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Anarchism and West Papua


Anarchism is on the rise in Indonesia since 1998, when the pattern of governance shifted from militaristic approach, to direct and democratic approach. An interview with one of the people who call themselves “anarchists” unfolded a story on how the Papua-concerned Indonesian anarchists think, and why they are an entirely different than the armed separatist criminal groups.

Capitalism and Gentrification

The root of anarchist movement is the desire to be free from any kind of power over the society as groups of individuals. The movement rose in times of revolutionary struggles against monarchies and bourgeoisie syndications who control decisions and policy making.

The anarchist movement has been mainly speaking against gentrification. A kind of structural and infrastructural development which erodes local culture and community-based activities, including economy.

Indicators of gentrification are not seen in Papua. People are seen everywhere practicing their traditions, doing business with people from around the world, preparing themselves for upcoming 4.5G internet connection in 2019, all while still speaking local languages.

On the other hand, the ambitions of West Papuan armed separatist group is very much a feudalistic dream, drenched in their desire to control and amass wealth from abundance of natural resources, while excluding those who are not having the same political views with themselves.

Non-Violence Philosophy

Anarchy is philosophically non-violent, with very few exceptions such as toppling down a violent authoritarian regime. In this case, a proper way to argue that something isn’t right with the Papuan government is to confront the provincial government and representatives, yet it never happened.

Telling people that your armed separatist criminal group is an embodiment of anarchist movement is an insult towards the nobility and novelty of anarchist philosophy itself. Anarchy upholds unification of global communities into one giant safehouse for individuals, yet the existence of West Papuan armed separatist group inflicts fear into the mind of its own people, towards their own home environment.

The anarchists should stop associating themselves with armed criminal separatist groups. Anarchism has the potential to contribute and create better democracy, and the potential will go to waste in the hands of violent criminals.

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