The New Order and Capitalism

In the Interests of capital

The consolidation of capitalism in Indonesia cannot be separated from the scenarios written by the institutions of international capitalism, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. A capitalism with weak produc tive forces and a lack of fresh capital for modernisation has meant the New Order's rulers have been totally dependent on international capital from Japan, the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Taiwan and others. In this respect, it is increasingly clear that the New Order state under the leadership of General Suharto is an instrument used IN THE INTERESTS OF CAPITAL. This means that every power shift within the circle of Suharto and his allies will be connected to the struggle for access to economic assets, especially among the Suharto oligarchy and international capital. It is even possible that major cracks can emerge because of dissatisfaction with the oligarchy and the extent to which economic concessions are concentrated in the hands of the political power centre, and the extent to which specific foreign powers' economic hegemony is established, such as with that of Japan, Europe or America.

During the early period of the consolidation of his power (1967-73), Suharto managed to make use of foreign loans and investment. The oil boom soon after (1975) meant that the New Order was able to produce "orang kaya baru" (OKB - the new rich) and thus the emergence of local capitalists. The licences that Suharto gave to his friends and allies has allowed them to monopolise export and import activity. This practice fostered the growth of business groups, firstly, that are close to the Armed Forces, and, secondly, the personal cronies of Suharto. The first group included military who are members of the boards of directors of private as well as state owned companies. This was fostered by concessions, in forest timber, for example, being given to foundations connected to the Armed Forces. These two groups were the basis for the formation of factions inside the Indonesian bourgeoisie.

But the drop in oil prices in the mid-198Os has affected the process of crystallisation of factions inside the Indonsian bourgeoisie. The national income, which was dependent for 70% of its revenues on oil, suffered a severe blow when the price of oil on the international market fell. This made Indonesia even more dependent on foreign loans to finance its capitalist development. By 1995, Indonesia's foreign debt had reached US$100 billion with the loans being taken out with many different international fmance institutions and banks, on both concessional and commercial interest rates. This increase in debt was also caused by the government being forced to shift its exports from oil and gas to other sectors.

The race to expand non oil and gas exports required liberalisation of the economy and greater efficiency in accumulating capital to finance manufacture of new exports. The faction of bourgeois who had enjoyed the benefits and ease of access to business of a privileged position during the oil boom were not able to maintain their position.

Only the crony capitalist faction, who had combined building businesses with establishing collusion with the paace family were able to transform themselves into thriving capitalists. The long established relationship between the Suharto family and businessmen Liem Sioe Liong and Bob Hasan enabled the family to transform its businesses into tally fledged business conglomerates. The policy of changing the orientation of exports away from oil and gas was greeted by large scale investment in manufacturing by the Suharto family's cronies, as well as by joint venture capital and overseas capital ,especially from Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, the USA and so on.

The working class

This new orientation also brought about a concentration of capital in urban industrial centres. Of a workforce of approximately 86 million, about 10.5 million have been absoibed into the manufacturing sector. A tarther 30 million have been absorbed into the service and minerals sectors. About 46 million of the workforce are in agriculture , although this does not mean that the peasantry dominates the country's social formation. According to the August 16, 1994 Address of State by President Suharto to a plenary session of the Peoples' Consultative Assembly, the non-oil and gas sector contributed 74% of all foreign exchange earnings. Of this, manufacturing contributed 63.4%. Table 1 shows the rate ofgrowth of the workforce by region according to 1988-1993 figures.

These developments must be studied careftilly because they are of great importance for the future of our struggle. We must develop a program and devise strategy and tactics of struggle, forms of organisation and slogans that are in accord with the development of the material basis of society. This is our basic task if we wish to expand the base of the popular progressive democratic struggle quickly, securely, and in a way which will sustain militancy in the long term. The proper strategy and tactics ensures that resistance and fight back will be effective. All resistance - even of the spontaneous type - is truly of great value as it is the contraction of a society's muscles in a time of change.

Table 1. Rate of growth of Indonesian workforce by region in millions of workers

Region 19881993growth
Sumatra 14.4117.82 4.4 %
Java 45.650.9 2.2%
Bali and Eastern islands 4.55.3 3.4%
Maluku, West Papua & East-Timor 1.62.0 4.6%

In order to achieve the goals of our strategy and tactics this resistance must be based amongst the most militant sectors. During 1994, the Indonesian working class demonstrated (went on strike) 1,130 times. Approximately 2.8 million work hours were lost worth about 240 billion rupiah (A$150 million). The largest number of actions was in West Java (specifically Jabotabek) with 581, East Java 200 times, North Sumatra 140, Jakarta 126, Central Java 54, Riau 5, West Kalimantan 3, and South Sumatra 1 time. This was a 350% increase on the figures for 1993, where there were recorded 312 demonstrations (strikes). This compares with somewhere over 100 student demonstrations and just over 50 peasant actions.

The emergence of resistance by the people can bring about splits in the Suharto regime itself: between the civilian and the military elements in the ruling party, GOLKAR, between the Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association (representing the sector of the Islamic community collaborating with the regime) and the Islamic or the nationalist military. This whole process may also see the pushing aside of the bureaucratic cliques that were originally based around high ranking military officers trying to transform themselves into capitalists as well as clashes between central and provincial government officials. There is likely also to be envy by indigenous business towards Chinese business but the real tensions in this sector will be between the crony capitalists, who usually enjoy a monopoly of one kind or another, and non-crony capitalists. There is no conflict between so-called national and comprador capital as, apart from capital's conflict with labour, capital's other conflict is with competing capital which itself has no nationality. However such conflicts can, in specific places and at specific times, be infused with racial sentiments.

The regime is currently confused about what they must do. The radicalisation of the people since 1994 taking the form of increasing mass resistance points the way to the future in accord with their historical mission, which in turn is useful for determining which social sectors, geographical areas and political instruments we must prioritise. It points to around what issues flames are burning, where the flames are burning and what me must do to fan those flames of struggle so they burn into the very heart of capital.

Strategy and Tactics in the Struggle for Democracy

A program of struggle is a formulation of targets. It is based on the real and objective need to solve, in the framework of the historical course of the people's struggle, the contradictions in the structure of society. The formulation of a program for struggle is the formulation of and understanding of urgent contradictions which need to be resolved. If these contradictions are not resolved, then we will not change the material basis of the people's struggle, so that the possibility of this struggle reaching a higher stage will not be realised either.

However, the process of the people's struggle should not be understood as a process which begins as an economic struggle, and proceeds towards a political one. This can lead us towards economism. When Economism occurs there is a subjective assumption that the false political consciousness of the masses rules out the possibility of political awareness being raised and provided immediately from without.

Another assumption is that economic awareness and struggle will naturally lead to political struggle and consciousness. Economism can also take us down the path of opportunism, that is underestimating the political potential of the masses. With those considerations in mind, let us not formulate a program of struggle which adapts to the masses' consciousness, nor one that is based on their false consciousness. Let us put forward a program to the masses, an economic and political program which takes into account objective historical reality and disseminate it as widely as possible.

Ideological program

An ideological program, a political one and one which deals with organisational matters, therefore is the accumulation of and the explanation for, the contradictions existing in the people's struggle currently, in the program to fight for true democracy, in order to bring about a democratic government under the people's sovereignty. The basis of this program needs to be the historical reality of the Indonesian people themselves, as history itself has shown us that Indonesian society cannot be parallelled with Russian, Chinese, Latin American, Filipino and European societies during the times of their revolutions. It can be seen from the mode of production prevalent in Indonesia that the Indonesian people now do not place emphasis and relevance on the contradiction between peasants and feudal landlords, as most peasants in Indonesia already own small plots, although feudal aspects do exist, especially with regards to political problems and these aspects have not been eradicated at the level of civil society.

An ideological program needs to be formulated, because within Indonesian capitalist society, we will be confronted by the ideology of oppressors and exploiters which have the potential to dominate Indonesian life. The nearest potential ideological danger is the false consciousness of the masses which will voluntarily accept the authority wielded by these exploiters and oppressors. Our ideological program is very much needed, so that the people can free themselves from this thinking and replace this consciousness with a people oriented consciousness, which will act as their guide in their fight against their exploiters and their associated political instruments.

With this new people's consciousness, the people will start to see their objective position as the elements who carry a historical mission and who must wrest authority and found a new democratic, popular-based coalition government. In Indonesian society, it has been proven that it is the people themselves who objectively possess the potential and ability to build a true people's consciousness which will be able to lead a democratic change.

Political program

A political program is the determination of political targets and the tactics and strategies which need to be taken by the people towards achieving these targets, so that our democratic struggle, with all of its social, political and economic elements can become a reality.

The mass political struggle must be developed and must be able to build a country with a multiparty, democratic and popular-based nature, to replace a country of exploitation and oppression with all their instruments of violence, such as the military, the courts and the police. With such a political program, the people should be able to recognise which particular groups in this society are experiencing oppression and exploitation. From there, the people could recognise in turn, which groups, economically and politically, have an interest in seeing democratic change; therefore allies who must be embraced in each stage of the people's struggle.

Organisational program

An organisational program is an urgent program which must be put into practice. In the history of parties opposing the New Order regime, their weakness has been their inability to mobilise a radical-militant party organisation, which can continue to build strength through united understanding, united action and united command. It is this ability which will create a party organisation capable of becoming a future opposition. The only organisational weapon of the people in their democratic struggle is a people's democratic party. The most important meaning of a democratic party is that the organisation is beyond just standing at the head of a spontaneous people's movement, but that it is the bearer of progressive consciousness.

For a popular, multiparty democracy under the leadership of a popular democratic coalition.

Ideological tasks

  • To promote progressive theories
  • To promote the history of mass movements of a democratic and popular nature
  • To publish leaflets, pamphlets, posters and other forms of propaganda literature in mass campaigns, from a multi-sectoral or sectoral point of view.

    Political tasks

    The political program is a program to develop people's power that will lead to an economic, political and cultural democracy

    To consolidate people's power and institute a genuine democracy in Indonesia, the people's basic rights must first of all be fully protected. The people must know about economic and political conditions and use that knowledge, together with their skills and means of struggle, take up the struggle to defend their interests.

    All this can be realised only through free and independent people's organisations. In this way, in unified action, the people will strengthen their organisation to protect their own interests.

    Only a democratic structure will guarantee the consolidation of people's power. This democratic structure can only be institutionalised through a People's Coalition Government, that is a coalition of progressive classes, sectors and groups in Indonesia that consistently struggles for democracy and social justice, holding to principles of democratic pluralism. [See following section for exposition of policy program of People's Coalition Government]

    Organisational tasks

    The intentions in establishing the party are as follows:
  • To become a united front that is radical, militant and mass-based, vanguard and professional.
  • To seek opportunities to create and develop a pro-people perspective in the political spectrum through the process of winning political leadership.
  • To utilise the electoral space the ability to speak to the masses by advocating an independent program to the PDI (Megawati group) and NU (Abdurrachman Wahid group) and to give critical support to them so long as their programs are not in conflict in their electoral campaigns, in their political actions and if the New Order government or armed forces interfere with them.
    However, the more immediate task is to campaign to repeal the package of five Political Laws of 1985: the Laws on Parties, Mass organisations, Elections, Structure of Positions in the MPR/DPR [Parliament] and Referenda.
  • To stimulate and assist the democratisation process in order to achieve and advance the development of the people's political strength.
  • To prevent the creation of a military junta or a regime based on military/civilian collaboration.
  • To demand a democratic coalition form of government with a mass-based program.
  • To ensure the popular character of the general democratisation process.
  • To assist the emergence of trade unions, mass organisation and alternative parties.
  • To assist in the organising of people's protests In its organisational activity, the structure must aim to facilitate three key principle tasks:
  • To open the widest possible agitation and propaganda space, by wide circulation of the organisation's publications, especially in the most promising regions, and by utilising other mass media so as to unify the organisation with the people.
  • To call for people's protest through mass action.
  • To have open membership and establish branches which are democratic, radical and have a mass-base.

    Society's Pressing And Urgent Needs

    The New Order & the World Community

    1. The ratification and implementation of all laws, treaties, conventions and other laws produced by international institutions to reinforce respect for human rights and the international monitoring of the implementation of these conventions.

    2. The pressuring of world bodies to support the Indonesian people's struggle to end the New Order's economic, political and cultural repression by:
    a. ending all financial assistance and co-operation of a military character;
    b. by incorporating consideration of whether or not human rights are being respected when considering all loans for Indonesia or other commercial agreements;
    c. holding the New Order regime accountable for its invasion and occupation of East Timor and to pressure the regime to hold a referendum under the supervision of world bodies and non- government organisations.

    3. World bodies must pressure all foreign funding institutions to ensure that the New Order regime adjusts its economic policies to ensure sustainable development which also benefits the ordinary people of Indonesia.

    Our demands on the New Order

    4. We must demand that the government guarantee the following basic rights of the people by:
    a. the repeal of the package of five political laws and all regulations in contradiction to clause 28 of the 1945 Constitution [guaranteeing basic freedoms];
    b. the full implementation of ILO Conventions no. 87, 98 and 151 [guaranteeing freedom of organisation, the right to strike and other labour rights] and the withdrawal of Ministerial Instructions 1109/1986 and no 5/1987. This means guaranteeing: the right to strike; the right of workers to form their own trade union; the right of workers to elect their own representatives; and the end to all military interference in labour disputes;
    c. the repeal of Law 5/1975 on Provincial Government;
    d. the right to form political parties, apart from those allowed by the regime, and the right of those parties to implement their programs at all levels of Indonesia society, from national level down to village level;
    e. the guarantee of freedom from threat of violence by the military through the consolidation of civilian supremacy, including the abolition of the doctrine of a dual function for the military and all its administrative apparatus, the return of the military to the barracks, and its subordination to all civilian rights and responsibilities in its operations in time of peace;
    f. the repeal of the Subversion Act PNPS 11/1963 [which allows arrest and imprisonment for one year on broadly defined charges of subversion];
    g. the guarantee of the right to freedom of speech, including freedom of the press, and the right to carry out demonstrations and other peaceful forms of demonstration;
    h. the guarantee of individual civil rights under criminal and civil law and the ending of military interference in the judicial processes; This must include the right of presumption of innocent until proven guilty, the right to legal consultation, and the right to a free, open and public trial;
    i. all restrictions on the civil rights of former political prisoners must be lifted, including restrictions on their right to work, to travel and to engage in political activities;

    5. The formation of a permanent human rights commission of members independent of government institutions to be elected at the same time as general elections with the power to investigate human rights violations and to make recommendations about such violations, including violations by the government.

    6a. The formation of an Electoral Commission comprised of the participating political parties;
    b. The guarantee of the right of the people to organise their own poll watching.

    The call for justice

    7. President Suharto must be held accountable for his leadership of the Republic of Indonesia before a Special Plenary Session of the Peoples Consultative Assembly (MPR).

    8. The formation of an international commission to investigate all killings of the people during the New Order.

    9. The New Order must be put on trial before an International Court for the mass killings when it seized power in 1965.

    Fundamental Human Rights for All

    10. The Legislative, Judicial and Executive arms of government must be free of military interference.

    11. To respect the right to self-determination of the East Timorese nation, the Acehnese nation and the West Papuan nation through a referendum under the supervision of world bodies.

    12. The ending of all discrimination against women, including ensuring:
    a. a guarantee of equal pay, equal access to education, work and representation in civil and state institutions;
    b. the freedom to decide about participation in family planning programmes;
    c. the ending of exploitation in the form of the export of female workers;
    d. Sexual harassment, including in the home, must be criminalised;
    e. To bring to an end the illegal/legal practice of prostitution.

    13. The supervision, in accord with laws, of child labour.

    14. To reject the principle that the implementation of human rights must be adjusted to the specific characteristics of any region, culture, or political, economic or social system. Basic human rights are universally valid.

    The Commitments of a People's Coalition Government

    This Coalition Must Have a Firm Commitment to:

  • Fully defend people's basic rights;
  • Be genuine representatives of the people from village to national levels; be representatives that are trusted by the people and who will take up and defend the people's interests with full accountability and honesty;
  • Carry out the process of determining policy in an open, democratic and participatory manner;
  • Respect the autonomy of people's political and other organisations, and to cooperate with them in developing people's economics, politics and culture which must be scientific, democratic and pro-people;
  • Be openly accountable to the people through parliament;
  • Build up the defence of the country from external attack by organising the defence potential of the ordinary people and not through a regular armed force separated from the people;
  • Respect fundamental human rights;
  • Respect the Maubere people's right to determine their own future;
  • Oppose any colonialist attitudes that allow political-economic repression and exploitation of the people of Aceh and Papua;
  • Abolish the dual-function of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Indonesia (ABRI);
  • Put into operation an independent and open system of justice, that abides by international standards, to settle the demands of the people of Indonesia whose rights have been violated.

    With such a character, the people's democratic coalition must carry out an economic development policy that will open the road to a people's democratic coalition government. This must be implemented through controlling natural resources, and determining an economic program and policy that is free from domination by international monopoly capital and manipulation by domestic monopoly capital.

    Politically, there will be freedom for agitation and propaganda to encourage the organisation of people's political organs in all sectors. Only in this way can the democratic coalition government meet the needs of the people and move towards the realisation of the program of the people's democratic coalition.

    Economic and Welfare Rights

  • Development of industry and agriculture that will be directed towards achieving better technology and maximum productivity;
  • Development of knowledge and technology that will be directed to improve the capacity of all production so as to better meet the people's needs;
  • Social ownership of enterprises that produce vital and fundamental items and social ownership of the industrial channels that are crucial to the people's economy;
  • To encourage collective organisation among the people to increase the productivity of the people's economy;
  • To support the private sector to make a positive contribution to developing the productive capacity of natural resources;
  • To encourage agrarian reform to create a cooperative and modern system of land ownership and agriculture in the villages.

    The Role of Workers in Society

  • Provision of worthwhile employment opportunities for all the people that will meet the needs of workers and society;
  • Just treatment of workers and protection from all exploitative and oppressive work;
  • The right of workers to participate in the development of policies that affect them and society through political organs from the national level through to individual work-units;
  • Land ownership by the tillers, and assistance to improve productivity through increased expertise and technology able to replace labour power.

    Economic and Ecological Equity:

  • To prioritise economic development that will meet the needs and interests of workers and society, in a just manner in accordance with basic economic rights and their capacity to work;
  • Those unable to work or who are studying for the social good, as well as children, have the right to adequate economic support;
  • Provision of quality social services that are distributed effectively to the whole society;
  • Responsible utilisation of natural resources that protects them from destruction.

    A Democratic Coalition Government Must Fulfill the Following:

    Political Rights

  • All citizens have the right to freedom of speech, press, organisation and assembly and the right to strike;
  • All citizens have equality before the law, without differentiation on the basis of gender, socio-economic status, ethnic group, religion or political opinion/belief;
  • All citizens have the right to organise and to oppose all oppressive exploitative structures and systems;
  • All citizens should have academic freedom, with all members of the academic community protected by the state, which should foster a climate that guarantees academic freedom;
  • The right of the Maubere people to determine their own future through a referendum under UN supervision;
  • Dialogue should be opened with representatives elected by the people of Aceh and Papua in order to guarantee their rights.

    Economic Rights

  • Every citizen has the right to meaningful work (work of value). Nobody may deny this right by discriminating on the basis of gender, socio-economic status, ethnic group, religion, political beliefs or other social grounds. It is the obligation of the state to provide work that meets humanitarian working conditions for all its citizens;
  • Every worker has the right guaranteed by the state to rest periods and free time after work, to paid holiday leave and to extra pay for work performed on public holidays;
  • The state and employers must guarantee workers' rights to receive social benefits to sustain the elderly, people with disabilities and the structurally unemployed, and must provide health services to the people. The state must ensure that employers take responsibility for workers injured or killed, and must provide just compensation;
  • The state must recognise and protect the rights of those who till the land to own it and to gain the produce and benefit from their work. The state must ensure distribution of land to the tillers, access to modern equipment and the right to form agricultural collectives and cooperatives;
  • The state must recognise and protect the priority rights of fisher people to the waters where they find their income. The state must provide assistance to the fisher people to raise their productivity through increasing their skills and access to modern technology, and must protect the utilisation of water resources in an ecologically sustainable manner;
  • All citizens have the right to receive social services and basic needs from the state;
  • Women must have special protection from the state during pregnancy and while looking after children, including maternity leave, immediately before and after giving birth, while raising children, looking after sick children and have access to mother and child shelters;
  • Children must receive appropriate care and be protected from cruelty and economic exploitation. A public child care system must be guaranteed. The state must issue laws and regulations to prevent abuse of children. The state must ensure an adequate program of orphanages and hostels for children in need. A public nutritional and health program must be provided for children;
  • People with disabilities must receive support to enable them to participate in productive activities free from economic burdens;
  • The state must provide medical services with cheap modern technology;
  • The state must provide affordable and modern transport and must limit the times in which private vehicles may be used.

    Social and Cultural Rights

  • Every citizen has the right to adhere to their own religion or belief, and must be protected by the state from discrimination. There must be separation of religion and state;
  • The state must provide funds for places of worship to stimulate inter-religious tolerance;
  • Women must be protected from all discrimination, violation of their rights and sexual harassment. The state must work to eliminate discrimination and abuse of women's rights;
  • Every citizen has the right to artistic expression. The state must protect and heighten a scientific and democratic people's culture and must encourage artists to develop their works and free themselves from economic exploitation;
  • Every citizen has the right to a clean, healthy and safe environment. Every citizen has the right to enjoy natural beauty. The state must protect the natural environment from destruction. The state must provide public parks and reserves to protect ecological balance;
  • The state must ensure good cultural and social conditions for children. Mass media and educational programs that will encourage critical-scientific, democratic and pro-people values will facilitate such conditions;
  • Provision of public playgrounds for children, a system of childcare and provision of other equipment that will assist children's social and cultural activities;
  • Those who are accused of crimes must undergo a legal process that guarantees the rights of the accused, such as presumption of innocence, an honest trial and a clear statement of charges. Punishment should be directed towards renewing and reintegrating the criminal into society. All cruel and inhumane punishments should be forbidden and eliminated;
  • All citizens have the right to security of their persons and their place of residence. They must be secure from arbitrary detention, extra-legal execution, torture, arbitrary forced labour and other cruel acts;
  • Every citizen has a right to a scientific, democratic and pro- people education, guaranteed by the state from primary to high school level;
  • The rights of indigenous minority groups to develop a scientific and democratic culture without obstructing the development of their own languages or forms of writing, but without the establishment of separate schools;
  • The state must guarantee rehabilitation and employment for drug addicts and prostitutes;
  • The state must respect and recognise the basic rights of homosexuals and transsexuals.

    Resolution on East Timor

    The founders of the Indonesian nation were aware that independence was the golden bridge towards a socially just society. Because of this, when Indonesia was proclaimed as an independent nation, the preamble to the 1945 Indonesian Constitution stated in its first paragraph: ``In reality independence is the right of all nations and as a result, colonialism in all parts of the world must be eradicated, as it is not in line with humanism and justice''.

    The Constitution should be the corner stone and the guide for a nation and country.

    Therefore, a government must be subservient to, obey and in turn implement consistently its Constitution. Right now, the basic principle of the Indonesian constitution has been held in contempt through the hypocrisy of various nations who have encouraged the New Order regime to practise expansionist politics by colonising other nations through violent armed means and to initiate a long civil war in East Timor.

    This expansionism has been to the detriment of the Indonesian people, as well as contravening the promises contained in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution.

    Expansion into East Timor has created the following effects:
    Firstly, the wasting of the national budget on financing military operations, to buy weapons and the project to develop a lighthouse. The national budget should instead be used to eliminate poverty amongst the Indonesian people and to contribute to the people's social well-being.

    Secondly, the long civil war has claimed many victims, amongst them members of the Indonesian armed forces, Timorese fighters and the civilian population. This results in psychological trauma for these soldiers and their families. This war must cease by agreeing to solutions promoted by the United Nations.

    Thirdly, an Indonesian foreign policy which is free and independent, as formulated by Sukarno and the principles which form the foundation of the Non-Aligned Movement philosophy, is consistent with the eradication of all forms of colonialism and neo-colonialism. The Indonesian handling of the question of East Timor contradicts the freedom and independence in its foreign policy. Ignoring these principles and pressure on Indonesian foreign policy can be avoided if we return to the basic tenets of international relations, those which respect the human rights and independence of a nation.

    Fourthly, the Indonesian nation is a historical product of the geographical administration of Dutch colonialism. Therefore consistent with this, territorial problems need to be resolved with this history of how the nation was formed in mind. The history of East Timor was that it was part of the Portuguese colonial empire and in turn part of its decolonisation project. In addition, East Timor proclaimed independence on 28 November 1975. We need to learn from our own history, where the Dutch did not recognise our independence when it was proclaimed on 17 August 1945, but in 1949 instead. It's a pity that this colonial mentality is what we now find ourselves emulating and putting into practice.

    Fifthly, Indonesia is part of an international community, where relations between nations are governed by a code of ethics and a series of international laws, as instituted by the United Nations. Upholding of these laws and ethics will earn us international respect. As a UN member, Indonesia must abide by the principles and aims of the UN which state that: ``It (the UN or member country) has to end all acts of aggression and other acts which endanger international peace through non-aggressive means. Furthermore, it must resolve international conflicts and potential conflicts according to principles of justice and international law." With this in mind, it would be a moral obligation and a worthy thing for President Suharto to uphold UN General Assembly resolution passed on 19 November 1976 which stated overwhelmingly that East Timor has to undergo a process of self-determination.

    Remembering the importance of peace in the stability of regional relations in the Asia Pacific, all potential conflicts in the region must be accommodated and resolved using new means and involving international bodies as moderator. Indonesia needs to reduce as much as possible the potential for conflict and the resolution of the East Timor problem as arranged and agreed to by the UN is a way towards that aim. We do not want the experience of the US in the Vietnam War to be ours, especially being a nation that is renowned for its tenacious fight against colonialism in the past. We are certain that the UN has to be given full authority to resolve the issue of East Timor, only in this way can we be free from the labyrinth of mistakes of the past. We are also certain that this issue has to be part of the struggle for democratic rights, a struggle towards forming a government of people's sovereignty, far from authoritarian rule and one which places independence and human rights as a basis for international relations, a struggle such as that in which the PRD and the rest of the democratic movement are involved.

    Based on the above, the PRD sees the need to incorporate the `problem' of East Timor as the problem of the Indonesian people.

    The anti-colonialist nature of the Indonesian Constitution and people needs to be brought back to the forefront again. We are certain that the peaceful resolution of the East Timor conflict, a resolution which is far removed from the sacrifice of more human lives and from false nationalism can come about through the following means:

  • To allow the resolution of the conflict to be governed by UN resolution no. 3485/1975, a resolution which agrees to the ending of colonial rule in East Timor and the facilitation of the self-determination efforts of the Maubere people.
  • To reduce military operations and administration in East Timor and to hand it over to multinational peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the UN, as we have seen in Bosnia, Ethiopia and Cambodia.
  • To open up East Timor to journalists, human rights groups, the International Commission of the Red Cross (ICRC), individuals, researchers and all those who want to see the real conditions in East Timor in an objective manner, free from censorship and harassment.
  • To implement a political decentralisation project, which gives full autonomy to the Maubere people; the reduction of military personnel, the opening of an ICRC office, a multinational peace-keeping force till the time of a conduct of a referendum in East Timor.

    Issues surrounding the question of East Timor need not be a taboo question and a dark chapter of history. They will become clear and will shine brightly, like the shine and brightness of the strength and sovereignty of the Indonesian people in the future. Because of this, the question of East Timor needs to be resolved in good faith and with conviction as set out in the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the rights of people need to be protected according to legal principles so that they are not forced to choose rebellion as a final means of fighting tyranny and colonial domination.

    National Committee of the PRD
    Jakarta, 22 July 1996

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