8 July 2009

East Java workers declare their opposition to presidential election

Waspada.com - July 5, 2009

Jombang -- Thousands of workers have declared their opposition to participating in the July 8 presidential elections. The agreement emerged out of a mass meeting and consolidation by hundreds of trade union representatives held today at the Youth Social Development Building in Jombang, East Java.

One of the trade unions that declared its opposition to the presidential elections was the Independent Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI-Independen). East Java FNPBI-Independent coordinator Afik Irwanto said that the failure of the world capitalist economic system has left Indonesia in crisis.

One of the flow-on effects of this is the destruction of the real sector and national productivity. As a result many companies have closed down and this has brought about a wave of mass dismissals.

In the end, according to Irwanto, it has been the little people and workers who have become the victims. “This is the evidence of the government’s failure in developing an economic system that is self-sufficient and sides with the ordinary people”, said Irwanto.

Irwanto went on to explain that the policies that have been taken up [by the presidential candidates] are largely an endeavour to attract sympathy from voters in the lead up to the elections. Irwanto said that they refer to them by the term “political bribes”, such as the policy of reducing the price of fuel from 6,000 to 4,500 rupiah per liter, yet this has not been able to bring down the price of basic commodities.

“This because the current administration is still pursuing the economic concept of neoliberalism”, said Irwanto accompanied by other trade union representatives.

Irwanto asserted that tens of thousands of workers nationally have agreed that they need a force that is solid, radical and genuine, namely trade union unity that is independent and uncontaminated by interference and the influence of other parties (non-cooptation and non-cooperation). This is in order that workers can bring down all of the obstacles that stand in the way of their struggle.

According to Irwanto, this is because the political elite cannot become comrades of the labour struggle. This includes the three pairs of presidential candidates that are contesting the presidential election because they are still acting as lackeys for foreign interests and are faithful to neoliberal economics.

It is because of this therefore, that thousands of workers have declared their opposition to participating in the ruckus surrounding the 2009 presidential elections.

“They have already been proven to have failed in bringing welfare to the ordinary people. So there are no gains for us in taking part in the presidential election. Because what is currently needed by workers and the ordinary people is [genuine] prosperity and democracy”, he concluded.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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