What is an Ethical Politics
Ethical politics is also called the politics of reciprocation. The Dutch colonial government was considered to have played an important role in the welfare of the natives. This is a Politics that criticizes the politics of forced cultivation.
Ethics like Pieter Brooshooft (journalist for De Locomotief Newspaper) and C.Th. van Deventer (politician) had opened colonial eyes not to waste the fate of an earthly earth that seemed backward.
In history, on September 17, 1901, Queen Wilhelmina, who was ascending to the throne, stated in her parliamentary session in the Netherlands, that the Dutch government had a moral and cultural responsibility towards indigenous people called een eerschuld in the Dutch East Indies (the name of Indonesia at that time).
The Politics conveyed by Queen Wilhelmina was then manifested in the form of ethical politics or politics of reciprocation. These ethical policies are then stated in the Trias Van deventer program, which consists of:
- Irrigation, repairing irrigation and dams for agricultural purposes
- Emigration, this means inviting people to transmigrate or move to places that are not densely populated
- Education, this means expanding in the field of teaching and education for indigenous people.
Many parties associate this Politics with Van Deventer’s writings, which existed some time before the emergence of this ethical Politics. So, van Deventer became known as the father of ethical politics.
The Politics policies contained in ethical politics were then misused by the Dutch government, especially in point number one on irrigation and point number two on transmigration.
This abuse was evident from the construction of Dutch plantations and irrigation for the benefit of Dutch plantations, as well as the transfer of people to Dutch plantations where they were made forced laborers or known as corpse labor at that time. So, only education that has benefits for natives apart from that is just non-sense and nonsense.
In the field of education, this ethical Politics meant a lot to the natives of the Dutch East Indies. One of the Dutch figures who was very instrumental in providing education was Mr. J.H. Abendanon (1852-1925) who served as minister of Culture, Religion and Crafts for 5 years, namely (1900-1905). Since 1900, schools were established for both priyayi and common people. At that time the schools were almost evenly distributed in various places in the Dutch East Indies.
On the other hand, in the midst of people’s lives there was a kind of mental exchange between the Dutch and the natives at that time, where the figures who supported this ethical Politics were concerned about forms of socio-cultural discrimination against natives. So, the people who support ethical politics are trying to awaken the lower class people to get out of the confines of the feudalists. One way is to demand education towards self-help and increase emancipation.
Ethical Political Background
Before the birth of ethical politics, the economic and social conditions in the Dutch East Indies were still very concerning. The state of education can only be obtained by people who are from the aristocracy, while ordinary people cannot get education at all. In addition, the land belonged only to landlords and the commoners were workers only or tenants who paid a certain amount of money to the aristocrats.
Politics at that time was a very strong political centralization which resulted in no financial separation between the Colonial and the Indonesian nation which had an effect on the welfare of the indigenous people. The problems that occurred between the Colonial and the indigenous people were so severe that the social democrats, VON Deventer, responded.
Van Deventer criticized the Dutch colonial government as published in the magazine de gres. He suggested that there should be a politics of honor as a form of gratitude for the natives for giving all forms of wealth to the Dutch nation.
Van Deventer’s criticism was then responded to by the new queen who took office at that time, namely Queen Wilhemina in 1898. This response was expressed in her speech, where she said that the Dutch nation had a moral debt to the Dutch East Indies / Indonesia. So, on this basis the Indonesian nation must be prosperous. In addition, there were political changes in the body of the Netherlands due to the reign of the Liberals at that time which caused the desire to apply free and capitalist politics in the Netherlands at that time. They want education in Indonesia as soon as possible. These two factors have made education in Indonesia implemented quickly.
The doctrines of two different groups have accelerated the application of ethical politics or politics of reciprocity in Indonesia. These two groups are:
The missionary group
This is a group of Catholic, anti-revolutionary and kresten parties, they say on the basis of religion that the indigenous Indonesian situation must be improved.
The conservative group
They say that it is their duty as a nation with a higher degree to civilize or improve people who are backward.
Those were the two factors that prompted the adoption of ethical politics against the Dutch or native Indies at that time.
Ethical political originator
From the above explanation, at least we already know who the originators of ethical politics are. However, to be clearer and more complete, here we will see the history of who were the initiators of the formation of these ethical policies.
1. Eduard Douwes Dekker (1820-1887)
Eduard Douwes Dekker is a Dutch writer who is famous through his pen named Multatuli. He is a Dutch writer known as Max Havelaar in 1860. His satirical novel contains a scathing criticism of the bad behavior of the Dutch towards the natives. He uses a pseudonym when publishing his novel, the pseudonym is Multatuli.
This word comes from Latin which means “I have suffered enough” or “I have suffered a lot”. This novel book then sold well in the Netherlands and after that there began to be changes to the natives in the Dutch East Indies.
For some people, Max Haveler’s book is considered an exaggerated description, however, this book can be the mastermind behind the publication of ethical politics or politics of reciprocity against Indonesia. Eduard Douwes Dekker or Multatuli (Source: voiceseducation)
2. Pieter Brooshooft (1845-1921)
Pieter Brooshooft is a writer and a journalist. He is one of the leaders of ethical politics, in 1887 Brooshooft traveled around the island of Java. as a result of this trip he then wrote down the very sad situation that occurred in the Dutch East Indies. Everything is the result of forced labor or corrosive labor applied by the Dutch.
What he wrote was then reported to 12 Dutch political figures and his thick writing was signed by 1255 people. Among the contents of his writing was that there must be a party from the Dutch East Indies so that its voice was heard in parliament.
He also attached his book Memorie over den toestan in indie (Notes on the situation in the Indies), which contains criticism of taxation and the city system applied in the Dutch East Indies. Then in 1904 Brooshooft returned to the Netherlands because his struggle against the Indies was in vain. The last article he wrote was entitled “Farewell with the Sick”, published in the Semarang newspaper, De Locomotief, on December 31, 1903.
3. Conrad Theodore van Deventer (1857-1915)
Van Deventer is well known as a Dutch jurist and he is one of the leading political ethics. Dated April 30, 1886, a letter was sent to his parents, Van Deventer expressing his opinion about the island of Java, he said there must be a humane action against the natives so that there is no bankruptcy like Spain due to mismanagement of the colonial lands.
Then, in 1899 Deventer wrote in De Gids magazine (Guide), entitled Een Eereschuld (Payable of Honor). This paper describes concrete data that explains how prosperous the Netherlands was and all that the Dutch achieved at that time was the result of their colonization in the Dutch East Indies and at that time the Dutch Indies were poor and still underdeveloped. This wealth must be returned in the sense that the natives must be prosperous because they were the cause of the Dutch becoming rich at that time.
Van Deventer clearly emphasized the mistake of the Dutch government for the sad situation happened to the natives. Van deventer’s writing is very famous and invites many pros and cons among the Dutch. Another article that is not less interesting is that it was published in De Gids (1908). This is a description of the Future of Insulinde which explains ethical politics.
4. Jacques Henrij Abendanon (1852-1925)
Furthermore, the ethical political figure is Jacques Henrij Abendanon. He is a minister of culture, religion and crafts of the Dutch nation. J.H. Abendanon came to Indonesia in 1900, under him starting to establish schools in various places as a place to spread education to natives.
This year the Hoofdenscholen (school of principals) was established which was created specifically to give birth to government employees who later changed its name to OSVIA (Opleiding School Voor Inlandsche Ambtenaren).
He collected RA Kartini’s letters which he wrote to his friends in the Netherlands which were later recorded and named Door Duisternis tot Licht, meaning that after dark, light rises. This book was published in 1911, and has been printed five times.
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5. Dr. Douwes Dekker (1879-1950)
Dr. Douwes Dekker is also one of the ethical political figures, his name is Ernest Francois Eugene Douwes Dekker or known as Danudirja Setiabudi. He is an Indonesian national and is one of the heroes of the struggle for Indonesian independence.
Douwes Dekker was one of the originators of Indonesian nationalism and he was one of the writers who was critical of the policies of the Belada government at that time. Douwe Dekker is not only a writer but he is also a journalist, political activist, and idea maker of the name “Nusantara” for the Dutch East Indies state.
His name is Setiabudi, included in the triad of freedom fighters in addition to the two other fighters, namely dr. Tjipto Mangoenkoesoemo and Suwardi Suryaningrat.
Ethical Politics Objectives Implemented
Some of the objectives of the implementation of ethical politics in the Dutch East Indies were:
- Education: Providing education to natives
- Irrigation: Building advice and irrigation for agricultural advancement
- Transmigration: The relocation of people to various places so as to maximize business and life.
The purpose of this ethical Politics is the result of the content stated in ethical politics which was uttered in the speech of the Queen of the Netherlands who had just ascended the throne, namely Queen WilHermira.
Ethical Political Deviation
Regarding storage in ethical politics we have also explained above, namely deviations from the content and purpose of ethical politics, towards immigration and irrigation.
The irrigation that was made turned out not to be for smallholder plantations but for Dutch private plantations alone, this really has saved this ethical political goal.
Construction of schools to obtain qualified and low-priced teaching staff. Education based on ethical politics was intended for all the people of the Dutch East Indies, but in reality only those from the nobility could get education, the children of civil servants. Here there is quite severe discrimination, the children of their employees have the right to go to school in class I and other children from the ordinary or low-level society, they must give up school in grade II.
Migration from Java Island to other areas was only to be employed in areas where there were private Dutch-owned plantations. Those who transmigrated were only used as workers on Dutch-owned plantations. Because the system was like this, many of those who were moved finally fled and to prevent this the Dutch Government held a Poenale Sanctie, this is a rule for those who run away, they will be sought and arrested by the police to then give to the supervisor.
The result of ethical politics, apparently did not provide prosperity to the Indonesian people, they carried out this Politics for the sake of the advancement of the Netherlands itself.