Mass strikes of public transportation drivers started on Monday, January 6, in a number of Indonesian cities. Street protests continue against the IMF sponsored cuts in subsidies which have provoked a price hike. Although still relatively small these protests could become more massive in the coming days. Particularly important is the call for a nation-wide strike for Thursday January 9 (today) by a front of 23 different trade unions which could halt industry in many parts of the country.

The recent Global Alliance report (February 2001) on workers' rights (mostly dealing with young girls) in 9 Nike factories in Indonesia has once more brought to the fore the ruthless character of the regime in the factories belonging to this American multinational. If the claim made by a so-called 'surprised and disturbed management' is to be believed, then the conditions in the factories reviewed would be amongst the most "progressive in the country".

An important political development has taken place in the left movement in Indonesia with the split of the Democratic Socialist Faction from the PRD (Democratic People's Party) during the first few weeks of November 2000. Although small in numbers (some 22 national leaders and organisers based in the capital Jakarta) the political reasons behind this split relate to fundamental questions of revolutionary socialist strategy for Indonesia.

Since the fall of the dictator Suharto, the Indonesian working class has been in a constant struggle to build up its own organisations. But they are seriously hampered in this by the economic crisis and the resulting mass unemployment, even more than before. On top of that comes the ongoing repression by the employers, the government and the military.

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