from Pender, Chr. L. M. (ed. and translator)
E. F. E. Douwes Dekker: The Indies Party, its nature and objectives, 1913
What is the objective of the Indische Partij? ... The answer is found in Article 2 of the Constitution, which reads as follows: "the purpose of the Indische Partij is to awaken the patriotism of all the people of the Indies for the country which feeds them; and to induce them to co-operate on the basis of political equality in order to bring this Indies fatherland to prosperity and to prepare its people for independence ... " Let us begin [by explaining] the last words, which have caused so much fear: "to prepare the people for independence". I doubt whether there is much to fear from these words. In fact we are doing nothing else than subscribing to the government programme. Is it not true that the government in semi-official and perhaps also official statements [has indicated that it] actually desires to gradually develop the colonies to the same level as the mother country? What else can this mean politically than that the colonies will be prepared for statehood? What type of state? Is only self-government envisaged, which in a colonial situation means something very different from independence? Or is perhaps the new state to remain under the sovereignty of the mother country, whatever mother country this may be? Of course [the latter] cannot be true. Unless the colonial political programme, the colonial political task that the mother country has taken upon itself, is a fraud; unless we are given a stack of marked cards; and unless there are dishonest intentions, a mother country that advertises its colonial rule in such a way cannot mean anything else than that the final objective of its policy will be to grant independence. The government should therefore have no objection to our programme. But if she did object, we would have shown up her [real] intentions. And if we were forced to change this aspect of our programme, there would still be sufficient time to do so. Furthermore, we would know then that we were fooled in believing that the government was honest. We would have forced the government of the Indies to take a public stand ... And we would then no longer have to doubt that ... we would be refused our civil rights always ...
I have been asked whether the Indische Partij is evolutionary or revolutionary ... The penetration of every new idea brings with it reforms. As we plan to put an end once and for all to the colonial situation, the Indische Partij is definitely revolutionary … Revolutionary action enables people to achieve their objectives quickly. Surely this is not immoral ... The Indische Partij can safely be called revolutionary. Such a word does not frighten us ...
next point raised by Douwes Dekker
was the creation of an
again to the problem of the pluralistic colonial society Douwes
Dekker argues that national unity is possible.] How
can the fraternization of the
There is nothing we need so much as self-assurance and self-confidence. We must get rid of our timidity. It is a hindrance to us, it damages us. On the contrary, we must feel in us a strong sense of our own worth, a realization that we are not inferior to anybody. Then there will develop in us a strong moral pride in being ourselves, which will disdainfully suppress in us every desire to put ourselves forwards as different from what we really are ... This will prevent us from becoming renegades. Renegades are small, miserly people who only deserve our contempt. Every Indier should be staunch and proud of being an Indier. He should be proud that he can and may be himself ... When a mother country during long centuries of colonial rule has had no other objective than to exploit and squeeze its colony dry for its own benefit, and when in all these long centuries ... it has not succeeded in accomplishing its task of creating a nation, then its colonial policy and its colonial morality are rotten. And it would be in the cause of morality to push down what is on the point of collapsing from internal decay. This is of course what the Indische Partij aims at in its struggle against racial superiority and racial discrimination ... It will give the final push to make the tree of racial discrimination crash to earth ... But when Indiers of mixed blood complain about this racial superiority they must take care not to become guilty themselves of the same sin with respect to the natives. They must realize that artificially inculcated ideas of belonging to the ruling classes do by no means give them the right to look down on a class of Indiers with whom they are bound together with unbreakable chains ...
The Indische Partij does not support any particular religion. The Indische Partij is of the opinion that religion should remain outside the scope of our and any other political organization ... The Indische Partij will struggle against all expressions of religious sectarianism and all attempts to create religious hate. Instead it must preach the religion of brotherhood ...
[Douwes Dekker also stresses the need for a more Indonesia-centric education.] …
Equality of all races before the law was an important platform in the programme of the Indische Partij.] The abolition of legal inequality will cause very great problems. But no problem can be too big to keep us from acting justly ... Taxation legislation will have to be completely revised because the natives, that is the Indiers with least capital at their disposal, pay a great deal more than the prosperous whites. Under the existing system the emphasis is on taxing poverty and only as an afterthought does one think about the satchels filled to the brim with gold ... The abolition of legal inequality will also result in a change in the judicial system. Some experts warn against such a reorganization. One does not know what to do with the adat [customary Indonesian] law. But there are also experts of equally high standing who advocate the introduction of a uniform legal system….
Legal inequality also exists with respect to land ownership. There was once a big loudmouth who declared that it was a feather in the cap of the Dutch nation that it had left the natives undisturbed in the possession of their land and had protected this land against alienation ... In reality it is the big capitalists who have enjoyed the loving care of all successive governments ... The natives if they have to suffer from hunger can now at least do so in their own dilapidated huts. By God Almighty, it must be a great feeling to starve in your own house ... Why then are the people not prosperous if the possession of land is hailed as such a source of riches ... ? Why ... do the natives earn in proportion no more from their land than a tradesman? ... If the natives desire to obtain the same rights enjoyed by the other more privileged groups of the population, then they must from their side also be prepared to share exclusive rights to land with everybody who complies with the conditions laid down by law. I cannot see why an Indier of mixed blood may not be the owner of land in the same way as a native ...
Partij demands the right for Indiers
to defend their own country.] What is our purpose in training the Indiers to defend themselves? It is nothing less than a
patriotic duty which they should fulfil and which
they should be granted. At present we are not capable of defending our own
country. Why not? Only because the
[The Indische Partij also condemned the pluralistic nature of the colonial education system.] At present we have separate schools for Europeans, for Chinese, for natives … The Indische Partij wants a uniform education system, one type of education for everybody ... The white children can learn a great deal in all fields from the darker-coloured children. The native children are much keener to learn; they are much quieter than the white children ...
E. F. E. Douwes Dekker, De Indische Partij, haar wezen en doel (Bandung: Fortuna, 1913), pp. 2-50