19 November 2009

House represents less than 50 percent of voting population

Kompas – November 13, 2009 Jakarta —

“The number of voters represented by the nine political parties that obtained seats in the national House of Representatives (DPR) following the 2009 legislative elections is less that who are not represented.”

This was revealed by former General Election Commission (KPU) Deputy Chair
Ramlan Surbakti during a discussion titled “Evaluating the Integrity of the 2009 Election Results” in Jakarta on Thursday November 12. The number of voters registered for legislative elections by the KPU in November 2009 was 171.27 million. However the number of votes represented by the nine political parties with seats in the DPR is only 85.05 million people or 49.66 percent.

The remainder, 86.22 million voters, is not represented by the 560
members of the DPR. The number of unrepresented voters is based on the 49.68 million registered voters who did not use their right to vote and the 17.49 million voters who did vote, but whose vote was declared invalid, plus 19.05 million voters who cast a valid vote but the parties they voted for did not obtain a seat because they failed to reach the electoral threshold (parliamentary threshold) to get into parliament.

11 November 2009

Indonesian leftist makes Australian speaking tour

By James Crafti

Direct Action
. As workers filed out from their shift at the Buana factory in western Jakarta, they were greeted by members of the Solidarity Alliance for Workers Struggle (GSPB) who handed them leaflets demanding wage rises and improvements to working conditions. Very few of Indonesia’s mostly women industrial workers are unionised. Active unionists like the members of the GSPB make new contacts outside the factory gates, and conduct trade union business in workers’ homes because bosses use anti-worker laws to stop union organisers from entering the factories.

This was just one of the images of Indonesia brought to life for Australian audiences in the recent Australian speaking tour of Indonesian political activist Vivi Widyawati. The national coordinator of the Jaringan Nasional Perempuan Mahardika (National Network for Women’s Liberation) and a leader of the radical left Committee of the Politics of the Poor–People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), Widyawati visited Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane in September and October.

Asked of her impressions from the tour, Widyawati told Direct Action she was surprised that people in Australia were unaware of the popular struggles across Indonesia for economic and social justice. She told Direct Action that “most people and activists in Australia don’t know a lot about people’s struggle and the political situation in Indonesia. While I was in Melbourne there were a few solidarity efforts such as solidarity with Palestine, Latin America, Cuba and Venezuela, and perhaps others — but for Indonesia it hasn’t happened yet.”

Labour union launches national campaign for 50 percent wage increase

Detik.com - October 26, 2009

Baban Gandapurnama, Bandung -- Workers from the Preparatory Committee for the
Indonesian Labour Movement Union (KP-PPBI) are demanding a minimum wage increase across all regions in 2010 of as much as 50 percent.

According to KP-PPBI provisional coordinator Sulaeman, their demands are based on an assessment of workers' wages that are still not enough to survive on. "This 50 percent increase for workers will also stimulate an increase in purchasing power, and thereby stimulate Indonesia's stagnating economy," said Sulaeman during a KP-PPBI press conference at the Hotel Bandung Permai on Monday October 26.

Sulaeman also said that this demand should be viewed from the aspect of living conditions in Indonesia that are in a state of crisis, which can be seen from the huge jump in the price of goods and services.

4 September 2009

Women's liberation and the struggle for socialist politics in Indonesia

Direct Action Issue 15: September 2009

By Sam King

The National Network for Women’s Liberation (Jaringan Nasional Perempuan Mahardika - JNPM) is an Indonesian women’s liberation organisation consisting of local women’s committees, coordinating bodies and women’s sections of labour, student, peasant and urban poor organisations committed to the liberation of women. JNPM aims to develop direct involvement of women in struggling against capitalism, patriarchal culture and militarism in Indonesia and argues there can be no separation between the generalised struggle of Indonesia’s majority poor population and the struggle for women’s liberation. On August 22 Direct Action interviewed JNPM national coordinator Vivi Widyawati, who will be in Australia in September and October speaking at public meetings organised by Direct Action. Widyawati is also an activist in the Committee for the Politics of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD), a socialist party formed two years ago by expelled members of the leftist PRD.

What are the main campaigns JNPM has focused on since it was founded?

Since its foundation there have been many actions undertaken by JNPM such as organising rallies every March 8 for International Women’s Day, developing a program of feminist education, and publishing the fortnightly bulletin Mahardhika. We campaign very broadly on the need to build a nationwide, independent women’s organisation. We also strive for unity between the women’s movement and the broader struggles of the poor majority. We also respond to government decisions or political attacks on women as they arise.

Currently, our main program is aimed at developing women’s committees at the grassroots level in each sector. We run educational programs around the basic rights of women, the political movement, feminism, democracy and about how to organise. Secondly, we distribute as much feminist reading material as possible including distributing Mahardhika. JNPM is also actively involved in building an alliance of all democratic and leftist organisations in Indonesia and of course this includes women’s organisations. We are also currently running a feminist school across three universities in Yogyakarta.

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.

East Java trade unions agree to boycott presidential election

Surya Daily Online - July 6, 2009

Judi Prasetyo, Jombang -- Workers from the Independent Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (FNPBI-Independen) have agreed to boycott the coming July 8 presidential elections by not using their right to vote or to golput. The agreement was kindled during a mass meeting held in the auditorium of the Youth Social Development Building in Jombang, East Java, on Sunday July 5.

The workers were doubtful because the presidential and vice presidential candidates that have emerged have already failed workers in holding the reigns of leadership. “All of them are [members of] the political elite who were once in government and all of them have failed fight for workers”, asserted East Java FNPBI-Independent coordinator Afik Irwanto.

During the meeting -- which was also attended by a number of other Jombang trade unions -- FNPBI-Independent warned workers not to be easily deceived or be put to sleep by the presidential candidates’ promises.

Kalla and Megawati’s resolve is in line with our position – Papernas

Lampung Post - June 9, 2009

Bandar Lampung -- The Lampung province I regional leadership board (DPD) of the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) is calling on its members to block presidential and vice presidential candidates that are pro-neoliberalism. They are also inviting the people to build a national coalition government for national self-sufficiency.

This was conveyed by Papernas Lampung DPD chairperson Rakhmat Husein D.C. in a press release in the provincial capital of Bandar Lampung, South Sumatra, on Saturday June 8.

According to Husein, the three presidential and vice presidential candidates for the 2009 presidential elections have now been finalised, namely Megawati Sukarnoputri-Prabowo Subianto (Mega-Pro), Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Boediono (SBY-Boediono) and Jusuf Kalla-Wiranto (JK-Win).

5 July 2009

How the PRD/Papernas justify critical support for Prabowo and Wiranto

The following is the translation of the introduction and a section from an op-ed piece written by PRD/Papernas leader Rudi Hartono published on the Papernas website Berdikari on May 15 titled “The fuss about human rights in May” (Hingar Bingar Isu HAM Di Bulan Mei). Written prior to their official registration as candidates for the July 8 presidential elections, it is a good example of the “critical support” the PRD/Papernas is giving to the Jusuf Kalla-Wiranto and Megawati Sukarnoputri-Prabowo Subianto presidential tickets under the guise of attacking the neoliberal policies of incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and his running mate former Central Bank governor Boediono. It stands in stark contrast to the campaigns being waged against Prabowo and Wiranto by human rights activists in Indonesia and a recent statement included below by the US based East Timor and Indonesia Action Network (ETAN) and the highly respected Indonesian human rights group the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras). The full text of the Indonesian language version of Hartono’s article can be found at: papernas.org.


The fuss about human rights in May

By Rudi Hartono

Jakarta -- In the lead up to the 2009 presidential elections, several former senior ranking military officers have embellished the electoral arena. They can be mentioned here: Prabowo Subianto who is still endevouring to find a way to become a candidate, Wiranto who has declared himself as a candidates together with JK [Vice President and Golkar Party chairperson Jusuf Kalla], and SBY [President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] who has the greatest chance [of election]. But the last one here is very rarely referred to as the personification of a human rights violating general. Who knows if it is because he has just been missed out or whether it is intentional.

I am not a supporter of senior military officers or the New Order [regime of the late President Suharto], in fact I oppose them. But, the matter that needs to be discussed here is whether or not these military officers represent the most reactionary enemies of democracy and the people. This issue needs to be debated again, moreover because as the presidential elections draw near it may be used to roll out issues in order to benefit one of the camps, the SBY camp, while eliminating the other camps, the camps of the human rights violating generals.

5 June 2009

Capitalism in Crisis: Building a Movement for Socialism in the 21 Century

By Zely Ariane

The global financial crisis is not because of a lack of regulations or because capitalists cannot be controlled; bur rather a crisis of over production throughout the world, namely too many good for sale (for profit) while (so as a result) the people do not have the purchasing power.” [Karl Marx, 150 years ago]

This crisis will be a permanent one. There is no other solution that can be pursued by capitalism other then to prolong and minimalise the impact through ongoing state intervention. This is because under capitalism, the state represents an instrument by which to rescue it from crisis; an instrument to protect profits, distribute misery, and provide the ordinary people with just enough to survive.
Trillions of dollars have already been provided to bail out bankrupt capitalists in the name of economic stimulus, far in excess of what has been given to the poor, so it is already clear that it will not have any basic impact on increasing the purchasing power of the ordinary people.
This systematic crisis has in fact occurred because the capitalist system that pays cheap wages (not in accordance with the actual value of workers’ labour) and the huge amounts of money that are not invested in the real sector (but in financial speculation, shares, portfolios, currency exchange and commodities) so that as a consequence, workers and ordinary members of the public have no purchasing power.

4 April 2009

PPRM activists in Palu call on public to reject legislative elections

Tempo Interactive - March 30, 2009

Palu -- On March 30, activists from the Palu City
branch of the Union for the Politics of the Poor
(PPRM) in Central Sulawesi encouraged local
residents to reject next month’s legislative

Actions were held as several different locations
including the Masomba Market, the Inpres Manonda
Market, Birobuli, the Tua Market, the State College
of Islamic Religious Studies, the Muhammadiyah
Islamic University and the Tadulako University.

The PPRM appealed to the public not to trust the
political elite taking part in the elections. “Our
agenda is indeed to oppose the 2009 general
elections. So we have distributed 10 thousand
leaflets, containing shameful [information] about
the rotten politicians that are taking part in the
elections”, said Palu City PPRM spokesperson
Jamaluddin on Monday.

Similar actions, said Jamaluddin, will continue to
be held in the lead up to the April 9 elections,
adding that the current campaigns by the political
elite about bringing prosperity [to the people] are
nothing but a daydream.

The PPRM will be holding massive simultaneous action
against the elections in all parts of Indonesia on
April 5.

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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.

22 January 2009

Time for the Palestinian people to unit under a third Intifada

Union for the Politics of the Poor (PPRM) Statement
- January 3, 2009

By Zely Ariane

In July 2008, Barrack Obama, now the United State’s
new president elect said: “If someone launches a
rocket at my home while my two sons are sleeping,
then I would make every effort to put an end to
them, and I hope that the Israeli people would also
do the same” (www.Solidarity-US.org).

On December 27, Obama’s hopes were realised through
an Israeli air attack that totally obliterated Gaza
and killed at least 280 people. Without pause, the
every effort referred to by Obama was demonstrated
by Israeli troops with the fruits of their success
being at least 429 dead and 2,000 others wounded.
United Nations representatives added that more than
half of those killed were civilians, while there
were at least four who died on the Israeli side
(Detik.com). Obama, up until this was written, has
failed to utter a single word.

8 January 2009

Commemorating 60 years of the International Declaration of Human Rights

Oppose the 2009 elections of the political elite – an election of the human rights violators, capitalists, corruptors and opportunist!

It has been 60 years since the International Declaration of Human Rights, and on every December 10, people throughout the world commemorate the event and demand that their governments fully address all human rights violations, without exception.

In Indonesia, the problem of human rights violations will never be resolved because it has its roots in three principle obstacles, that are still deeply implanted: the ruminants of the old forces (the Golkar party as a manifestation of Suharto’s New Order regime); the military (TNI) and the territorial commands(1) and their controlling structures: (the Regional Military Commands (Kodam), Sub-Regional Military Command (Korem), the Sub-District Military Commands (Koramil) and Non-commissioned military officer posted in villages and wards (Babinsa); and the fake reformists who are cowards and will not stand up to the military.

Yet the ordinary Indonesian people and human rights activists have never taken a break from the struggle in the form of various demands, actions and legal mechanisms; continuing to demand that the government uphold justice for the ordinary people whose human rights have abused and for the perpetrators to be punished. By way of example, since 2007 the Solidarity Network for Victims and Families of Victims (JSKKK) has held no less then 88 actions every Thursday in front of the State Palace – pressure that has only so far recently succeeded in resolving the 2004 assassination of human rights activist Munir (with disenchantment over the results because they are felt to be unjust).