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  • Coping with Intolerance and Separatism in Indonesia: The Pancasila Principles

    Cahyo Pamungkas, Qusthan A. H. Firdaus

    Chapter from the book: Dokman F. & Kankindi A. 2023. Beyond the Spirit of Bandung: Philosophies of National Unity: Secular or Religious?.


    The Bandung Principles do emphasize an open dialogue based on mutual respect. This standard applies in the international relations between countries in post-colonial Asia and Africa. It is also relevant as a value for building peaceful relations between ethnic or religious groups at the nation-state level. The principles of 'Pancasila' can be perceived as the translation of the Bandung Principles. The Indonesian state ideology aims to an open dialogue as a strategy for coping with the national ethnoreligious - and secessionist conflicts. The political changes in 1998, resulting in the resignation of president Suharto, demonstrated however an approach by local elites to protect their political and economic interests through activating ethnic or religion-based primordial sentiments. The communal violence between religious or ethnic groups continued with the persecution of minority religious groups, emerging in 2004. Since then, step by step the conflicts were fueled by religious intolerance and radicalism. This article aims to describe to what extent the ideology of Pancasila is valuable as a conceptual framework to overcome religious intolerance and separatist conflicts in a national context while promoting the values of plurality in a diverse society. The analysis reflects critically on the applications of the principles of Pancasila and their limits for religious, political, economic and social cohesion. It is argued that Pancasila has shortcomings in serving as a philosophy of national unity. Pancasila is ideological in its meaning as it aims to promote harmony among diverse population of ethnic groups across Indonesia. At the local level, the application of Pancasila principles is somewhat successful. However, one should not unilaterally comprehend Pancasila only in politics, religion philosophy nor economy. The multiplicity of perspectives on the meaning and strategic position of Pancasila leads to a contest of meanings. A contest that goes beyond a national debate and actually raises tensions and conflicts. It thus contradicts the intentions of Pancasila as an answer to intolerance and radicalism in Indonesia. This study uses literature studies of researches on ethnoreligious conflict, separatism and Pancasila.

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    How to cite this chapter
    Pamungkas C. & Firdaus Q. 2023. Coping with Intolerance and Separatism in Indonesia: The Pancasila Principles. In: Dokman F. & Kankindi A (eds.), Beyond the Spirit of Bandung. Nijmegen: Radboud University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.54195/FLRI3273_CH03

    This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s)

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    Published on Nov. 30, 2023


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