Sunday, March 23, 2008

New book: Making Democracy Meaningful: Problems and Options in Indonesia

"Willy Purna Samadhi" willy.purnasamadhi@gmail.com

NEW BOOK

Making Democracy Meaningful: Problems and Options in Indonesia
ISBN: 978-979-17049- 0-8
368 pp
AE. Priyono, Willy Purna Samadhi, Olle Törnquist, et. al.
English editor: Teresa Birks
Publisher: PCD Press & Demos
Indonesian e-mail order: melanie@demos. or.id
International distribution:
ISEAS Publishing, Singapore
publish@iseas. edu.sg; http://bookshop. iseas.edu. sg
Price: US$ 40

Demos website: http://www.demosind onesia.org

Indonesian democracy is a deficit democracy. It is widely
acknowledged that the pro-democrats who paved the way have been
marginalised and that the elite that resisted have taken over. But
how can the fledgling third largest democracy in the world become
meaningful? Meaningful as a way for ordinary people to improve their
lives and transform violent conflicts into peaceful politics.

This dilemma calls for firm empirical knowledge. Is Indonesian
democracy under way or only a facade? What are the most critical
problems that must be addressed? What is the basis for the elite
dominance and how can it be reduced? Why do pro-democrats continue to
be marginalised, and how can they reclaim the initiative with better
ideas and organisation?

To find out and thus facilitate a fresh agenda, leading constituents
of the democracy movement initiated themselves a comprehensive
national study. To do the job, Demos (The Indonesian Centre for Human
Rights and Democracy Studies) was formed. This was a task that nobody
had fulfilled before. Established assessment schemes were
insufficient. An improved framework had to be developed. It traces
both the standard of rights and institutions and citizens will and
capacity to promote and use them. Since the written sources were also
insufficient, the assessment had to be done from below by the organic
experts who know best. Seven hundred and ninety eight experienced,
reflective and grounded activists within fourteen different fields of
democratisation in all the thirty two provinces have spent a day or
more to answer three hundred and thirty one questions about the
problems and options involved. A unique source of information. And a
remarkable commitment.

Here are their answers. Analysed according to critical academic
standards, within the new conceptual framework, and by bringing
predominant theories and recommendations to test. Here is the
probably most comprehensive source of information about the state of
democracy in Indonesia − and about the challenges to make it
meaningful. An indispensable book and set of data for students and
scholars, activists and politicians – within and outside the country.

Advance Praise for This Book

"It is really impressive work. I think the modifications and
improvements you have made in our audit methodology are admirable and
the findings are of the first importance. I hope the report gets the
dissemination it deserves."
Professor David Beetham, University of Essex, Leader of the British
Democratic Audit and principal author of 'The Handbook of Democracy
Assessment'

"As a development worker aiming to promote democracy in Indonesia,
Demos' studies are crucial tools. The present book provides a timely,
critical and well-documented review of the state of democracy in
Indonesia. The book is invaluable reading for those who are
interested in not only understanding but also deepening democracy in
Indonesia."
Hans Antlov, Local Governance Support Program, USAID / RTI.

"Indonesia is in the throes of a particularly complex democratic
transition, one bounded by powerful authoritarian institution and he
weakness of popular, pro-democracy organizations. This valuable study
clarifies many of the issues and makes concrete proposals on new
directions for pro-democracy activists. A must read!"
Joel Rocamora, Institute for Popular Democracy, Philippines.

"Democracy has been hijacked by the elites!" suggests one of Demos'
main findings of their study on actors in the process of
democratization in Indonesia for these past six years . The democracy
plunderers run a typical plunderer democratic system. Such a
conclusion reminds me of a silent yet comprehensive plunder by
similar elites in other countries which experience similar transition
from period of authoritarianism, as Noreena Hertz described in The
Silent Take Over (2003). This book echoes Hertz's arguments in
Indonesia, this time, with more details and focus.
Tamrin Amal Tomagola, Sociologist, University of Indonesia.

"This is not the result of a conventional survey which merely
describes data at superficial level. Those who look for Indonesian
democracy's self-portrait according to the pro-democracy actors
themselves will find the result in this book. This book offers a
study with new perspective, which goes beyond conventional survey,
toward the road map of the future democracy in Indonesia."
Daniel Sparingga, Academician, The Deputy of Indonesian Community for
Democracy (KID).

Price: US$ 40
In Indonesia directly from Demos through e-mail order to
melanie@demos. or.id

International distribution: ISEAS Publishing, Singapore
publish@iseas. edu.sg; http://bookshop. iseas.edu. sg


*****.*****

Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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