6.7. Living Political Alternatives: An Ethnography of Anarchism and Prefiguration among Punks in Yogyakarta

Download 0
Total Views 0
File Size 3.20 MB
File Type pdf
Create Date 10 October 2016
Last Updated 10 October 2016

Louis Plottel (New York University Abu Dhabi)


Punk and anarchism, as lived practices that espouse anti­authoritarianism and prefigurative politics as their guiding principles, share a close affinity. Members of each movement share close relationships and draw inspiration from one another’s daily praxis. Yet, while anarchism is considered a viable political alternative, the political value of punk has tended to be overlooked in favor of the punk “identity.” I contend, however, that in contemporary Indonesia, the punk and anarchist movements constitute two nodes within a broader sphere of radical politics. The Do­It­Yourself (DIY) culture of punk, as a means of implementing political alternatives in the here­and­now, exemplifies a core tenet of anarchism: prefiguration. I argue, therefore, that punk is a deeply political movement, embedded in everyday life and quotidian practices. In this paper I consider the overlapping politics of anarchists and punks in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, through ethnographic description of the everyday practice of political dissidence. Drawing upon fieldwork with members of a newly formed anarchist website, anarkis.org, and a punk squat in the north of the city, I also show how political dissidents in Indonesia are fostering connections to global punk and anarchist movements while remaining grounded in local political realities. I contend that punks play an important role in the embodiment of anarchism as a political way of being, while revealing the contours and complexities of radical political movements in Post­Reformasi Indonesia.

Keywords: Anarchism, punk, prefiguration, Do-it-yourself (DIY), political embodiment