Yogyakarta – On Sunday April 6, around 40 students from the United People’s Committee (KRB) demonstrated at the Gadjah Mada University roundabout in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta. The protesters were opposing the 2009 general elections and calling for the immediate creation of an anti-imperialist government.
The KRB – which is made up of some 10 different organisations – believe that the 2009 election is not the correct solution to overcome the problems the country is facing. The elections are still dominated by fake reformists parties and the remnants of Suharto’s New Order regime, who work not in the interests of the little people but rather for their personal or class interests.
“Those participating in the elections are the ones that created the country’s problems [in the first place] so their seriousness in taking care of Indonesia is doubtful. For the poor, the 2009 elections are just an arena for the consolidation of elite power that is in direct conflict with the interests of the ordinary people”, said KRB speaker Andi Suli.
One of the problems that the KRB is focusing on is the suffering of the little people as a consequence of erroneous policies by those in power who tend to submit to foreign machinations. The economic crisis is worsening and poverty and unemployment rates are rising sharply, so the selling off of the nation’s assets is evidence of the ineptitude of those in power.
“Learning from experience, the 2009 general elections (will again) produce a government that will worsen the crisis and harm the people. Although during [election] campaigns the issue of economic self-sufficiency is heard, this does not preclude the possibility that the political actors (the political parties and figures) will in fact support money politics and sell off [the nation’s] wealth to foreign countries”, said Andi Permana from the Politics for the Poor-National Student League for Democracy (LMND-PRM).
Action coordinator Mutiara Eka Pratiwi expressed the view that the elections will not bring about change that will benefit the ordinary people, but rather will strengthen the grip of foreign colonial domination. It is because of this therefore, there are a number of reasons that the KRB are opposing the 2009 elections.
Among other things this is because the elections are seen as undemocratic and restrict the participation of the people as a whole. This problem is apparent from the legislation [on the elections and political parties], the preparations for the elections, the election campaigns and the elections themselves. The parties established by the little people have failed, while conversely the parties owned by the wealthy can easily participate in the elections.
According to the KRB, the parties that exist at the moment continue to throw around false promises. They fail to take responsibility and even seem to have washed their hands of past sins. Conversely, there is not one new political party that is truly clean or originates from the people’s movement.
The other factor that supports the people’s mistrust is the level of golput which is steadily increasing to the extent that the Indonesian Ulama Council issued a fatwa stating that it was haram not to vote. (WER)
1. Golput – Golongan putih or white movement, meaning not to mark the ballot paper or abstain from voting.
2. Such is the level of concern among the elite about the increasing levels of golput (as high as 40 percent in some regional elections), that in January the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) issued a fatwa (edict) stating that it was haram (forbidden) for Muslims not to vote.
[Translated by James Balowski.]