Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur as he is popularly nicknamed, became the third ever Indonesian president amidst great hopes for economic, political and social change. His government is a compromise between the so-called "reforming" bourgeoisie and the interests of those capitalists/military layers who benefited most from the Suharto era. Even if the opinion polls indicate a high degree of support and confidence in the new government, very rapidly the masses will take their fate in their own hands, because this government will be unable to resolve the urgent questions facing the poor masses. Although the economic situation stands first in people’s preoccupations, the most immediate threat to the new government comes from the risk of disintegration of the Indonesian Archipelago.

The people's movements in Indonesia, pioneered by students, are qualitatively increasing. The demands, strategy and tactics are developing as well as the method and targets of struggle. They do not only do demonstrations but more importantly build the mass movements as method of struggle. This is in contrary with those method of struggle of the bourgeoisie, namely the elitist struggle which is based on lobby, bargaining, concession and compromise in order to get profits for their own groups.

Early this morning, the United Nations force, Interfet, landed in East Timor. Reports indicate that revenge killings are going on until the last minute against pro-independence Timorese. There are reports that in just one day, 18th September, some 150 to 200 people were killed. The militias and the army are waging a "scorched earth" policy in their preparations to leave the country.

The elections of June 7th in Indonesia were seized upon by the masses as an opportunity to express their rejection of the Habibie-Suharto regime and to unseat it. Although some layers of the student movement and workers activists called for a boycott of those elections their appeal had no significant impact amongst the masses. The massive rallies organised by the so-called "reform parties," especially in the capital Jakarta, attracted hundreds of thousands of supporters.

"Rakyat Bersatu Tak Terkalahkan", (the people united will never be defeated) is one of the most popular slogans shouted at the student demonstrations in Jakarta these days. It is proof of a clear shift in the orientation of the democratic student movement towards joining with the workers, the urban poor and the peasants in order to defeat the regime. The new organisations of students which sprung in existence the three last months tend to call themselves people's committees and not a few students are directly involved in organising the workers and the peasants.

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