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The people will continue to resist!

The people's resistance against injustice, poverty and all those forms of oppression which have so long ground the people down has increasingly found expression. This has happened as the objective conditions have become clearer, namely, a situation marked by: increasingly frequent theft of the people's land; degeneration of the labour relations system; the collapse of the justice system; shackling the press; increasingly brutal and crude destruction of democracy; the increasingly open corruption and collusion between bureaucrats and capitalists and; increasingly repressive state apparatus oppressing the people to safeguard its "stability" in exploiting all natural resources.

It is only hypocrisy and subservience to self-interest that blinds itself to reality and distorts the truth before millions of people who are now conscious and fed up with empty propaganda. No matter how clever the disguise, the reeking stench still leaks out. Indeed the stench will soon overpower the hypocrites themselves and force them to swallow all the corruption they themselves have created. The people are not stupid and will uncover all the crimes and rottenness that has so long been a chronic disease endemic to a system that worships greed.

July 27 was an important moment in the history of the Indonesian people's struggle for democracy. It was the climax of a process of accumulated tensions, originating from the people's demands for democracy and for the replacement of the regime. This momentum was caused by the regime's response to the growing strength and breadth of the people's movement. The regime has grown scared of the actions and strikes organised by the PRD, and the spread of support and sympathy for the struggle by Megawati- PDI has unsettled the owners of big capital who are in collusion with the palace.

The movement for change led by the PRD hopes for peaceful change. Both the extra- parliamentary and parliamentary struggle here are inspired by the examples of the people's struggles in other democracies, such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, Korea, Thailand and the Philippines. Where the people have the constitutional right to organise, to have their own parties and to decide what they should aspire to, including to struggle for a change in those who rule, if that is what is needed to guarantee justice and democracy in a country that will then belong to the people themselves. These rights are guaranteed in the preamble to the 1945 Constitution, in the constitution itself and in Panca Sila. The constitution and the Panca Sila has only ever been used to attack the people when they struggle for their sovereignty, while it has been the people themselves who have struggled so hard to give life to these provisions, including through their new political parties.

The PRD and its mass organisations are among those who have struggled consistently in this way without trumpeting about the ideological foundations of the state, namely, the Constitution and Panca Sila. It is a public secret that it is only corrupters, hypocrites and dictatorial rulers who have to hide behind appeals to the Constitution and Panca Sila, turning it into a mantra for oppressing and stealing from the people. There is nothing in the PRD's own constitution and rules that is in contradiction with the Constitution and Panca Sila. The manifesto simply sums up the real situation that the people must face.

The regime's fear of the growing strength of the peoples' movement for democracy led to the violent and bloody attacks on the PDI headquarters, to the attempt to shackle the people with threats and in the end to try to divide the people through identifying a scapegoat. If there had not been the manoeuvre by the Armed Forces (the attack on the PDI headquarters and the bomb threats), the coalition between the PDI, PRD, the July 1 petition and MARI would have been able to lead the people in the struggle for change and to replace the current powers. Because that coalition received wide support from the people. From all sectors: workers, peasants, the urban poor, students, young people, artists and writers, journalists, professional people, politicians, retired military officers (and even some active officers.)

July 27 was important because it opened the masses' eyes to the fact that they could act. The attack on the PDI headquarters brought forth spontaneous and widespread waves of actions by the masses. The burning of buildings that caused billions of Rupiah damage was the initiative of the masses of people fed up with decades of oppression and violation of their rights. Yet should we blame them for their anger and running amok? For those who feel the pain directly on their flesh, to the marrow of their bones, what does the oppression that hides behind appeals to development and stability mean? Just as with those who suffered the same experience in East Timor (the Maubere people) in Papua (West Irian), Aceh, Lampung, Tanjung Priok and other places, they have come to understand that it is oppression that is the cause of resistance. Because human beings are not beasts. They have a brain and they have the right to life and self-respect! And still even a worm twists and turns when it is stepped upon!

The resistance of July 27 startled the regime. And it has made the regime even more unpopular at home and abroad accelerating the approach of a crisis in the regime. In the aftermath of July 27, there has been a polarisation between those who are for and against Democracy, the People and Change. The regime has totally failed to consolidate any positive public opinion in its favour because of its dishonest and brutal attitudes. The PRD and the Megawati-PDI have been opening the eyes of the masses to the true character of the New Order. Support and sympathy for the PRD and the Megawati-PDI continues to flow in from the masses, both in the provinces and in the power centre. The international community has also not remained silent and has continued to demand justice for Megawati and the release of the PRD leaders who have been imprisoned and tortured.

Some opportunist elements are saying that the July 27 events signal the end of the democratic mass movements. Some right-wing opportunists have even joined the campaign to scare people with anti-Communist propaganda (which has lost its popularity, despite the campaign through the media, public forums and despite the right- wing opportunists united resolve on this issue.) But both the poor masses and the professional layers have not bought this propaganda and in fact have exhibited an increasingly critical interest in studying the PRD. More and more people -- academics, professionals, NGO activists and ordinary people -- have written in the media rebutting the accusations made by those trying to isolate the PRD.

On the issue of July 27, several different views have formed:

Several groups will reap some harvest from the July 27 events. Even elements among the bureaucrats and Armed Forces. Political concessions have been given to the press, to legal quarters and to human rights groups etc. Others have benefited by the money that's flowed to security after the bomb threats -- threats that were engineered by the regime itself. Even a month before July 27, several big capitalists had been told take their money off shore. While several Armed Forces personnel have lost their positions, several others as well as several senior bureaucrats have been able to consolidate their positions. Several "Islamic politicians" and "intellectuals" have been further embraced in order to consolidate the New Order. They are used to mobilise people not yet awakened to what is happening or who can be bought.

For the masses and for the movement for democracy, July 27 is a lesson that the people have the power to bring about change. The masses are the most important element in any struggle for change. The struggle will be victorious if the masses organisation is consolidated and systematically led with the correct strategy and tactics. It is the people who will determine whether the struggle which has now been awakened shall continue. The movement for democracy has to be prepared to face crackdowns like that launched on July 27.

It would be wrong for us to lie down now, to conform to the logic of the regime and the opportunists. Because, whether there had been a Megawati or not, whether their had been the PRD or not, this depraved regime, with its superior power and position would have eventually found some other scapegoat. Only through organisation, a solid Party and united masses can this depravity be overturned!

The Megawati-PDI is continuing the struggle despite all the intimidation and deceit, confident of ultimate victory. The PRD also continues the struggle, despite the arrests and torture of tens of our leaders. The PRD will continue the struggle to awaken the masses to resist. About this there can be no doubt!

International solidarity is spreading. This includes too the bans on Indonesian shipping carried out by the Australian waterside workers who have demanded the release of Dita Sari, Muchtar Pakpahan and Budiman Sujatmiko. Protests and hunger strikes to demand the release of the PRD leaders are planned for Europe and Asia. We must thank people for this because it shows that the Indonesian people are not alone in their struggle.

The military's intervention in organising the [Suryadi] congress and in violently seizing the PDI-Megawati office and which has cost many lives was carried out on a direct order by Suharto. So it is Suharto and his elite who must be held responsible. It is they who must be hauled before the courts and held accountable for their violation of the constitution and the Panca Sila; for the slaughter of the people in 1965-6, the slaughter of the Maubere people in East Timor, Papua, Aceh, Lampung and Tanjung Priok. So it is only to be expected if the masses bring charges against Suharto in the courts later, like the two presidents of South Korea!

Even in the night,
the stars shine.
And the next morning,
the sun rises.

People of Indonesia awaken now,
stand straight and resist!
Democracy or death!

Retno Yulianto
A PRD rank-and-file member in the arena of struggle.

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