A house divided the decline and fall of Masyumi (1950-1956)
Lucius, Robert E.
Robinson, Glenn E.
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This thesis analyzes the rise and fall of Masyumi during the era of the provisional parliament in Indonesia (1950-1956). As the largest of the pre-Suharto Islamic political parties in a country with an overwhelming Muslim majority, Masyumi was poised in 1955 to achieve political ascendancy, and thus to achieve its primary objective of establishing an Islamic state. Ultimately, Masyumi's leaders failed to unify Indonesian Muslims, and they consequently lost much of their moral and political authority. In an important demonstration of the malleability of Islamic and ethnic identity politics, Masyumi's struggle was eventually submerged within a greater struggle by the Javanese to assert cultural hegemony over the entire Indonesian archipelago. This thesis describes Masyumi's role in precipitating not only its own fall, but also in helping to bring about the collapse of Indonesia's first attempt at parliamentary democracy. Indonesia's Islamist past contains many important lessons for US policymakers dealing with this largest of all Muslim countries, particularly in light of the war on terror. Understanding the contingent and variable nature of Masyumi's Islamic politics can help shed light on the present ideological battles in Indonesia.
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