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PRD leads Indonesia's largest workers' action

[This is the text of a leaflet distributed en masse to workers participating in a 20,000 strong rally on July 8, 1996 in Surabaya]

Today we march together, arm in arm, linked in unity to struggle for our demands. We must show the bosses that we are not milk cows, who can be oppressed and exploited at their whim. It is obvious that we need a food allowance, transport allowance, menstruation leave, maternity leave and so on. We reject the contract system. We demand that all the boss's apparatus, the foremen who oppress us: Get out! Get out of the factories! Do you all agree!

We must all remember that our strike today is not just to demand an increase in our wages. Our struggle is not just an act of personal revenge against the boss's apparatus. A thousand strikes aimed only at wage increases will make no difference! Remember, since the beginning of the 1990s Indonesia's workers have launched hundreds of strikes demanding wage rises and improved conditions. The workers' wages go up, but they are followed by rises in prices and in transport costs. So what have we gained? The workers remain paupers, still sucked poor by the bosses, the businessmen alias the capitalists. So the workers' struggles, and therefore the struggle of the Peoples Democratic Party, cannot be limited to the struggle for wage increases. That is called economism! History has proven that economism has never solved the problems of the working people, and the Indonesian people as a whole.

The capitalists never give any thought to the problems of the workers' welfare. They only think about how they can suck dry the workers, how to get the most profit out of the products of the workers' efforts. And even when you come forward with your demands, the capitalists will take actions to stop you. They are never willing to share their wealth with the workers. If the workers organise a demonstration the bosses will surely call in the military to intimidate the workers. The capitalists, together with the imperialists (international capitalists) and some elements of the Armed Forces were the people who established the New Order. After slaughtering two million people, most of whom were workers, they established a new state, based on the capitalist system, and putting to work millions of the people as industrial workers. At the moment the total number of workers throughout Indonesia is 86 million. So that industry can function smoothly and free of strikes, the New Order uses military force to suppress the workers movement and other peoples' movements demanding democracy and social justice.

This capitalist regime, in the interests of capital, has even been willing to invade and occupy other independent regions and make them part of Indonesia, such as East Timor.

And so that this capitalist economy continues to function, the imperialists continue to give financial support in the form of more debts, as well as investment.

And then to make sure the workers and the people cannot organise freely the New Order regime has put into place the packet of five Political Laws (the Political Parties Law, the Elections Law, the Composition of Parliament Law, the Referendum Law and the Mass Organisations Law) which in essence forbids the people from establishing their own independent organisations, including independent trade unions.

In the meantime, the Armed Forces continues to carry out surveillance on, to terrorise, and even to kill people who struggle for their freedom. The military is able to interfere in every aspect of the peoples' lives. For the regime this comes from the concept of Dual Function, re-inforced by the national intelligence body Bakorstanas Decision No 2/1990. The military always take action using that out of date excuse: "to protect stability". They search out those who "are behind" the strikes and the workers are intimidated with accusations that they are part of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) or terrorists and so on.

Look at how many intelligence agents there are in Surabaya today, how many soldiers and police, yet this is our business, the workers' own affair. The military have no right to interfere! And so we demand: End the Dual Function of the Armed Forces! It is through the Dual Function that the people and the workers are imprisoned and oppressed by the regime so that they cannot put up any resistance to this militarist capitalist regime.

Today you can see for yourselves in the case of PDI and Megawati how the regime (Golkar and the Armed Forces) is trying to destroy the political life of the people.

The PDI, under the leadership of Megawati, has received strong and wide support from the people. Who is it that supports Megawati! Yes, the millions who live in poverty, the workers on their miserable wages, the farmers pushed off their land, the silenced students, the terrorised intellectuals, the banned newspapers. The people want Megawati Sukarnoputri to replace Suharto. Because the people know that the exploitation and oppression that they now suffer is a result of the Suharto (Golkar and the Armed Forces) New Order regime's economic and political policies. The PDI, under the leadership of Megawati Sukarnoputri, does not want to be completely controlled by the regime. The PDI under Megawati Sukarnoputri's leadership has become bolder in its criticisms and more responsive to the peoples' aspirations, even though the parties remain shackled by the 1985 package of political laws. This is what the New Order (Golkar and ABRI) hate so much, because the actions of the people as well as the PDI have the potential to restrain their political power. So the decision of the supporters of the Megawati PDI in taking mass actions against the military interference is totally justifiable.

So we must be clear that our enemy is not just the bosses but also the militarist capitalist New Order regime. All of the peoples' problems, from A to Z, stem from this oppressive regime. So the workers should prepare themselves for an offensive against the New Order. The offensive against this anti-people regime must continue and must involve more and more people. Actions by one factory are no longer sufficient. The workers must be able to draw in other factories, uniting their forces and unifying our demands. It is only through the galvanising of the masses in action that we can keep going and launch effective offensives against the peoples' enemies. And the galvanising of the masses must be led by a party that is based on the people, that has proven itself as prepared to defend the people with all its soul and body, with all its energies and resources, free of self- interest and opportunism.

The Peoples Democratic Party, standing for the sovereignty of the people, clearly states its support for the struggle of the Surabaya workers, and makes clear that it stands for:

  • struggling for all the demands of the workers
  • ending the interference of the military in workers affairs and in the PDI
  • the ending of the Armed Forces Dual Functions
  • repeal of the five 1985 Political Laws
  • the nomination of Megawati Sukarnoputri as a presidential candidate
  • This is where we stand. Let us now unite to mobilise the people's strength for "One resistance, one transformation".

    PRD President Budiman Sujatmiko
    Jakarta, 8 July 1996,
    distributed to 20,000 workers demonstrating in Surabaya

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