30 September 2010

Free Women condemn attack by Islamic Defenders Front against Q! Film Festival

Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network Statement - September 28, 2010

The attacks by the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) against the two-week International Q! Film Festival which opened in Jakarta on September 24 is a violation of basic human rights and threatens democracy in Indonesia.

Since the process of reformasi or political reform that began in 1998, the upholding of democracy in Indonesia has continued to be pushed back. The right to organise, freedom of expression and opinion and the freedom of worship are increasingly coming under threat from reactionary civilian militia groups acting in the name of "eradicating immorality".

Restrictions on the freedom of sexual orientation in society through the construction of the normalisation of heterosexuality have explicitly emasculated the rights of the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which are a part of society whose rights must be acknowledged.

28 September 2010

Asian Global Justice School in Manila 2010: Putting the Pieces of world's problems together, a socialist solution

By Zely Ariane*

The never ending traffic jams of Quezon City, Philippines, found its ‘compensation’ in the second Asian Global Justice School on August 2-21.

Representing the Political Committee of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), along with 10 other left activists from Taiwan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Japan and Pakistan, I participated in a three-week school in Manila organised by International Institute for Research and Education (IIRE)-Manila.

The participants came from a variety of revolutionary organisations and parties with different traditions, engaging in different areas of national struggle. Some were peasant organisers, labour and women's activists while others worked on rural issues or conflict areas.

25 September 2010

Where We Will Go From Here?

A Reflection on Recent United Front Work in Indonesia
By Zely Ariane[1]

I prefer to consider this article as “a reflection on recent united front work” because it will probably not be able go into as much detail or history as I would like. So let this primarily be a reflection on our united front organisational work in Indonesia to date. But first, I would like to frame this within the strategic aims of our struggle, as a dynamic effort to achieve short and long term goals.

Why do we undertake united front work? Because for us it is a principal tactic by which to bring broader layers of the toiling masses; the poor majority, into the movement challenging the power of the ruling class. It is a tool to bring together and mobilise different forces and build consciousness on a common platform of struggle to increase the power of resistance. At the same time, for revolutionary forces, it is also an arena to propagate the strategic aims of the movement: that is socialism through overthrowing pro-capitalist and imperialist governments and its state and to establish a government of the working class and the poor.

Cross-religious solidarity action for freedom of religion, worship

Jatim News - September 19, 2010

Misti P., Mojokerto (
beritajatim.com) -- Around 50 people from the alliance National Humanity and Anti-Violence Solidarity Concern (SPKKAK) will hold joint prayers in front of the Mojokerto municipal government offices on Sunday September 19.

The event, which will be accompanied with the lighting of 1 thousand candles, is an expression of solidarity over the recent stabbing of a Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) elder.

Alliance spokesperson Hari Cahyono said that the action is being held as a form of solidarity and respect for religious freedom. "We will start at 7pm, with a joint prayer and speeches with a number of demands", he said.

24 September 2010

Rallies across the country mark National Farmers' Day

Jakarta Post - September 25, 2010

Andi Hajramurni, Makassar -- Rallies marked National Farmers' Day and the
50th anniversary of the basic agrarian laws on Friday in South Sulawesi.

In Makassar, students, farmers, activists and workers staged rallies at the
governor's office and the South Sulawesi legislative building.

The rally at the governor's office was marred by pushing and shoving
between public order officers and demonstrators who tried to force their
way into the office to meet Governor Syahrul Yasin Limpo. Both office
entrances were tightly guarded, forcing protesters to voice their
aspirations in front of the office, causing heavy traffic congestion.

22 September 2010

New labor movement spreading in South Asia

Read: STOP layoff and victimization of Workers; Get rid imperialist, political elites and the rotten political parties
AFP & Jakarta Globe - September 19, 2010

From Indonesia to Bangladesh, from Cambodia to India, as factories relocate from China because of rising wages workers are becoming increasingly militant in demanding a larger share of the region's economic success.

The latest uprising came in Cambodia last week, when tens of thousands of workers went on strike to reject a proposed 20 percent pay increase -- crippling Cambodia's export-orientated garment industry, which produces items for renowned brands including Gap, Benetton, Adidas and Puma.

The strike followed a deal between the government and industry that set the minimum wage for garment and footwear staff at $61 a month. Unions want a base salary of $93.

In Indonesia, where three powerful trade unions represent the vast majority of the country's 3.4 million unionized workers, there is also mounting pressure to raise the minimum wage. Garment factories in particular, including some that are foreign-owned, have been hit by strikes and disputes over long hours and low wages.

19 September 2010

Poverty-stricken fields ripe for reforms

Jakarta Globe - September 16, 2010

Teddy Lesmana -- Poverty remains a serious problem in Indonesia, despite the country's improved economic performance and robust economic growth in recent years.

The Central Statistics Agency (BPS) recently showed that 13 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, still far behind the UN Millennium Development Goal to lower the number to 8 percent by 2015.

Over half of our nation's poor are small farmers (those who own less than 0.5 hectares of land) and farm laborers in rural areas.

And their numbers are growing, even with economic growth – agricultural census data in 2003 showed the number of small farmers to be increasing by an average of 2.6 percent per year.

Protesters take to the streets to demand government revoke decree

Jakarta Post - September 17, 2010 -- Hundreds of people joined two rallies in Jakarta on Thursday demanding the government revoke the 2006 Joint Ministerial Decree on Places of Worship as it resulted many interfaith conflicts.

"This decree has provided a justification to prohibit Indonesians from worshipping, with the majority being allowed to decide whether minorities can be granted licenses for their houses of worship," Marinus Yosafat, the head of the South Jakarta branch of the Association of Catholic Students of the Republic of Indonesia (PMKRI), told The Jakarta Post during a demonstration in front of National Police headquarters in South Jakarta.

15 September 2010

Struggle for land rights in Yogyakarta

ARMP in one of their consolidation next to the beach

The beach-side town of Parangtritis, on the southern coast of Yogyakarta, is currently the site of a protracted and bitter struggle over land between the local government and people.
The south coast is an important asset for the tourism industry in Yogyakarta. Foreign investors plan to build a 68.2 hectare golf course, a 55 hectare resort and three- and four-star hotels. This will result in thousands of home evictions.

Since 2006, at least 250 families have been evicted and their homes destroyed. They have been moved to temporary accommodation in the area. Ninety-nine other families are threatened by eviction in this area. Families were given 1.5 million rupiah (about A$190), far less than is needed to purchase a new home. Instead, they were offered a tiny shack, on which they may have to pay rent in the future.

Electricity rate hikes unite Indonesian opposition

Around 800 demonstrators from the National Movement for the Cancellation of Basic Electricity Rate Hikes and the Reduction of Prices held a protest action at the State Palace in central Jakarta on August 7. The movement is a broad alliance involving more than 45 organisations. Actions were also held in Medan (North Sumatra), Bandung (West Java), Makassar (South Sulawesi), Ternate (North Maluku), Surabaya (East Java) and Samarinda (East Kalimantan). Earlier, around 80 protesters from Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) held a one-hour action at the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry and then joined the protest at the palace.

The national action was a concrete form of united people’s power against the puppet capitalist regime of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice-President Boediono, the parliament and the bourgeois political parties.

On July 1 the Yudhoyono government began the gradual withdrawal of the electricity subsidy, resulting in an average increase to the basic electricity rate of 10%. It is proposing a further increase of 15% in early 2011. The justification for this was increases in the cost of electricity generator components, resulting in a blow-out of basic supply costs for the state electricity company, PLN. It was also influenced by the rising cost of Indonesian crude oil, which is expected to reach US$80 a barrel, and an expected increase in electricity demand of 6.6% in 2010 and 7.4% in 2011.

14 September 2010

Tertiary education becoming more elitist, poor students missing out

Kompas - September 13, 2010

Jakarta -- Tertiary education is becoming more elitist compared with the 1990s 
and 1990s, with the participation of those from less well off families dropping. 
The increasingly high cost of study is the principle obstacle facing the poor 
wishing to attend tertiary education.

This fact can be seen from a study on gross enrollment ratio (GER) rates based 
on the economic background of students.

Looking at population census data for the years 2003-2008, the tertiary 
education GER disparity between students from rich and poor families is 
extremely high.

Hundreds of protesters in Jakarta demand resolution to Munir's murder

Tempo Interactive - September 7, 2010
Rosalina, Jakarta -- A number of organisations that are part of the group Friends of Munir held a protest action in Jakarta on September 7 demanding a full resolution to the death of human rights activist Munir. The protesters, who numbered around 700, gathered in front of the State Palace while giving speeches and holding a theatrical action complete with a human effigy bandaged in white cloth similar to a burial shroud.

According to action coordinator Poltak Agustinus Sinaga, the effigy symbolised the fact that up until this day there has been no resolution for the victims of human rights violations. "Many victims of human rights violations have died but there has been no settlement. So we are asking for a full resolution", he said in front of the State Palace.

Activists say Munir case being systematically weakened and neglected

Tribunnews.com - September 5, 2010

Alie Usman, Jakarta -- Scores of social and non-government organisations that
are part of the Friends of Munir movement gathered today to commemorate six
years since Munir's death, a human rights activists killed mysteriously on his
way to continue studies in the Netherlands six years ago.

As well as holding joint prayers, the Friends of Munir also issued a statement
on the slow pace of law enforcement agencies in handing the murder.

The group believes that over the last two years the government has ignored the
Munir murder as well as other human rights cases. Moreover there is a sense that
the Munir case is gradually starting to be buried and left behind.

12 September 2010

Sleep-in action by dismissed WRP workers enters second week

Tribun-Medan.com - September 7, 2010

Medan -- Since August 31, as many as 55 WRP Buana Multi Corpora workers have held a sleep-over action in front of the North Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD Sumut).
(see previous news here)

The action was held to demand their rights as workers who were arbitrarily dismissed in June 2009. The workers are demanding severance pay in accordance with prevailing legislation, or to be re-employed by the Malaysian company owned by Mr. Lee Song Hong and their wages paid during the strike.

11 September 2010

Quota for Women in Senior Party Positions Falls Short

Jakarta Globe - September 7, 2010

Armando Siahaan, Jakarta -- The legal requirement that a third of a
political party's executive board be comprised of female officials was
being blatantly ignored, a civil society group said on Tuesday.

Yuda Irlang, from the Civil Society Alliance for Political Law Revision
(Ansipol), said that according to the group's research, not one party had
complied with the 2008 Law on Politics that stipulates 30 percent of all
parties' central executive boards must be made up of women.

No holiday bonus and no job, security officers hold sit-in action

Detik.com - September 7, 2010

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – It's like having fallen, and then have the stairs fall on top of you. Such is the fate of scores of Saphire Square security guards in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta.

With the Lebaran holidays at the end of the fasting month fast approaching, not only have they not received any holiday bonuses (THR) but have also been sacked from their jobs.

"We have not had a pay day for one-and-a-half months and there has also been no 2010 Idul Fitri THR", complained Yanto, one of the security guards holding a sit-in protest action in front of the Saphire Square terrace on Jl. Laksda Adisucipto in Yogyakarta on Tuesday September 7.

Protesting workers 'spit jengkol' at ineffectual house

Waspada Online - September 3, 2010

Scores of former PT WRP Multi Corpora employees spat chewed jengkol (a pungent type of vegetable nut) at the North Sumatra Regional House of Representatives (DPRD Sumut) building during a protest action on Thursday September 2. The demonstration was in protest against the DPRD's failure to resolve a case involving the dismissal of 400 WRP workers.

"The DPRD Sumut is ineffectual, this problem has been going on for more than a year, but there have been no assurances given!" shouted action coordinator Martha Hutapea during the protest. [For Mei 2010' video documentation see: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1427334694382]

5 September 2010

SBY's popularity dips further: Poll

Jakarta Post - September 3, 2010

Erwida Maulia, Jakarta -- The President's popularity has declined in the
first year of his second tenure, but voters are apparently reluctant to
switch their support from the President's ruling party to other political
parties, a survey finds.

The Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI) confirmed in its latest survey in
August that there was a decline in the level of public satisfaction with
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's performance since its five-year peak
in July last year, when Yudho-yono ran for re-election.

"In July 2009, the level of public satisfaction with the President's
performance reached a record 85 percent.

"Since then, however, it fell to 75 percent in November 2009, 70 percent in
January 2010, 65 percent in March 2010, and only slightly increased by 1
percent in August 2010," LSI executive director Kuskridho Ambardi said at a
press conference Thursday to announce the result of the latest survey.

Activists call for talks between Jakarta and Papua

Jakarta Post - September 2, 2010

Activists have described the need for dialogue between the central
government and Papuans as "urgent" and "critical" if Jakarta hopes to save
the country's easternmost provinces from potential conflict, stemming from
horizontal inequality, and disintegration.

Activists and a political pundit said Monday that dialogue was the only way
to resolve Papua's perennial issues, which range from human rights
violations, massive environmental destruction and rapid transmigration to
its dysfunctional special autonomy, among others.

"We're not seeing any effort on Jakarta's behalf to protect residents there
from possible conflict, empower the locals or side with them in general,"
Amirrudin Al Rahab, a member of Papua Working Group in Jakarta, said.

4 September 2010

Civilian death toll climbs to five after attack on police station

Jakarta Globe - September 1, 2010

Palu, Central Sulawesi -- Indonesian police opened fire and killed five
people when an angry mob attacked their station with firebombs in a protest
over the death of a man in custody, police said on Wednesday.

More than 20 people, including several police officers, were injured during
the violent clash late on Tuesday in the town of Buol, Central Sulawesi
province, local deputy police chief Dewa Parsana said.

"A big number of residents encircled the police station and threw Molotov
bombs," he said. "We had no choice but to open fire towards the protesters
because they were very angry and were burning motorcycles parked outside...
Five people were killed by the shooting."

The tyranny of the majority

Jakarta Post Editorial - September 1, 2010

"The greatest threat facing the US is the tyranny of the majority," penned
nineteenth-century French writer Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in
America. He could just as easily be writing about Indonesia today,
especially after Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali announced his
plan to ban Ahmadiyah, a religious sect with more than 200,000 followers.
He said the presence of the sect, whose existence predates even this
republic, is an affront to Islam, the country's predominant religion.

His statement is a clear display of raw power in the name of the majority.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's silence in the face of what is a clear
a breach of the constitution is indicative of his own complicity.
Tocqueville's warning is upon us. This country, founded upon religious
freedom, that claims to pride itself on the diversity of its people, is in

Families fight against 'politics of amnesia'

Jakarta Post - September 1, 2010

Jakarta -- Far from the glamor connected to international commemorations,
families of victims of forced disappearances and gross human rights
violations gathered to mark the International Day of Forced Disappearances
on Aug. 30 with the resolute reminder that they refuse to have their
history swept under the carpet by government inaction.

Yati Andriyani, an activist from the Commission for Disappearances and
Victims of Violence (Kontras), said President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had
employed "politics of amnesia" to avoid taking action against gross human
rights violations committed in the past.