( K P P - P R D )

Statement of Support for the Anti-APEC Conference
being held in Vancouver, Canada, 24- 25 November, 1997


Overthrow Suharto with a peoples uprising !

For more than 30 years, our country, Indonesia, has been ruled by the New Order militarist capitalist regime which came to power through a coup d'etat and which took the lives of approximately two million people. Since that time, the militarist-capitalist regime of General Suharto has exploited and opressed the Indonesian people. This militarist capitalist regime is a dictatorship of the capitalist class backed by military power. Today the Indonesian economy is controlled by the business cronies of Suharto whose own survival is dependent on military power.

The military is truly the henchman of Suharto so that he, his children, his grandchildren and all his cronies are undisturbed in their exploitation of the country's natural resources and of the Indonesian workers. According to Forbes magazine, Suharto is now the third richest dictator in the world and all based on this exploitation. While at the same time there are 27 million Indonesian earning less than 500 rupiah per day --the completely inhumane poverty level set by the regime itself. Suharto's massive wealth stands in stark contradiction to the suffering of tens of millions of Indonesian people.

These capitalist cronies of Soeharto gather this wealth in the most brutal of ways : state granted monopolies, specially provided credit, tax holidays, and the use of military intimidation whenever they need the people's land for their business schemes.

At the moment, the Indonesian economy is in crisis. For three months now this crisis has been destabilising the government. Still there are no signs of improvement, despite the aid given by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the imperialists' financial institution. The officials of the regime and the IMF are convinced that the crisis will soon pass because, they say, the fundamentals of the economy are sound. But the reality is different. Because the crisis that has hit Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries is a crisis of capitalism. It is not just a currency crisis, the result of foreign speculators, or simply a crisis in confidence in the rupiah or one of the other many excuses given by the capitalist technocrats. It is the greed of the capitalist cronies of Suharto that is also doing damage to the tropical environment of Indonesia. The most brutal clearing of forest has taken place, legitimised by the issuing of Forest Exploitation Licences (HPH). This has occurred alongside mining industry activity. The results have been the seizure and destruction of the traditional lands of the people of West Papua by Freeport with its gold mines at Puncak Jayawijaya. The people have risen up in their anger again and again to fight these activities. The fires, caused by these crony capitalists, that have raged across Kalimantan and spread smoke across the neighbouring countries of Southeast Asia have not only shamed the Indonesian people but also done irreparable damage to the ecology of the region and caused harm and breathing illnesses to so many people.

One crime that stands out above others is the extreme exploitation of the workers. Indonesian workers are the lowest paid in Asia. The workers are allowed no organisation, except that set up by the dictator called the All Indonesian Workers Union (SPSI). Protests are consistently attacked by the military. At the moment there are several worker activists in jail. They are : Dita Sari (President, Indonesian Centre for Labour Struggles, PPBI), Ignatius Pranowo (Secretary General, PPBI), Wilson bin Nurtias (head of education and international relations, PPBI), and Dr Muchtar Pakpahan (head, Indonesian Prosperous Workers Union, SBSI). And just recently the regime has pushed through new, even more repressive labour laws. These laws were pushed through despite opposition by many groups committed to the workers struggle.

The oppression and exploitation is also keenly felt by the urban poor and semi-proletariat. The millions of small farmers suffer as the value of their crops continues to fall. The small traders and entrepreneurs are more and more squeezed by those with big capital. If the Indonesian economy is even more opened up to the so-called free market, they will face competition not only from Indonesian big capital but imperialist business as well.

Now the New order militarist capitalist regime is integrating Indonesia into APEC. This means opening the door as wide as possible to allow imperialist interests to exploit Indonesia's natural resources and its people. Indonesia is a major export of minerals, mineral products and energy : tin, nickel, steel, aluminium, copper, and oil as well as raw rubber. And the tropical climate and fertile soil is ideal for plantations and agriculture. All this is in great demand by the imperialists and cannot be found in their own countries.

Furthermore, Indonesia has a large population. The labour supply is great and wages are the lowest in Asia. All the imperialist powers lust after Indonesia either for its markets or its cheap labour.

In short, by joining APEC Soeharto is inviting the imperialist countries to banquet on the natural wealth of Indonesia and to drink the blood of the Indonesian people. Integrating into APEC, means more exploitation and destruction of the Indonesian environment and more exploitation of the Indonesian people.

This activity can only be stopped with the overthrow of the dictator Suharto. There is no road to the improvement of the peoples welfare and the establishment of egalitarian distribution of incomes, with a change to the political system. But every effort to change the system is blocked by the New Order with its military strength. Democratisation in Indonesia would mean an end to the freedom to exploit both nature and the people for Suharto and his cronies. Democratisation is a threat to the position of the class that rules in Indonesia.

But all roads to replace Suharto constitutionally have been blocked. The people have no freedom to organise and no freedom to establish political parties. Elections are manipulated and carried out under the threat of military violence so that the people have no real right to vote or stand for election. Members of parliament may only be elected after being screened by the military and even then all their activities in the parliament are controlled by strict regulations. Any violation can lead to them being "recalled". All this closes off any chance of Suharto being replaced by constitutional means. Suharto must be overthrown through a peoples uprising.

The struggle for democratisation is an international struggle. The responsibility for the overthrow of Soeharto is not just the responsibility of the Indonesian people, but of all people opposed to oppression the world over. So we call upon pro-democracy forces everywhere to work arm in arm with the Indonesian people to overthrow dictator general Suharto.

Therefore, the Central Leadership Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (KPP-PRD) make the following call :
1 . reject the attendance of Suharto and his delegation in Vancouver !
2 . for all pro-democracy forces to begin demonstrations outside the Indonesian Embassies or consular offices with the demands :
i . Overthrow Suharto with a peoples' uprising !
ii . a referendum for the Maubere people
iii. free all political prisoners
iv. the military must return to the barracks

One Struggle, One Transformation :
Democracy or Death!

Jakarta, 22 November 1997
for the KPP-PRD

Mirah Mahardhika

Europe Office
E-mail : prdeuro@xs4all.nl
Sun, 23 Nov 1997 20:28:36 +0100 (CET)

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