Indonesia

The upcoming presidential election in Indonesia (July 9th) has become much more interesting with the formal entrance of Jokowi as one of the presidential candidates. For more than a year the rumour mill was running non-stop as to whether or not Jokowi would throw his hat into the race.

The Indonesian economy is slowing down, like many of the “emerging” economies. In these conditions methods of struggle that led to important gains for the working class in the recent past no longer have the same effects. This poses a number of questions that have to be answered by the labour movement.

Today is the beginning of a week of strikes and general strikes in Indonesia. During the past month the call for a general strike has been heard in every major factory in the country. The 28th of October has been in the mind of every worker, as it has been in the mind of every capitalist and politician – of course for different reasons.

“In terms of the numbers killed, the anti-PKI massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century". (CIA study in 1968)

In this period of world economic crisis, Indonesia has been hailed as a miracle economy, registering a solid 6% annual growth for the past few years amid a sputtering world economy. However, despite this impressive growth, Indonesia cannot escape from the clutches of austerity that is gripping the whole world.

Here we publish the excerpt of Militan Indonesia’s perspective document which was passed at its 3rd National Conference in March 2013.

More than 500,000 took to the streets on May Day in what was in effect the second largest general strike in the history of Indonesia. The working class of the 4th largest country in the world is starting to move in a very radical manner as the workers are imbued with confidence from their recent successes.

The recent criminalization case of comrade Sultoni Farras, a worker activist from Progresif Union and Sekber Buruh, who is being sued with “Unpleasant Action” law by the bosses, puts forward a question that at first seems petty but if we look further turns out to be quite fundamental in the workers’ struggle. This relates to the question of “pleasantness” and “unpleasantness”. (Note: in Indonesia, the word “pleasantness” can also mean “happiness”)

Amazing! There is no other word that can describe the situation on October 3. Workers all over Indonesia went on strike and took to the streets. This first national general strike in half a century truly raises expectations and hopes that it will be a turning point for the Indonesian labour movement.

Tomorrow, October 3, will witness an important event in the history of the labour movement in Indonesia. For the first time in 50 years, Indonesian workers will carry out a national general strike which will involve an estimated 2 million workers in 21 different cities. Three demands serve as the basis of this general strike: increases in the official minimum wage, an end to all outsourcing arrangements, and universal national health care for all.

Following the traditions of the Bolshevik Party, that a party journal is an important collective organizer, the Indonesian comrades are publishing the second edition of their newspaper, Militan Indonesia.

The website of Militan Indonesia (www.militanindonesia.org), the website of the supporters of the IMT in Indonesia, is two years old. Launched on September 19th, 2009, this website has become one of the main sources for revolutionary Marxist theory in Indonesia.

The September 30th anniversary commemorating the “failed” 1965 “G30S coup” has come round once again. It was a dark day that changed the fate of the Indonesian toiling masses. The Good Book says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16). The same fate but in reverse befell the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) that was reduced from being the largest Communist party outside the Soviet Union and China to a handful surviving in the underground and in exile. It is no exaggeration to say that the collapse of the PKI transformed the world political order in Indonesia.