Association for Political and Legal Anthropology
Oral Presentation Session
Over the past decade, anarcho-punk rock scenes in Indonesia have grown both in size and global prominence. Today, punk rock anarchist collectives can be found in many of the urban centers of Java and many are embedded in complex translocal networks which connect them to anarcho-punk scenes around the world. While scholarship regarding underground music in Indonesia in the 1990s and 2000s noted its marginal global status and attempts by musicians to escape the local by ‘gesturing elsewhere’, the contemporary anarcho-punk scene in Western Java has rapidly established itself as a significant hub in translocal anarchist networks. This is evidenced through the influx of European and North American bands and fans touring collectives and anarcho-punk music festivals held across Indonesia.
In this paper, I discuss the tenuous relationship between the deliberate crossing and blurring of borders as an (a)political tactic of anarchism and the tourist-like patterns of travel undertaken by European and North American anarchist punks while in Indonesia. Where is the line between politically-minded traveling anarchist and beer-drinking European tourist at music festivals in the vicinity of party hotspots in Java and Bali? For locals, some of these festivals mark a break from the usual happenings of the anarchist collective to which they bring their children and families to the beach for a short, inexpensive vacation. Does this change the politics of an anarchist gathering? I address these questions and explore the complex and potentially contradictory intersection of anarchist ideologies and tourism in the punk scenes of Java.