Islamic Populism and Right-Wing Politics in Indonesia

Islam, populism and the political right seem to topics of great interest in the current epoch.  In an article for a special collection edited by Priya Chacko and Kanishka Jayasuriya to be titled “Crisis, Populism and Right-wing Politics in Asia,” Vedi R. Hadiz of the Asia Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia has contributed “Imagine All the People? Mobilising Islamic Populism for Right-Wing Politics in Indonesia” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1433225).

The Abstract states:

Right-wing politics in Indonesia is frequently associated with Islamic populist ideas. In part this is because Islamic organisations played a major role in the army-led destruction of the Indonesian Communist Party in the 1960s. Since then Islamic populism has evolved greatly and in post-authoritarian Indonesia it includes manifestations that see no fundamental contradiction between Islam and neo-liberal market economies as well as those that do. Significantly, like their counterparts in other countries, Indonesian Islamic populists maintain vigilance against the purveyors of class-based politics who may exert a divisive influence on the ummah. Thus, Indonesian Islamic populism shares with many of its counterparts a disdain for Leftist challenges to private property and capital accumulation besides political liberalism’s affinity to the secular national state. Yet strands of Islamic populism have relegated the project of establishing a state based on sharia to the background and embraced the democratic process. But this has not translated necessarily into social pluralist positions on a range of issues because the reinforcement of cultural idioms associated with Islam is required for the mobilisation of public support in contests over power and resources based on an ummah-based political identity.

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