Democracy under threat, Jokowi's thirst for criticism an empty brag

Arah Juang – March 14, 2021
KASBI poster in solidarity with Nining Elitos – Undated (Arah Juang)

The following is a statement by the Indonesian Trade Union Congress Alliance (KASBI) in response to a police summons for KASBI General Chairperson Nining Elitos over alleged health protocol violations during the commemorations of International Women's Day (IWD) in Jakarta on March 8.

Viva solidarity!

Who knows how many times we have heard the regime of the ruling class speaking through the mass media, asking for criticism and demonstrations if there are policies which do not side with the majority of the ordinary people.

As was conveyed on National Press Day on February 9, "For the government, press freedom, criticism, suggestions and input, are like jamu [traditional medicine] which strengthens the government. We need open criticism, sharp criticism, criticism which is strong, because it is with this criticism that the government will grow with more direction and more correctly".

Unfortunately, the government's actions are not as sweet or in accordance with what was said. Curbing of the ordinary people's democratic space continues on a massive scale, both through buzzers and the state apparatus. Plot twists, repression and criminalisation are still rampant and being used to silence critical voices which are genuinely being articulated for the sake of improving the realisation of social justice for all Indonesian people.

Foolish it seems when the Covid-19 pandemic is used to control and silence the ordinary people's democratic rights to criticise government policies which only benefit the 1%, the oligarchy and financial capitalists, where the Omnibus Law on Job Creation along with its derivative regulations are being used to hand down rulings for their sake, but sacrifice the 99% whose rights will be further oppressed, weighted down and exploited as citizens.

The other day, on Monday March 8, when IWD 2021 was being commemorated in Jakarta by many cross-sector women's groups under the alliance of the Labour Movement with the People (Gerakan Buruh Bersama Rakyat, GEBRAK), who maintained health protocols when they took to the streets, it ended in the official organiser of the action, KASBI General Chairperson, comrade Nining Elitos, being summoned by the Metro Jaya regional police in what appears to be the criminalisation of a woman worker for alleged violations of health protocols.

The KASBI confederation is demanding an end to the stifling of democracy, repression and criminalisation of people's movement activists who are fighting against, articulating and resisting numerous forms of injustice, oppression and exploitation by the capitalists through their lackeys.

  • Viva the people who continue to fight!
  • Long live the resistance!
  • Salutations to the young and militant youth!
  • Build unity, win the people's sovereignty!

#LawanKriminalisasi #WeStandingWithNiningElitos #HariPerempuanSedunia #GERBAKinIWD2021 #MosiTidakPercaya #CabutOmnibusLaw #TolakOmnibusLaw #GEBRAK #KonfederasiKASBI #MudaBeraniMilitan #PerkuatPersatuanRebutKedaulatanRakyat

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Demokrasi Indonesia Terancam, Obral ‘Haus Kritikan ala Rezim’ Hanyalah Bualan!".]