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Indonesia's Revolution Is It Starting Up Again? A Perspective Inspired by the Ideas of Pramoedya Ananta Toer

  • Max Lane

Is it really "a democratic transition" that is taking place in the aftermath of Suharto's overthrow? Is it something else? Something more? Can Pramoedya's analysis of movements in Indonesian history, in his novels and other writings, help us understand what is happening in and to the country now? And what is the answer to Pramoedya's question: How did the young generation succeed so impressively in ousting a military-backed dictator, yet fail to produce a national political leadership to replace him? In his analysis Max Lane will draw linkages between seemingly disparate events and trends: emerging "Pramism"; burgeoning demonstrations (aksi); the controversy over "rectifying history"; the new alliance of Sukarnoist parties; rapid decentralization; and the longer-term dynamics of Indonesian history.

Max Lane is affiliated with the Centre for Asia Pacific Social Transformation Studies at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has been writing about Indonesian politics and history since 1972. His highly regarded translations include novels by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, plays by W. S. Rendra, and writings by other Indonesians. Recently he finished translating Arok Dedes and The Chinese In Indonesia by Pramoedya and The Social Sciences and Power in Indonesia by Daniel Dhakidae and Vedi Hadiz. Presently he is completing a book of his own, Aksi, the Fall Of Suharto and the Next Indonesia, while preparing a PhD at the University of Wollongong on class consciousness in modern Indonesia and lecturing at the University of Sydney.

Co-sponsored with the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UC-Berkeley