Three statements from the People's Democratic Party (PRD) of Indonesia

. Below are three statements from the PRD of Indonesia. An assessment of this party is given in Pete Brown's article "Indonesia: downfall of a dictator". The PRD is a militant coalition of activist organizations that has, however, a petty-bourgeois outlook that leads it to seek all-class political unity and to ask bourgeois figures to lead the struggle.
(from Communist Voice #18, August 1, 1998)


Continue to raise the banner of the people's struggle towards a people's democratic government!

To all of the Indonesian people who are patriots and continue to struggle

Statement from the Central Leadership Committee of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), February 20, 1998


I. The National Situation

. The Suharto regime, which represents the capitalist interests of the Suharto family and relatives, is the cause of the destruction of the people's economy. Since taking power, Suharto has succeeded in exploiting the wealth of the people for the interests of his family and relatives. The destruction of the Indonesian economy has also been caused by the contradictions of the economic and political interests of imperialism in Indonesia.

. The Suharto government, which is corrupt and ridden with manipulation, has given birth to a capitalist system which is decayed and inefficient. The private debt (owed by the Suharto family) can no longer be tolerated by the interests of international capitalism (imperialism), which in this instance is represented by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The solution offered by the IMF and the World Bank is in the interests of imperialism (the U.S. and Europe).The Currency Board System, CBS(1), represents the interests of the Suharto family, relatives and domestic capitalists.

. Both of these solutions are far from the economic interests of the people, who will certainly suffer more from the destruction of their economy. International capitalism (imperialism), represented by the IMF and the World Bank, certainly want economic and political change in Indonesia. Imperialism wants a new regime which can guarantee the efficient running of international capitalism in Indonesia and which can fully control the Indonesian economy. Thus the wishes of imperialism, in this case the IMF and the World Bank, are inconsistent, because there is no opposition which is truly able to replace Suharto and safeguard imperialism's interests in Indonesia.

. A CBS which is regulated by the state/government, and which is still being considered by the Suharto regime, is in the interests of restoring the economic power of Suharto's family and relatives. It is clear that Suharto's family and relatives want to be able to rebuild [their economic power] through overseas loans. But the [payment of] the debt will left to the people, in this case the state, and is the [same kind of] greed which has been going on for more than 30 years and which has milked the people and the country.

. The People's Consultative Assembly, MPR(2), has already been set up to again choose Suharto as president and Habibie as vice president. The MPR is a puppet of Suharto, paid to ensure that he stays in power. The MPR is a grave dug by Suharto himself and for himself and the political system of the New Order which he created, because the people will continue to rise up to resist the dictatorship until the final bloody moment.

. The worsening economic and political situation will result in total bankruptcy. Indonesia is not a safe place to invest capital as long as Suharto is in power. There is no other choice for the international community other than supporting the people's struggle to overthrow Suharto and helping the people to build a more democratic economic and political system.

. Opposition figure such as Megawati Sukarnoputri, Amien Rais, Emil Salim, Sri Bintang Pamungkas, and Budiman Sudjatmiko, have become more self-confident because there is an increasingly strong people's movement to overthrow Suharto. However, these opposition figures will only get the support of the people if they are consistent and ready [to fight alongside] the people's struggle for the people's sovereignty and have the courage to face the risks, to unite and be together with the people in overthrowing the Suharto dictatorship.

. In the course of the emerging mass people's struggle, the people have paid little attention to the opposition figures which have emerged. Although there are many opposition figures, there are also many who are not ready [to do this] because they are afraid of Suharto's threats. Meanwhile the people's suffering worsens. They are getting hungrier, prices are rising, and human rights are being trampled upon. The people do not only want to replace the Suharto dictatorship, but they also want to reorganize the economic and political system and replace it with a system which is pro-people and is better able to guarantee the people's sovereignty, social justice, and democracy.

. The people now believe that the only solution for the Indonesian nation is to overthrow the Suharto dictatorship. If a constitutional path cannot be followed because it has been corrupted and become anti-people, the people will move with the law of revolution. That is a people's uprising to replace the Suharto dictatorship, the government, and all of the institutions which are vile and decayed, with a sovereign people's government which is just and democratic. Only in this way can political and economic democracy be built by the people.

. The puppet MPR/DPR(3) which has been bribed by Suharto must be replaced by the people. An independent and sovereign People's Council (Dewan Rakyat) must be established to replace the function of the puppet DPR/MPR. It must be established at all levels: the hamlet, village, sub-district, city, regency, province, and nationally. People's councils must also be established on campuses, schools, factories, and offices.

II. What Must Be Done -- The Pressing Tasks Of The People!

. 1. Establish an Independent People's Council (DRM) in all regions and places of work and study!

. All of those people struggling for democracy must build the DRM. Those who will sit on the council should be all of the local representatives and representatives of the functional groups, representatives of all of the [economic] sectors and professions, [political] parties, and independent mass organizations which wish to struggle with the people for democracy. This council will be the highest instrument of the people's struggle, because it will be established on the people's initiative. The first task of the council is to select the leaders of the people who are virtuous, courageous, and ready [to struggle for the people].

2. Continue to take the people's demands to those in power!

. Use all means of struggle to carry the central demands [of the people] to the government. The central demands of the people are:

* Reject the results of the 1997 general election and abolish the puppet DPR/MPR;

* Reject the 1998 session of the MPR and the appointment of Suharto as president;

* Reduce prices;

* Arrest and try Suharto, his family, and his relatives as the cause of the people's suffering;

* Withdraw the five repressive political laws(4);

* Nationalize all of the economic assets of Suharto and his family and relatives;

* Establish an independent people's council.

3. Launch protests and strikes!

. The people must continue to resist with strikes everywhere: on campus, in factories, offices, and schools. To seize, occupy, and control all of these places. End all productive work, transportation, and education which is anti-people. Launch general strikes at the city, provincial, and national level, and in all [economic] sectors. The demands of all sectors, professions, and regions must be taken up together with the central demands of the people.

4. End conflicts between the people and unite to overthrow Suharto!

. End conflicts and hatred between religious groups, ethnic groups, and non-Chinese and Chinese. These conflicts are politically engineered by the Suharto regime to play one side off against the other. The aim of this manipulation is to cover up the fact that Suharto is the cause of the problems and the suffering of the people, and to save Suharto himself [from being the target].The people must unite to resist Suharto because he is the cause of all of the people's suffering. The people must understand that Suharto's wealth is as much as $US 40 billion. Suharto is the third richest person [in the world] after Bill Gates (U.S.) and the Sultan of Brunei. All of this wealth is owned by the people and must be returned to the hungry people.

Instructions To All PRD Cadre

. To all PRD cadre throughout the country. Our task at the moment is to:

* Help the people to build a genuine people's council at all regional levels and places of work and study;

* Help the people in demanding their rights to fulfill their economic needs (stomachs), that is in retaking the productive sectors with the benefits of production to be used by the people in a just manner;

* Help the people to launch a mass struggle though strikes, protest actions, and so on as the tool of the people's struggle.

. Continue to be firm and ready to join with the people's struggle until the people win and are fully in power. All that we have suffered, the deaths, jailings, abuse, and insults, are not as great as the suffering the people. Our blood and tears will increase and broaden the flames of the people's struggle to bring down the Suharto dictatorship and establish a genuine democracy.

. Jakarta, February 20, 1998
. In the name of the Central Leadership of the PRD (KPP-PRD), Mirah Mahardhika

. Translated by James Balowski, Action in Solidarity with Indonesia and East Timor (ASIET), Publications and Information Officer.
. (Notes and bracketed additions are by the translator.)

Statement on the situation developing in the capital city and other regions

National Leadership Committee of the People's Democratic Party (KPP-PRD),
May 14, 1998

. Today students and people rose up in a mass battle in Jabotabek [Jakarta - Bogor - Tengerang - Bekasi, the greater Jakarta industrial zone], while students throughout the country held demonstrations in different cities. The people's battle in Jakarta is widespread, breaking out simultaneously everywhere and has paralyzed the city.

. Hungry people are taking goods from the supermarkets and setting fire to buildings and vehicles. The battle has continued through to this morning and has spread to attacks on [wealthy] housing complexes.

. The authorities have not been able to confront the people's resistance. Everywhere, the masses cannot be prevented from carrying out the attacks. Many in the armed forces are demoralised.

. President Suharto has said that he is prepared to step down if the people do not support him.This indicates that they are cornered by the continued launch of attacks on the dictatorship.

. A. To the people

. 1. Do not let the rioting become an ethnic, religious, racial or inter-group conflict. We must not destroy, take from or kill our Chinese brothers and sisters. The source of the people's suffering is not the Chinese, but Suharto and the dictatorship. Many Chinese have also suffered and been oppressed by Suharto. The attacks and looting of our Chinese brothers and sisters will only weaken our struggle and benefit Suharto by becoming a battle between the people.

. 2. Focus the attacks and looting on what is owned by capitalists, the government, government officials and the armed forces. Once again don't damage or take that which is owned by your own people!

. 3. Rally to the centre of the city, to places like government offices and the police and military headquarters.

. B. To all pro-democratic figures

. 1. To Megawati [Sukarnoputri, ousted leader of the Indonesian Democratic Party], Amien Rais [head of the Muslim mass organisation Muhammadiyah], Budiman Sudjatmiko [jailed chairperson of the PRD], Sri-Bintang Pamukas [jailed chairperson of the Indonesian United Development Party] and others. It is time for you to state your readiness to replace Suharto. This must be done soon because Suharto is no longer wanted by the people and is ready to step down.

. 2. We must reject collaboration with the armed forces. In a modern democracy the military must not be allowed to mix in political affairs. The political violence and the destruction of democracy in Indonesia is a result of allowing the military to enter the world of politics legitimised by the dual function of the armed forces.

. 3. We must quickly prepare an Independent People's Council to replace the parliament and the People's Consultative Assembly [which "elects" the president].

. C. To the soldiers and civil servants

. 1. Remove your uniforms and join with the people. It is time for you to abandon Suharto.

. D. To the New Order dictatorship

. 1. End the brutal actions against the people as this will only broaden and create destruction everywhere. The destruction which has occurred so far has been a result of repressive actions by the military. If the students and people are given permission to hold a rally they will do it in a peaceful manner.

. 2. President Suharto must really step down. Don't let this new statement that he is prepared to step down just be political rhetoric.

. 3. The commander of the armed forces, the military and police commanders of Greater Jakarta must step down, because they have taken brutal action against students and the people and can no longer carry out their functions.

. 4. The armed forces must end its activities in the political arena, because the involvement of the armed forces in political matters has resulted in the death of democracy and the political violence.

. Jakarta, May 15
. In the name of KPP-PRD, Mirah Mahardhika
. Translated by James Balowski, ASIET Publications and Information Officer

Down with the new order regime
--- with or without Suharto!

People's Democratic Party Statement, May 19, 1998

. The following statement was issued from Sydney, Australia by Edwin Gozal, the International Representative of the People's Democratic Party (PRD), on Tuesday, May 19:

. General Suharto has said that he will set up a reform committee that will draft a new election law and a new law on the parliament's composition, then his regime will call for new elections "as soon as possible". And Suharto said he won't run for president.

. This is a sham reform! Suharto is just trying to play for time.

. THERE IS NO DEMOCRACY under this proposal, it's just a political maneuver in order to stop the mounting mass struggle in Indonesia. For the People's Democratic Party (PRD), real "reform" would have to include:

. a. repealing the five repressive political laws -- the election law, parliament membership law, mass organization law, political party law, and referendum law;

. b. ending military intervention in civilian affairs;

. c. abolishing the puppet People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) and People's Representative Council (DPR);

. d. resignation of the entire New Order bureaucracy;

. e. a referendum for self-determination of the East Timorese people, held under the supervision of the United Nations;

. f. the arrest of Suharto, his family, and his cronies and a trial for their crimes;

. g. nationalization of the economic assets of Suharto, his family, his cronies, and the multinationals that have collaborated with him in exploiting the Indonesian people.

. Free Xanana, Budiman, Dita Sari, Andi Arief, and all political prisoners!
. No military ties with Suharto dictatorship!
. New elections in Indonesia now! Genuine referendum in East Timor!


(1) In January/February, the government proposed setting up a currency board to peg the Rupiah at 5,000 to the U.S. dollar. The plan has been widely criticized by the IMF, the World Bank, and the United States. (Return to text)

(2) MPR: Mejalis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, People's Consultative Assembly. The highest legislative body in the country with 1,000 members, 425 of whom are elected with the remainder being appointed by the president. It meets once every five years (usually around a year after the general elections) to hear an outgoing report from the president, enact the Broad Outlines of State Policy (Garis Besar Haluan Negara, GBHN), and to vote on nominations for the president and vice president. (Text)

(3) DPR: Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, People's Representative Assembly (Parliament). Consisting of 500 members, 425 elected from the three officially recognised political parties during the general elections: Golkar (the state party), the United Development Party, and the Indonesian Democratic Party. The remaining 75 members are appointed by the president from the military (who are not allowed to vote). (Text)

(4) The five repressive political laws were passed in 1985. They allow only three recognized political parties; ban party activity from villages and small towns; allow for the government appointment of 575 non-elected members (75 representing the military) to the MPR; impose a single state-defined ideology on all social, political, and cultural organizations; and gives the state the right to intervene in the internal affairs of organizations. (Text)

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