29 March 2009

Solidarity Appeal: Unite Against Capitalism and the Elite Elections

Solidarity greetings,

The current global capitalist crisis is already impacting upon the welfare of the working class in Indonesia. Earlier this month, Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo) said the economic downturn had already forced more than 237,000 people out of work, addingthat this does not reflect the actual number of layoffs as it fails to include temporary or contract workers. Many dismissals are also not being officially reported.

Thousands of other workers are facing reduced working hours or have to accept less than the minimum wage. Large numbers of workers are also loosing their jobs to outsourcing while others are being forced to have their status changed to contactworkers, meaning they can be dismissed arbitrarily without severance pay.

In addition to this, hundreds of thousands of migrant workers are also likely to loose their jobs, with an estimated 100,000 Indonesian laborers in Malaysia expected to be repatriated this year.

17 March 2009

Papernas leaders sow illusions of radical change through the ballot box

By Zely Ariane

[The following article was written in response to an article by Kelik Ismunanto, a leader of Papernas (National Liberation Unity Party) titled “Indonesia: Tracing a path towards parliament” that was published in the December 3 issue of Green Left Weekly. Papernas was formed in July 2006 by the radical left People’s Democratic Party (PRD) to present a radical anti-neoliberal platform in this year’s Indonesian parliamentary elections. Zely Ariane is a former PRD secretary-general and now a leading member of the Political Committee for the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD). This party was formed in November 2007 by members of the PRD-Papernas expelled for disagreeing with a Papernas leadership decision to enter into an electoral coalition with one of the existing parliamentary parties. The article has been translated by James Balowski.]

Simply stating that the people’s movement in Indonesia is experiencing a period of stagnation, so a “political breakthrough” is required through the parliamentary road, is irresponsible, ahistorical and opportunist. It would be more honest just to concede that this parliamentary road is actually being taken by the Papernas leaders through the political parties left over from Suharto’s New Order regime and the fake reformists. This is because these are the only two groupings of parties that are currently able to contest the 2009 legislative and presidential elections — there is no third grouping.

It is this kind of parliamentarist tactic that is being undertaken by the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) and its former electoral vehicle, the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) — subordinating themselves under the Star Reformation Party (PBR), one of the fake reformist parties. It is tactics such as this that are contributing to the current retreat of the left movement in Indonesia.