Book Review : Dilema PKS, Suara dan Syariah

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Long time no blogging on "hard" issue, I should have written many things. Nonetheless, due to my laziness (forgive me pals), I haven't post anything yet. So, enjoy my first post after long hiatus (applause to my self :p)

Title : Dilema PKS, Suara dan Syariah
Author : Burhanuddin Muhtadi
Pages : xxviii +307 pages
Publisher : KPG, Jakarta

 Dilema PKS, Suara dan Syariah
Written as the author's sub-thesis, this book really enhances my knowledge about Prosperous and Justice Party (Partai Keadilan Sejahtera / PKS). When I found this book placed on RSIS library display, I just directly wrote my name under reserve list. Luckily, I got a chance to be the first reader of the book since Pak Leonard (my mentor who reserve it first) still leave on absence from the school.
This book tells about how PKS emerge as a political party from Islamic missionary movement on secular campus (read: Dakwah Kampus). Using integrated social movement approach and protest-event analysis, Burhanuddin has successfully deliberated the phenomena of PKS presence. As we know that after New Order Era, Soeharto regime collapsed, many party suddenly emerged. However, none of the party delivered "harsh" Islamic ideology as PK (the former name of PKS) did.
PK was not really recognized in 1999 election but they managed to place their law maker at House of Representatives. As the party gained more reputation as "clean and caring" party, the votes rocketed very well that this party managed to be middle rank party in 2004 election. The numbers of the voters also increased in 2009 election, although the votes was far behind the-brand-new Democrat Party, which was the only party that can reach 20% votes.
The author writes that PKS that has strong cadre institution. To be the core cadre of this party, one should go for 6 tight steps and it is started by following the liqo. This movement was born in late 1970s-1980s as a response from the repressionary policy of Soeharto regime on student movement. Popularly known as "Jamaah Tarbiyah", the initiators of PKS are the people who involved in Dakwah Kampus. These elites came from top secular state universities in Indonesia, such as UI, ITB and UGM. At first, the movement was only cultural, the activists just wanted to purify Islamic practices based on "Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah". Some of the activists were inspired by Ikhwanul Muslimin (Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt, who was established by Hassan al Banna, to bring the idea of Islam as whole part of our life, including politics and social life. This idea certainly clashed with secularism, which separates religion and politics.
The people who initiated this movement were cadres from DDII (Dewan Dakwah Islamiyah Indonesia, lead by M. Natsir) or LMD (Lembaga Mujahid Dakwah, training initiated by Imaduddin Abdurrahim). The idea of "dakwah" was implemented by using usrah and halaqah. This movement then transformed into political movement when there was an opportunity by using Student Movement in 1998.
KAMMI, LDK and FSLDK are the keyword that Burhanuddin stated to describe the emergence of PKS. PKS is the only party that put large attention on the transnational Islamic issue such as Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq. They often conduct demonstration on Anti-Semit (Jews) and Anti-US. As they was born as an Islamic party, PKS has limited audience and voter targets. Thus, the votes in General Election are lessen than other national-secular party.
This makes a dilemma for the party, especially the young cadres who see that PKS should be more open to gain higher votes. The moves to expand the members for non-muslim and eyeing such bad-politician with large funding potency were responded negatively by many cadres (and even the public). They see that PKS was no longer puritan. The ideology seems to be diminished to gain the votes. The popularity of this party dropped badly when some of its lawmakers involved in corruption and pornography cases. The slogan as "Clean, Caring and Professional" party seems no longer relevant for what the party members had done. Moreover, internal conflict has made this party less credible in public. This dilemma looks like a trade-off and will never be unresolved until the party members reconcile what is the main goal of the party.
Actually, many authors have published several writings on PKS. I see this book as a   complementary to cover unanswered questions of how this party emerge and operate. I like how the author tells the reader about the story. This is not really hard book (if you like politic, of course ;p). You can read it before you sleep (as I did :D). It is more on narrative rather than academic version.
In my opinion, the author has successfully putting the context of how PKS emerge as social movement using social movement integrated theory. However, I don't see the relevance of using protest-event analysis in explaining the social movement derived by PKS and how it can contribute to the party presence. I see the main part of the book (the dilemma) is essentially contextualized with the present situation and not included in research question. This should be more explored in order to give a big picture for what is going on inside the party.
All in all, this book is very recommended, especially for people who interested in politics, social movement, LDK activists and secularists :)
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