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Strategy and tactics in the struggle for democracy

[Below are excerpts from the PRD program adopted at the 1996 congress. Further excerpts from this document are published in this booklet in the section "A People's Coalition Government and its commitments".]

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

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.

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