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By Nico Warouw

The Peoples Democratic Party (PRD) is a new party entering the Indonesian political arena. The New Order government under Suharto has killed democratic life in Indonesia. It has done this with its policy of banning many parties and forcing the fusion of the remaining various parties into two political parties, the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI) and the United Development Party (PPP). The PRD is not allowed to operate within the formal structures set up by the New Order government. There are no opportunities for the PRD to participate in the electoral process or parliament while this repression lasts.

One of the aims of the PRD is to help provide political education to the people, to help them realise the potential of their own strength. It is through the people's own strength, by organising themselves to carry out resistance against the government, that they will be able to free themselves from the structural oppression they suffer. The formation of the PRD was also meant to provide a political tool for the people as the people's resistance against the regime escalates, at it has done during the last several years. The PRD can help lead the movement in the direction of radical and people-oriented political change. The PRD can be the people's instrument in challenging the government and winning a full and genuine multi-party democracy and other gains for our country's students, workers and peasant farmers. Mass mobilisation and mass action are the effective methods for doing this.

The New Order's fear of the PRD's mass mobilisations and its consistency in leading militant mass actions has now led it to attempt to repress all of the PRD's political activities. This is true too for the mass organisations affiliated to the PRD, namely, the Indonesian Centre for Labour Struggles (PPBI), Students in Solidarity with Democracy in Indonesia (SMID), the National Peasants Union (STN), the Peoples Art Network ( Jakar), the Surakarta Peoples Union (SRS) and the Jakarta Peoples Union (SRJ). The arrests and hunting down of PRD leaders since the incident of July 27 only points to the regime's fear of the crystallising strength of the people. But this will not end the struggle of the Indonesian people. No authoritarian government in the world has been successful in permanently imprisoning the rising demands of the people for radical change.

This joint publication of Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET) and the PRD is intended to introduce people to the Indonesian people's struggle against the authoritarianism of the New Order. The international community needs to understand the background to the formation of the PRD, its analysis of the Indonesian situation, and the political positions of the PRD, including its position on East Timor. The struggle of people in one country against authoritarianism needs the support of people in other countries. So it is with the Indonesian people today. This is international solidarity. So we invite concerned people from around the world to join our struggle for democracy in Indonesia.

Nico Warouw,
International General Representative PRD
Adelaide, 24 September, 1996

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