Labor’s Parliament: The Political Dynamics of the Dewan Perusahaan in Indonesia 1961-1966

Appridzani Syahfrullah

Universitas Gajah Mada, Indonesia

Based on the premise that the period which was called Demokrasi Terpimpin (guided democracy) in 1959-1966 was the gateway of the Sukarno’s dictatorship era, this study aims to prove that the premise is incorrect. Sukarno passed an act no. 45 of 1960 about the Dewan Perusahaan (A representative council of the factory) is one proof that the period of guided democracy opened a democratic space for workers. The research question of this study are how the governance relocates their role for the labor; and what strategies are used by the workers to encourage state/ factory policy-making to defend their importance? The study depicted that since 1960s there was a struggle for power over the Dutch companies that had been nationalized. The parties involved in the struggle came from the workers group who dominated by the left wing through the Sentral Organisasi Buruh Seluruh Indonesia (Central of the All Indonesian Workers’ Organizations, SOBSI) on the other hand there was an Army who held the leadership of the company’s directors. Dewan Perusahaan legitimizes labor representatives, city council representatives, farmer representatives and company directors representatives to jointly and formulate company policies to covering minimum salary, prices for production materials, and transparency of the company’s budget. Finally, this research proves that there is a “blessing of the dictator”. Therefore, the period of guided democracy has different meanings for certain groups, especially for workers which has been dominated by the left wing itself.

Keywords: Labor, Guided Democracy, SOBSI, Dewan Perusahaan, Army


Appridzani Syahfrullah graduated his Bachelor’s degree in history, Airlangga University. He is currently studying Master’s Degree in history in Universitas Gajah Mada, Yogyakarta. He has been involved in activism focusing on labor, human rights, and education issues.


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