A Disciplined Freedom: The Paradox of Labour Rights in Post-Reformasi Indonesia

https://doi.org/10.22146/pcd.36026

Rizma Afian Azhiim(1), Gema Ramadhan Bastari(2*)

(1) Aliansi Pemuda Pekerja Indonesia
(2) Aliansi Pemuda Pekerja Indonesia
(*) Corresponding Author

Abstract


This paper will discuss the paradox of labour rights in Indonesia after the beginning of Reformasi in 1998. Despite workers having been provided with better regulations that uphold all of their essential rights, labour protests remain prevalent with the same demands every year. To explain this paradox, this paper will employ Foucault's concept of biopower to argue, that instead of bringing prosperity to workers, these new regulations have actually disciplined them. New regulations and freedoms have dictated and limited the kinds of actions that workers can undertake, constructing their logic and becoming internalised to the point that some do not realise that they are ironically being constrained by the very laws that were supposed to free them. As such, workers have unknowingly become trapped in a cycle of protest–new government policy–protest ad infinitum. This paper concludes that "Reformasi" has not done much to improve workers' prosperity. The Manpower Law and freedom of association have failed to guarantee the fulfilment of labour rights, instead giving a false sense of freedom. To escape this trap, the labour movement must find a way to fight outside of the logic provided by the Manpower Law by beginning to imagine a system where labour exploitation can no longer exist.


Keywords


Labor rights, freedom, biopower

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/pcd.36026

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