15 August 2010

Indonesia: New left-wing trade union federation established

Direct Action. Under the theme “Unite against capitalism and the regime that supports it, build a united national labour movement that is progressive, militant, democratic and independent”, on July 9, 76 labour union representatives from around the country gathered in the Jakarta satellite city of Bogor for a three-day congress to establish a new union federation, the Indonesian Labour Movement Union (PPBI).

July 12: Action by PPBI, against electricity price hikes.
Attending were representatives from the North Sumatra Trade Union of Struggle from Medan, the Mining Trade Union Workers Challenge from Sanga-Sanga in East Kalimantan, the North Palu Labour Forum from Central Sulawesi, the Cross-Factory Labour Forum (FBLP) from North Jakarta, the Solidarity Alliance for Labour Struggle (GSPB) from the West Java city of Bekasi, the Politics for the Poor-Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI-PRM) from Jombang and Mojokerto, East Java, the Independent Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI-Independent) from Surabaya and Madura, East Java, GSPB BPT Mikro from Majalaya, West Java, the Garuda Trade Union (SBG) from Sumedang, West Java and representatives from Yogyakarta currently in the process of building local trade union groups.

Also present were observers from the Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), the Political Union of the Poor (PPRM), the Student Struggle Centre for National Liberation (Pembebasan, formerly LMND-PRM) and the Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network (JNPM), as well as individual trade union activists.

Indonesian press, freedom of expression under attack

At around 2.30am on June 28, a group of men arrived at a major news distribution outlet in Central Jakarta. “We want to buy all copies of this magazine”, said one, pointing to Tempo, hot off the press with a cover story titled “Police officers’ fat bank accounts”.

The men ended up buying 2425 copies. “They were police officers. They insisted on buying our entire stock, no matter what the price”, said Rozak, one of the sellers, who inflated the price to 40,000 rupiah (US$4.44) from the regular 27,000 per copy. “They paid almost 100 million rupiah in cash.”

Another distributor had a similar story. In all, the entire Jakarta print run of around 30,000 copies was bought that morning. Other witnesses testified that the operation continued into the afternoon with uniformed police combing the streets in marked patrol cars ensuring no copies had been missed. Similar buy-ups by police officers were reported in the West Java city of Bandung and in Bali.

Sourced on data from the anti-money laundering agency PPATK, the magazine’s cover story featured a report on senior police generals allegedly amassing private bank accounts in the millions of dollars. The police — whose already tarnished image had taken a lashing in recent months over a series of corruption scandals — claimed the disappearing magazines were a publicity stunt by the publisher.

13 August 2010

Indonesia: National Movement Against Electricity and Basic Needs' Price Hike 7th August 2010

'Protesters reject electricity rate hikes, deadly 'LPG bombs'

Detik.com - August 7, 2010

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta -- Scores of people held a protest action opposition
the recent increases in basic electricity rates (TDL) and the price of LPG gas
canisters in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta on Saturday August 7. They also
called on the government to cancel the price hikes and opposed the use of 3kg
LPG gas canisters.

The protesters came from several different groups including the Perempuan
Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network (JNPM) and the National Movement for
Prices Reductions and Cancellation of TDL Hikes (GNBKTTH). Earlier, Perempuan
Mahardhika held an action at the Gramedia intersection on Jl. Sudirman then
moved off to the Yogyakarta Monument where the protesters joined into one group.

The demonstrators brought various kitchen utensils such as pans, woks, electric
irons and 3kg LPG gas canisters. The electric irons were wound around the bodies
of two women demonstrators who also carried empty gas canisters. The kitchen
utensils meanwhile were used as musical instruments.

The protesters also brought a huge replica LPG gas canister made of paper and
bamboo as well as placards and banners with messages such as “Reject the TDL
hikes”, “Replace LPG canisters with Kerosene”, “Watch out for LPG bombs” and
“Reduce the price of basic commodities”.

One of the participants, Ny Sutinah, called on the government to immediately
cancel the electricity price increases. The resident of Mancingan, Parangtritis
Bantul, said the electricity hikes only added to the burden of the people’s
suffering because it causes price increases and high inflation.

"Not to mention cases of gas canister exploding and the many casualties. The
public has been terrorised by these LPG bombs", said Sutinah in a speech at the
Yogyakarta Monument on Saturday.

According to Sutinah, the prices of basic commodities has already risen because
of the impact of the electricity price hike on companies. She added however that
the concrete impact of the government's policies has been on women who have to
manage household affairs and the family.

"There is no other word except bring down prices. Reject the TDL hikes and
replace LPG with kerosene stoves", shouted the woman who is also a victims of a
recent land eviction.

After taking turns in giving speeches for around 30 minutes at the Yogyakarta
Monument, the protesters then continued the action at the Yogyakarta Regional
House of Representatives building on Jl. Malioboro.

The peaceful action was watched over by Yogyakarta municipal police officers to
ensure that the flow of traffic would not become congested. (djo/djo)

6 August 2010

Declaration of solidarity against US intervention in Venezuela

Joint Statement - July 28, 2010

Oppose US intervention in Venezuela

Oppose US military bases in Columbia
Support the fight against US imperialism in Latin America

Over the eight years of Venezuela Bolivarian Revolution, it has never been free of intervention, harassment and provocation by the United State government. This has included an attempted pro-opposition coup d'etat funded by the US in 2002 to the recent military provocations through the Columbian government. The Columbian government has accused Venezuela of protecting and allowing "FARC terrorist bases" (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in its country, and has called on the Organisation of South American States to investigate it. A similar statement was made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who asked the Inter-American Democratic Charter to oppose Venezuela.

The use of the term terrorist for groups that resist US imperialism's world domination is part of the "war on terror" scenario launched by the US following the tragic 2001 World Trace Center attack. Iraq and Afghanistan are the worst victims of US terror. The US has never accepted responsibility when it has been proven that what they referred to as weapons of mass destruction (and even) terrorist themselves never existed.

Although Obama has made friendly overtures towards Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the US government is the strongest and most reactionary capitalist government in the world. They are afraid because Venezuela is making a revolution similar to that of Cuba; building socialism in the 21st Century. Venezuela has taken over and built the country's vital industries under the control of the working class, has taken over huge tracts of unused land owned by big land lords, has developed human resources through free and quality education and healthcare, is unwilling to be dictated to by neoliberal capitalist financial institutions and sells cheaper oil to the US people than the US government itself. In short, the US capitalist government does not want to allow socialism to develop in Venezuela, as they have tried to prevent socialism from succeeding in Cuba by applying an economic embargo for the last 40 years.

According to the US capitalist government, the globalisation of Chevron, Exxon, Coca Cola and McDonalds are symbols of prosperity rather than free and quality education and healthcare. Having two hundred or so of the richest people in the world is better than Cuba and Venezuela's successes in eradicating illiteracy, treating cataracts and cancer or providing computers down to primary school level and villages for free.