Indonesia's militarist New Order, the last and longest-lasting Cold War capitalist authoritarianism, came to power in 1965 immediately after one of the bloodiest massacres in modern history. Vigorous cultural reproduction of the trauma of the events and continuous rehearsals of state violence on the nation's body politic have been enormously responsible for the regime's longevity. They constitute the most determining force in the identity-making of the powerless subjects, and in their everyday practices. Far from being systematic, however, the efficacy of the New Order's authoritarianism is full of refractory and contradictory features. Neither instrumental political-economy nor cultural essentialism is adequate to explain them. Central to the enduring responses of the powerless Indonesians before the decisive protest in 1998, but most frequently misunderstood by scholars and human rights observers alike, is hyper-obedience, instead of resistance.
- Political violence
- Popular culture