[The following is a translation of a statement issued by the Trade Union Alliance Against Rotten Politicians (Aliansi Serikat Buruh Anti Politisi Busuk) on February 3, 2004. The original statement was untitled and the one used here was the choice of the translator.]
The 2004 elections will not solve workers’ problems
The basic problem being faced by workers and the Indonesian people in general at the moment is the grip global capitalism has on our economy. International capitalism uses local governments, in this case the government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Vice-president Hamzah Haz, as their agents, as puppets to implement their policies in Indonesia.
On the other side of the coin, day by day the position of the forces of the New Order regime of former President Suharto and the military are becoming stronger. The weakness of the democratic movement in consolidating and uniting itself has provided a huge opportunity for the resurgence of the military and the New Order. These forces have fully supported the sale of state assets, the abolition of subsidies, the liberalisation of food imports and so forth, polices which represent nothing less than the policies of the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank. It is they who are responsible for poverty and for the destruction of this country’s economy. Similarly, the promulgation of the Law Number 13/2003 on Employment will also directly serve the interests of international capital.
So, is it possible therefore, for the 2004 general elections, which are being organised by these corrupt forces, to provide a solution to the nation’s problems? Is it possible for the elections to bring prosperity to workers, if the political parties which are participating in them are same political forces which have been selling off the nation’s asses and who’s programs for workers is limited to their interest in maintaining cheap wages to attract investment? Is it possible for the elections to produce a just government if the numerous cases of corruption and human rights violations are not investigated and brought before the courts?
The workers’ answer is: No, it is not possible! The elections are not a solution for our problems, the problems of the working class.
Law Number 13/2003 on Employment and the law on the settlement of industrial disputes which were recently promulgated by the People’s Representative Assembly (DPR) are a huge catastrophe for the working class. Through these laws, job security has been abolished and outsourcing and the system of contract labour is becoming widespread and being applied everywhere. Mass dismissals are mushrooming, destroying the future of millions of workers and their families. The right to strike is being curtailed and imprisoned by new constraints.
We believe that these laws represent a rotten alliance between international capitalism and the evil forces in the parliament. All of the political parties who are in the parliament at the moment have betrayed the working class. With their voices they agreed to the enforcement of these laws, and with their hands they gave their signatures to them. These rotten political parties are the masterminds of the destruction of workers’ and their families futures.
Jacob Nuwa Wea, as the minister of labour and a member of Megawati’s Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), is the key perpetrator of the Mega-Hamzah government’s policies to oppress the working class. Jacob was the one who was most persistent in fighting for the enforcement of Law Number 13/2003. As the minister of labour, and as a politician and party figure, he must be categorised as a rotten politician.
Since occupying seats in parliament, these rotten political parties have not just issued laws which hurt workers. They are also responsible for agreements to privatise state assets which represent the livelihood of many people in this country. The recent forced evictions of workers and the urban poor from their homes in Jakarta could not possibly have occurred without their blessing.
As leaders of labour organisations, we have an obligation to provide a guide to workers in confronting this situation and the elections. We have the right and the obligation to warn workers, so that they are not manipulated and lied to by the rotten political parties and politicians.
We therefore call on all workers in this country not to vote for the rotten political parties which are squatting in the parliament. These parties are:
1. The Golkar Party
2. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle
3. The United Development Party
4. The National Mandate Party
5. The National Awakening Party
6. The Crescent Star Party
7. The Justice and Prosperity Party
Don’t mark their symbols on the ballot paper, don’t mark the names of their legislative candidates.
We also remind workers not to vote for parties which are lead by figures from the New Order or the military, because they have both been proven to be responsible for the destruction of the economy and the violence perpetrated in this country. We categories these parties as rotten political parties. These parties are:
1. The Democratic Party, lead by the Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security, retired General Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
2. The Indonesian Justice and Unity Party, lead by the former chief of the armed forces, retired General Edi Sudradjat
3. The National Functional Party of Concern, lead by former army chief of staff, retired General R. Hartono
4. The Pancasila Patriot Party, lead by the head of Pancasila Youth and a relative of the Suharto family, Yapto Suryosumarno
Meanwhile, there are 13 other political parties which we include in the category of parties which we “must be wary of”. The first reason is that they have never been involved in fighting for or struggling for workers, they have never concretely supported workers’ demands. Secondly, in general they have supported neoliberal and free market policies which have brought great suffering to workers and farmers. Thirdly, within these parties also squat elements of the New Order and the military, although not in leadership positions. This demonstrates their inconsistency in eradicating these two elements. Fourthly, they have not taken an explicit and consistent position in rejecting the implementation of marshal law in Aceh, which has sacrificed thousands of Acehnese people and hundreds of low-ranking military and police officers. It is impossible for them to have the courage to bring military figures who have perpetrated human rights violations to court in the future if are unwilling to reject marshal law in Aceh now.
In addition, we have also announced to workers and the people the names of politicians which we consider are rotten and who should not be supported. They are:
1. President Megawati Sukarnoputri
2. Vice-president Hamzah Haz
3. Golkar chairperson and house speaker Akbar Tandjung
4. Minister of Justice and Human Rights, Yusril Ihza Mahendra
5. Minister of Labour, Jacob Nuwa Wea
6. Coordinating Minister for Politics and Security, General Susilo Bambang Yudoyono
7. Siti “Tutut” Hardianti Rukmana, the eldest daughter of former President Suharto,
8. Former armed forces chief, retired General Wiranto
9. House speaker and chairperson of the National Mandate Party, Amien Rais
10. PDI-P legislator and member of the DPR’s special committee for the deliberation of the labour act, Rekso Ageng Herman
11. Golkar legislator and special committee member Surya Chandra Surapaty
12. All of the members of Commission VII on population, welfare and labour affairs
13. State Enterprises Minister, Laksamana Sukardi
Herein is our statement. We hope that it will be useful for the raising the political awareness of Indonesian workers.
Jakarta, February 3, 2004
Trade Union Alliance Against Rotten Politicians
- GSBI – The Association of Independent Trade Unions (Gabungan Serikat Buruh Independen)
- FNPBI – The Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle (Front Nasional Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia)
- SBMM – The Food and Drink Union (Serikat Buruh Makanan dan Minuman)
- SBTPI – The Indonesian Transport Union for Struggle (Serikat Buruh Transportasi Perjuangan Indonesia)
- SBN – The Nusantara Trade Union (Serikat Buruh Nusantara)
- SPSI LEM – The All Indonesia Trade Union – Metals, Electronics and Machinery division (Serikat Pekerja Seluruh Indnesia-Logam Elektronik Mesin)
- PRD – The People’s Democratic Party (Partai Rakyat Demokratik)
[Translated by James Balowski.]