National Farmers Day rally in Jakarta slams fake agrarian reform, land monopolies

Media Rakyat Baru (MRB) – September 24, 2018
National Farmers Day commemoration at State Palace - September 24, 2018 (ram)
National Farmers Day commemoration at State Palace - September 24, 2018 (ram)

Jakarta – Protesters commemorating National Farmers Day (HTN) in Jakarta on September 24 have succeeded in holding an action in front of the State Palace in Central Jakarta after an earlier demonstration was blocked by police.

The demonstrators, which included farmers, workers, urban poor, women’s groups, youth and social organisations from the People’s Struggle Front (FPR), held the action to demand an end to land monopolies, the cancelation of land use permits (HGU) for big plantation companies and mining concessions and the return of this land to the ordinary people, particularly agricultural labourers and poor farmers.

In addition to this they also challenged the fake agrarian reform program being carried out by the administration of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla which strengthens the domination of big landlords, palm oil plantations, timber estates and mining companies who are the accomplices of monopoly capital or imperialism.

Earlier this morning the protesters also held an action at to convey their demands the US Embassy and the Jakarta governor’s office in Central Jakarta.

Specifically they slammed the US government as the largest imperialist power in the world which reaps huge profits from the theft of ordinary people’s land and infrastructure projects which result in people being evicted from their land.

“American imperialist domination, through financial institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank give birth to various land grab schemes. The Jokowi and Jusuf Kalla government’s agrarian reform has received as much as US$200 million in financial support from the World Bank”, said Dimas, the chairperson of the National Student Front (FMN) which also took part in the action.

The protests also targeted the Jakarta provincial government because it has acted as an agent in evicting ordinary people from their land in the interest of investment and projects funded by US imperialism.

One of the representatives of the West Jakarta organisation New Indonesia Youth (Pembaru), Kapuk Poglar, said that city rezoning projects, including land reclamation projects funded by the World Bank and investors from imperialist countries, have resulted in Jakarta’s poor being evicted from their land without compensation.

During the rally in front of the State Palace the Agrarian Reform Movement Alliance (AGRA) specifically conveyed to the government that the ordinary Indonesian people, including farmers, reject the Jokowi-JK government’s fake agrarian reform program funded by imperialism because it conflicts with the people’s desire to abolish land monopolies and carry out genuine agrarian reform.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski. The original title of the report was Sempat Dihadang Aparat, Kaum Tani, Buruh dan Organisasi Rakyat Lanjutkan Aksi di Depan Istana Negara.]