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Journal Articles Global Crime Year : 2005

"Behave Like Enraged Lions!" Civil Lilitias, the Army and the Criminalization of Politics in Indonesia

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Abstract

Since the end of the authoritarian New Order regime in May 1998, Indonesia has embarked upon a difficult journey towards democracy. One of the key questions raised by the rise of social and political violence in both Java and the Outer Islands since President Suharto's resignation from power is that of the wearing away of the state's monopoly of the means of violence and of its legitimate uses. But the process of the criminalisation of both state agencies and political parties is much older than one would have it. It begun during the late colonial period and gained momentum during the war of independence, in the late 1940s, when army units had to engage in extortion and smuggling to cater for soldiers' needs. Under the New Order, this beam of relationships between the police, the army and criminal gangs was given an official recognition of some sort, hence quasi-legal protection, through the creation of the “System for the Protection of the Environment” (Siskamling). This “system” enabled many petty criminals from the red light districts to join civil and para-military militias and even, at times, to enter public administration. Post-Suharto Indonesia inherited these criminalised “grey areas” between state agencies and the underworld, where one would find numerous masters of violence – people for whom violence is both a way of life and a way of making a living.
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Dates and versions

hal-03393306 , version 1 (21-10-2021)

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Romain Bertrand. "Behave Like Enraged Lions!" Civil Lilitias, the Army and the Criminalization of Politics in Indonesia. Global Crime, 2005, 6 (3-4), pp.325 - 344. ⟨10.1080/17440570500274174⟩. ⟨hal-03393306⟩
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