Committee for a Workers International
PO Box 3688,
Tel: ++ 44 20 8533 0201
Fax: ++ 44 20 8985 0757
To the National Council of the Peoples Democratic Party (PRD), Indonesia.
We are writing to you to convey our heart-felt revolutionary greetings to your comrades represented at the National Council Meeting taking place 8-10 October. We congratulate you on your partys growth over the recent period, especially, as we understand, around the time of the election campaign. We would very much appreciate discussion about the programme you put forward and about what your perspectives are for developments in the coming period.
We were extremely saddened to hear of your recent tragic loss in the clashes with the military at the end of September - in Lampung and Jakarta. We applaud the heroism of the tens of thousands of people who demonstrated across the country against the law granting widespread new emergency, martial-law powers. We condemn the brutal attacks, including shootings, ordered by the commanders of the same armed forces implicated up to their necks in the murder of thousands of East Timorese in the blood-letting of the last few weeks. We commend the courage and determination of those youth and poor people who stood their ground, with your brave comrades to the fore.
The attempt by the crisis-ridden Habibie government to push through this iniquitous law, and its suspension, both indicate how much the ruling class fears a mass movement of opposition exploding onto the streets as it did in May of last year. The meeting of the new parliament is clearly not going to resolve the overwhelming problems which still afflict the daily lives of the working and poor people of Indonesia.
The tragedy of the second round of genocide in East Timor is the most horrific testament to the fact that the gains and aspirations of the 1998 revolution could not be accomplished as long as capitalism and land-lordism, along with its military protectors, maintained their grip on Indonesian society. The wheel began to go into reverse and we have witnessed one of the most bloody counter-revolutions in history. At last the nature of the regime in Jakarta is beginning to be revealed to the rest of the world but the most important task is building the forces around a programme that can truly transform the lives of the hundreds of millions who live in poverty.
We have continued to support the struggle of the Indonesian and East Timorese people against repression and for a new society. We have advocated that real power be in the hands of committees of the elected representatives of workers, students and poor people - in the case of East Timor, armed for defending the people they represent and not dependent on UN approved intervention forces of those same capitalist powers who have colluded for decades in the bloody suppression of their rights.
We have always argued for the right of oppressed nations to self-determination and advocated the idea of an independent socialist East Timor. We have organised pickets and protests internationally against the atrocities carried out by the TNI and the militias and were as heartened as you no doubt were by the tremendous international solidarity for the Maubere people expressed in action by workers in Australia, Canada and throughout the world.
We also welcomed the eventual release of your stoical comrade, Dita Sari. (Our comrades saw Dita at the British Trades Union Congress recently. We did not know she was going to be in Europe and would like to have met her and to have given her the chance to discuss with rank and file activists in the labour movement. We were disappointed when this proved impossible. Hopefully, she has met with some of our comrades in the United States). Please convey our greetings and best wishes to her in the struggle to build powerful democratically controlled trade union organisations, which she seems more determined than ever to pursue.
Finally, we greet your meeting this week-end from the point of view of strengthening relations between our Marxist International and your party of militants, intent on building a fighting political organisation of the Indonesian masses. We know there are still issues where we do not agree but hope we can continue to debate them in the spirit of comradeship and collaboration. (We promise, for example, to write a few lines about your criticisms of our position on the proletariats role in the revolution as soon as we can.)
We are sure the PRD shares with our International, the CWI, the same determination to achieve a socialist world! Thats as good a beginning as any! Very best wishes for a successful week-ends deliberations and for a healthy growth of your forces.
We are, unfortunately, not in a position to send a financial contribution, at present, as every penny we receive from our members is very much needed for the work of our International and its 30+ sections throughout the world - especially those in Asia, Africa and South America. If you would like to receive regular news of our sections activities and receive our publications, we will forward as much as we can.
Please keep in touch!
Committee for a Workers International