Indonesia

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.

Since the fall of Soeharto a lot has changed for the Indonesian labour movement. During the New Order era one "union" monopolised the organisation of workers, the yellow union FSPSI linked to the ruling clique's Golkar party. Instead of raising the consciousness of workers, the FSPSI was designed to depoliticise them.

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.

Today, we the Democratic Socialist Faction, a faction inside the People's Democratic Party, declare to split from the People's Democratic Party (PRD). We do hope that this split will give a new way for strengthening revolutionary movement in Indonesia, considering the fact that the internal conflict in the PRD has lead to fundamental difference and accordingly irreconcilable.

This article presents a summary of the economic situation of capitalism in Indonesia today and in the future. It also looks at the implications for the struggle of the working class and develops the broad outlines of a programmatic and socialist response to the crisis of this system. It will serve as the introduction to the publication in book form of " Di atas mata pisau" , or "On a Knife's Edge", an analysis of the Asian and world economy after the meltdown of 1997. The book is part of the Indonesian Socialist Education Project.

This document retraces the first period of the Indonesian Communist Party up to the ill-prepared insurrection of 1926. It contains vital lessons for the building of a Marxist political organisation today. The thousands of activists involved in organising workers, peasants, urban poor and students will find in this historical analysis a more thorough understanding of the strategy for socialism in Indonesia and of the necessary tools to achieve this goal. We must not only learn from the great achievements of this epoch but also from the fatal weaknesses of the PKI at that time. The new generation of young people in Indonesia will find here some very important...

"Swastanisasi" means privatisation in Bahasa Indonesia. Four important universities in Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Bandung and Bogor are on the menu for the voracious multinationals and the International Monetary Fund. But the students, encouraged by the successful overthrow of Suharto are moving into action against the imposed "otonomie versie rektor" (the rector's version of autonomy).

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

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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.

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.