May Day – A day to unite the people’s struggle for genuine prosperity and freedom

PRP – April 24, 2008
PRP Rally Jakarta (Mahendra)
PRP Rally Jakarta (Mahendra)

Greetings to all working people,

Within a few days, the reform movement that marked the fall of President Suharto’s New Order regime on May 21, 1998 will be 10 years old. Reformasi generated new hopes of prosperity for the Indonesian people. But the prosperity dreamed of by the ordinary people after reformasi did not arrive. Instead, people’s lives have become further impoverished with increases in the price of basic commodities, growing unemployment, low wages, the high cost of education and healthcare services and a myriad of other problems that are progressively strangling the Indonesian people.

The impoverishment of the Indonesia people cannot of course be separated from the polices being pursued by those in power, whether it be the government or the parliament. The government, which was elected by the Indonesian people though the 2004 general elections, has in fact never sought to protect the people that determined their fortunes after the election campaign. Almost all of the policies over the last 10 years have simply reflected the interests of the owners of domestic and foreign capital. This is because the majority of Indonesia’s leaders originate from the capital owning class. Just look at who benefits from the program to privatise state-owned enterprises and the education sector, labour regulations that result in contract labour systems and outsourcing, low wages and the like.

State hegemony over the last 10 years has succeeding in delivering the Indonesian people into the hands of a new style of colonialism – neo-colonialism. Meanwhile none of the promises that were made during the election campaign were fulfilled, it was all empty talk. It is time for the Indonesian people to stop trusting the people and political parties that are currently in power or have seats in parliament. Because out of all the political parties that have seats in the parliament, not one has proven itself capable of improving ordinary people’s lives. It is time for the Indonesian people to take power from those that the people have trusted up until now and stop depending on these people and political parties to determine our hopes and future for the next 5-6 years.

In relation with the mandate of reformasi 10 years ago – which was based on the spirit of change for sovereignty and liberation – the Indonesian people must look for an alternative solution to address the myriad of problems resulting from the crisis and the failure of capitalist development and seek a solution to resolve the people’s problems. The concept of social justice or socialism is the alternative that the Indonesian people must fight for. Under socialism, working people will be protected from the savage exploitation of labour contract systems and outsourcing in the workplace. Under socialism, education will be free, scientific and democratic. Under socialism the greed of the free market will no longer have the absolute power to determine the price of basic commodities for the people. Under socialism, low wages will no longer be allowed. The political concept of socialism is the mandate to address the people’s suffering.

The fight for socialism requires struggle and consciousness, and of course, it requires the greatest unity of the people’s movements. If all Indonesian people are conscious of the need to fight for their future in order to achieve prosperity, then this is not impossible. As a starting point, May 1, International Labour Day, should become a means to consolidate the movement and demonstrate the power of organised people in large numbers to those in power who prioritise the interests of the owners of capital.

We from the Working People’s Association (Perhimpuan Rakyak Pekerja, PRP) therefore call on all Indonesian people to:

  • Unite, come together and join the ranks of protesters for the May 1 (May Day) action that is being led by working comrades who are determined to besiege the State Palace.
  • To use the momentum of May (from May 1 to May 21) to unite the Indonesian people’s struggle. Please comrades, let us reaffirm the commitment of the reform movement to bring about the genuine change that has yet to be completed.
  • Abandon your trust in the current administration and the leaders who are in power, both the administration and the parliament. Do not use your right to vote in the 2009 general elections, if it is only to strengthen hegemony of a state that prefers to sell itself to foreign capital and has never fulfilled its obligation to guarantee social security and to bring prosperity to the people.

The alternative to all of the current problems facing the people and the Indonesian nation is to take up the banner of social justice or SOCIALISM, where the people can achieve genuine prosperity and freedom and no longer be oppressed for the benefit of capital.

Jakarta – April 24, 2008

Working People’s Association Central Committee
Irwansyah, Secretary General

JL Gading Raya gg Gading IX No 12
Pisangan Timur, Jakarta Timur
Tel: (021) 93094075
Fax: (021) 47881632

[Translated by James Balowski.See also: Socialism is the only true path to liberate the working class]