Indonesia: Workers, poor reject petrol price rises imposed `on behalf of the poor’
May 15, 2008 -- ``Let’s seek the opportunity out of the world's crisis. In responding to the increase in global food prices, let us improve productivity. Amidst the oil crisis and price rises, let's be thrifty. Let's develop the energy resources.'' -- Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudoyono, May 1, 2008.
The poor will benefit from the increase in fuel prices rise, he said on May 7, 2008.
Meanwhile vice-president Yusuf Kalla said that so far the fuel subsidy has been benefiting the rich. He added ``The protesters who oppose this policy mean that they are helping the poor.''
Acting as if they are doing it ``on behalf of the poor'', the Indonesian government plans to impose a 30% rise on petroleum prices. It will be the third oil price rise under the Susilo Bambang Yudoyono government. To help the poor survive this unpopular policy, the government is granting direct cash transfers amounting 100,000 rupiah per month per family. The direct cash transfer ``gift'' was also implemented with the oil price rise in 2005.
Will this price rise benefit the poor?
How about the increasing of poverty rate under this government? Currently, 40 million people, nearly a quarter of Indonesian population, are living under poverty line. Year on year inflation rate (to April) is 8.7%, mostly in food and energy price increases. Sofyan Wanadi, member of Indonesian Employers Association (Apindo), admitted that the petroleum price rise has reduced purchasing power and is a threat to industry. The state budget allocation to pay foreign debts will absorb nearly US$90 billion compare to $46.7 billion allocated for the petroleum subsidy.
It takes independence to set people free from oil crisis.
In anticipating the world oil price rise, Indonesian government likely to have favourite instant solution, increase the country's daily oil andd gas production, which is 979 barrels. Even the oil and gas department has said it is likely climb to 1 million barrels per day in July from the new exploration in Cepu.
Meanwhile 90% of mining and oil corporations are owned by foreign companies. Chevron and Exxon are benefiting from the doubling in petrol prices, while the Indonesian people are lining up desperately for a litre of petrol.
If you visit Riau province, you will be amazed at the extent of Chevron large exploration area and offices, palm plantations as well as wood plantations. But you will also be shocked to find that the majority of the people in the hundred-thousand-hectare area of Riau subdistricts have no access to electricity. It is 14 kilometres to reach the closest petrol station to be able to put fill a two-litre diesel fuel can to operate their generator. Therefore most of must stay in the dark from afternoon to dawn. While Chevron's exploration, dormitories and office complexes are enjoying bright lights day and night.
Poor refusing their `gift'
On May 11, 300 protesters from the Indonesian Poor People's Union (SRMI) marched to Yusuf Kalla's house in South Sulawesi to oppose the petroleum price rise. They continued their march to the local House of Representatives. ``Do not say that this is for the poor, the experience has taught us that this policy has trapped the poor in deeper poverty'', Said Anca, Papernas' (National Liberation Party of Unity) South Sulawesi leader.
On May 12, 3000 protester's from SEGERA (Central Movement of the Riau People) surrounded to the local House of Representatives. In this two-day demonstration, they urged government to nationalise the mining and oil industries, as well address concerns about local land disputes.
The workers, farmers and the poor, who are also members of the National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas) took six to eight hours to drive from their settlements to the local House of Representatives building. They surrounded the house of representatives, chanting the slogan ``Enough of being a coolie nation, now it is time to be an independent nation.'' Papernas chairperson Agus Priono said that selling out the national assets is a violation of the constitution. ``To rescue Indonesia from the trap of the crisis we must radically change economic policy from a pro-capital policy to pro- people policy'', she told the crowd. After succeeding in passing the police barricades, the protesters stayed and erected a tent near the House of Representative.
Papernas, the National Liberation Party of Unity
Jln. Tebet Dalam IIG No. 1, Jakarta Selatan, 12820.Indonesia.
Phone/Fax: +62-21-8354513. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Sunday, May 18, 2008
Solidarity from PSM Malaysia*
Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) condemns the Indonesian authorities for
the attack of the office of KPRM (Political Committee of the Poor) at
Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on 17 May. Such action is replicant of New
Order's repressvie messures to suppress the rising of ordinary people.
PSM also extends its solidarity to the planned mass action against fuel
price hike on 21 May. This is a crucial time for the left and progressive
forces to come together to resist neoliberal attacks.
Choo Chon Kai
Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Socialist Party of Malaysia / Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
No.22A, Lorong Vivekananda, 50470 Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA.
Tel: +60-3-22747791, (mobile) +60-19-5669518
email: (headquarters) email@example.com
(international bureau) firstname.lastname@example.org
visit our website at:
The history of the Left in Indonesia and South-East Asia shows that the
reactionary forces and the ruling class will stop at nothing in their
attempts to destroy the socialist movement. But we will always continue to
resist and fight for a better world!
Workers Democracy Thailand
Giles Ji Ungpakorn*
Faculty of Political Science
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
21, Jakarta - Commemorating a decade of Suharto's fall and protesting
against government's plan to increase fuel price, some organisations
from the People Accuse Front (FRM) that had stayed overnight in the
Proclamation Monument, like LMND and GMNK, joined with other groups of
demonstrators and action fronts in the Hotel Indonesia roundabout.
At about 2 pm, the crowd reached up to 6,000 and marched to State Palace. Masses from FRM positioned themselves in the front line and the entire crowd chanted yells demanding the president to make a decree that nationalise oil, gas, and mining industry to meet domestic need for fuel. In front of State Palace, pushings between protesters and police turned into a major clash as police repressed the crowd and arrested 18 students from LMND, FAMRED, and GMNK. Up until now, nobody has been released.
A student from University of Indonesia also reportedly suffered from a shot wound in the stomach and is currently being hospitalised.
Bima, Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB):
Protesters from LMND, SMI, and BPM STKIP Bima started their protest in the morning by marching from STKIP Bima to a major intersection in the city. When performing theatrical protest, some police came and ordered them to dismiss themselves because of not having any permit. When protesters started to head to the Municipal Parliament, police dispersed the crowd, causing clashes and arrest against 11 people with dozens wounded. Up until now, nobody has been released.
Manado, North Sulawesi:
Three activists were arrested by police, of which one was from PRD. Nobody has been released.
Please send your solidarity and support by sending your protest demanding that the detainees be released to the address below:
Indonesia National Police Headquarters Fax: +62-21-7218144 SMS: +62-818-315703
List of Acronyms:
PRD - People's Democratic Party - Partai Rakyat Demokrasi
FAMRED - Students' Action Front for Reform and Democracy - Front Aksi Mahasiswa untuk Reformasi dan Demokrasi
GMNK - Nationalist Popular Students' Movement - Gerakan Mahasiswa Nasional Kerakyatan
LMND - National Students' League for Democracy - Liga Mahasiswa Nasional untuk Demokrasi
SMI - Indonesia Stundents' Union - Serikat Mahasiswa Indonesia
BPM STKIP - Students' Representatives Body of Higher School for
Education Knowledge - Badan Perwakilan Mahasiswa dari Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Pendidikan
PAPERNAS: THE NATIONAL LIBERATION PARTY OF UNITY
Jln. Tebet Dalam IIG No. 1, Jakarta
By Ulfa Ilyas, an LMND activist
May 23; Semarang, Central Java - About 200 protesters from Students and People Accuse Front demonstrated in front of Central Java Provincial parliament in Semarang. The action front, consisted of LMND, GMNI, HMI, PMII, and KAMMI, protested against fuel price rise and condemn it as a form of imperialist interest in Indonesia.
Police blockaded protesters in front of the gate. Pushings between protesters and police caused some broken windows in the building. This resulted in a clash with police that attacked and beat protesters from People Accuse Front.
According to information from Hengky F Matan, LMND regional secretary-general, eight protesters were arrested during the demonstration while many were injured after being kicked and dragged by police during the arrest.
Those who were arrested are Rahmat Sutopo (LMND Semarang Municipal Chairperson), Darmawan Iskandar (LMND Semarang Regional Chairperson), Ali (GMNI), Ruben (GMNI), Zen (PMII), Topik (PMII), Toni (PMII).
Realising that their friends were being taken away, protesters tried to block police truck that carried 8 arrested activists. But police managed to restrain them and some were injured from getting hit by the truck.
LMND - National Students' League for Democracy
GMNI - Indonesian Nationalist Students' Movement
PMII - Indonesian Moslem Students' Movement
KAMMI - Indonesian Moslem Students' United Action
HMI - Moslem Students' Association
Monday, May 26, 2008
Hunger strike to refuse oil price rise
The resistance to refuse petrol price rise has been continuously
Though the Indonesia government had officially announced fuel price rise
on May 23, 2008, resistance kept spreading across the country.
Today, the National Students' League for Democracy (LMND), an
organisation member of the National Liberation Party of Unity
(PAPERNAS), together with various student organizations started hunger
strikes in 14 provinces to refuse fuel price rise as well as to demand
the nationalisation of oil and mining industries.
The hunger strike takes place in campuses in Jakarta, Bandung (West Java
province), Salatiga, Purwokerto and Semarang (Central Java province)
Surabaya (East Java), Lampung province , Palembang (South Sumatra
province), Makassar and Tana Toraja (South Sulawesi), Manado (North
Sulawesi), Palu (Central Sulawesi provinces), Kendari (South-east
Sulawesi Provinces), Mataram (West Nusatenggara), Labuhan Batu (North
Sumatera Provinces), Pekan Baru, Riau Province, Gorontalo (Gorontalo
June 1, the National Liberation Front (FPN), a new alliance of which
the KPRM-PRD is a part of, held a demonstration of 700, which began
outside the Hotel Indonesia then marched on the World Bank offices. The
main slogans were:
1. SBY-JK and other elite political parties are bankrupt! Nationalise the mining and gas industries and place them under people's control!
2. Kick out the World Bank from Indonesia, SBY-JK and other elite political parties have yielded to its demands for fuel price hikes!
Click here to watch a new video of this action: http://kprm-prd.blogspot.com/2008/06/aksi-fpn-1-juni-2008.html
To comrades in Papernas and LMND
From Democratic Socialist Perspective and Resistance
4 June 2008
We hereby declare our solidarity with the hunger strike action of our
comrades from Papernas and LMND in rejecting the decision of the
SBY-Kalla government to raise the price of fuel. Amidst Indonesia's
long-term crisis, increases in the price of fuel and basic commodities
worsen the daily lives of the people.
Democratic Socialist Perspective and Resistance as two socialist
organizations in Australia welcome the actions of comrades in Indonesia
as a source of inspiration for us. Resistance as a socialist youth
organization especially learns also from the experiences of comrades
struggling in other countries.
We salute the courageous and selfless action of the comrades who are
fighting for the liberation of the nation from the chains of oppression
by the capitalists and foreign capital. How ironic that in a country
rich in natural resources, its people are forced to queue up for hours
for a can of kerosene!
We hereby declare our commitment to collaborate and assist LMND and
Papernas comrades in distributing information, in accordance with our
capacity, about the reality of the situation and the struggle in
Once more, in the tenth anniversary year of the fall of the Suharto
dictatorship, the Indonesian youth are showing their courage in
pioneering the path towards a brighter future.
Democratic Socialist Perspective dan Resistance
Kepada kawan-kawan Papernas dan LMND
Dari Democratic Socialist Perspective dan Resistance
4 Juni 2008
Dengan ini kami menyatakan solidaritas kami dengan aksi mogok makan
kawan-kawan Papernas dan LMND dalam menentang keputusan pemerintah
SBY-Jusuf Kalla untuk menaikkan harga BBM. Di antara krisis
berkepanjangan yang menimbulkan penderitaan bagi rakyat Indonesia,
kenaikan BBM dan harga bahan-bahan kebutuhan pokok memperburuk lagi
Democratic Socialist Perspective dan Resistance sebagai dua organisasi
sosialis di Australia turut menyambut aksi kawan-kawan di Indonesia
sebagai sumber inspirasi bagi kami. Resistance sebagai organisasi
pemuda sosialis terutama juga turut belajar dari pengalaman-pengalaman
kawan-kawan yang berjuang di negara-negara lain.
Kami sangat salut dengan aksi kawan-kawan yang begitu berani dan tanpa
pamrih berjuang untuk pembebasan bangsa dari belenggu penindasan dan
penjajahan oleh kaum kapitalis dan modal asing. Alangkah ironisnya
bahwa dalam sebuah negeri yang kaya raya akan sumber daya alam,
rakyatnya terpaksa antri berjam-jam untuk sekaleng minyak tanah!
Kami dengan ini menyatakan siap bekerja sama membantu kawan-kawan LMND
dan Papernas dalam menyebarluaskan, sesuai dengan kemampuan kami,
informasi berkaitan dengan realitas situasi dan perjuangan di Indonesia.
Sekali lagi, dalam tahun peringatan sepuluh tahun tumbangnya
kediktatoran Suharto, kaum muda di Indonesia menunjukkan keberaniannya
dalam merintis hari depan yang lebih baik.
Democratic Socialist Perspective dan Resistance
Jakarta, Indonesia July 23, 2008:
Twelve years ago, dozens of young people declared the birth of a new
political party, which had a radical-progressive political line. This
event became one of the changes that brought down the New Order regime
and gradually expanded the democratic space. Today members, former
members and supporters of the PRD (People’s Democratic Party), who are
dispersed throughout various political parties, government departments,
non-government organizations, have become social workers, or who work
in mass organizations and trade unions, etc are taking part in a
celebration to mark 12 years of the PRD’s declaration. This modest
event took place in the offices of Papernas, in Tebet St, South Jakarta.
Petrus Hariyanto, former general-secretary of the PRD declared that, ‘this celebration is actually aimed at celebrating and remembering once more the enthusiasm and early dreams of the founding of the PRD. The PRD have put themselves forward as a radical-progressive party which was founded by youth and bravely reckoned with the authority of the New Order, which was refreshing. Many PRD cadre surrendered their body and soul in the struggle for democracy and for some their fate is up until today still not clear, like Wiji Thukul, Herman Hendrawanm Suyat, Bimo Petrus and others.’
Dinner was served by former general secretary of the PRD, Petrus Harianto and given to several comrades who were present at the PRD Declaration on 23/07/96, like Suroso and Yakobus EK. The mood of the evening brightened when those present sung the PRD anthem and other songs.
Agus Jabo Priyano, general secretary of the PRD, who arrived late from visiting people in Central Java, said that, "the prime challenge in the mass struggle is now much different to the situation in the PRD’s past. Now there is open democracy, but it’s entire purpose is in the interests of economic liberalization and foreign interests. Meanwhile, members and former members of the PRD who nowadays are spread throughout social and political organizations, political parties, NGO’s, trade unions, government departments and others have the same response to this, that is, national liberation."
After these greetings the night continued with testimonies given by Revitriyoso, who was a candidate for the upper house in Jakarta, and others. The main enthusiasm which emerged from the PRD anniversary was for consolidating their strength and motivating people to take power, including through using formal channels like through local elections, the House of Representatives, the Legislative Council, etc.
Source: Berdikari Online (26/07/08), Ulfa Ilyas translated by Mel Barnes