19 December 2008

Yogyakarta activists, women workers commemorate Human Rights Day

Detik/Tempo Interactive - December 10, 2008

Yogyakarta -- Hundreds of students and non-
government organisation activists in the Central
Java city of Yogyakarta took to the streets on
December 10 to commemorate Human Rights Day. They
also demanded that the government revoke a joint
ministerial decree (SKB-4) limiting wage rises to
economic growth and end to the exploitation of women

Despite drizzling rain throughout most of the day,
actions were held at a number of locations and
shopping centres in different parts of the city. The
first action was carried out by scores of women
activists from the We Can Campaign Indonesia
alliance at the Serangan Oemoem (SO) March 1 Plaza
Monument. The second action was held by the United
People’s Committee (KRB) at the Yogyakarta Monument.

During the action at the Plaza Monument, which was
joined by women workers, some of which brought
children and infants, they unfurled banners with
messages such as “Stop violence against women”,
“Oppose the exploitation of workers”, “Fight for
women’s rights”, “Oppose and revoke the SKB-4” and
“Nationalise foreign assets”. The protesters also
sung patriotic songs such as “For You My Nation”,
“Mother Kartini” and “Struggle of Blood”.

2 December 2008

Defeat the evil solutions by SBY - JK's regime

Defeat the evil solutions by SBY - JK's regime
(Buyback, Bailout, 9.5% Interest of Bank of Indonesia, 0% Number of CPO, SKB 4 of Ministers)!
Overthrow the Government of colonial agent; Change it into the Governance of Poors' Alliances!

Viva Liberation!

There is no democracy and peace in Indonesia, under the government of colonial agents (SBY - JK, the DPR / MPR, the elitists, the pro-imperialist political parties, and the military) within the capitalist economic system! That there are bankrupt companies, mass lay-offs, and very expensive price of fuels and primary materials.

Neoliberalism (Free Market), which is considered as a "panacea" from the global economic crisis and social gaps in post-crisis 1997, is in fact cannot realise its sweet promises that often campaigned by the pro-neoliberal economy supporters. Since the sign through Letter Of Intent due to the end of Soeharto's regime, it continues to be refined by the latter governments; Habibie, Megawati, Gusdur, and the SBY-Kalla with various regulations, but no "beautiful" dream of the so-called Trickle Down Effects is visible. The valley of poverty goes deeper. 

2 November 2008

The 2009 general elections and illusions within the movement

September 10, 2008

By Budi Wardoyo(1)

In the lead up to the 2009 general elections, the political map of the movements appears to be undergoing a large polarisation, particularly a polarisation between the political decision to takepart in the elections as a contestant (by joining an existing political party) verses the political decision of refusing to become an electoral participant.

The decision to take part in the 2009 elections, which has been taken, by among others, by thePeople’s Democratic Party (PRD) and its affiliated organisations(2), has been motivated by thefollowing arguments:

1. That becoming an electoral participant will provide greater space for the movements to broadencampaigns on populist programs;

2. By broadening campaigns on populist programs, it is hoped that it will expand the people’s support (in the form of extending the structure of the movement);

3. Thus the people’s capacity and potential to struggle will grow even stronger;

4. If they make good in the elections, and in end succeed in obtaining seats in parliament, then thespace for such campaigns will be even broader again.

29 October 2008

The Women’s Movement is the Key to Change

Kompas - September 29, 2008

Zely Ariane

... although legislation represents an important
start, its role cannot be more than just a
beginning. It is political reform that will continue
to be sustainable and must be complimented by
economic, social and cultural reforms -- as a
comprehensive approach for problems that are
likewise comprehensive
.” (Sarah Wagner, in Feminism
Changes Society, the Women’s Liberation Struggle in
the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution)

One more legal umbrella has been
added for the advancement of women in Indonesia. Law
Number 2/2008 on Political Parties, which bolsters
the political opportunities for women to take part
in thinking about the direction of the country and
the advance of its people.

The broadening of space for gender mainstreaming has
been realised, but it should not just be restricted
to formal equality in political, professional and
academic circles. It also demands the distribution
of economic justice for women who are poor,
dignified employment and improving knowledge, as
well as affordable, easy and quality education so
that women are no longer just become a reserve of
votes in the name of women representation in

The 30 percent figure is the minimum limit that has
been agreed to internationally to promote women’s
representation in both parliament as well as public
positions. The campaign for this quota is a form of
the continuing struggle by women following the
achievement of demands for women’s right to vote in
the early 20th Century.

18 June 2008

FPN Protest Action Against Fuel Price Hike May 29 and June 1

Workers, students and housewives protest fuel price hikes
Metro TV News - May 29, 2008

Jakarta -- Around 500 workers, children and housewives protested at the offices of the Coordinating Minister for People’s Welfare in Jakarta on Thursday May 29 against the recent fuel price hikes.

The protesters, who came from the National Liberation Front (FPN), started the action by gathering at the Grogol bus terminal in West Jakarta then moving off towards the Hotel Indonesia roundabout in Central Jakarta. They then marched back to the Welfare Ministers office and then on the State Palace on Jl. Medan Merdeka Utara in Central Jakarta.
In addition to opposing the fuel price hikes and the high price of basic commodities, they also called for cuts to government officials’ wages and the nationalisation of the oil and gas industry under the control of the people.

Indonesia: Student activist in North Maluku abducted and tortured

Asia Pacific Solidarity Network Action Alert - May 29, 2008

The Asia Pacific Solidarity Network (APSN) has received information from the People’s Democratic Party-Political Committee of the Poor (KPRM-PRD) that on May 27 a student activist named Chalid from the Politics of the Poor-Indonesian National Student League for Democracy (LMND-PRM) in the North Maluku city of Ternate was abducted by unknown persons, taken to an isolated location where he was beaten and tortured with electric shocks. Chalid was later released but warned that he would be under surveillance and threatened with death.

The incident follows a series of demonstrations and clashes with police in Ternate during widespread protest actions in the lead up to and following the Indonesian government’s unpopular decision to increase the price of fuel.

Thought this might interest you...

Translated by James B

Excerpt: “Circles close to the Palace group Rizal in the same rank as former Indonesian Military Chiefretired Gen. Wiranto who now leads the Hanura Party and Fuad Bawazier, the former Finance Minister who hasalso joined that party. This group has adopted the flag bearing the words the People’s Challenge Front(FRM).”
Cover Story: On High Alert
Tempo Magazine - May 27-June 2, 2008

The government has raised the price of fuel, triggering protests everywhere. The Palace is worried that martyrs will fall, while the President has cancelled his trip to Italy.

Budi Setyarso – President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was to have visited Rome next week to attend a World Food Security Ministerial Level Meeting. The meeting, organized by the Food and Agricultural Organization, will, among other topics, discuss the world food crisis. But the domestic crisis may well put an end to the President’s plans.

“The President’s trip to Italy, also to England, has been canceled,” said a Tempo source. Presidential spokesperson Dino Patti Djalal has not disputed the information, although he claims it is not a cancellation, because the planned trip to these countries was not publicized.

27 May 2008

Solidarity Messages from Malaysia, Canada, Philipines, Australia


The attacks carried on the KPRM only shopwd the forces of evil are always on the lookout for an awaken people , will intimidate and harrass them to plant fear in their hearts and minds. What these lunatics never learned is that people with awaken mind will never be cowed and will only strengthen their resolve to fight what they think is right.

the right term is resist, we want our comrades to know that here in the Philippines, you have comrades who support and are with you in all your undertakings Lets all unite to change this existing rotten system for a better world.

Edgar P. Bilayon
Philippine Railway workers Union

Solidaritas saya untuk kawan-kawan KPRM yang menjadi
korban penyerangan aparat dan preman di Balikpapan, 17
Mei 2008. Jangan pernah sekali mundur. Teruskan
perjuangan membebaskan rakyat miskin.
Salam perjuangan!

Muhammad Febriansyah (Ian)
Dear comrades of KPRM,

On behalf of the International Marxist Tendency, I would like to extend our message of support in solidarity with KPRM Balikpapan members who were attacked on May 17 by fascist thugs who are the extension of the ruling class in Indonesia. This attack shows that nothing fundamental has changed since the fall of Soeharto. The same military regime is still in power despite the hue and cry of the false reformists on democracy and such.

However, what is more important is that this attack actually reveals the fear of the ruling class. In 1998, they have seen the strength of the people, and they rightfully fear that. Now, with 10 years of lesson behind us, the best element of youth and workers have grown stronger in ideas and practices. Not only in Indonesia, the ruling class around the world is trembling now with fear as capitalism is entering a period of crisis and the masses have started to move.

Once again, we stand in solidarity with comrades in Balikpapan. Good luck with your mobilization to fight the increase in gas prices.

There is only one word: Fightback!

Ted Sprague

From the Democratic Socialist Perspective (Australia)
May 18, 2008

The Democratic Socialist Perspective (Australia) stands 100% in solidarity with the activists campaigning against the fuel price rises in Indonesia.

We condemn the police detention and interrogation of three Indonesian Street Buskers Union activists on May 16, and the brutal attack on the Balikpapan office of the Political Committee of the Poor (KPRM) on May 17.

We call on the Indonesian government to publicly condemn these attempts to intimidate the people and take immediate legal action against the perpetrators of the attack on the KPRM office.

We extend our solidarity to all those who mobilise on May 21 against the fuel price rises.

Yours in solidarity and struggle,

Lisa Macdonald
International Relations Committee
Democratic Socialist Perspective

24 May 2008

Respond to the Papernas Solidarity Appeal: Dozens Arrested and Wounded As Police Repress Anti Fuel Price Rise Actions

21/5: FPN near the state palace

21/5: FPN in front of the state palace

21/5: FPN in front of the state palace

21/5: FPN March to the State Palace
21/5: FPN March to the State Palace

I would like to make a brief comment on the report made by Papernas on May 21 and also their solidarity appeal, as I was taking part in the protest action and write down chronology. I also resume some facts reported by some activists involved in the 21 protest action.

1. The fact that there was no crowd reached up to 6,000 at 2 pm in the Hotel Indonesia roundabout and marched to the State Palace. Some activists also stated that there was no crowd of the people stayed overnight in the Proclamation Monument. There were some GMNK and LMND students in the Monument at about 11 AM.

2. There were many groups positioned themselves in front and near of the State Palace. Some of the groups were: FORKOT (later left the palace after the clash with the police), FPR (People Struggle Front), Jabotabek Student Council, National Liberation Front (FPN), and KAMMI (Action in Unity of Indonesian Muslim Student). Below is the SMS report from FPN activist:

15:41:28: Ada beberapa titik massa aksi di sekitar istana. KAMMI sekitar 500-an massa dari arah Harmoni—berdampingan dengan barisan massa FPN. Dari arah Thamrin Komite Aksi Mahasiswa IISIP sekitar 200-an massa. FPR masih bertahan di depan istana, disekitarnya tampak beberapa elemen mahasiswa lainnya, yang masing-masing sendiri-sendiri.

FAMRED--Students' Action Front for Reform and Democracy (one of FRM’s), LMND, GMNK, were among those who comes later after the Jabotabek Student Council left the crowd. They came and at about 10-15 minutes there was a clash with the police.

3. "Masses from FRM positioned themselves in the front line and the entire crowd chanted yells demanding the president to make a decree that nationalise oil, gas, and mining industry to meet domestic need for fuel." This was not entirely true. The so called ‘entire crowd chanted yells bla bla bla’ were probably meant the FRM crowd only. And other crowds had their own yells [(with some of them also had the nationalization content—even I hardly heard FRM crowd chanted the nationalization at that time (because the clash between FAMRED/FRM was a major event that can be understood by other crowd). The FAMRED especially, was majorly reported by the media because of the clash and the arrested—not because of they role in the whole crowd. This news claimed that FRM was a leading crowd in the 21 protest action. I think it really careless statement. FRM activist were less than 200. FPR at about 1000, FPN about 3000, and KAMMI around 500-700.
With this comment I also condemn the repressive action and the arrested of students by the state police. Together with other FPN organizations will give our solidarity, especially the legal aids by KONTRAS and Jakarta Legal Aids (LBH-Jakarta), some of the joint member of FPN. (Zely)

18 May 2008

Solidarity from PSM Malaysia

Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns the Indonesian authorities for the attack of the office of KPRM (Political Committee of the Poor) at Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on 17 May. Such action is replicant of New Order's repressvie messures to suppress the rising of ordinary people.

PSM also extends its solidarity to the planned mass action against fuel price hike on 21 May. This is a crucial time for the left and progressive forces to come together to resist neoliberal attacks.

In solidarity,
Choo Chon Kai
International Bureau
Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

International Bureau
Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

No.22A, Lorong Vivekananda, 50470 Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA.
Tel: +60-3-22747791, (mobile) +60-19-5669518
Fax: +60-3-87374772
email: (headquarters) psmhq@tm.net.my
(international bureau) int.psm@gmail.com

visit our website at:

17 May 2008

Solidarity from Workers Democracy Thailand

Solidarity comrades!!!

The history of the Left in Indonesia and South-East Asia shows that the reactionary forces and the ruling class will stop at nothing in their attempts to destroy the socialist movement. But we will always continue to resist and fight for a better world!

Best wishes
Workers Democracy Thailand

Giles Ji Ungpakorn
Faculty of Political Science
Chulalongkorn University
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
UK mobile:+44-(0)7817034432

FPN call to action issued via mass leaflet (Translation)

Max Lane

SECOND CALL ISSUED BY THE FPN RE MAY 21 PROTEST AKSI(produced for mass distribution in the poor kampungalong the march route to the Presidential palace.)
Read, save, discuss this leaflet with your friends; if needed reproduce it and hand it out.

Jl. Pori Raya No. 6 RT 09 RW 010 Pisangan Timur, Jakarta Timur 13230
Telp : 021 475 7881, 021 9289 4347
email: front.pembebasan.nasional@gmail.com
Contact Persons : Sastro 0812 1059 0010, Jon : 021 9833 34197

Fuel prices are to be raised 25-30% (possibly reaching Rp 6000+ per liter). This will be finalized at the end of May.This decision will increase the burden of suffering upon the people. There is discontent everywhere. Butall the news reports that the government could not care less. The government justifies it policy ny saying that we all must sacrifice and be frugal. They do not care that everywhere the people become poorer, have insufficient nutrition, go hungry, suffer stress, and psychological disorders, even some killing themselves because they cannot bare any more suffering.

Arrogantly, the government dares to continue to work with the “Peoples Oppressors”, who though with different faces all speak in one voice in defence of capital which will profit handsomely from these fuel price rises. These “Peoples Oppressors” comprise: the Yudhoyono-Kalla government; the deceiver of the people parties (Golkar, Demokrat, PDIP, PKS, and others who pretent to be against the fuel price rises for the sake of pre 2009 election popularity but in the parliament have given the government the go ahed to take away the price subsidies),the fake reformasi elite figures busy profiling themselves, and the intellectuals and economists busy manufacturing justifications for taking away the price subsidies.

The redirect the peoples anger, they thrown in fake solutions such as the BLT Plus (Direct Cash Bonus) [for the poor] which since its introduction in 2005 has been shown to be a complete failure in reducing poverty. Its real purpose has been to try to put the brakes on and rupture the spirit and resistance actions of the people. If the people can be deceived, we will never to stop these fuel price rises. Again and again they are increased; again and again we must swallow this bitter pill. To make sure we do not fail again, as in 2000 and 2005, we must unite all our energy in an organized people’s movement that carries out various forms of struggle, namely:

1. For all of you, men and women, living in the kampungs* form kamoung committees (e.g. Mampang Peoples Committee Against the Fuel price Rises)as a instrument to fight the prices. alat Make your views known through free forums and open meetings of the citizens. Don’t hesitate to invie everybody living there; even invite the journalists so that what you do is reported so that it may be copied by other kampung. Then organize marches and mass actions in your kampung targeting the district government offices between May 18-21/

2. For the drivers of TAXIs, MIKROLETs, KOPAJAs, METRO MINIs and BIS KOTA, [public transport vehicles], and [passenger] motor bike drivers, unite your strength, carry out strikes in the bus terminals and bus pools during the working day (07.00-10.00) until(16.00-21.00) all through 18-21 May.Don’t forget to inform the journalists of your actions.

3. For the workers, join together with the Workers’ Demands Alliance (ABM)and carry out aksi against the fuel price rises between 18-21 May in the industrial areas, in your kampung and in the factories. If needs be strike together, because indeed these fuel price rises will also bring with it the threat of dismissal. And again, don’t forget to tell the journalists.

4. For the university and high school students, it is time to set upcommittees in your universities and schools as a vehicle to carry outmass actions, free speech forums. In the campuses and schools between 18-21 May. And when you head home, don’t feel to superior, but join in with the kamoung people who are carrying out their actions and protests. And tekll the reporters what you are doing.

5. And don’t forget following all your actions and feee speech forums in your own locations (kampungs, bus terminals, industrial areas, campuses and schools) then unite forces with the NATIONAL LIBERATION FRONT which will carry out:

*AKSI MASSA (MASS ACTION) on Wednesday, 21 May to surroiund the palace and to defeat the increase in fuel prices. *
*For those who cannot join the demonstration on 21 May 2008, at 12 noon carry out a noise barrage, bang the electric light posts, blow the car or motor bike horn, bang the kitchen pots and pans and so on *

MAIN DEMANDS OF THE RAKYAT (the poor people)

All this is only possible if all of the peoples’ strength unites in large scale mass mobilizations, builds peoples organizations, builds unifications of the people.This struggle of the people needs the enrgy and spirit of the people, an honest and courageous spirit, agreeing to unite together in the unity of the movement.

We invite you also to declare your support by filling in this petition. We will gather the maximum number of peoples’ voices to show those in power that we reject these price increases. Send the petition to the President, Governors, Mayors, village or neighbourhood heads or to the local or national parliaments.

*Save, read and discuss this leaflet with your friends. If need be, reproduce it and hand it out.”


Address :

Occupation :

JAKARTA, … Mei 2008

( _________________ )

Register to be involved in the AKSI to defeat the fuel price increases:

Tangerang : Koswara: 0856 1778 067 / 021 9191 66622.
Jakarta West : Anis: 021 9370 44503.
Jakarta East : Sultoni: 0219447 56814.
Jakarta North : Kamal 021 9347 37845.
Jakarta Centre : Rendro 0855 1015 3466.
Jakarta South : Wiwin 021 7033 23827.
Depok : Khadir 021 9651 4828.
Bekasi : Helmi 0813 1841 21519.
Karawang : Heryanto 0813 1803 0976

AKSI - heading towards May 21

Max Lane

Street protests - AKSI as they are called in Indonesia - have increased in frequency and militancy over the last week and so, propelled by the success of May Day around the country mobilisations two weeks ago, and provoked by the government decision to increase fuel prices again, threatening a flow through in price increases for the basic commodities consumed by millions of ordinary people. Already there have been statements from government figures, including the security apparatus, repeating the Suharto era refrain that the demonstrations were being manipulated by "third parties" which "you all know", but who remianed unnamed.
(For the history of AKSI in Indonesia see Unfinished Nation: Indonesia before and after Suharto.

(Pictures above)

May Day in central Jakarta . The section with the mostly red flags are mostly Workers' Demands Alliance (ABM) unions, whose leaders took the lead in forming the FPN. The main banner reads: Fight the New Form of Domination/Occupation. Those marching behind the yellow banners are unions and others, including farmers, from the Peoples Struggle Front (FPR). This is another Left stream in the country whose political perspective emphasises the leading role of farmers and the rural poor in winning change. As far as I know, this was their first significant mobilisation in Jakarta. There have been on-again off-again talks between the FPR and FPN about joining together, but as of May 16, they are still workimg separately.

One wave of demonstrations was organised by the Student Executive Bodies (BEMs), student councils operating at the university faculty level. There are claims that more than 130 BEMs from different campuses were involved in that wave of actions. Around May 10-11, there was also an action by a student group that slept out overnight outside the Presidential campus.
The increasingly heated mood is also providing the basis for former head of the National Mandate Party (PAN) and former speaker of the Peoples Consultative Assembly, Amien Rais, to make repeated sharp attacks on President Yudhoyono's government and on what he states is the government's weak attitude towards foreign companies operating in Indonesia. There is an increasing mood of hostility to the foreign economic presence and the rapacious attitude of foreign companies and the deleterious conditions attached to the myriad of foreign loans in which Indonesia is entrapped. It is clear that a political battle is brewing for leadership over this anti-foreign sentiment between sections of the business and political elite (frustrated at their own share of the economic cake and eager at the same time to win some popularity in the lead-up to the next elections), elements of the elite campaigning under the banner of one variant or another of anti-Western Islamic fundamentalism and embryonic progressive or socialist forces now just starting to organise.

National Liberation Front (FPN)

The FPN (see earlier posts for background) has called for protests on May 21. Apart from organising to mobilise some of its own members on May 21, it has put out a general call for street protests on May 21. It has begun small pickets and other actions in the lead-up. The momentum for the formation of the FPN, on the initiative of leaders of the Workers' Demands Alliance (ABM), seems to have emerged out of the successful collaboration between progressive groups on May Day.

Smaller FPN run up actions 200-500 people have already been held outside government buildings, regional parliaments and other locations in Medan, North Sumatra; Tangerang, West Jakarta; Solo, Central Java; Surabaya, East Java;Jogjakarta in central Java and Balikpapan, East Java.


On May 12, another alliance, the People Demand Front (FRM), which includes Volunteers for Democracy (REPDEM), a part of Megawati's PDIP and the PRD/PAPERNAS, also held an action also protesting the fuel price rises. FRM is seen to be too close to the elite poitical parties by the other forces. There links with the elite parties was also reflected in one of their key political demands, namely, for the replacement of President Yudhoyono's team of economic ministers with other candidates. The left coalitions are using the mobilisations to advocate that these old elite party forces, including people like Amien Rais and Megawati, have no solutions and should stand aside.

FPN Press Confrence, 13rd May 2008

FPN Press Conference, 13rd May 2008
From left to right: Tony Trianto, Secretary-General, Indonesian Students Serikat (SMI); Vivi Widyawati, Coordinator Freedom Woemn National Network (JNPM) (also a leader of PPRM); Nining Elitos, Chairperson, Indonesian Trade Union Alliance Congress(KASBI); Anwar Satro Ma'ruf, Coordinator, Workers' Demands Alliance (ABM); Resta Hutabarat (Jakarta Legal Aid Institute)

Banner reads: May 21 and June 1 2008: the People Unite! Surround and Occupy the Palace!Cancel the fuel price rises and lower prices!Capitalists, political elites, and parties that lie the people: stand aside! Its time for the people to rule!
National Liberation Front.

New left activist alliance formed in Indonesia – UPDATED

Max Lane

Over the last few days good news has come in on the formation of a new Left united front formation, called the National Liberation Front (FPN). The FPN will be organizing its first street action on the 10th Anniversary of the downfall of Suharto, May 21 around the issue of the current government’s increases to fuel prices. This will be followed by another action on June 1. Small actions and leafleting have already begun.

The formation of the FPN flowed from an initiative of the Aliansi Buruh Mengugat (Workers Demands Alliance - ABM) an alliance of left and progressive trade unions that have come together over the last 5 or so years. Some of the unions were formed by left activist groups, but most have sprung up from the workplace and/or broken away from old structures that had been controlled by the state before the fall of the dictator Suharto. It is therefore a rather diverse mixture of initially enterprise based unions, which have then formed various more-or-less ad hoc federations which have then stabilized. They include manufacturing and service sector workers, in both state and privately owned firms.

While engaging in lobbying (of MPs for example), their primary emphasis is on mass struggle in the extraparliamentary sphere. At the moment also no left party has been able to be registered to participate in elections. They take up immediate workplace issues, issues to with trade union rights and legislation impacting on those rights as well as general socio-economic issues. They are firmly against to neo-liberal capitalism. The majority have been won to one kind or another of left orientations.

18 March 2008

[Marxism] The DSP's postion of "non-interferance" whilst taking sides on the PRD split

The Democratic Socialist Perspective (DSP)’s support for PRD-Papernas and not KPRM-PRD is becoming clearer. I read Stuarts latest reply to me on Friday but I thought I would wait until today in order to see the Green Left article on the PRD split that Stuart assured us was coming and to give the content a chance. I was disappointed that there was no such article in this week’s paper. Instead the only article on Indonesia was one promoting the good work of Papernas in two 300 person strong rallies held in Indonesia.

This is hardly surprising given that Stuarts framework in the name of “not declaring one side ‘revolutionary’ and the other not”, has lead Stuart (and the DSP?) to defacto support PRD-Papernas.

Stuart sets up a straw man of my position and attempts to knock it down by declaring:
Given that we are not jumping to say this, it follows logically that we will continue our relationship with the PRD. As for the new group, we are not refusing relations, we are testing things out. We are encouraging them to continue sending us their material. We certainly aren't declaring them not revolutionary or anything else James is attempting to imply or push us towards.”

Well Stuart there are actually two PRD’s at the moment and it appears that the DSP is continuing relations with one section but not the other. Why would you continue relations with as you call it the “PRD” meaning PRD Papernas but the best you give to KPRM-PRD is “not refusing relations” and “encouraging them to continue sending us their material.” Accepting their documents just means you haven’t put a blocker on your e-mail, so what? I occasionally read books by Francis Fukiama and get the Zionist organisation Australian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) to send me material so I can find out what they are thinking but that doesn’t mean I support them.

Stuart claims:
Of course, the arguments runs that the new group are the *real* PRD because they are the *real* continuors of the revolutionary program of the PRD. The actually existing PRD is not the *real* PRD because it has betrayed its program and tradition.”

Given the split in the PRD the DSP has had 4 options:
1. To support PRD Papernas as the continuation of the revolutionary PRD

2. To support KPRM-PRD as the continuation of the revolutionary PRD
3. To continue political support with both as the continuation of the revolutionary PRD
4. Declare a plague on both your houses and not support either.

Stuart claims that the DSP has gone for option 3 not 1. But then how does Stuart explain that one side the DSP has political relations with while the other side they just are “open to” political relations with. How does Stuart explain that the DSP supported two PRD-Papernas members attending the Latin America Asia Pacific Solidarity Forum and not a single member of KPRM-PRD? Does Stuart see the DSP having a similar relationship with KPRM-PRD as they currently have with PRD-Papernas?

So yet again we await another week to see a Green Left article on the PRD split/expulsion. As Stuart puts it “Of course we are *continuing* to try and study the situation. So maybe we will have something more concrete to say in the future as we attempt to study what is going on in light of finding out from the comrades there on both sides what the arguments and facts (and interpretations of facts, as always occurs) are and what it means on the ground.

Which would be nice but given neither the internal bulletin of the DSP nor its paper Green Left have provided anything for their comrades to read I doubt seriously if they are studying the issue.


[Marxism] Indonesia: Information on the split in the PRD

Earlier this year I spent one month in Indonesia to study Indonesian political developments and the split in the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) – Indonesia’s revolutionary Marxist party. I also wrote some news articles for Green Left Weekly. The articles included that which first reported the split in the PRD http://www.greenleft.org.au/2008/738/38186, as well as an unpublished Green Left article earlier sent to this list see http://kprm-peoples-democratic-party.blogspot.com/2008/02/indonesia-reject-parliamentarism-and.html.

As there is not yet much analysis available in English on the split I will make some points to provide readers with background to the situation.

People following the PRD split threads on this list would know that the Split (which began July 2007) occurred ostensively over how to approach the Indonesian elections scheduled for late 2009. The majority of the PRD’s central leadership committee expelled those members of the committee that did not agree with the majority approach. This preceded further expulsions from the PRD and its allied organisations including the expulsion of whole branches and districts where a majority of the members did not agree with the PRD majority’s approach to elections.

Why force a split over a tactical question like how to relate to a parliamentary election? The PRD minority (now called the Political Committee of The Poor - People's Democratic Party - KPRM-PRD) argues it is because the differences are not really just tactical – but that the PRD majority has taken an opportunist turn to the right. They say this can be seen in part by looking at the majority approach to the 2009 elections.

So what are their election tactics?

In short the PRD majority’s election work consists of trying to form a coalition between their own PRD led broad left party (National Liberation Party of Struggle – PAPERNAS) and one or another bourgeois party that can meet the electoral registration requirements (i.e. will be allowed to compete in the 2009 elections).
PAPERNAS failed to get registration in its own name – that is what triggered the split last year.

Dita Sari is the Chairperson of the PRD majority (now PRD-PAPERNAS). In her own words to a Green Left weekly interview in October 07; “Before we were focusing on campaigning among the social movements. But we found the social movements were very fragmented and sometimes very sectarian and apolitical. What we are trying to do now is campaign for our program among the mass bases and structures of this Islamic party that we are targeting for a coalition… building a coalition with another party, which is not left, revolutionary or progressive, but to some extent can accept our program. “ see http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/735/38075. That party is the Star Reform Party (PBR).

I was able to attend all of Dita Sari's presentations at the Latin America – Asia Pacific International Solidarity Conference (LAAPISC) in Melbourne in Oct 2007. She was an invited guest of the DSP along with another leader of the PRD majority Agus “Jabo” Priyono.

In their workshop *The Indonesian left before and after Suharto’s ‘new order’ regime* Sari stated her basic justification for an electoral coalition with one or another bourgeois electoral party:
“From 1998 to now, platforms proposed by the left have already been accepted. An Anti neo-liberal platform is already accepted by centrist groups including academics. Anti militarism is also accepted by student and bourgeois political groups. Also anti feudal and anti corruption demands are also widely accepted.”
“So the challenge is not how to get our platform accepted – it is already. The challenge is to create momentum.” Later in the same workshop Sari stated:
“PRD-Papernas also see people in [the] centre, centrist groups who need to be moved [into action] because the anti-neo liberal platform is already accepted” by them.

However it is difficult to find any evidence that the Star Reform Party (PBR) had any agreement with the PAPERNAS three point program. I phoned Dita Sari for an interview for Links Magazine while I was in Jakarta but she declined the interview, stating that if I had any questions about PRD-PAPERNAS position I should refer to the PRD majority’s official position statement sent to the Democratic Socialist Perspective (my party) – however this is not publicly available.

The PAPERNAS program is1. Abolish the foreign debt!2. Nationalise the oil and mining industry!3. Build a strong national economy for the benefit of the people.

The Star Reformation Party (PBR) has never mentioned that program or those demands publicly.
PBR is an Islamic party with a reactionary landlord base in some areas. PBR has opposed increasing the budget allocation for education to 20% of Government expenditure (as stipulated by Indonesia’s constitution of 1945), opposed the campaign on foreign debt cancellation, and pushed for Islamic Law in many provincial representative bodies.

In Labuhan Batu and West Sulawesi PBR elite land owning politicians actually directly clashed with peasant mass organisations aligned with PAPERNAS. For example in West Sulawesi the chairperson of PBR hired thugs to evict peasants belonging to the National Peasants Union (STN) from his estate.

On October 30, 2007 an interview was published in the Rakyat Merdeka newspaper with Bursah Zarnubi, the chairperson and boss of the PBR. He openly slates that he is also involved in negotiations with the Concern for the Nation Party (PKPB) set up by Suharto’s eldest daughter Tutut Suharto and her favourite pro-Suharto generals. This public statement did not cause PRD-PAPERNAS to change their policy which is to seek a coalition with PBR.

The Concern for the Nation Party (PKPB) is chaired by Raden Hartono, a former Suharto army commander. He is quoted as stating during a campaign rally in March 2004 that "With an extraordinary boldness I want to affirm that I am a Suharto lackey". Tutut Suharto was chosen as the PKPB's presidential candidate in the last elections.

While PRD-PAPERNAS has not been put off by the apparent reactionary nature of the PBR, it seems the PBR has been less interested in forming an alliance with PAPERNAS, so the PRD-PAPERNAS leadership have had to look for other coalition possibilities if they wish to run in the elections.

12 March 2008

Indonesia: The Struggle for Political Alternative of the Poor

in response to Dita Sari Interview with Green Left Weekly 735 entitled "Indonesia: The struggle against underdevelopment" see http://www.greenleft.org.au/2007/735/38075.

2007 saw an unprecedented split in Indonesia’s most well known radical party – the People’s Democratic Party (PRD). The split spans the PRD from top to bottom. The following interview is with Zely Ariane – the spokesperson for The Political Committee of The Poor - People's Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), conducted by Theresia Dian Septi Trisnanti .

1. When was the KPRM-PRD formed?
Zely Ariane: KPRM was formed in November 2007 as the result of a consolidation of PRD members from ten provinces that reject the coalition politics [currently being pursued by the PRD-Papernas leadership] and are ready to struggle to build a political alternative of the poor. The KPRM-PRD held its public declaration on the 31 January, 2008 in Jakarta.

2. Where are its main bases? What is the KPRM-PRD's main program of activities now and into the near future?

Zely Ariane: Our strongest bases are in Jogjakarta, Jakarta, North Sumatra, East Java and Kalimantan Timor. The original basis for the split in the PRD was that the majority of the PRD leadership could not tolerate a difference of opinion, or opinions rejecting the coalition tactic in the 2009 elections.

Our primary activity at the moment is to struggle for a politics of the poor that is neither co-opted nor co-operative with the remnants of the old regime (Suharto’s New Order) such as the military, the pro neo-liberal government and the fake reformists. We are concentrating at the moment on consolidating a new political mass organisation that will unite like minded political groups and individuals from PRD, Papernas and some other mass organisations. This new organ will soon be formed in order to struggle for a politics of the poor and to push towards completion of the national democratic revolution in Indonesia.

We can not let go of the political wreckage that exists in PRD at the moment. We are especially focused on relating to the mass bases who mostly do not understand and have not been involved in the party’s political decisions. As an example, the decision to support the Democratic Renewal Party (PDP) was taken in secret and is unknown by the party’s mass base because the internal situation in the PRD, Papernas and even the mass organisations has become increasingly difficult for campaigning - room for debate has been completely closed. So to win back these organisations requires an external pressure. That is the reason we plan to form a new political mass organisation that at the same time can function as our political identity.

We are forging unity of left democratic groups and a women’s liberation groupings from the democratic left spectrum – to become the vanguard in developing the feminist movement. We are establishing the frameworks and making lively efforts to mark International Women’s Day and also unifying efforts to create a Venezuela Solidarity Group.

12 February 2008


PEMBEBASAN (Liberation) (published by KPRM-PRD)
January, 2008


An (alternative) politics of the poor has been the political position of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) since it was established. This was a politics with the perspective that any changes and any victory to be won by the poor must be based on the people's own strength, on the strength of the movement. This perspective has been abandoned by a section of the leadership of the PRD – those calling themselves the majority in the PRD – in accord with their interest in liquidating themselves (ideologically, politically, organizationally) into an electoral unity with a fake reformist party, an ally of the government, a government which is the agent of imperialism. All this in order have the opportunity to get into parliament.

Because of this, those of us who refuse to abandon this politics of the poor, and who reject the path of parliamentarist opportunism have taken the name the Political Committee of the Poor-PRD (KPRM-PRD). The formation of the KPRM-PRD began as a result of coercion when, using the position/authority of a majority, which then became the internal position of the PRD, forced a division/split of the party: either supporting parliamentarist opportunism or to build a peoples movement.

We now understand this undemocratic decision to split the party as the destructive consequence of their opportunist political perspective. For the KPRM-PRD the more important pressing need is to play a concrete role in the development of a politics of the poor together with other forces in the movement, building that kind of unity.

Yet, even so, this does not mean that the KPRM-PRD is washing its hands of the problem of the destruction of the politics of the poor perspective inside the PRD. While helping to build the peoples movement, we will continue the internal struggle to win back the PRD as an instrument of struggle for the politics of the poor.

In the current economic and political situation, the movement faces the challenge of evaluating the situation and taking responsibility [to lead]. The people day by day become clearer on the accumulating problems that they face. So the responsibility increases for the movement to show the links between these problems and the role of imperialist oppression. We must be able to go beyond and pierce through the thousands of illusions, that are always being strengthened, and which disguise the subservience of our rulers to imperialist interests.

Hopes for genuine change for the people will grow if the peoples own strength (with activists from the movement among them) are capable of creating a network of resistance among the people that is broad and united.

The concrete manifestation of the politics of the poor is the broadening and unifying of the peoples resistance, a unifying of the peoples mobilizations raising up demands and solutions to the socio-economic problems of the people. These mobilizations must grow and enter into every political arena of the poor, and the elections are just one of these. And indeed no matter whatever the political movement of the poor may expre3ss itself in, the primary thing that cannot be compromised is the refusal to suffer any interference, to suffer any subordination (so to remain free of the influence) and the refusal to fuse with the pro-imperialist government, the army, remnants of the New Order or fake reformists.

Yes, the politics of the poor is an alternative, a rival perspective based on the strength of the peoples own resistance, based non the principles of non-cooperation and non-cooptation with the enemies of the people. No matter how difficult, the building of the peoples own strength to resist must be carried out, the problems must be overcome; this task cannot be avoided. The method of three monthly mobilizations is just one method which we are putting forward, and can still be further developed, to extend the resistance of the people, to awaken political consciousness, while concretizing it in the struggle method of the people; to make their demands through mass mobilization.

In the name of an easy path to power (with the justification that revolution can be carried out from above). Including through parliamentarist opportunism, is truly an abandonment of the tru struggle of the people, is truly cutting oneself away from a politics in solidarity with the people.***

11 February 2008

Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left

· To: lnp3@panix.com
· Subject: Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left
· From: "Tom O'Lincoln"
· Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2008 14:35:13 +1100
· Delivered-to: lnp3@panix.com
· Reply-to: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
· Sender: marxism-bounces+lnp3=panix.com@lists.econ.utah.edu

A few thoughts.

Firstly thanks to Max for filling us in, though of course this is not a
philanthropic exercise, he is writing on behalf of the side he supports, and
I suppose we have to read this against the background of differences inside
the DSP.

It is interesting that Danial Indrakusuma is taking such a prominent role
among the minority. He has usually kept a low profile, but I have long
thought him more influential than, say, Dita Sari. So this split seems
rather historic, and the new group may not be like earlier breakaways which
have rapidly disintegrated.

I think Peter's statement is entirely reasonable. Without it many readers
might imagine the whole DSP agreed with Max.

Bob is quite right, Max is the undoubted Australian left expert (his account
of 1997 is accurate) and I suspect I will lend up sympathising with the
group he supports against the other lot. But like Nick I'm in no hurry to
take sides. Not only have we only seen documents from one side, but
theoretical correctness isn't the only consideration. Back around 2000 when
some leading figures led the first split (forming the PDS) I agreed with
them on many theoretical points, but refused point blank to support them
against the PRD. (I just continued to support all the revolutionaries.) One
reason was that their plans for building an organisation struck me as
seriously flawed; on which point I think subsequent experience has proven me
right. Another reason is that, like Peter, I didn't think someone should
casually take sides from long-distance.

I agree with Phil that the main issue is relations with bourgeois parties;
religion can be a major problem at times but at other junctures it can be of
negligeable importance. In practice virtually the whole Indonesian left is

The underlying question is why a far left group finds itself so close to
bourgeois forces. And here I will argue, contrary to Nick, that there is a
pattern in the PRD's history. Around 1996 I remember quite clear the
flattering language they used to describe the utterly bourgeois Democratic
party led by Megawati. PRD leader Budiman Sudjatmiko described her (quoting
from memory) as combining the "wisdom of a statesman and the gentleness of
a mother." By the way, Budiman ultimately defected to Megawati's party.

I'm probably one source of what Nick calls "unfair accusations of
opportunism" by the PRD towards what he calls the "very mildly liberalising"
Wahid government. This government was elected by a rotten bloc of Islamic
and other right wing parties to stop Megawati getting in despite her big
vote. Partly this was motivated by sexist arguments against women taking
office, mainly it was an attempt to slow the democratic momentum of the
time. In 2001, shortly before the Sawangan conference where we were
arrested, I watched as PRD representatives led chants calling for President
Wahid to issue a decree dissolving parliament, something that was only
possible with the connivance of the mililtary. The PRD leaders later
disavowed those actions (acknowledging confusion) and I accept the
disavowals were honest; but I don't think it was accidental that the actions

The problem is that the PRD was and is very small, but has always tried to
present itself as bigger than it is, and wield to influence beyond its
capacity. Lacking its own troops, it tries to use someone else's mass
forces. In 1996 it was trying to surf to greater influence on the back of
Megawati's party, then later it tried to do the same with Wahid's party. But
the tail cannot wag the dog.

I suspect the new problems reflect the same syndrome. An unrealistic attempt
to form some kind of mass electoral force was a flop, resulting in nothing
but a somewhat wider network of activists sustained by the PRD (sounds like
Socialist Alliance?), and the resulting frustrations led to yet another
unreal manoeuvre, which brought on a split.

But these are just surmises. It would be good to see some documents on both
sides. As a start, can someone post the Indonesian documents or provide
links? I believe the DSP has the translators to provide the key ones in
English, but if necessary I would be happy to translate a document or two.

Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left

· To: lnp3@panix.com
· Subject: Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left
· From: Nick Fredman
· Date: Sat, 09 Feb 2008 08:30:30 +1100
· Delivered-to: lnp3@panix.com
· Reply-to: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
· Sender: marxism-bounces+lnp3=panix.com@lists.econ.utah.edu
· Thread-index: AchqmdQJElOe29aNEdygmwAZ4zahlA==
· Thread-topic: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left
· User-agent: Microsoft-Entourage/

Yes I was mixing up the Wahid and Rais liberal Islamic forces which were
critical of Suharto, and the PPP, it's been a while. But that doesn't change
the essence of my point, which was while Max could be quite correct, all the
PRD's varied tactics towards varied bourgeois forces, including how they
approached the very mildly liberalising Wahid government, have been the
occasion of unfair accusations of opportunism, so a certain benefit of the
doubt seems in order. The little indication I have of what's going on
suggests there's two sides to the political and organisational questions,
details of which don't seem to be available in English to the extent
necessary for non-specialists to make the sort of objective appraisal I
think necessary before definitive characterisations can or should be made.

Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left

· To: lnp3@panix.com
· Subject: Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left
· From: Ozleft
· Date: Sat, 09 Feb 2008 00:22:41 +1100
· Delivered-to: lnp3@panix.com
· Reply-to: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
· Sender: marxism-bounces+lnp3=panix.com@lists.econ.utah.edu
· User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20071031)

Peter Boyle’s curious intervention on Marxmail

Bob Gould

Over the past week or so Max Lane has put on his own longstanding blog
at Sydney University, and more recently on Marxmail, one of his periodic
accounts of developments on the left in Indonesia.

Max is no ordinary observer of Indonesia, but the major translator of
the novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer, and an important promoter of Toer’s
works in the English-speaking world.

In the course of his work as an academic specialising in Indonesia he
has spent long periods in Indonesia and some time in East Timor. To sum
up, he’s the Australian left expert on Indonesia.

Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left

· To: lnp3@panix.com
· Subject: Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left
· From: "Max Lane"
· Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2008 22:45:58 +1100
· Delivered-to: lnp3@panix.com
· Reply-to: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
· Sender: marxism-bounces+lnp3=panix.com@lists.econ.utah.edu

Nick Fredman includes in his posting in response to my article on
developments in the Indonesian Left, the following:

"the charges [against the PRD] including 'opportunist' orientations to the
mass base of the mildly liberal Islamic bourgeois PPP (one of the three
legal parties under Suharto) when underground around 1996, at the same time
as its orientation to the mass base of the Megawati wing of the secular
mildly liberal bourgeois PDI."

Making this comment in the discussion of the developments I outlined in my
article, may tend to obscure differences with the current situation.

In the 1990s, the PRD never had any sustained orientation to the mass base
of PPP involving any kind of merger, or coalition with the PPP, and not even
critical support for the PPP. Neither was the PPP a "mildly liberal
bourgeois" party but housed the most reactionary of the Islamic parties. The
main liberal bourgeois wing of political Islam, represented by Abdurahman
Wahid (Gus Dur) left the PPP in the 1980s, precisely because of its
reactionary and pro-Suharto character. Another liberal, though less so than
Abdurrahman Wahid, Amien Rais, was also never in the PPP. The PPP included
some of the most reactionary and craven elements.

In 1997, the PRD intervened very effectively in general elections that took
place as the movement against Suharto escalated. During the nine day
election campaign each of the three permitted parties were allowed to
campaign, although they were actually not supposed to campaign outside, only
in buildings.

On the days that GOLKAR, the most pro government party, campaigned - very
few people were on the streets.

On the days that the PDI campaigned, very few people mobilised because by
that time the government had withdrawn electoral registration from the real
PDI lead by Megawati Sukarnoputri, which did have a mass following, and had
given it to a puppet PDI.

On the days that the PPP was scheduled to mobilise there were huge and
militant anti-government mobilisations. On the last day estimates are that 1
million plus people mobilised in Jakarta, defying police, military and
government instructions and barricades not to mobilise and defying PPP
leadership instructions cancelling all campaign activities. This was not so
much a mobilisation of the PPP mass base, but a mobilisation of hundreds of
thousands of anti-Suharto urban poor, irrespective of which, if any, of the
bourgeoius parties they looked to. This was eveidenced by, among other
things, the fact that many people brought their own photos of Sukarno or of
Megawati on those so-called PPP campaign days.

The PRD intervened by distributing hundreds of thousands of leaflets calling
for the end of the role in the army in politics, for Suharto to resign and
for a 100% increase in wages and it demanded that the political forces
represented by Megawati and political Islam unite with all other forces to
win these demands.

Never did it adopt a policy of campaigning in critical support of the PPP.

The PPP leadership moved immediately to condemn the leaflets that the PRD
had been distributing.

For more on this see my book UNFINISHED NATION: before and after the Suharto
dictatorship, to be published in May, 2008 by Verso books

In the current case, of course, there are no anti-goverment mobilisations by
the PRD, no anti-government dynamic (the PBR has supported the current
President), and the PRD was seeking to merge with the PBR, suggesting they
would take 5 seats on the PBR national committee.

There are many aspects to the current developments, some representing
setbacks for the Left, some - insofar as a regeneration has begun after ten
years of difficulties - are very positive. I will try to post more articles
on my blog in coming weeks as well as translate more interesting material
from Indonesia. For those interested in the record of the PRD during the
1990s and early 2000s, this is a significant part of UNFINISHED NATION,
hopefully available soon.

Max Lane

[Marxism] Indonesian split

· To: lnp3@panix.com
· Subject: [Marxism] Indonesian split
· From: Philip Ferguson
· Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2008 18:53:35 +1300
· Delivered-to: lnp3@panix.com
· Reply-to: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
· Sender: marxism-bounces+lnp3=panix.com@lists.econ.utah.edu
· Thread-index: AchqFvG8G0qWLbeVQISk+cQJuiymPA==
· Thread-topic: Indonesian split

Nick, were you at the Asia-pacific-Latin America solidarity conference
in Melbourne in October?

One of the workshops I went to was about working with, or in the context
of, substantial Islamist organisations and the speakers were Dita Sari
on Indonesia and Farooq Tariq on Pakistan.

There was quite a strong disagreement between the two speakers. Farooq
seemed quite appalled at the idea of the PRD merging with an Islamic
party for electoral purposes in Indonesia and generally more critical of
the idea of working with Islamists although he certainly wasn't against
it in principle.

I was quite shocked by what Dita Sari was saying because it seemed that
the PRD would basically merge with a bourgeois party - it was the fact
that it was a capitalist party that I found disturbing, the Islamism was
just an extra layer of disturbing. It was rather redolent of the
Chinese CP getting hooked in behind the KMT, but even more so.

I certainly realise that in those Third World countries where religion
is especially strong, as in the Islamic case, a lot of sensitivity to
such feelings of the masses is important.

But I also know a lot about another oppressed country where religion
was/is very strong, namely Ireland, and kowtowing to Catholicism has
never done revolutionaries there any good. In order not to antagonise
the Catholic Church too much, Irish republicans made far too many
concessions - especially in the south where they should have led the
fight for a secular society.

The fact that republicans far too often abstained from that fight meant
the (partial) secularisation of southern society was carried out to a
large extent by pro-imperialist middle class liberals. It strengthened
their hand in associating Irish republicanism with social conservatism
while at the same time limiting the degree of social progress on very
basic issues like divorce, contraception, separation of church and state
not to mention women's right to abortion.


[Marxism] Re: An important development on the Indonesian left

· To: lnp3@panix.com
· Subject: Re: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left
· From: Nick Fredman
· Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2008 15:53:02 +1100
· Delivered-to: lnp3@panix.com
· Reply-to: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
· Sender: marxism-bounces+lnp3=panix.com@lists.econ.utah.edu
· Thread-index: AchqDnvZup0kZNYBEdygmwAZ4zahlA==
· Thread-topic: [Marxism] An important development on the Indonesian left
· User-agent: Microsoft-Entourage/

I have a lot of respect for Max Lane but also have a lot of respect for Dita
Sari. Even when she came to our town in 1999 and said the food we prepared
for the public meeting was "disgusting" (this I should add was just to me
and my partner, who'd made friends with Dita in Indo in 1996, rather than
the crowd of 100, and she had just been banged up for 3 years and was maybe
still a bit cranky, so I didn't mind deep-frying to death some eggs and
tempeh for her after which seemed to help mend inter-party relations).

The characterisations of the PRD majority made by Max could be quite correct
for all I know (I don't follow Indo politics as I did fairly closely around
1994-2000 and have always sadly found learning other languages too much like
hard work). But on the other hand the PRD has been regularly accused of
reformism, opportunism, Stalinist two-stage-ism and all the rest since it's
formation around 1994 - the charges including 'opportunist' orientations to
the mass base of the mildly liberal Islamic bourgeois PPP (one of the three
legal parties under Suharto) when underground around 1996, at the same time
as its orientation to the mass base of the Megawati wing of the secular
mildly liberal bourgeois PDI.

I don't know how anyone could possibly expect to present a credible account
of a split in such a formation (a small but impressive Marxist organisation
which has negotiated complex and changing terrain, in both illegal and legal
but repressive contexts, with a major economic crisis thrown in), without
carefully presenting the actual views of both sides in their own words,
rather than one side and that side's representation of the views of the
other side.

[Marxism] Re: An important development on the Indonesian left

To: lnp3@panix.com
· Subject: [Marxism] Re An important development on the Indonesian left
· From: Peter Boyle
· Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2008 14:23:53 +1100
· Delivered-to: lnp3@panix.com
· Reply-to: Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition
· Sender: marxism-bounces+lnp3=panix.com@lists.econ.utah.edu
· User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20071031)

For the information of readers of the Marxism list, the opinions on the
split in the PRD in Indonesia expressed in this blog by Max Lane

do not represent the positions of the DSP or Green Left Weekly. We are
cautious about taking positions on tactical judgements that comrades in
Indonesia make and we hold to the principles of mutual non-interference
in our relations with socialist parties we collaborate with. We are
following and studying developments in the Indonesian left to the best
of our ability. The article "Indonesia: Reject Parliamentarism and
Opportunism" submitted by Sam King has not been published in Green Left


An important Development on the Indonesian Left

By Max Lane
In this article, I want to report and analyze on one of the most important developments on the Indonesian Left. These developments began in Indonesia in July 2007, seven months ago now. I apologize to all those readers who have been reading my English language articles as a means of following the Indonesian left. I have been unfortunately constrained over the last seven months, and even now

In July, 2007 a majority of the current leadership of the PRD voted on a leadership body that a small number of leaders, who disagreed with current political perspectives should exercise their "democratic rights" to "go their own way" to test out their own line. Members of the PRD were to be informed of this decision and all those who did not support the perspective of the current majority would be invited to join those "going their own way". In other words, all those with differences were being de facto expelled. Formal expulsions of Jakarta based members and the freezing of branches whose membership's rejected the current leadership's perspectives took place later in the year.

Indonesia: Reject Parliamentarism and Opportunism

By Sam King

Jakarta: On January 31 the Struggle Committee of the Poor (KPRM) wing of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) today made its public launch under the banner of "Reject Co-option and Co-operation with remnants of the New Order [military dictatorship of General Suharto], the military and the fake reformists; unite and stand up for an alternative politics of the poor."

The launch was organised to promote the KPRM-PRD's view that meaningful social change in Indonesia can only be achieved through political struggle by the mass of the Indonesia's 236 million, mostly poor people.

According to KPRM-PRD leader Danial Indrakusuma relating to the rising movement of localised, spontaneous struggles throughout Indonesia is the key to building such popular struggle.

Indrakusuma told Green Left Weekly "economic" struggle like workers strikes, peasant land claims or pricing disputes and struggles by urban poor communities such as against housing demolitions continue to rise and have done so since 1998. "That is the prize for having overthrown [the] Suharto" Military dictatorship in 1998.

5 February 2008

Protests to cancel debt, support development


Sam King
1 February 2008

Hundreds of people took protest action in North Sumatra, East Kalimantan, Central Sulewesi, East and West Java and Jogjakarta on January 15-17 to demand cancellation of Indonesia’s foreign debt, nationalisation of the mining industries and for strengthening the economy through a nationwide industrialisation. 
The actions were organised by over 20 trade unions, student and urban poor organisations in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party-Struggle Committee of the Poor (KPRM–PRD). The KPRM-PRD is the result of a minority split from the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) — by far the most well known and influential element of the Indonesian left as a result of its crucial leadership role in the movement that overthrew Suharto in 1998.

The split has occurred over tactics relating to elections, which the PRD sees as a way to reach the population with its political program. The PRD is building the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas), and is advocating Papernas seek electoral alliances with other parties on the basis of agreement on a joint platform.

The KPRM–PRD, on the other hand, is against participation in the 2009 elections if the tough registration laws make participation in its own name and with its own program too difficult, counter-posing to the elections the need to rebuild from the grass roots.

From: International News, Green Left Weekly issue #738 6 February 2008.

21 January 2008

Papernas's key 'electoral partner' now eyeing coalition with party of former President Suharto

Java Post - December 10, 2007

Jakarta -- The small political parties in the Houseof Representatives (DPR) who are unable to pass theelectoral threshold of 3 percent are looking for thebest way to participate in the 2009 generalelections. They are left with only two choices, toform a new party or change their name, or to joinwith other smaller parties in the DPR in order toget enough seats to pass the threshold.

The latest series of maneuverings at Senayan (theDPR) involves three small parties: the ProsperousPeace Party (PDS) that has 13 seats, the PioneerParty that has three seats and the IndonesianDemocratic Vanguard Party PPDI that has only oneseat. With a total of 17 seats they hope to be ableto fulfill the 3 percent electoral threshold.

Prior to the emergence of the PDS-Pioneer Party-PPDIcombination, there was a failed attempt at a ReformStar Party (PBR) and Vanguard Party formation underthe name of the Reform Star Vanguard Party (PPBR).

As soon as this ran aground, the PBR that has 14seats in the DPR veered sharply and approached theUnited Democratic Nationhood Party (PPDK), which hasfour seats in the parliament. According to PBRgeneral chairperson Bursah Zarnubi, they have already prepared an alternative option if the PPDK maneuver fails.

The formation that is currently being worked on aPBR-PKPB-PNI Marhaen coalition. The PKPB or theConcern for the Nation Functional Party has 2 seatswhile the Marhaenisme Indonesian National Party onlyhas one seat. "But this formation already fulfillsthe 3 percent electoral threshold right", explainedZarnubi. (pri/tom/mk)

The Concern for the Nation Functional Party (PKPB)is chaired by Raden Hartono, a former Suharto armycommander and ex-official of Golkar, the party whichbacked his regime. He proudly calls himself aSuharto lackey. "With an extraordinary boldness Iwant to affirm that I am a Suharto lackey", Hartonotold party followers during a campaign rally inMarch 2004. On March 14 Hartono admitted toDetik.com that he missed the greatness of the NewOrder government under Suharto's leadership addingthat "The establishment of PKPB has also obtainedSuharto's blessing". Suharto's eldest daughter Siti"Tutut" Hardiyanti Rukmana was chosen as the PKPB'spresidential candidate in the last elections withHartono pledging that he would bring the good olddays back to the country if she were elected aspresident.

[Slightly abridged Translation by Afanti]

Clash between Political Committee of the Poor and Islamic thugs narrowly averted

Antara News - December 10, 2007

Surabaya -- Hundreds of protesters from the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) and the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) almost clashed with members of the Union for Dealing with the New Style Communists (SP-KGB) during an action on JL. Governor Suryo in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya on Monday.

The two groups, both of whom were commemorating International Human Rights Day, faced each other off at a distance of some 20 meters. Fully armed police however intercepted the two groups and the PRD-Papernas protesters halted in front of the Simpang Hotel while the SP-KGB members stopped in front of the State Grahadi Building.

The protesters from the PRD, Papernas, the National Student League for Democracy (LMND) and the Independent Workers Union (SPM), which have joined together in the Political Committee of the Poor (KPRM), appeared to outnumber the SP-KGB members by more than 200 people. This was because protesters from the East Java Workers Challenge Alliance (ABMJT), who had initially been demonstrating at the Surabaya Municipal District Police station and the East Java Governor's office on Jl. Pahlawan, also joined the demonstration.

Members of the SP-KGB meanwhile, which is made up of the Surabaya Anti-Communist Front (FAK), the Lamongan Islamic Community Forum (FUI), the Surabaya Center for Indonesian Community Studies, the Tauhid Anti-Communist Movement (GERTAK) and the Greater Sidoarjo Muhammadiyah Youth Association (IRM), numbered only around 30 as several SP-KGB members had already gone home.

The SP-KGB members it seems, who had been holding an action since 9am local time at the Governor Suryo Statue, "missed their targets" when they pelted a group of demonstrators with rocks who they assumed to be the PRD because they were wearing red clothing. It turned out however that they were activists from the group People Living with HIV/AIDS (ODHA).
The PRD-Papernas demonstrators began the action by gathering at Jl. Kombes M. Duriyat at around 10am. They then held a long-march to the State Grahadi Building some two kilometers away.

The protesters however were intercepted by the unit head of the South Surabaya municipal police Iptu M.Rasyad on Jl. Basuki Rahmat (in front of the Tegalsari sectoral police offices), who asked them not to hold an action in front of the Grahadi building because the situation was "unfavorable".

The East Java PRD-Papernas protesters who came from Surabaya, Gresik, Mojokerto, Ngawi and Sidoarjo, were finally "detained" for more than an hour in front of a fast-food restaurant on Jl. Basuki Rahmat, but then moved off again stopping at the intersection between Jl. Basuki Rahmat and Jl. Governor Suryo to wait for the ABMJT.

It was while the PRD-Papernas demonstrators were "resting" that police held negotiations with the SP-KGB leaders. The negotiations however apparently failed resulting in PRD-Papernas and SP-KGB almost running into each other.

Six or seven SP-KGB members were even able to slip past the police barricade and tried to "approach" the PRD-Papernas protesters. A number of police intelligence officers however stepped in and prevented them from advancing any further.

"The government has banned the PRD, so how come the police don't have the guts to disband [the rally]. It is because of this that we will disperse them ourselves, because wiping out communism is a religious command", said SP-KGB activist Imanan.

According to Imanan, Papernas represents a "personification" of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), because Papernas's symbol, terminology, jargon and even its statutes and rules of association are a "photocopy" of the PKI, which has already been banned by the government. Because of this therefore, they say that Papernas is a new style communist organisation.

Speaking separately, KPRM public relations officer Yusuf DH said FAK has indeed sought to sabotage Papernas's activities on a number of occasions such as during its launch in Jakarta, at the Papernas Congress in Yogyakarta and the East Java regional conference in Batu. "Papernas is actually already registered [officially with the government], but up until now there has yet to be any firm position taken by the government [against this harassment]. Because of this, we believe that the government has violated [our] human rights, because they have never respond to Papernas's complaints", he asserted.

Although the two actions took place opposite each other, in the end they did not meet because both were forced to disband by the police as they had exeeded the mutually agreed to time limit for the actions.