Responding to Elite Consolidation: the Anti-Cement-Factory Movement Resisting Oligarchy in an Indonesian Local Election

Arif Novianto(1), Anindya Dessi Wulansari(2*)

(1) Institute of Governance and Public Affairs, Master of Public Administration, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia
(2) Public Administration, Universitas Tidar, Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author


This study demonstrates resistance to oligarchic forces with a case study from Pati Regency, Central Java, Indonesia. The movement started with a protest against the expansion of the internationally financed Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa Ltd in the Kendeng Mountains. The anti-cement-factory movement lived on and ‘defeated’ the oligarchs in the electoral districts where the movement happened in the 2017 Pati local election. This study uses a qualitative method. Data were collected from in-depth interviews between December 2016 and July 2017 with 16 social movement leaders and three regional leader’s election campaign team members. The findings show that oligarchy as a power relation system can be challenged, putting into question the belief that oligarchy as a power relation system in democracy is unchallenged. This case study in Pati Regency has shown that resistance on the grassroots level, albeit sporadic, was able to challenge the oligarchy.


social movement, oligarchy, elite consolidation

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