Indonesia

A translation of a leaflet and poster being circulated by the Working People's Association (Perhimpunan Rakyat Pekerja, PRP) in Indonesia as part of a campaign by radical Indonesian trade unions to highlight class issues and socialism on May Day.

On January 27, 2008 General Soeharto, former dictator of Indonesia, passed away. This man was responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of communists in a bloody coup in 1965. Despite these monstrous crimes and his well-documented corruption the old butcher died in his bed, untouched by the law.

Just One Day Comrade (Sehari Saja Kawan) is one of many poems written by a well-known Indonesian poet Wiji Thukul about the strength of workers’ unity. Through the power of his words, he has inspired many youth and workers to fight against the oppressive capitalism.

The Indonesian ruling class thought they had destroyed Marxism forever when they brutally suppressed the Communist Party of Indonesia in 1965. However, people and organizations are born and die, come and go, but ideas cannot be killed. Just ten years after the overthrow of the Suharto regime and the promise of democracy and prosperity, not much has changed in Indonesia - except that the workers and youth are searching for ideas that can lead to a fundamental transformation of society, the ideas of Marxism.

In his preface to the recently published Indonesian edition of Reason in Revolt, Alan Woods points out that the intense anti-Islamic propaganda in the West is merely a “crude ideological cover for the pretensions and arrogance of imperialism and especially US imperialism, which seeks to dominate the entire world and subject it to its pitiless exploitation”. In answer to all this what is needed is that the rational, scientific outlook of Marxism should become the viewpoint of the labour movement in all countries.

We are proud to announce the recent publication of the Indonesian edition of Reason in Revolt. The book was launched publicly on February 20th at the Gadja Mada University. Here we provide some background information and details of how to order the book in Indonesia.

May Day is not a holiday in Indonesia. Even if May 1 fell this year on a Saturday it is still a normal working day for most workers on the archipelago. Workers have to take a day off or go on strike to be present. Despite this and other obstacles thousands of workers hit the streets in the main industrial centres like Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya on the island Java, Medan in Sumatra, Palu in Sulawesi and smaller places like Riau and Batam.

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.

On October 12, two bombs ripped through a packed discotheque in Bali, killing more than 200 people and injuring some 300. Most of those who died were young people, many of them Australians. Marxists condemn this act of senseless killing. However, the declarations of Bush and Blair are full of the most disgusting hypocrisy. They are taking cynical advantage of the grief and anger at the latest terrorist atrocity for the purpose of drumming up support for their plans for war.

This article deals with the background and the consequences of the recent Bali blast from an Indonesian perspective. In a future article the author will deal with the economic situation in Indonesia, developments in the class struggle and the perspectives for the left.

Question: The factional infighting between the Indonesian parliament and the President has reached the point of a severe constitutional crisis. An impeachment procedure against him has now started and will culminate in a special session of the People Representative Assembly on the first of August. This may lead to the censuring of the President and his replacement 22 months after being the first democratically elected president. What are the underlying causes for this protracted crisis at the top of Indonesian society?

Why an education project for Indonesian socialists?

Over the last 2 years the youth (students, workers and urban poor) in Indonesia have waged a relentless struggle against the Suharto dictatorhsip and his clone Jusuf Habibie. They have manifested time and time again their willingness to free themselves from oppression and capitalist exploitation This has expressed itself in mass demonstrations, strikes, pitched street battles, and land occupations in open defiance of state military power and the Jakarta central oligarchy.

We publish here the first edition of a new Marxist paper in Indonesia. Cahaya, means "shining light" or "bright light" and has been produced by a group of young Marxists active in the Indonesian workers and student movement. It has the ambition to become the socialist voice of workers, poor peasants and young people. We hope that the policies explained in its pages will become the dominant ideas of the Indonesian left.A short presentation in English is also available.