The Indonesian government has officially on September 30, 1997 banned the People's Democratic Party (PRD) with it's affiliated. The banning was in accordance with Articles 26 and27 of Law Number 8, 1985. The government under Soeharto regime will be applied it to other organisations or NGO's such as the Indonesian United Democratic Party (PUDI), the Marhaen Peoples'Movement and the Indonesian Workers Prosperity Union (SBSI). It is clear for the people that there is not the Democratic rights of individuals, groups and associations in Indonsia. The Soeharto regime's rise to power since 1965 is identified with bloodshed when it the killings of more than a million people. Since then, the Soeharto regime has consistenly maintained its oppressive and undemocracy character as well human rights violations such as massacres, illegal arrests and detentions, tortures, involuntary disappearances, annexation of East Timor which has been the character of this militarist rules.
The history of the Indonesian people is the history of the people's struggle wellknown for their persevarance in the opposition of all kinds of reppression and exploitation in their uphold peace and humanity. Under the ruling government which have maintained the political repression, corruption and inflation in Indonesia leads to protest movements are growing rapitdly. This protest movements is still going on and becoming widespread and strong, initiated mainly by the basic sectors of the society such as the workers, the peasants, and the urban poor. Because the people believes that the struggles of the Indonesian people is the struggle for the human rights and for the Democracy. The struggle of the People's Democratic Party (PRD) in Indonesia, who will continue to fight together with the people for democracy and the sovereign right of the Indonesian people until a multy-party democratic political system exists. Because of the military clamp-down since the military forces took over the headquarters of the legal opposition party, the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) on 27th July, most of the PRD activists have made a choice to temporarily go into hiding. This move represents their tactics of struggle against fascist methods, but does not mean that they are afraid or wil retreat from the struggle.
The Soeharto regime accused the PRD activists of being behind the riots which spontaneously broke out on 27th July as a response to military violence, saying that the PRD was a communist organisation. In an interview published in Forum Keadilan Magazine on Monday, PRD Chairman Budiman Sudjatmiko, 27, was quoted as saying that the accusation that his group was communist were typical of those made by the army during Suharto's 30 years old government. And further more, he said in his interviewed to ask for proof, facts and data that their organisation is communist because their aim and programme is for multi-party democracy, parliamentary democracy.
The PRD was first formed in 1994 as the People's Democratic Union and transformed it self into a party in April 1996. It was formed by activists from SMID (Student Solidarity for Democracy in Indonesia), PPBI (Indonesian Centre for Labours Struggle), STN (The National Peasant Union), SR (The Urband Poor People) and JAKER (The Working Network of People's Art). These organisations developed in the early 1990's when student activists joined up with workers and farmers in series of joint campagne for improvement in worker and peasant conditions. They developed a strategy of building their strength through mass mobilisation of workers and adopted a general programme aimed at achieving a multiparty democracy, with the right to freedom of organisation for worker, peasant and all oppressed sections of society. The student movement must be integrated in the people's. In order to attain democracy which looks out for the welfare of the people, the push for these changes must come from amongs the people them self. Because of that then, the matter of the strategy and tactic must be calculated exactly based upon the potential which exists amongst the people. Thus, the PRD view that the opposition movement of the workers is the most likely foundation in order to organise in a democratic struggle.
Their number continues to increase, they are loyal in their opposition to the capitalist economy of the New Order Regime which will enable the workers to become the democratic fortress to day and in the future. At this time, the leader of the PRD has already given a mandate for day-to-day political activities to the Central Commiittee of the PRD to continue the struggle. And they are ready to be lead by Budiman from jail, in order to protect and remain consistent to the "Unity of command" and the "unity of action", they have practised to date. Although working in a situation under conditions of repression and the regime's oppression, these two issues must continue to be maintained.
There is no point in defending the existence of an organisation, if that organisation is not able to address the problems of political strategy in the face of the authoriant regime of the New Order. Because of all the problems faced by the Indonesian people, it is imperative that a clear vision of democratic future in economic, political and cultural life be held. The PRD believes that it is important that first and formost a political solution be found in order resolve the economic problem in Indonesia which is already exploited to its limits under capitalism. The PRD believes that it is important, in the future, to build a modern civil society which values the right of the sovereign people and the practice of democracy in its full sense. For this, a government comprissing of a people's democratic coalition must be formed in the future, in order to promote the participation of the people in a peaceful way, respectful of political differences.
The struggle to oppose the power of New Order Regime can not be separated from the programme of the PRD, and as a political party, has the right and the obligation to participate in the formation of the nature of the government and state's power. The prevention of the people's participation can not be allowed to continue. The people's sovereign right within a given system does not necessarily require legal formal legitimation by those in power, if those in power are exactly those who do not value active participation of their own people to supervice and criticise. In order to unite and mobilise democratic forces which exist to day a joint platform must be formed which is able to operate in united action. Joint action must be taken in order to translate political momentum and to ensure wider participation by the people. The proof is: the workers have begun to organise strike action in several industries; farmers have taken action to oppose their eviction from their land; student have been demonstrating against militarism; academics and the intellectuals are opposing reppression on the ground of academic freedom; in East Timor, the Maubere people are ceaseless in their opposition of military attack and occupation in their territory by the New Order regime. The means by which the people's opposition is organised and increasingly raised is through joint mass actions between various sectors of society which are the result of broad mass action.
Urgent steps must be taken in order to establish a united front based on a joint platform in order to formulated strategic objectives for the peoples sovereignty such as facing the coming the general election in 1997, the Independent Committee for Monitoring the General Election (KIPP- Komite Independen Pemantau Pemilihan Umum) still continues its work under difficult circumtances. The People's Democratic Movement is demanding that the general election will be really carried out honestly and fairly. It therefore demands that the 5 repressive laws (id-est the law on the freedom and right of association and organisation; the law on political parties and mass organisation; the law on general election; the law on the composition of the people's congress and parliament; the law on referendum) be repealed and so called dual functions of the military abolished. Because of this it means that KIPP will be able to break through the barriers of false conciousness of the people and able to initiate actions to educate and demonstrate to the people that the general election must be connected to the people's Democratic rights. The undemocratic rights is very much connected to the 5-Political laws of 1985 and the dual functions of the military. KIPP exists not only to observe the process of the general election, but also to determine to what extent the general election values the people's right for sovereignty as a foundation of the legitimation of the general elections.
Ms. Mirah Mahardika, representative of the PRD's National Executive (KPP-PRD) and now active leading the PRD, states that those of them who are still on the outside in the "New Order Great Jail", have now begun to consolidate, although it was very difficult at first. The attitute of the New Order Regime in its response to the July 27 uprising, which ended with the intimidation and arrest of scores of PRD's activists, including their chairperson, Budiman Sudjatmiko, was a reactionary act. The reactionary act the New Order Regime no longer views the law as the primary means of establishing facts and truth. In the tension of the contradictions of the people's struggle against the New Order regime which was increasing. Megawati's overthrow as legally leader of the PDI through fascist elements within the PDI, that is Suryadi and his colleges in collaboration with the regime, attracted great sympathy from the people who desire democracy and change. Meanwhile, the objective conditions of the people's anger has boiled over, witnessing the authoritarian actions which day by day became open tyranny, taking and repressing the basic rights of the people for more than thirty years. Although as a result of this riot, the PRD as well as the broader opposition have faced, and are facing, the "white terror"- jailings and false rhetoric from intellectuals and the regime's opportunist puppets, at the very least it has resulted in showing the people the real character and face of the New Order. This has resulted in precipitating the participation of broad groups to become involved in the political struggle towards an Indonesia which is democratic and multiparty.
On Friday, 12th December 1996, the New Order regime began the trials of the 14 activists of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), that is in South Jakarta and in Central Jakarta also in Surabaya. Budiman and other activists, as well as the Head of the SBSI (Indonesian Welfare Trade Union), Mochtar Pakpahan, have been accused of four charges of Subversion by the New Order regime in accordance with Subversion Legislation No. 11/PNPS/1963. In accordance with the subversion legislation, the defendants are threatened with the sentence of death or life imprisonment, or 20 years imprisonment for the first three charges, with a maximum sentence of 7 years'imprisonment for the fourth charge. The New Order regime is using the subversion legislation in order to destroy the forces of the pro-democracy movement which demand change. Somewhat ironically, the Subversion legislation iself is a product of the guided democracy period under Nasakom, the Nationalism, Religion, Communism "coalition" under Sukarno, a period criticised by the present regime as an example of the dangers of communism. Then, as now, this legislation was used to legitimise the silencing of political opponents.
In the build up to the presidential elections in March 1998, this climate of terror and repression will only get worse. Although the Indonesian people as a whole can no longer be fooled by this corrupt and violent regime, they are still afraid - who can protect them from the boots, batons, cs gas, guns, tanks and ground attack planes sold to this vicious regime by the West? The PRD have been targetted by the New Order regime ascape goats for the recent spontaneous unrest, and the witch-hunt continues, yet the PRD are ready to continue the fight because that is what the people want. Five years ago it would have been thought impossible that a party such as the PRD could stand up and demand the East Timorese right to independence. The PRD will stay loyal to the fight against this corrupt and fascistic regime. they have no alternative.
Amsterdam, October 10. 1997
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