Indonesia has undergone several different style of state leadership which called democracy. From Liberal Democracy and Guided Democracy from Soekarno’s time and Pancasila Democracy of New Order Regime. While two later era is guided by 1945 Constitution, Liberal democracy is drawn from The Provisional Constitution of 1950. But nonetheless, even drawn from same contitution, Guided Democracy and Pancasila Democracy is a different thing.

Indonesia is perhaps more committed than any country in asia to the creation of political “slogans”-euphonious summations that symbolize and seek to define the character of Indonesian organizational life and political ideology. Freqeuntly invented by President or other public figures, these slogans hare a clear charismatic purpose: leaders constantly hold them before the public as the country gropes for unity under conditions of political and economic instability.

There are a question arousing from this condition. What did Guided Democracy meant? Furthermore, how democrat guided democracy is? It is reflected by the practices of governance and public participation.

For this reason we believe that the quest to seek the real nature of Guided Democracy is not a worthless quest. From semiotic study we know that language is not (just) a tool for telling the truth but (also) a tool to lie. While democracy refer to public participation in governance process, guided meant a process which the public is obeying an entity.

Political Background Prelude Guided democracy

The Liberal Democracy period from the reestablishment of the unitary Republic of Indonesian in 1950 until the declaration of martial law in 1957 saw the rise and fall of six cabinets, the longest-lasting surviving for just under two years. Even Indonesia’s first national elections in 1955 failed to bring about political stability.

The economy was in a disastrous state following almost 10 years of Japanese occupation and war against the Dutch. In the hands of a young and inexperienced government, the economy was unable to boost production of food and other necessities to keep pace with an increasing population. Most of the population was illiterate, unskilled, and suffered from a dearth of management skills. Inflation was rampant, smuggling cost the central government much needed foreign exchange, and much of the plantations had been destroyed during the occupation and war.

In 1957, Indonesia faced a series of crises, including the beginning of the Permesta rebellion in Makassar and the army takeover of authority in South Sumatra. One of the demands of the Permesta rebels was that 70 percent of the members of Sukarno’s proposed National Council should be members from the regions (i.e. non-Javanese). Another demand was that the cabinet and National Council be led by the dual-leadership (Indonesian: dwitunggal) of Sukarno and former Vice-President Hatta (Simanjuntak, 2003).

Failed civilian leadership drive the army to take the power. In March 1957, Sukarno accepted Army chief of staff Nasution’s proposal for a declaration of martial law across the whole nation. This would put the military in charge, and would be a way to deal with the rebellious army commanders, as it would effectively legitimize them. But this also annulled civilian power over the government.

In the face of a growing political crisis amid splits in the cabinet, Prime Minister Ali Sastroadmidjojo returned his mandate to the president on 14 March. On 15 March 1957 President Sukarno appointed PNI chairman Soewirjo to form a “working cabinet”, which would be tasked with establishing the National Council in accordance with the president’s concept. However, that fact that Masjumi were not asked to participate in the formation of the cabinet led to Soewirjo’s efforts coming to nothing. However, on 25 March, Sukarno asked Soewirjo to try again, but once again, Soewirjo failed. Finally, Sukarno held a meeting with 69 party figures at the state Palace on 4 April, at which he announced his intention to form an emergency extra-parliamentary working cabinet, and that “citizen” would set it up. The new “Working Cabinet”, headed by non-party prime Minister Djuanda was announced on 8 April 1957 at the Bogor Palace. Although the PKI was not included, several members were sympathetic to the party. In fact, in theory, it was a non-party cabinet. The National Council was established in May 1957. It was chaired by Sukarno, and comprised representatives of groups such as peasants, workers and women as well as the various religions.

In 1958, Masjumi and the NU – the party of the Nahdlatul Ulama, which had split from Masjumi in 1952, called for the planned 1959 elections to be postponed as they feared a PKI victory. In September, Djuanda announced the postponement. Meanwhile, the Constitutional Assembly was still unable to reach agreement on the basis of a new constitution, and was deadlocked between those who wanted Indonesia to be an Islamic state, and those who supported the idea of the state based on the Pancasila ideology. In July , Nasution proposed returning to the 1945 Constitution, and in September, he banned Masjumi.

Gradually, this gained support from the political parties, and on 5 July 1959, Sukarno issued a decree reinstating the 1945 Constitution and dissolving the Constitutional Assembly. Four days later, a working cabinet with Sukarno as prime minister was announced, and in July, the National Council and Supreme Advisory Council were established. Although the parties continued to exist, only the PKI had any real strength

Guided Democracy:The Ideology

Guided Democracy is not a predefined ideology that had been prepared to be practiced. In another word there where no philosopher draining their effort to make an episthemology and set of rules like Marxism was. Rather it comprised of manifestation of Pancasila, a well known state philosophy made by founding father of Indonesia. Practically Guided Democracy ideology is defined as a non-western style democracy that suit Indonesian culture and nation personality.

Pancasila. Derived from the Sanskrit, and meaning the “Five Pillars” (of the state), Pancasila is the oldest and, until recently, the most important and most popular of the slogans embodying the official state philosophy. Deeply rooted in Soekarno’s political thought, the substantive content of Pancasila it-as possibly inspired by Sun Yat-sen’s “Three Principles of the People” (nationalism, democracy and people’s livelihood). The term itself is related to the five moral precepts (Panch Shila) of Buddhism. Parztjasila was fornlulatecl sometime cluring the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, and given an official blessing by Soekarno in an address to Indonesian nationalist leaders on June 1, 1945,preparing them for the independence of the country. In this address, Sukarno referred to the need for an Indonesia “Weltanschauuns-.” as he put it, and described nationalism, internationalism (now often referred to as humanitarianism), representative government social justice, and belief in God as the principles of the state. These five principles can be reduced to three, a Trisila, according to Sukarno (“socio-nationalism;” “sociodemocracy” and belief in God) or even to one, an Ekasila, namely gotong-royong (mutual cooperation)

In the Independence Day address on 17 August 1957, Sukarno laid down the ideology of guided democracy, later renamed Manipol (Political manifesto). This was later expanded into the ideology known as USDEK – standing for the 1945 Constitution, Indonesian socialism, guided democracy, guided economy and Indonesian nationalism.

Manipol hails the country’s return to the Constitution of 1945 (as imposed by Sukarno by dccree on July 5, 19591, enumerates the nation’s achievements since 1945, and describes the nation’s “short” and “long term” objectives. Short term objectives include the satisfaction of the “basic neecis of the people, security and the struggle against imperialism” as well as the maintenance of the Indonesian personality “amidst the pulls to the right ancl to the left.” The long term objectives include “a just and prosperous society, the elimination of imperialist everywhere. and the achievement of thc foundations for a durable and eternal world peace. “A complete “retooling” of the agencies of government and of all facets of national life is demanded.

Allegiance to manipol was compulsory. No other political entity could oppose it, as what Masyumi and PSI did. All govermental institution “manipolized,” a process including indoctrination. Even Djuanda in June 1961 warns that no indoctrination was intended. Manipol as revolutionary way of Indonesia is to be thaugnt in all educational institution. This means Indonesian political life and thought would be a monolithic one.

In another political sphere unity is forced through Nasakom. Nasionalis (Nasionalis), Agamis (Religious), Komunis (Communist). Soekarno intended to bring solidarity into Indonesian politics by including all political grouping. But this goes uneasy, many party was not comfortable wirt the communist. In practice “Nasakomisasi” (Nasakomization) was mainly seen as communisation. This is happen because Nasakom put representative of each political group to all goverment post, including in military. For this process only PKI had enough militant cadre to fill the post for them.

Another interesting fact about monolithic nature of Soekarno’s will is in the youth movement. Indonesian scouting movement at that time is actually a federation of broadly different organization. Some were partisant, some were religious, some were inclusive. The effort to unite it get some strain from the PKI with their young pioneer, the communist counterpart of scouting. They want more leftist scout as the National Scouting Organization. Finally in August 1961 the President put Gerakan Pramuka as Indonesian National Scouting Organization and other scouting organization to be banned. Banishment of other scouting organzation is only seen in totalitarian countries.

Trhough this account we could see that in Indonesian Guided Democracy era, democracy was just the name. Something far from reality. Indonesia’s liberal democracy which is lacked maturity disgusting grassroot and giving a pretext toward the decline of democracy in Indonesia.