Campus Radicalism?

By Nirwansyah Putra
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
Muhammadiyah University of North Sumatra

* * *

Again, the campus made the attention. Head of National Agency for Combating Terrorism (BNPT), Ansyaad Mbai, in a meeting at the North Sumatra University (USU) a few days ago warned about the radicalism on campus. In the national media, he said, radicalism had entered the campus, not just private universities, but also get into favorite college. Even more danger, that tought not only makes the social faculty, but also the exact sciences and the science faculty. He said that after signing the cooperation between the BNPT, North Sumatra Provincial Government and North Sumatra University in terms of establishment the Centre for Conflict Management and Radicalism in North Sumatra.

Ansyaad said, after the collapse of the Orde Baru in 1998, there has been an uncontrolled freedom. The situation was accompanied by the weakening of government control. As a result, radical ideologies evolve freely again today, even widespread in college. According to him, the role of teachers is very strategic in giving a correct understanding of religious doctrine and its application to students. “The economic approach is also important because it can be used as a tool to overcome poverty is not a justification for acts of violence and terrorism,” he told reporters.

Student Movement

Presumably, the statement Ansyaad Mbai on campus can be understood as well as open to debate. After all, 1998 post reforms, the public has been quite open to each other. Despite the new openness enjoyed back in 1998 itself was a bit strange. Article freedom of expression enshrined in the 1945 Constitution had lived long enough. Thus, the silencing that occurs in a particular era in the Orde lama and Orde Baru all clearly have violated the constitution. Instead the authorities are more often and scrapping the constitution rather than its own people.

Freedom of expression is similarly to freedom of thought and expression. Opinion and expression can be silenced, but it is impossible to nail person’s mind to dead. However, political power is always able to find a way to plot the people mind with a series of agitation and propaganda.

For example, at the time of Sukarno, the dictum of the Political Manifesto/USDEK (Manifesto of political / Act of 1945, Indonesian Socialism, Guided Democracy, Guided Economy, and Personality Indonesia) and the doctrine Nasakom (Religious Nationalist Communist) has been used as the bow of the Indonesian Republic which must be obeyed , cherished, nurtured, and carried by all the nations of Indonesia. This has made most people think of Indonesia is disoriented because of the one direction doctrine of power. Do not forget, Sukarno also became responsible for imprisonment of activists and freedom fighters who disagreed with RI as well as the person in charge of killing of some mass media during the 1958 period.

In the Soeharto era, the doctrine back to the Pancasila and UUD 1945 has been engineered with the program Pedoman Penghayatan dan Pengamalan Pancasila (P4). Polarization occurs between the ideology of Pancasila and the others, especially Islam and socialism / communism. By the power, Pancasila is interpreted as a monologue, that make people thought space becomes completely nil. Not only that, Soeharto also prepare repressive policies instruments against anyone who criticizes or even against Pancasila. With the very very strong role of the military to support the Suharto’s rule, then institutions like Kopkamtib (Security and Order Command Control) or Special Operations and Litsus, to be so scary. Planted spies in all directions. Military network is directly contact with the bottom. Already completed, the people of Indonesia is lined with the style of Orde Baru’s authoritarian rule that did not move.

Orde Baru also make barren students with Normalisasi Kehidupan Kampus (Campus Life Normalization) / Student Coordinating Board (NKK / BKK) program, directly instructed by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Students castrated because only oriented not to think and be critical. Authorities know, critical thinking is the forerunner of social control and motion that may endanger his position and especially, to borrow a phrase of the Orde Baru, national stability. Therefore, agencies are no longer used as a student becomes the arena of debate and critical discussion, but more geared to just be an ordinary formal organization with no power anything.

NKK / BKK has become a scourge for the student activist movement in the final decade of the 1970s and the 1980s which managed to reduce the critical minds of the activists of the Student Council (Dema), when it has become a symbol of the resistance institution students. Dema is at the vanguard of the student movement in rejecting the nomination of Soeharto after the 1977 elections. As a result of NKK / BKK, the campus is considered abnormal and Dema dissolved. Since 1978, when the NKK / BKK implemented on campus, student activities are concentrated on the back pockets of the Department and the Faculty Association. Students were divided in their knowledge of each discipline. Meanwhile, the Student Coordination Board (BKK) chaired by the Vice Rector III student affairs. Obviously it was rejected students.

Islamic and nationalist groups then that is also being castrated by Soeharto in the Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP) and Partai Demokrasi Indonesia (PDI) to feel the effects experienced by students. Some members of Parliament from the party had proposed filing interpellation of NKK / BKK though not successfully.

The Government is winning. Government increasingly repressive to students by issuing a decree of the Minister of Education and Culture No. 0457/0/1990 about Pattern and Development of Student Affairs in Higher Education, in which the Student Organization at the University Student Senate named Higher Education (SMPT). Automatically, the shadow of greatness Dema as a student organization that is so strong, critical and upright in enforcing social control, extinct just like that.

But, even after 8 years after the decree, the students again took to the streets and overthrow of Soeharto’s rule. Student is at the forefront with the people to depose the tyrannical regime that runs 32 years. Ups and downs “fight” between Soeharto and the student during the Orde Baru finally won back by the students.


Now the student movement back tampered with by the authority. In the name of combating terrorism, student activists again suspected and accused of having been infiltrated by radical terrorist thoughts. Despite the fact these two things, radicalism and terrorism, are a different matter. But inevitably, Islamic ideology be suspected back again just to be the cause of the seeds of fundamentalism that continues to spread among the students.

But what is being propagated that power is actually the opposite of what is shown by the student movement since the first, 1908-1945-1966-1998. Is freedom, and prosperity of the people suffering be the main themes of the student movement. Students never based its motion for its own sake as invisible visible on every movement of political organization. Moral obligation and conscience of students is much more clearly than ever alleged by the authority.

Anti Fuel hike recently also showed the same thing. That’s not the name of student interest, but the people’s interests and the interests of this country. Not in place when students continue to accused, suspected to have contracted the virus model of radicalism and terrorism which is amorphous.

Term of “radical” is used only by the mode of authoritarian rule and repressive as had been run by Soeharto. And it would be naive if power is going to make the lecturers at the university to defer a matter of “radicalism” is. It is the lectures who educate, nurture, and some of it also is a former student activist in his day respectively. Of course, today’s student activist movement is the juniors who continue to bring the spirit, morality and conscience of students since time immemorial. Even before Indonesia’s independence.

We do not want Orde Baru era to happen again. (*)


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