Workers to call for alternative political force on May Day

Source – April 27, 2018
Gebrak to call for formation of political alternative - April 27, 2018 (Kompas)
Gebrak to call for formation of political alternative - April 27, 2018 (Kompas)

Moh Nadlir, Jakarta – The Labour Movement for the People (Gebrak) will call for the formation of a political alternative at May Day demonstrations or the commemoration of International Labour Day on May 1.

Gebrak spokesperson Damar Panca said the public only sees a few issues being articulated in relation to labour affairs, such as decent wages and outsourcing.

“But we are aware that there is an urgent need. What is this urgent need? It is the development of a political alternative”, said Damar at the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta) offices in Central Jakarta on Friday April 27.

According to Damar, it is time for workers to consider forming a united movement by developing their own political consciousness. “Because if we are going to make demands, if we don’t have political consciousness then we won’t be able to do anything”, he said.

This is because existing legislation and regulations are drafted by the representatives of the political parties who sit in the House Representatives (DPR). According to Damar, the DPR does not represent workers let alone articulate workers’ demands.

“Including their executive leadership, they are not worker representatives. They are also not representatives of people’s power. But a regime that is indeed dominated by the power of capital”, said Damar.

Because of this, said Damar, it is important for workers to improve their political consciousness and build their own political force.

“I think that that this is our principle call. Then on the question of other demands I think they will still be the same as in previous years”, he said.

Gebrak plans to hold protests on May Day involving 150,000 workers from 18 provinces and 30,000 workers from Jakarta and the satellite cities of Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi (Jabodetabek).

In all, 35 labour organisations will take part in the demonstrations. “For Jabodetabek [the protests] will be centred on the state Palace”, said Damar.

The protests will begin at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle (Bundaran HI) in Central Jakarta then move off to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) offices on Jl. MH Thamrin.

Next, they will protest at the Arjuna Wijaya or Horse Statue, the Constitutional Court and the Radio Republic Indonesia building. The rally will end at the State Palace.

“[We’ll] gather at 9am at the Bundaran HI. We’re inviting all labour and people’s organisations to come and unite in action”, said Damar.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was May Day 2018, Buruh Akan Serukan Pembentukan Politik Alternatif.]