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Land for the People

The State and Agrarian Conflict in Indonesia

Anton Lucas and Carol Warren

Publication Year: 2013

Half of Indonesia’s massive population still lives on farms, and for these tens of millions of people the revolutionary promise of land reform remains largely unfulfilled. The Basic Agrarian Law, enacted in the wake of the Indonesian Revolution, was supposed to provide access to land and equitable returns for peasant farmers. But fifty years later, the law’s objectives of social justice have not been achieved.

Land for the People provides a comprehensive look at land conflict and agrarian reform throughout Indonesia’s recent history, from the roots of land conflicts in the prerevolutionary period, and the Sukarno and Suharto regimes, to the present day, in which democratization is creating new contexts for peoples’ claims to the land. Drawing on studies from across Indonesia’s diverse landscape, the contributors examine some of the most significant issues and events affecting land rights, including shifts in policy from the early postrevolutionary period to the New Order; the Land Administration Project that formed the core of land policy during the late New Order period; a long-running and representative dispute over a golf course in West Java that pitted numerous indigenous farmers in Kalimantan against the urban elite; Suharto’s notorious “million hectare” project that resulted in loss of access to land and resources for numerous farmers; and the struggle by Bandung’s urban poor to be treated equitably in the context of commercial land development. Together, these essays provide a critical resource for understanding one of Indonesia’s most pressing and most influential issues.

Contributors: Afrizal, Dianto Bachriadi, Anton Lucas, John McCarthy, John Mansford Prior, Gustaaf Reerink, Carol Warren, and Gunawan Wiradi.

Published by: Ohio University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

The Indonesian economic crisis and the end of the New Order regime in 1998 made the prominent land conflicts of the 1990s an even more urgent political issue, as one of the key areas driving demands for reform and democratization, including new initiatives toward decentralization and regional autonomy in the reformasi period. ...


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pp. xiii-xiv


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pp. xv-xx

Note on Legislative References

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pp. xxi-xxii

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Ch 1: The Land, the Law, and the People

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pp. 1-39

When Sundanese villagers carved “Tanah Rakyat” (People’s Land) onto the fairway of the Cimacan golf course in 1998, shortly after the official demise of the “New Order” regime of President Suharto, they staked a claim against an unredeemed promise of the Indonesian revolution. ...

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Ch 2: Land Concentration and Land Reform in Indonesia: Interpreting Agricultural Census Data, 1963–2003

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pp. 40-92

Fifteen years after Indonesian independence, on 24 September 1960, the Basic Agrarian Law (BAL) was promulgated,1 placing agrarian justice at the center of the nation’s economic life2 and reflecting a particular concern for the rights of marginal people.3 Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno, in his famous speech on “The Progress of Our Revolution” ...

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Ch 3: Indonesia's Land Titling Program - The Market Solution?

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pp. 93-113

While government policy in the early years after the Indonesian revolution was sensitive to populist and socialist demands for land redistribution and restrictions on the accumulation of land assets, land policy under the Suharto regime was thoroughly focused on market expansion and capital-intensive development. ...

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Ch 4: The Cimacan Golf Course Dispute Since The New Order

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pp. 114-148

The Cimacan golf course dispute was one of a number of high-profile land disputes in Indonesia that erupted in the late 1980s as a result of the insatiable demand for land stimulated by New Order economic development policies. There were several reasons for the prominence of land cases, particularly in West Java. ...

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Ch 5: Oil Palm Plantations, Customary Rights, and Local Protests: A West Sumatran Case Study

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pp. 149-182

Before its development in the 1980s as an oil palm plantation area, Nagari Kinali was in a relatively isolated region in the northwest of the Province of West Sumatra on the coastal lowlands, at the end of a minor road winding around Mount Ophir 75 km from its then district capital, Lubuk Sikapang, located in the highlands. ...

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Ch 6: Tenure and Transformation in Central Kalimantan: After the “Million Hectare” Project

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pp. 183-214

At the time of the widespread interethnic conflict in Central Kalimantan during March 2001, more than one report evoked the classical image of the frontier, comparing the province to the Wild West. The frontier is characteristically a physical place in rapid transition. Frontier areas tend to have low population densities and high rates of in-migration; ...

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Ch 7: Land Disputes and the Church: Sobering Thoughts from Flores

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pp. 215-242

Land disputes are dramatically on the increase in Flores, and the Catholic Church is closely involved. Land disputes are a vital issue, and not only because land with its natural resources is the foundation of the local economy. Just as important, land, village, and house map out the religious, cosmological, and cultural values ...

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Ch 8: Legal Certainty for Whom? Land Contestation and Value Transformations at Gili Trawangan, Lombok

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pp. 243-273

The conflict over land on the island of Gili Trawangan, Lombok, is one of the many intractable cases inherited from the late New Order. It evolved in the context of rapid value transformations in the local, national, and global economies, as smallholders competed for land with commercial plantations, then resort development, ...

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Ch 9: Dealing with the Urban Poor: Changing Law and Practice of Commercial Land Clearance in Post–New Order Bandung

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pp. 274-307

During the New Order, a considerable number of land disputes in Indonesia were related to the clearance of urban kampong1 land for commercial development. This was particularly the case after the 1980s, when the Suharto regime undertook a series of deregulation measures to stimulate oil-independent economic growth, ...

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Ch 10: The Agrerian Movement, Civil Society, and Political Constellations

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pp. 308-371

When Suharto was finally forced to step down in May 1998, in the face of an intractable economic crisis, Indonesia’s political constellation altered suddenly and dramatically. The crisis period was characterized by the emergence of ad hoc alignments of activist students, NGOs, and newly formed or revived community groups, ...

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Chapter 11: Agrarian Resources and Conflict in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 372-390

The symbolic relation between land and Indonesian identity, captured in the evocative aphorism “Tanah Air”—literally, meaning “land water,” and standing for the nation—remains closely tied to popular images of the “little people” (rakyat) for and by whom the Indonesian revolution was fought and in whose name the state claims its raison d’être.2 ...


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pp. 391-402


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pp. 403-405

E-ISBN-13: 9780896804852
E-ISBN-10: 0896804852
Print-ISBN-13: 9780896802872
Print-ISBN-10: 0896802876

Page Count: 426
Illustrations: yes, b&w photos and drawings
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1