ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles By Olle Tornquist

Linking Public Action

Kerala suffers less from clientelism, authoritarianism, and neo-liberalism than many other parts of the world, but it is affected by the universal dilemma of how to unify numerous actors and build democratic links between the local, the wider government, and the economy. This article’s comparative insights indicate that the state requires democratic partnership governance to avoid parties and individual leaders cornering power.

The Politics of Amnesia

Fifty years ago, a failed uprising against pro-US army generals (though not against the country's president) in Indonesia became the scapegoat for pogroms and inaugurated a three-decade long period of authoritarianism. Indonesia became the model for the West in its suppression of popular movements in the global South. The elite in Indonesia and its international allies still do not want to talk about their violent methods. This amnesia and the refusal to understand the experiences of popular politics works to the detriment of democracy in the country.

Stagnation or Transformation in Indonesia?

In October, Joko Widodo, or "Jokowi", campaigning on a populist pro-democracy platform, became the new president of Indonesia after a bitter election campaign against oligarch Prabowo Subianto, a former military officer who was supported by elements of the former Suharto regime. Jokowi's victory illustrates both the real achievements and the profound limits of Indonesian democracy. Fortunately, it also highlights possibilities for substantive reform.

Is Social Democracy Being Undermined?

Contrary to conventional opinion that "social democracy" as an idea has been undermined by globalisation, it can be argued that it is increasingly valid in both the post-industrial and new industrial countries outside Europe. The Swedish Social Democratic Party's crisis is one of its own making - borne out of parochialism, complacency and short-term politics.

What's Wrong with Indonesia's Democratisation?

Indonesia's democratisation is not making much sense even to its major potential pro-democratic force - the people at large - as a way of promoting ideas and solving conflicts. There is an urgent need for a third path between determinism and idealism, that aims at substantial democratisation not in terms of good outcome for all but the promotion of citizen's actual capacity to make use of and further improve civil and democratic rights and institutions.