Indonesia, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, while the Berkarya Party is led by Suharto’s youngest son, Tommy, who advocates a return to the “New Order” values of his late father.

Change
PSI leader Grace Natalie, a former television journalist, believes the time has come for a new generation of politicians who would be genuinely accountable to the people.

Its workers call each other “bro” and “sis”, and their leader sets the sartorial standard with a pair of ripped jeans, it hopes to tap into young voters’ contempt for the entrenched corruption and divisive identity politics of the ruling elite.

Her party interviews members seeking nomination for a seat in parliament, and live-streams the discussions on social media platforms. Teachers, corporate lawyers, doctors and bankers are among those whose interviews have aired on Facebook and YouTube.

“No other party is offering what we are in terms of transparency,” she told Reuters at PSI’s headquarters – referred to by party staff as “base camp” – where a wall poster says “Make Art, Not War”.

The downfall of the long-serving Suharto in 1998 – amid a crisis widely blamed on a culture of nepotism and corruption was seen as the beginning of change and opportunity. But two decades later, the 190 million voters of the world’s third-largest democracy are still asked to choose from a crowd of candidates who began their political careers during that period.

The 2019 presidential election looks set to be a repeat of 2014, when current leader Joko Widodo narrowly defeated Prabowo Subianto, an ex-armed forces general who was formerly married to a daughter of Suharto.

Critical demographics
Natalie, 35, and a mother of two toddlers, set up PSI in 2014, determined to offer an alternative for young voters. It’s a critical demographic with people between the ages of 17 and 25 accounting for about 30 percent of the electorate. Two-thirds of the party’s roughly 400,000 members are under 35.

PSI relies on crowdfunding and donations to run operations across the vast archipelago of Indonesia, and to keep costs down it works from members’ houses and uses donated vehicles.

“This way, no one person can claim that they own the party. Everyone is contributing something,” said Natalie, who was educated in Jakarta and the Netherlands, and speaks proficient English.

So far, PSI has raised 2.6 billion rupiah ($180,000), a tiny sum compared with the coffers of mainstream parties that benefit from poor enforcement of laws limiting political donations.

Youth vote
Over the years the participation of young voters has dwindled, and the PSI is also struggling to get traction with the youth it is targeting.

Data from the elections commission showed that less than half of voters between 17 and 29 years old cast a ballot in the 2014 legislative election compared with around 90 percent among those over 30.

Ella Prihatini, a researcher at the University of Western Australia, found that in a survey of 253 young voters many were uninterested in politics.

“On parliament, the dominant answer from respondents was that their MPs are not actually representing them, so why bother voting?” Prihatini said.

Ibrahim Irsyad Hasibuan, a 20 year old journalism student from Tangerang outside Jakarta, said young voters are apathetic because they have no faith in the political system, and so PSI could be a wake-up call for his generation.

“But I can’t relate to PSI,” he said. “It is a new political party and has no track record yet.”

Achmad Sukarsono, a Singapore-based political analyst for Control Risks, was dismissive of the new party, arguing that an anti-corruption stance alone will not be enough to win over voters more interested in local and bread-and-butter issues.

“It is a nice utopian effort that shows desire for change from the educated, Westernised elite,” he said.

Ideological tension
Winning support is also likely to be particularly challenging for Natalie, an ethnic Chinese-Indonesian, in a climate of ideological and ethnic tensions.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country with a secular constitution, but the seculars of Indonesia do not want Islam to have a role in shaping Indonesian social life.

Jakarta’s former governor, an ethnic-Chinese Christian, was overthrown last year after some Muslim groups organised massive protests over allegations he insulted Islam. He was later found guilty and jailed for blasphemy.

The 14 parties contesting next year’s polls include the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which leads the ruling coalition, several other secular parties as well as rising Islamic-oriented parties.

Natalie, who plans to run for parliament next year, conceded she and PSI need a far bigger budget to win support in rural areas, home to nearly half of Indonesia’s population. Her party will back Widodo – a popular reformer – for re-election as president, rather than try to field a candidate of its own.

Aljazeera

Neng Dara Affiah, Her jihad against Muslims schizophrenia
Uncategorized

Neng Dara Affiah, Her jihad against Muslims schizophrenia

By Julia Suryakusuma. 

Schizophrenia. We’ve all heard of this disorder, right? This is the short, non-medical definition I found in a dictionary: “A mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.” Some would call it, hypocrisy.

We all know people like that, don’t we? What if I said that Muslims are currently suffering from this mental illness? It falls into the category that some scholars call “cultural schizophrenia,” whereby an entity is “crushed between two or more cultures, disabling them from balancing the dictations of the cultures.”

In the case of Islam, in Indonesia as well as elsewhere, it’s the failure of conservative and fundamentalist Muslims to reconcile Islamic teachings and values with modernity and the principles of human rights and democracy. It has a lot to do with the negative patriarchal values that imbue conservative Islam which sees women and “the other” (minorities, non-Muslims, etc., in short, others different from their prescribed brand of Islam) as being inferior, and subject to their judgment, dictates and control.

It’s this deep disillusionment and dismay not just at conservative Islam, but mainstream Islam in Indonesia that has led Neng Dara Affiah to be involved in decades of activism as well as scholarship. She feels it has strayed from the true tenets of a religion that is about peace, tolerance and mutual support.

Neng Dara, currently a lecturer at Nahdlatul Ulama University and former commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), recently launched two books at the National Library of Indonesia, both published by Obor Foundation.

The first book, entitled Portrait of Progressive Indonesian Muslim Women, is based on her PhD dissertation, a detailed and systematic account of progressive Muslim women’s movements in the New Order and Reform Era.

The second is tantalizingly called Islam, Women’s Leadership and Sexuality, an anthology that tackles issues deemed sensitive in Islam: women’s leadership, polygamy, the hijab, virginity, child marriage and sexuality. She also writes about radicalism, sectarianism and Muslim feminist movements as a means to restore Islam’s true values.

The four panelists discussing the books were as highly qualified, interesting and unique as Neng Dara. The first was KH Iman Nashkei, one of a growing number of male feminist Muslim scholars and a commissioner at Komnas Perempuan. He said Neng’s writings could supplant or at least supplement the kitab kun-ing (traditional Islamic texts used in pesantren or Islamic boarding schools). Pretty bold statement! Islam enters all areas of life, even the most private areas such as the bedroom and toilet, so how come it’s mostly men who write religious texts?

Septemmy E. Lakawa, the second speaker, is a priest who teaches mission studies, contextual theologies and feminist constructive theology at the Jakarta Theological Seminary. She said Neng’s writings are radical and the kind of Islam that Indonesia needs. Neng offers a reinterpretation of Islam within the context of the social and political developments of Indonesia’s history. She proves that Islam is multidimensional and makes clear that it is compatible with modernity, and certainly not the antithesis of democracy as Muslim fundamentalists claim.

Feminist Muslim scholars like Neng Dara bring the womb, and sexuality into the public realm, which is important as women’s bodies are the contested site of various ideological battles that serve the broader purpose of extending conservative Muslim influence into the social and political spheres.

Yuniyanti Chuzaifah, the third speaker, is currently one of the two vice chairpersons of Komnas Perempuan. She feels that Neng should be a feminist version of Quraish Shibab, a highly regarded moderate Islamic scholar, to address the current irrationality of Islam. Neng is hardly an ivory tower scholar, as an academic and activist, she engages in praxis and tries to ground Islam through women’s experiences.

Last but not least was Tsamara Amany, an impressive, smart, knowledgeable, articulate, gutsy 21-year-old politician who dares to take on crusty male politicians like Fahri Hamzah, accusing him of being sesat (misguided) on various controversial issues such as corruption, publicly ridiculing him on YouTube and Twitter. Tsamara is a member of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), a new political party set up in 2014, headed by Grace Natalie, 35, a former television presenter who limits PSI membership to the age of 45. Yeah sista, time for regeneration of the old corrupt coterie of male politicians! Can I join even if I am 63? I am very young at heart and have long written about what you fight for!

Tsamara feels empowered by Neng Dara’s books as she feels it addresses her anger at the way men look down on women and also because Neng shows that feminism can be based on Islamic values. Tsamara is also very concerned about the phenomenon of hijrah, the spread of conservatism among young, educated Muslims, including celebrities who trade their dugem (night-life, bar-hopping) ways for a conservative, Muslim garbed, preachy lifestyle. Tsamara feels the need to spread the ideas that Neng promotes in a more digestible, bite-sized version for the younger generation who were weaned on social media.

The attendees at the launch were a reflection of what an ideal, tolerant, pluralistic Indonesia would look like: Inter-generation-al (from 80s to 20s!), inter-class, inter-religious, with members of LGBT community also present.

Neng Dara is not the first progressive Muslim feminist scholar. Before her there was Musdah Mulia, a professor of politics at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta and co-founder of the Indonesian Conference of Religion and Peace that promotes religious pluralism. If Musdah was considered controversial, especially for her defense of sexual minority rights, which Neng also advocates, in the current climate in Indonesia that is more volatile, Neng will also have her share of haters.

I for one felt the launch to be an oasis in what now seems to be an increasingly barren desert of religious intolerance in Indonesia. In 2017,the Congress of Women Ulema (KUPI), the first event of its kind in the world, was held in Cirebon. It was revolutionary in many ways and Neng Dara’s books certainly continue to carry the torch for an enlightened Islamic revival in Indonesia, led by Muslim feminists.

Neng Dara, and all her feminist compatriots, are trying to heal Islam and Muslims in Indonesia who are trapped in this self-imposed cultural schizophrenia that poses a real danger for the unity-in-diversity spirit that makes Indonesia. After all, we want to live up to our reputation of being a moderate Muslim country, right?

The writer is the author of Julia’s Jihad

 

The Jakarta Post | Wednesday, January 24 2018

Neng Dara Affiah: Her jihad against Muslims’ schizophrenia
Opini

Neng Dara Affiah: Her jihad against Muslims’ schizophrenia

By Julia Suryakusuma. 

Schizophrenia. We’ve all heard of this disorder, right? This is the short, non-medical definition I found in a dictionary: “A mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.” Some would call it, hypocrisy.

We all know people like that, don’t we? What if I said that Muslims are currently suffering from this mental illness? It falls into the category that some scholars call “cultural schizophrenia,” whereby an entity is “crushed between two or more cultures, disabling them from balancing the dictations of the cultures.”

In the case of Islam, in Indonesia as well as elsewhere, it’s the failure of conservative and fundamentalist Muslims to reconcile Islamic teachings and values with modernity and the principles of human rights and democracy. It has a lot to do with the negative patriarchal values that imbue conservative Islam which sees women and “the other” (minorities, non-Muslims, etc., in short, others different from their prescribed brand of Islam) as being inferior, and subject to their judgment, dictates and control.

It’s this deep disillusionment and dismay not just at conservative Islam, but mainstream Islam in Indonesia that has led Neng Dara Affiah to be involved in decades of activism as well as scholarship. She feels it has strayed from the true tenets of a religion that is about peace, tolerance and mutual support.

Neng Dara, currently a lecturer at Nahdlatul Ulama University and former commissioner of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), recently launched two books at the National Library of Indonesia, both published by Obor Foundation.

The first book, entitled Portrait of Progressive Indonesian Muslim Women, is based on her PhD dissertation, a detailed and systematic account of progressive Muslim women’s movements in the New Order and Reform Era.

The second is tantalizingly called Islam, Women’s Leadership and Sexuality, an anthology that tackles issues deemed sensitive in Islam: women’s leadership, polygamy, the hijab, virginity, child marriage and sexuality. She also writes about radicalism, sectarianism and Muslim feminist movements as a means to restore Islam’s true values.

The four panelists discussing the books were as highly qualified, interesting and unique as Neng Dara. The first was KH Iman Nashkei, one of a growing number of male feminist Muslim scholars and a commissioner at Komnas Perempuan. He said Neng’s writings could supplant or at least supplement the kitab kun-ing (traditional Islamic texts used in pesantren or Islamic boarding schools). Pretty bold statement! Islam enters all areas of life, even the most private areas such as the bedroom and toilet, so how come it’s mostly men who write religious texts?

Septemmy E. Lakawa, the second speaker, is a priest who teaches mission studies, contextual theologies and feminist constructive theology at the Jakarta Theological Seminary. She said Neng’s writings are radical and the kind of Islam that Indonesia needs. Neng offers a reinterpretation of Islam within the context of the social and political developments of Indonesia’s history. She proves that Islam is multidimensional and makes clear that it is compatible with modernity, and certainly not the antithesis of democracy as Muslim fundamentalists claim.

Feminist Muslim scholars like Neng Dara bring the womb, and sexuality into the public realm, which is important as women’s bodies are the contested site of various ideological battles that serve the broader purpose of extending conservative Muslim influence into the social and political spheres.

Yuniyanti Chuzaifah, the third speaker, is currently one of the two vice chairpersons of Komnas Perempuan. She feels that Neng should be a feminist version of Quraish Shibab, a highly regarded moderate Islamic scholar, to address the current irrationality of Islam. Neng is hardly an ivory tower scholar, as an academic and activist, she engages in praxis and tries to ground Islam through women’s experiences.

Last but not least was Tsamara Amany, an impressive, smart, knowledgeable, articulate, gutsy 21-year-old politician who dares to take on crusty male politicians like Fahri Hamzah, accusing him of being sesat (misguided) on various controversial issues such as corruption, publicly ridiculing him on YouTube and Twitter. Tsamara is a member of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), a new political party set up in 2014, headed by Grace Natalie, 35, a former television presenter who limits PSI membership to the age of 45. Yeah sista, time for regeneration of the old corrupt coterie of male politicians! Can I join even if I am 63? I am very young at heart and have long written about what you fight for!

Tsamara feels empowered by Neng Dara’s books as she feels it addresses her anger at the way men look down on women and also because Neng shows that feminism can be based on Islamic values. Tsamara is also very concerned about the phenomenon of hijrah, the spread of conservatism among young, educated Muslims, including celebrities who trade their dugem (night-life, bar-hopping) ways for a conservative, Muslim garbed, preachy lifestyle. Tsamara feels the need to spread the ideas that Neng promotes in a more digestible, bite-sized version for the younger generation who were weaned on social media.

The attendees at the launch were a reflection of what an ideal, tolerant, pluralistic Indonesia would look like: Inter-generation-al (from 80s to 20s!), inter-class, inter-religious, with members of LGBT community also present.

Neng Dara is not the first progressive Muslim feminist scholar. Before her there was Musdah Mulia, a professor of politics at the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta and co-founder of the Indonesian Conference of Religion and Peace that promotes religious pluralism. If Musdah was considered controversial, especially for her defense of sexual minority rights, which Neng also advocates, in the current climate in Indonesia that is more volatile, Neng will also have her share of haters.

I for one felt the launch to be an oasis in what now seems to be an increasingly barren desert of religious intolerance in Indonesia. In 2017,the Congress of Women Ulema (KUPI), the first event of its kind in the world, was held in Cirebon. It was revolutionary in many ways and Neng Dara’s books certainly continue to carry the torch for an enlightened Islamic revival in Indonesia, led by Muslim feminists.

Neng Dara, and all her feminist compatriots, are trying to heal Islam and Muslims in Indonesia who are trapped in this self-imposed cultural schizophrenia that poses a real danger for the unity-in-diversity spirit that makes Indonesia. After all, we want to live up to our reputation of being a moderate Muslim country, right?

The writer is the author of Julia’s Jihad

 

The Jakarta Post | Wednesday, January 24 2018

PSI encourages entrepreneurship among millennials
Uncategorized

PSI encourages entrepreneurship among millennials

The Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) held an event in Central Jakarta on Sunday entitled “The Mighty Generations: The Future Is In Your Hands,” seeking to promote entrepreneurship among young people.

The event featured, among others, JakCloth co-founder Andro Rohmana Putera, KokBisa YouTube channel co-founder Gerald Sebastian and Giring Ganesha, lead vocalist of popular pop band Nidji, who shared their experiences in starting businesses through digital avenues.

PSI chairwoman Grace Natalie said that the party wanted to help millennials to take advantage of the “high-tech era.”

“That’s why we invited these successful young people who have creative mentalities and aren’t afraid to fail,” she said.

Grace further said PSI wanted to differentiate itself from other political parties by holding more events such as this.

“We want to share knowledge not just distribute sembako [staple foodstuffs],” she said, referring to a common tactic used by political parties to gain votes.

“We are lucky to live in a time where we don’t need that much capital to start our own business,” said PSI central executive board head Tsamara Amany.

The audience consisted of young people from universities and youth community groups, many of whom were interested in starting their own business.

Rado, a fresh graduate and North Sumatra native, said he wanted to open a business back in his hometown.

“My hometown is near Lake Toba, which has now become a major tourist destination. I think that there’s a great opportunity for tourist businesses like homestays.” He hoped he could use what he learned at the event to pursue his goal. (kmt/ebf)

The Jakarta Post
Make Way for The New
Blog Solidaritas Opini

Make Way for The New

Indonesia’s political landscape is changing, time for the youths to have a say.

In recent years, Indonesia’s political stage is far from quite, corruption rages on in the parliament, political scandals, and leadership disputes inside local parties, medias have been covering about this non-stop. For young generations, so exposed to social medias and news, it’s a worrying sign, it made a perception, that politicians are not to be trusted, and local parties are the symbol of that.

Those perceptions are by no means unproven, according to Indonesian Corruption Watch, from 2005-2015 KPK (Corruption Eradication Commission) has apprehended 82 members of local parties, most of which are parliamentary members.

Both local parties and parliamentary members has been dubbed the most untrusting political body in Indonesia, according to SMRC, a think-tank. Perceptions seemed to cloud the minds of our generations so that they are better off working at a cubicle rather than doing politics.

Indonesia, a country where younger generation is a majority, need to make amends to this situation. Rather than creating a pessimistic culture towards politics, it needs to create an opportunistic one.

With the recent corruption crackdowns orchestrated by KPK and other justice institutions, it is an opportunity for younger generations to finally have a say in Indonesia’s political stage. The corrupt governing officials are being caught, parliamentary seats are opening up for youngsters craving change.

The political wind is beginning to change also, favoring the young ones. The Indonesian Solidarity Party (ISP), the only new party that went through the selection of legal entities by the ministry of justice and human rights after 2014 presidential elections is expecting change in Indonesia’s political landscape.

It claims to fill the party with youths, most of its party members are only 20-30 years old, championing virtue and diversity. This party represents a symbol of the younger generations that is tired and worn out by the current political situation in the country.

The recent political movement in France, the rise of En Marche! a centre-left party run by the newly-elected president of France, Emmanuel Macron (39) is the perfect example of a successful youth political movement.

During the 2017 presidential election, their party embraced diversity and younger educated voters, served as a platform for youths that is tired by the old established parties that has dominated the country’s political landscape (Parti socialiste and Les Républicains). In result, the party won 66 percent of the vote and have a majority seat in the parliament. Indonesians must take note and follow suit, for its upcoming 2019 presidential election, expecting to have this core of young voters dominating the election.

Those changes, means nothing if Indonesia’s youngsters could not change the way they think. One of the first step on changing the perception of politics is to get them to care first, the government needs to get involve. The minimum voter’s age is 17 years old, it is around high school or college in Indonesia’s average educational age, frankly, at this time of age, the young voters are not informed enough on the country’s political stage, this lack of information occurred because they have simply become ignorant on politics, this is a worrying sign.

The government needs to apply some basic political exercises on Indonesia’s educational system, it is on the time of 15-17 years old (High School) where they need to engage on more mature political discussions and argument, to find their political voice, this can be done by, for example, essays or on-class discussions about recent world or national events.

Hopefully by this way, they are “forced” to care on the importance of politics. This basic understanding of politics will ignite arguments, critical thinking, and ideas among Indonesia’s young generations across the archipelago, and among other things, create a willingness for them to join and make a change on Indonesia’s political scene.

For all the times that democracy ever existed, young generation formed the backbone of the system. They represent fresh ideas, hopefully representing the will of the people.

Indonesia’s youth generation (15-54), representing the biggest percentage of the population, is a big opportunity for the country to revolutionized the political scene into a more modern, tolerant and subsequently less-corrupted one. This needs some extra effort from the government and the youths themselves, time for Indonesia to make way for the new.

Pramudya Wicaksono

Mahasiswa di Universiteit van Amsterdam jurusan Business Administration.Suka menulis iseng-iseng di bidang politik dan ekonomi.

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