For the sake of democracy, the PRD is not afraid of death

Reporter – January 17, 2004
Former People's Democratic Party chairperson Harris Rusli Moti (Era Muslim)
Former People's Democratic Party chairperson Harris Rusli Moti (Era Muslim)

Remember the People’s Democratic Party (PRD), remember how radical these young people were in the struggling for democracy. Although they admit they are still weak in terms of building a mass base, to this day the PRD is still consistent in its mission of struggle. That is, for the sake of democracy, they are not afraid of death. That’s how extreme they are.

According to former PRD chairperson Harris Rusli Moti, this party of young people still has a clear program to respond to the economic and political problems which are being endured by society at the moment. That, he says, can be seen from their struggle against neoliberal economic policies which are being forced on our country by the advanced countries.

“In political terms, from the start the PRD was the most consistent in carrying out the struggle against the old forces and were the first to teach the people how to carry out such a struggle. Not just an economic struggle, but also a political struggle”, revealed Harris yesterday during an event to introduce the new leadership board members from the ranks of the party with the symbol of a star and half circle of notches for a flag.

Harris explained that there has been no change in the PRD’s struggle. They are still consistent in taking it forward in this historical period. “When [the party] was first established in 1996, we fought the forces of the New Order [regime of former President Suharto]. When that regime fell, we were still consistent in carrying out the struggle against their leftovers and the [current] regime which supports the New Order”, he explained.

Taking up the issue of Aceh and West Papua, he went on to say that the PRD’s position has not changed. We were aware then and now, about our vision of how to resolve society’s  problems, which is by forming a [political] vehicle for them. There is nothing which will change the fortunes of society except the people themselves. This is the PRD’s call to make the people aware that people themselves must also have the courage to organise said Harris. “Don’t pin your hopes on the parliament, the political parties, or the current elite forces”, he asserted.

Senayan is not the goal

The parliamentary struggle is not the primary aim of this party with the red flag. Even if they were able to get into Senayan [the national parliament], this must be understood as being part of their fight to assist the extra-parliamentary struggle. “[To try and get] one or two legislative candidates into the parliament, not to just discuss the state budget and all sort of other things, but to mobilise people in a revolutionary way so that they have the courage to bring down this regime which is not right”, he explained.

During the launch of the new leadership, PRD secretary general Zely Ariane explained that the PRD has stated explicitly that there is not one political party participating in the elections which has a program which can provide a solution to the [problems of] Indonesian people. The four issues which are their main concern, militarism, the welfare of the people, the struggle for women’s rights and corruption, have still to become a central part of the programs of these political parties.

Nevertheless said the activist, the PRD does not have a position or interest in – as they say – boycotting the elections. The PRD is only interested in making people realise that the 2004 elections do not have any real meaning and will not produce any [real change]. “We will provide the evidence, this election will have no [meaningful] outcome”, she explained yesterday. “But, if the ordinary people still decide to choose and use their right to vote in the 2004 elections, we will leave that up to them”, she asserted.

The new general chairperson of the PRD for the period 2004-2006, Yusuf Lakaseng, went on to explain that the PRD’s resolution asserts that the coming elections are not the solution which is need by the people. What is needed by the people at the moment is the establishment of a people’s government which is able to resolve the basic issues which are bearing down on ordinary people. This government would be an alliance of all the mass organisations of the people’s struggle which will include trade unions, farmers, students, artists, low-ranking solders and political parties along with individuals who are sincere in struggling for the interests of the people.

The principle struggle at this time is to organise the oppressed classes to become the class in power. With this consciousness, they will be able to build socialism in Indonesia.

During the launch of the new leadership, the PRD also received the full support of Faisal Syarifuddin from the Aceh People’s Association for their commitment to continue to pay attention to the peoples of Aceh, West Papua and other parts in Indonesia which are still “oppressed”. Similar support was also offered by Hans Gebze from the Papua Students Alliance. (imt)

[Translated by James Balowski.]