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.

1 comment:

Sudi said...

Rising food prices provoke angry protests in Indonesia

Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in Indonesia in protests over rising food prices.

Last month over 10,000 marched in Jarkata, the Indonesian capital, in protest at soaring soyabean prices.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was forced to respond to the protests by announcing new measures to boost local soyabean production.

Protests have continued across the country.

Last week a coalition of student, worker and left groups joined with victims of land evictions from the tourist areas to march through Yogyakarta in the Central Java province to demand action to stem the rapid price rises.

Protest coordinator Tini Dawu said that the increase in the price of basic commodities such as cooking oil, rice, wheat and soyabean has resulted in additional suffering for the poor.

Wages are already inadequate to support a family.

Soyabean is a staple food in Indonesia so the price rises have triggered great food insecurity and anger among the poor.

The global price of soyabean has risen by about 90 percent over the last year as farmers in the US and elsewhere cut back on the crop in order to grow more corn for biofuels.

The United Nations predicted that the rising price of staple food crops could trigger social conflict around the world.

The Indonesian protests follow unrest in Pakistan last month over wheat shortages and mass protests against the rising corn prices last year in Mexico, known as the Tortilla Riots.

(From Socialist Worker 9 February 2008 issue 2087)