Well, eventually the future of democracy is in the hands of the people, not political parties (Syamsuddin Haris, “Potret Partai dan Masa Depan Demokrasi,” Kompas, 8/9). Therefore, let’s prepare those leaders through healthy political education, at least through a school called ”society”. Do not continuously blaspheme (A. Sonny Keraf, “Partai Politik dan Pendidikan Politik,” Kompas, 11/9). Then, I will not search for who commits mistakes since in practical politics what people do is finding scapegoats…and I will act quite extreme towards those who express thoughts with bad way (Exclusive Interview, “Megawati: Banggalah Menjadi Bangsa Indonesia dan Jangan Cari Kambing Hitam,” Kompas, 11/9).
Is it true? Theory of democratic transition firmly states that civil society and political society should not nullify one another, or being chosen exclusively without the other. Instead they support one another as a given (necessary support) and are inter-connected (primary mediation). The two, civil society and political society, are two of the five major arenas to consolidate modern democracy. If one is eliminated then there won’t be any consolidation of democracy, hence it is impossible to complete the phases of democratic transition. Such phases of transition are the conditio sine qua non towards a democratic system that is widened and deepened within the five arenas of consolidation of modern democracy.
The approach developed by Juan J. Linz and Alfred Stephan (See Problems of Democratic Transition and Consolidation, 1996) on the problems of democratic transition and consolidation, using the cases of countries in Southern Europe, Latin America and post-communist Europe, provides an inspiration to handle the problems of democratic transition and consolidation in our country. Yet first we must be clear about the phases of politics of democracy in this discourse. First, the phase of authoritarian-totalitarian that is anti-democracy; Second, the phase of democratic transition; Third, the phase of widening and deepening of democratic system).
Every phase has unique elements of individual, institution and values, including management strategies that are also unique, cannot be mixed or applied uniformly for every element and management strategy. The phase of democratic transition requires discontinuity from the phase of authoritarian-totalitarian that is anti-democracy, while the phase of widening and deepening of democratic system requires continuity with the democratic transition.
The simple example is this. It is impossible for Soeharto to be an element that executes the phase of democratic transition and the phase of widening and deepening of democratic system. This is because the phase of democratic transition requires discontinuity from the phase of authoritarian-totalitarian that is anti-democracy. Of course in this perspective the institution and political machine of Soeharto such as Golkar Party and other corporatist institutions of the New Order also cannot become the prerequisite for the growth, let alone the preservation and the leading of the phase of democratic transition and the widening and deepening of democratic system.
Hence, to not include Soeharto and his political and economic cronies, both as individuals or corporatist institutions, in the phase of democratic transition and the widening and deepening of democratic system is not at all a matter of blasphemy or finding scapegoats. Theoretically and practically it is impossible to seize, defend and widen the ideas, forces and the power relations of democracy together with the elements of the previous authoritarian-totalitarian phase. We should not be naive and ignorant because when the idea of democracy was introduced to a social system, the idea will be confronted by political struggle between the political power that wants to support, neutralize, or kill it. It means, strategically, democracy is under the condition of protracted democratic war as ideas, power or power relations. Of course, we are not subordinate to power or political power, but democratic power and political power become strategic prerequisites that mediate the execution of democratic ideas. Without that medium, democratic ideas remain a discourse in lecture rooms, study groups, or in educational institutions and research institutes of government, private entities or political parties. Not useful and harmless!
Back to Linz and Stephan, what must be consolidated in the phase of democratic transition? Who and how to execute the consolidation? These two questions are inseparable. There are five major arenas to consolidate modern democracy: (1) Civil socity; (2) Political society; (3) rule of law; (4) state apparatus; (5) economic society.
These five arenas of democratic consolidation are not separable, they support one another as a given (necessary support) and are inter-connected (primary mediation). The issue brought up by Syamsuddin Haris between the arena of civil society and political society as mentioned at the beginning of this article turns out to be impossible to nullify one another or to be chosen exclusively from the rest. It is also impossible to provide necessary political education to the ”society” or even to political parties that were the main element of the authoritarian-totalitarian phase, as written by A. Sonny Keraf. Certainly Sonny (an official at the Education and Training Institute of PDIP) would not act firmly against the old elements because the foundation of
PDI-P’s political power depends on Golkar Party and the individuals from TNI/POLRI of the previous authoritarian-totalitarian phase. Consequently political education stops at the mere level of ideas, not at the level of practice, or more precisely not at the praxis of the ruling political party.
Indeed, the interest, ideas and values of civil society are the major generators of political society, as well as economic society, state apparatus and rule of law. But civil society cannot replace all of the modern function of political society such as the function to ”design” and execute constitution and regulations that determine the progress (or setback) of the other four arenas of democratic consolidation, the management of state apparatus, the enactment of rule of law, etc.
Yet, it is also true that political society would need the legitimacy from the civil society in order to conduct all of its possible functions. Civil society also needs the necessary support of the constitutional legal supremacy that would secure its legal rights (civil, politics, economy, social and culture) and the state apparatus that would protect and uphold those rights if ever violated. They also need the necessary support of the economic society to secure the freedom and the livelihood of the civil society. Without an economic society that grows and distributes economic prosperity through an institutionalized market where regulation and deregulations are optimally made by the political society, respected by the civil society and enacted by state apparatus, then the consolidation of democracy will never happen.
Based on the phases towards the democratic system mentioned above, we can easily say who executes the democratic political power, including who which with blood, jail and death would seize and protect democracy, employing democracy as a way of life or guiding principle. The answer is: the democrats. Who are they? According to the phases towards the democratic system, then it is impossible for any elements: individuals, institutions and values that lived and ruled in the anti-democracy authoritarian-totalitarian phase to lead, protect and develop the phase of democratic transition and the phase of widening and deepening of democratic system.
Prof. Dr. Thomas Meyer, in Cara Mudah Memahami Demokrasi (FES, 2002), specifies the theoretical and practical positions of this. ”Democracy can only last when there are enough democrats. [The democrats are] a number of individuals who know, understand the institution and the opportunities that could be reached by democracy, who believes in democracy with their head and mind, and who gives democracy life with their commitments.” Let me emphasize that without the democrats certainly democracy cannot last.
The mistakes of Syamsuddin Haris, A. Sonny Keraf and Megawati Soekarnoputri are the following. (1) They did not state the distinctive phases towards the widening and deepening of democratic system; (2) They did not state the distinctive arenas of consolidation in democratic transition, or even in the widened and deepened democratic system; (3) They did not state the distinctive elements such as individual, institution or values in each stage towards the democratic system that is widened and deepened through democratic civilian government.
Consequently, the three cannot establish the direction, who and which institution are appropriate to execute the phases of democratic transition and widening and deepening of democratic system. They made it seem as if the democrats and the democratic institutions and the anti-democrats and the anti-democratic institutions are the same. As if there is no difference between Soeharto, his followers and the political institutions that support the authoritarianism of the fascist New Order and the the democrats who toppled them. As if there was no political struggle or even protracted democratic war that must be won, that engages ideas, power and power relations. As if the idea of democracy is disconnected from attempts to develop and fight for the democratic power and power relations. As if the phases of authoritarian-totalitarian, democratic transition, and widening and deepening democratic systems are mere illusions of radical democrats.
I think, the central perspective of this article, have clearly distinguished the fact that the democrats and democratic institutions are significantly different from their opponents. This is because empirically, after five years of journey of total reform (1989-2003), the significant difference between the pro-democracy and anti-democracy has been growing and found its new meaning. It turns out that it is a mere illusion to believe that we can build and maintain democracy without the democrats.