The East Timorese people's vote for independence must be recognised
immediately by the Australian Government. The violent campaign of
intimidation - by local militias recruited, armed, trained and financed by
Jakarta - failed to prevent a massive turnout for the referendum. People
walked for miles to participate. They camped out, they formed queues hours
before the booths were opened and wore their best outfits in honour of the
very special occasion. Confident by noon of a big 'No' for Habibie, voters
Now thousands of people are fleeing for their lives. The frenzied militias
are trying to block the struggle to establish democratic rights and build
genuine representative government. The militias must be stopped!
Calling for UN/ Australian troops to go to East Timor is an understandable
reaction, but a mistake. Armed interventions by the United Nations have
failed to solve the underlying conflicts in the Balkans, the Middle East,
and in Africa. The UN only acts when the big powers decide and even then
only if their immediate interests are involved. If Western forces go in
without agreement, the 20,000 Indonesian troops (like the Serbian army in
Kosova) will take it as a license, and increase the indiscriminate killing.
Trade Union and consumer sanctions on Indonesian goods are the key.
Pleading from the hypocrites in Canberra will do nothing. These sanctions
will hit the Indonesian elite where it hurts - by affecting their profits -
and force them to withdraw their support for the militias.
The working people of Indonesia must be called to take to the streets
again. Workers movements internationally must move to support the East
Timorese, their right to defense against armed terror, their right to
self-determination, and their struggle for freedom from all imperialist,
capitalist and national oppression.
The MSO supports the right of the East Timorese people to defend themselves
with arms. Fretelin should assist the creation of an armed defense force
recruited from the general population - a people's defense force, deployed
and democratically controlled by elected bodies of workers, students and
Western forces would only be there to prevent a Fretlin government
distributing land, and nationalising the oil wealth currently owned by the
multinationals. The arrival of NATO forces in Kosova, did nothing establish
a democratic government - it allowed the gangsters, particularly the
Albanian mafia to flourish. UN intervention would prevent the linking of
elected committees, the groups of workers, poor farmers and students that
must become a new force, and guarantee the democratic functioning and
running of society, through a constituent assembly. It would prevent the
setting up of a government of genuine representatives of working and poor
people. And it would not stop the orgy of violence, and the suffering of
the courageous East Timorese people.
The MILITANT SOCIALIST ORGANISATION meets every Monday at the New
International Bookshop, at Trades Hall, cnr Lygon/Victoria Sts, Carlton
from 7 pm. All welcome.
Phone 9654 3636 or email: email@example.com or write to MSO, PO Box 1015,
Collingwood 3066 for more information or to join.
Our web page is at: http://werple.net.au/~militant