Elitis Campaign And Sutan Sjahrir's Failure To Win PSI In The 1955 Election
Sutan Sjahrir in the campaign of the Indonesian Socialist Party or PSI in Bangli, Bali ahead of the 1955 General Election. (LIFE/Howard Sochurek)

JAKARTA - Sutan Sjahrir is a classy name in the history of the journey of the Indonesian nation. His ideas as a national figure are like determining the direction of independence. He became a figure who was able to add to Indonesia's strategy in the Revolutionary War (1945-1949), from taking up arms to diplomacy.

The results were brilliant. Indonesia's independence and Sjahrir raised the Indonesian Solidist Party (PSI). In fact building PSI is not an easy matter. PSI's voice was destroyed in the 1955 election. The defeat led to a campaign filled with PSI-style elitists.

The existence of Sjahrir in the era of national movement often made it difficult for the Dutch. He was considered a radical rebel by the Dutch. The owner of the power tried to kill Sjahrir's resistance. Prison options, then exile were perpetuated.

Far from being burned. Sjahrir's addition, either in Boven Digoel or Banda Neira, in fact did not make Sjahrir's guts to spread ideas of independence to subside. Even though the Dutch power was replaced by Japanese colonialists in 1942.

Sjahrir remains on the narrative of wanting his nation to be free from the shackles of colonialism. The struggle brought results. Indonesia also announced independence on August 17, 1945. Freedom from colonialism was greeted with great fanfare.

However, Sjahrir's struggle and other national figures are still long. The Dutch colonialists actually returned to the archipelago on a mission to seize Indonesia for the second time. The Indonesian nation does not accept it. The resistance also reverberated.

The war lasts with the term Revolutionary War. Sjahrir, who serves as the Prime Minister of Indonesia, thinks that the war cannot be won with a gunlifting strategy alone. Instead, he thinks other options are more powerful than armslifting. Diplomacy lines, his name.

Diplomacy he chose as the main key for Indonesia to be able to maintain independence. This means that diplomacy can be the key to the survival of a new country: Indonesia. The option was carried out simultaneously by taking up arms. Various negotiations were perpetuated. Finally, negotiations became the determinant of Indonesia's sovereignty recognized by the Dutch in 1949.

In a revolution atmosphere that is always full of passionate physical and emotional struggles, Bung Sjahrir has always been calm and has never lost his balance. He seems to have clear, sharp, and trained intelligence to think. His intelligence abilities are so great that they cannot be preserved by feelings that at that time often hit most people and their leaders in dealing with revolutionic problems.

"His superiority intellectually-political and belief as a democratic socialist is his greatness as a political thinker and guideline for the Republic of Indonesia whose existence is being maintained. Bung Sjahrir's superiority, which is thus recognized and taken into account by his opponents from the Dutch pithak at the negotiating table," explained Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX in the book Remembering Sjahrir (2013).

Recognition of Indonesia's sovereignty was greeted with joy. Sjahrir, let alone. He is starting to become an ordinary citizen and perpetuates the role of building his political vehicle, PSI.

The party was built by Sjahrir to create the ideals of justice with the phrase populist socialist. An understanding of socialism that upholds humanity and equality of degree for every human being. This narrative became the political basis of his party.

Karisma Sjahrir was also able to attract many intellectuals. His cadres are classy. Many of them are Indonesian intellectuals such as Sumitro Djojohadikosumo (Pribowo Subianto's father) to Mariah Ulfah joining the Sjahrir party.

A series of intellectuals have the same aspirations as Sjahrir. However, the hope is only hope. PSI's existence is not actually as bright as other parties. PSI while grouping itself as a cadre party, not a mass party. In fact, in the people's party system, the influence of the masses became the determinant of victory.

In the 1955 Election, for example. Campaign patterns and issues raised by PSI are elitist. Alias, the narrative developed by PSI only touches the intellectual circles. Ordinary people are actually untouched.

PSI also has a small campaign fund problem, unlike other parties such as the Indonesian National Party (PNI) or Masyumi. The split fund was not accompanied by a mature campaign strategy. A campaign that can embrace all kinds of groups of people. Issues that are carried out as if they do not touch the lower classes.

The campaigns carried out on stage were not successful. This fact is evidenced by the drop in PSI votes in the 1955 election. PSI was only able to rank eighth. This means that PSI is only able to position five of its cadres as representatives of the people.

That number is too few of the parties that fill the top three. First, PNI with 57 seats. Second, Masyumi with 57 seats, and the third Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) with 45 seats. Since then PSI's name has become increasingly lost in the political map of Indonesia.

The'smack campaign funds'. In Sjahrir's saving, PSI's weakness was caused, wrongly calculating the maturity and political awareness of voters, especially those that were easily dominated by religious authorities and ranks. The 1955 general election resulted in the Empat Besar political parties, namely PNI, Masyumi, PKI (Indonesian Communist Party) and NU (Nahdlatul Ulama). PSI has slumped into a proud party.

The failure of PSI in the 1955 election, according to the opinion of some of the analyzers, was because Sjahrir's ideas were too elitist that only a group of intellectuals could understand, while most of the people could not follow Sjahrir's way of thinking. Anything unpleasant has been said about Sjahrir, no matter how much he has been ridiculed by his political opponents, one thing deserves to be admitted: Sjahrir has tried to formulate, what is the ideology called the Socialism of the People, "explained Rosihan Anwar in the book Sutan Sjahrir: True Democrats, Humanitarian Fighters (2022).

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