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Situation in Indonesia

31. July 2002

speech of Tatiana Lukman* at the Anti-imperialist Camp

*Tatiana Lukman, CSVI/ GPDI Co-ordination group for Support the People`s Resistance in Indonesia

First of all on behalf of the Indonesian Institute for the Investigation of the 1965/1966 Massacre, the Netherlands, I thank all those comrades involved in organizing the anti-imperialist camp for the invitation to participate in this important meeting.

I would like to use this opportunity to talk about three subjects. It would be impossible to understand the reason of the founding of our organization and its objectives without talking about the 1965 events and the wholesale slaughter of innocent people accused of being involved in the 30 September Movement.

To give you an idea about what happened around 1 October 1965, I would like to cite several passages from late Prof. Wertheim´s article, entitled:”Who´s plots?…—New Light on the 1965 Events.
I quote:”At that time Sukarno, who had been President of the Indonesian Republic since the 1945…—1949 Revolution was believed to be suffering from a serious kidney ailment. A group of middle-ranking officers, among them Lieutenant-Colonel Untung, and Colonel Latief, also an Army officer, prepared an action directed against several prominent Generals in the Army´s High Command. The reason was that they had received information that these Generals had formed a …‘Generals´ Council´ which planned, in connivance with foreign imperialist elements, to overthrow President Sukarno on Army Day (the 5th of October) or at least seriously to impair his power position. The action against the Generals was presented as a preventive one, intended to safeguard the President´s position and political power.

In the course of the nocturnal operation, in the early hours of 1 October, six Generals from the Army were abducted from their houses. Three of them who offered resistance, among them the Army Commander, General Achmad Yani, were killed at once.. The three others were taken to a place called Lubang Buaya (Crocodile Hole), near the headquarters of the leaders of the conspiracy at the Air Force´s Halim airbase, and were subsequently killed there. The corpses of the six victims were all thrown into a deep pit nearby.

Apart from the abduction and killing of the Generals, the operation led by the officers´ group was limited to occupying some strategic points in Jakarta around Lapangan Merdeka (Freedom Square). These were the President´s Palace grounds, the radio station and the telecommunication centre. Use was made of the radio in the course of October 1st to make a few announcements which were drafted at the rebels´ headquarters at Halim Airbase. The Air Force Command, headed by Air Marshall Omar Dhani, gave some support to the operation. The most remarkable announcement was the formation of a …‘Revolutionary Council´ consisting of 45 persons, the great majority of whom subsequently appeared not to have been consulted.
Sukarno was taken to Halim Airbase, apparently on the pretext that in the event of any danger threatening him, he could find safe refuge elsewhere. But at the same time his presence at Halim Airbase could help, in the eyes of the plotters, to secure official backing from the President for the undertaking. But although the operation was allegely intended to safeguard his position, Sukarno did not commit himself in support of their undertaking; most likely this was to a large extent due to the bloodshed which had accompanied the kidnapping of the generals. As soon as he learnt about it from a report delivered orally by General Suparjo, he ordered that the operation be stopped.

What Untung, and probably also Latief, originally had in mind was that the abducted Generals should be taken to Halim, where President Sukarno could call them to account and decide on the measures to be taken. But because all the captured Generals had been killed, this plan could not be implemented.

Because of Sukarno´s refusal to endorse their action, the plotters were at a loss how to proceed. Sukarno summoned several senior officials to Halim and consulted them on the steps to be taken in this emergency. Besides ordering that all further actions be stopped, and declaring that he had taken full authority into his hands, he also announced as one of his main decisions the appointment of a caretaker for the Army´s High Command, in place of Achmad Yani who had been shot during the abduction operation and was supposed to be either dead or mortally wounded. A former Commander of the Central Java Diponegoro Division, General Pranoto Reksosamudro, was appointed to this position by Sukarno.

Meanwhile, rival headquarters had been established at Kostrad (Army Strategic Reserve Command) where the Kostrad Commander, General Suharto, supported by Nasution who, after his narrow escape, in the course of the afternoon had joined him at Kostrad, was soon to take counter-measures. When President Sukarno first summoned, through his adjutant, the Chief of the Military District of Jakarta General Umar Wirahadikusuma, and later General Pranoto to report at Halim, Suharto defied these orders, on the pretext that Sukarno was in the hands of the insurgents in Halim. He refused to allow the Generals to go, allegedly out of fear that they could also become victims.

On that very same day, 1st October, Suharto succeded, by a show of strength and by issuing ultimatums, in forcing the surrender of Untung´s forces (Untung himself and several of his colleagues attempted to escape). Suharto, in his operation, got the support of certain military units which provided Kostrad with the logistics (for example, food and fuel) enabling him to carry out his operation. The promise of food also proved effective in persuading some commanders of rebel units posted around Lapangan Merdeka to withdraw their troops to Kostrad Headquarters. Suharto also managed to prevail upon some persons close to Sukarno to persuade him not to move to Central Java, but to go instead to his Palace in Bogor, where he would be in his, Suharto´s power. The next morning, after his troops had occupied Halim Airbase, he forced Sukarno to entrust him with the restoration of security and order; and two weeks later Sukarno was compelled to appoint him as Yani´s successor instead of Pranoto, who formally had retained his position as …‘acting Chief of the Army´ but actually had been pushed aside by Suharto.

The operation undertaken by Untung and his group was largely restricted to Jakarta. In a few places in Central Java, middle-ranking officers who were involved in the plot, among them the intelligence officer Colonel Suherman, also made attempts to depose commanders and to form local revolutionary councils after the Jakarta model. But after the news that the putsch in Jakarta had misfired , and that General Suharto had taken power, had been broadcast, the Diponegoro Division Commander in Central Java Surjosumpeno, was easily able to suppress the resisting elements that had aligned with the insurgent officers. End of quotation.

So, that was what happened around the first of October 1965, a putsch staged by a group of Army middle-ranking officers lead by Lieutenant-Colonel Untung which was later suppressed by Suharto.

We made a clear distinction between the 1965 events which involves the 30 September Movement and the massacre which took place in the aftermath of those affairs. Because there are different interpretations of the events in October 1965 and the 30 September Movement. The discussion is still going on. But there is only one interpretation regarding the mass killing of the left which began right at the beginning of October 1965: it´s a horrendous crime against humanity. The C.I.A. itself has called it as “one of the worst mass murders of the twentieth century” (US C.I.A. Research Study: Indonesia…—The Coup that backfired”, 1968)

The military leadership managed to spread the version that the communists were guilty of the whole plot. At first the mass slaughter was confined to East and Central Java, but by December, it had spread to Bali, Makasar, Sumatra and Sulawesi. The killings were indiscriminated. In Central Java the Army was in charge and pushed youth gangs to participate in the killings. In East Java, the Ansor, youth of the NU were most active in the killings. Women were very often sexually tortured before being killed. There are many reliable accounts of rivers in Solo, Sumatra and Madiun being choked with log-jams of human corpses in the months of November and December.

Bali was and is known as a beautiful island which attracts much of the attention of foreign tourists. Some calls it a paradise, a peaceful corner of Indonesia where hinduism is still the predominant religion. But let´s go back to 1965.

According to one eyewitness of the course of the anti-communist crusade in Bali by the end of December nearly 70.000 names had been “erased” from the police register and more than 100.000 known communists had been “made secure” and 40.000 more were “scheduled to go”. Hundreds of houses belonging to known communists and their relatives and friends were burned down within a week of the crusade. The occupants were butchered as they ran out of their houses. A commonly accepted estimate of the deaths from this operation alone is 50.000 including women and children. According to Sarwo Edhi´s report to Jakarta (Sarwo Edhi was the General who headed military operations during that period), the governor of Bali, Suteja, was recalled and accused of preparing a communist insurrection. His relatives were smoked out and killed. Half of the population of several Balinese villages is believed to have been killed during the last three months of 1965. In Den Pasar, the capital of Bali and Singaraja , another big city of Bali, all the chinese shops were destroyed and their owner, being accused of financing the 30 September Movement, were liquidated.

In North Sumatra, 10.500 prisoners who had been arrested because of activities in CPI or different left mass organizations were killed and their bodies were thrown into the River Ular. Mass killings took place in Lombok, Sumba, Flores, Makasar, Banjarmasin and South Sumatra.

Time magazine of the 17th of December 1965, in its article entitled “Silent Settlement” described the mass killings as follows: “Communists, Red sympathizers and their families are being massacred by the thousands. Backlands army units are reported to have executed thousands of Communists after interrogation in remote jails….Armed with wide-blade knives called parangs, Moslem bands crept at night into the homes of Communists, killing entire families and burying the bodies in shalow graves…..The murder campaign became so brazen in parts of rural East Java that Moslem bands placed the heads of victims on poles and paraded them through villages. The killings have been on such a scale that the disposal of the corpses has created a serious sanitation problem in East Java and Northern Sumatra, where the humid air bears the reek of decaying flesh. Travelers from these areas tell of small rivers and streams that have been literally clogged with bodies; river transportation has at places been seriously impeded.
Graduate students from Bandung and Djakarta, dragooned by the Army, researched the number dead. Their report, never made public, but leaked to correspondent Frank Palmos, estimated one million victims. In the PKI “triangle stronghold” of Bojolali, Klaten, and Solo, Palmos said they reported, :”nearly one-third of the population is dead or missing”. Most observers think their estimate high, putting the death toll at three to five hundred thousand. End of quotation.

It has been impossible to establish realistically the death-toll of the massacre. Encyclopedia “brittanica” mentions the victims totalling to between 80.000 and 100.000 people. General Sudomo (former Commander of National Security and Order in the Suharto Regime) gave a figure of 2000.000 people. According to late General Sarwo Edhi who headed military actions during that period, the victims totalled to no less than 3.000.000 people. Tarzie Vittachi in his book “The fall of Sukarno” wrote “Many more human beings died in Indonesia in those months than had died during five years of the war in Vietnam”. Bertrand Russel in 1966 said:” in 4 months, five times as many people died in Indonesia as in Vietnam in 12 years”.

The description of the crime committed by the Suharto Military Regime would not be complete if we don´t talk about political prisoners. In her article entitled “Political Imprisonment in Indonesia”, Carmel Budiarjo, a British married to an Indonesian ,who had spent more than 3 years in detention without trial, wrote:”According to an estimate made early in 1973 by Amnesty International there are at least 55.000 people being held in political detention, a figure which most informed observers feel considerably undestates the problem”. Most of the detainees had been arrested because of their alleged membership before the events of 1965, of the CPI or one of mass organizations involving tradeunions, peasants, women, students, artists, academics and scientists that were directly or indirectly under its influence. The arbitrary nature of the allegation was indicated by the expression used to describe the grounds for political arrests: a person was arrested because “there are indications or involvement in the 1965 Coup attemps masterminded by the CPI”. Whether that involvement was direct or indirect, whether it could be proved or not, didn´t really matter because either allegation could lead to arrest and detention. In a situation where arrests were made so arbitrarily, many people being held as political detainees had no political past whatsoever but had been victimised as relatives or friends of people being sought by the Army.

The military regime used the political prisoners as their cheap labor forces in their “rural development” program designed to strengthen the hand of the local Army Commanders.
In the article: Ford country: building en Elite for Indonesia”, David Ransom wrote:”….the military has two very large and rather cheap labor forces which are already at work in the “rural development” One is the three hundred thousand-man Army itself. The other is composed of one hundred twenty thousand political prisoners still being held after the Army´s 1965-66 anti-communist sweeps. Some observers estimate there are twice as many prisoners, most of whom the Army admits were not PKI though they fear they may become communists in the concentration camps. Despite the abundance of Food for Peace Rice for other purposes, there is none for the prisoners, whom the Government`s daily food expenditure is slightly more than a penny. At least two journalists have reported Sumatran prisoners quartered in the middle of the Good Year rubber plantation where they had worked before the massacre as members of a PKI union. Now, the correspondents say, they are let out daily to work its trees for substandard wages, which are paid to their guards. In Java, the Army uses the prisoners in public works. Australian professor Herbert Feith was shown around one Javanese town in 1968 where prisoners had built the prosecutor´s house, the high school, the mosque and (in process) the catholic church. End of quotation

The lawyer Yap Thian Hien who had spent some months in prison himself, made an impassioned plea on behalf of the tapols (political prisoners) as following:”the tapol are treated like the dregs of society, deprived of the most elementary rights…..They have no power and no voice, no right to complain or protest against their interminable imprisonment, against torture, insult, hunger or disease”.

Those who have long been involved in progressive and popular movements against neo-colonialism and imperialism in their respective lands wouldn´t be surprised at all if I say that Imperialism headed by US Government were behind Suharto´s creeping Coup d´Etat, and their hands are covered by the blood of our innocent people.
Peter Dale Scott in his article entitled “The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965-1967″ wrote:”this article argues (instead) that, by inducing or at a minimum helping to induce, the Gestapu (the 30 september Movement) …‘coup´, the Right in the Indonesian Army eliminated its rivals at the Army´s centre, thus paving the way to a long-planned elimination of civilian left, and eventually of the establishment of a military distatorship. Gestapu, in other words, was only the first phase of a three-phase right wing coup- one which had been both publicly encouraged and secretly assisted by US spokesmen and officials.”
He continues writing:”Gestapu, Suharto´s response, and the bloodbath were part of a single coherent scenario for a military take over, a scenario which was again followed closely in Chile in the years 1970-73 (and to some extent in Cambodia in 1970). Suharto, of course, would be a principle conspirator in this scenario: his duplicitous role of posing as a defender of the constitutional status quo, while in fact moving deliberately to overthrow it, is analogous to that of General Pinochet in Chile. But a more direct role in organizing the bloodbath was played by civilians and officers close to the cadres of the CIA´s failed rebellion of 1958, now working in so called “civil actions” programs funded and trained by the US. Necessary ingredients of the scenario had to be and clearly were supplied by other nations in support of Suharto. Many such countries appear to have played a supporting role: Japan, Britain, Germany, possibly Australia. But I wish to focus on the encouragement and support for military “putschism” and mass murders which came from the US, from the CIA, the Military, RAND, the Ford Foundation and indiividuals. End of quotation.

Kathy Kadane in an article appeared in San Fransisco Examiner on May 20, 1990, wrote:”The US Governement played a significant role in one of the worst massacres of the century by supplying the names of thousands of Communist Party leaders to the Indonesian Army which hunted down the leftists and killed them, former US diplomats say. For the first time, US officials acknowledge that in 1965 they systematically compiled comprehensive lists of communists operatives, from top echelons down to village cadres. As many as 5000 names were furnished to the Indonesian Army and the Americans later checked off the names of those who had been killed or captured, according to the US offcials. Robert J. Martens, a former member of the US Embassy´s political section who is now a consultant to the State Department, said:”It really was a big help to the Army. They probably killed a lot of people and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that´s not all bad. There´s a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment”. End of quotation

In her letter to the Editor, New York Review of Books, April 10, 1997, Kathy Kadane wrote::”the US provided key logistical equipment, hastily shipped in at the last minutes as Suharto weighed the risky decision to attack. Jeeps were supplied by the Pentagon to spread troops over Indonesia´s notoriously bad roads, along with “dozens and dozens” of field radios that the Army lacked. As Ms Laber noted, the US (namely the Pentagon) also supplied “arms”. Cables show these were small arms used for killing at close range”. End of quotation.

About British involvement in the events of 1965 and the massacre, the Guardian (London) of the first August 2001, wrote in its editorial, “As Megawati Sukarnoputri struggles to hang on to control of Indonesia in the latest round of political upheaval, news has been published of how the British Government covered up one of the worst massacre of the 20th Century. The slaughter in 1965 of up to a million alleged communist sympathizer – was carried out by General Suharto, who ousted Megawati´s father, President Sukarno, to become Indonesian military dictator. What is still less well known is that British and American Governments did not just cover up the massacre; they had direct hand in bringing it about. The British and American Governments succeeded not only in engineering the result they wanted (replacement of Sukarno with General Suharto), but in selling a false version of events that persists to this day. Rolland Challis, a former BBC South Asia Correspondent, has described how British diplomats planted misleading stories in British newspapers at the time. But there is also evidence that the British and US responsibility for the fall of Sukarno goes back to the event that triggered it – an alleged left-wing coup attempt in 1965. The British were keen to get rid of Sukarno because he was pursuing a policy of confrontation with Malaysia. The US was convinced that Sukarno would drift towards communism — a far bigger potential headache for US interests than Vietnam. Suharto was offered economic aid and the British lifted their embargo on sales of military aircrafts. Suharto´s massacres were whitewashed in a campaign of disinformation in which the British Government willingly participated.” End of quotation.

The founding of the Indonesian Institute for the Investigation of the Victims of the 1965-1966

Sulami was former Second Vice Secretary General of Central Leadership Council of GERWANI (Indonesian Women´s Movement). After spending 20 years in Suharto Regime´s prison, she was freed in 1986.
In 1994, together with other ex-political prisoners, she tried to trace the victims of the 1965-1966 massacre by going to Central and East Java. During her 41 days´ visit she met with women ex-political prisoners who had been freed in 1978 and 1979.
With the objective of finding evidence of the massacre, they decided to excavate a forested area in Blora, Central Java, where, according to information they had gathered, approximately 8.000 people had been slaughtered. Four Australian journalists witnessed and filmed that excavation. They found skulls and bones. But the danger of being discovered by the local authority prevented them from going on with the digging. At that time Suharto was still in power. That was the antecedent of the Indonesian Institute for the Investigation of the Victims of the 1965-1966 Massacre which was founded on the 7th of April 1999 by a group of former political prisoners.

The objectives of the Institute are the restoration of justice to millions of people who had suffered and died because of the events of 1965 and a revision of our history which had been distorted by the Suharto Military Regime by unmasking its horrendous crime against humanity.

So far the activities of the Institute have been:
To treat and process the data collected since 1994, including testimonies and other sources of evidence.
To establish a network of branches in Java and other parts of Indonesia in order to collect further information.
To cooperate with other organizations with similar objectives.
To mobilize support from abroad.

From 16 to 18 November 2000 the Institute carried out the first exhumation of the graves of the victims of the massacre in the region of Wonosobo in Central Java. A Forensic Team has unearthed 26 skeletons of the victims which later were transported and deposited in the Sardjito Hospital in Yogyakarta.

One of the purposes of the exhumation of the graves was a humanitarian act to support the wish of the victim´s families to bury again the respective skeleton according to the normal customs and ritual traditions. There were six families who wished to do the reburial and the remaining 20 skeletons which were not taken by their respective families would be reburied by the Institute in a terrain located in the region of Temanggung, Central Java.

Two days before the planned reburial, the organizers from the Institute had held a talk with local officials who said that care should be taken not to allow the ceremony to become “too demonstrative”. Agreement was reached to keep the event low key. The ceremony was to have taken place on 25 March after prayers had been said by muslim, christian and buddhist priests, but an incident on the day before compelled the organizers to abandon the reburial. Members of a group called Forum Ukuwah Islamiya Kaloran announced their intention to prevent the ceremony from taking place.

Early in the morning of the planned reburial, a group of people surrounded the house of Mr.Mangunkusuma, an adviser to the Central Board of the Institute, where a number of the Institute members from various parts of Indonesia had gathered for the event. A vehicle standing outside the house was damaged, though police prevented it from being burnt. Later in the morning, two vehicles with the remains of 7 victims were to have left Yogyakarta for re-burial in family graves. But before they could depart, a mob of about fifty people surrounded the vehicles and started assaulting the drivers and a member of the Institute. One of the vehicles carrying two bodies succeded in getting through but the five coffins on the other vehicle were dragged out, broken into and the bodies strewn on the ground.

The house of Mr. Mangunkusuma has been occupied by fifteen people who were part of the mob that prevented the reburial from going ahead. A crowd of around three thousands people has since arrived in Kaloran-Temanggung and has been circling his house, many of them brandishing sharp weapons and yelling slogans like …‘Death to Irawan´ and …‘Irawan PKI´ (PKI is the name of the Communist Party of Indonesia)

As you see, Suharto is no longer in power but the activities of the Institute, conforming with its objectives, can not be carried out without taking the risk of facing violence from the most reactionary sector of the population encouraged, organized and paid by the Army which is the most important instrument to safeguard the Suharto´s New Order without Suharto.

The actual situation in Indonesia

We all know the political and economic consequences of the events of 1965. The overthrow of the Indonesian first President put an end to an independent “third world” anti neo-colonialist and anti-imperialist foreign policy. The Suharto fascist Regime brought its foreign policy into line with the policies of the Western Imperialist Powers.

Economically, thanks to the new “stabilisation” plan adopted in October 1966 on the advice of the International Monetary Funds and the Law on Foreign Capital Investment adopted in January 1967, Indonesia became a foreign investor´s paradise, an imperialist eldorado whose rich raw material sector could be freely plundered by Multi-National Corporations. The destruction of the CPI and other progressive forces has left the people completely disarmed politically and organizationally. The people and its natural wealth lost their only defender capable to offer significant opposition and resistance to the rapacity of Western Imperialist Powers. In fact the US Imperialism through Ford Foundation had long begun the training of Indonesian economists who would be leading the country when Sukarno got out. The article of David Ransom entitled “Ford country” Building an Elite for Indoensia” gives a clear description and analyses of the process during 1957-1965 period in which the Ford Foundation trained a number of Indonesian economists at MTT, Cornell, Berkeley and through visiting lecturers in Jakarta itself.

The economic development under Suharto Regime has been almost totally dependent on foreign “aid” and foreign investment. We all know that that kind of development only benefits the Indonesian Ruling Class and Imperialist Powers. As a result of the economic crisis that hit Asia in 1997-1998 and the militant student movement supported by workers, peasants, the city poor and various sectors of the middle class, on May 21, 1998, Suharto was forced to step down as President. The Vice-President, Habibie, who was in fact Suharto´s protà©gà©, was then sworn in as President.

In the 1998 General Elections, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle of Megawati Sukarnoputri got 30% of the votes. Megawati was expected to be elected President replacing Habibie. Deeply apprehensive that Megawati might take policies and measures which would harm their political and economic interests, the Golkar Party (the Party created by Suharto) and the Islamic Parties, using as a pretext a woman can not be President, succeded in frustrating Megawati´s bid for Presidency. So Abdurachman Wahid, Chairman of the 35 million strong Islamic organization Nahdatul Ulama, despite his physical handicap, was elected president and Megawati Vice President
However Wahid who is a democrat didn´t follow the wishes of the Islamic Parties and Golkar. One of his most controversial proposals was the abrogation of the decision of the People´s Consultative Assembly in 1966 which banned the CPI and prohibited the dissemination of Marxism-Leninism. Practically all the Parties in the People´s Consultative Assembly turned down the proposal because in fact they were part of the New Order of Suharto. From then on they began the attempt to unseat Wahid, by accusing him of corruption, of not heeding the Parliament, etc. Finally on the 23 of July 2001 they succeded in ousting Wahid.
Supported by those who before opposed the candidacy of Megawati because she is a woman, Megawati was elected President.

After almost 4 years having been passed since Suharto left the Presidency, can we talk of any change?

Politically Indonesia is still the same…—the New Order Regime of Suharto is intact. Megawati came to power with strong support of the Military, the Golkar and the most reactionary sectors of muslim population represented by the Islamic Parties. Megawati has betrayed millions of her supporters which consisted of the poor and some sectors of the middle class. These common people were those who supported and defended her when she and her Party was subject of violent repression from the Suharto Regime. These same people were also those who have defeated Golkar Party in the 1998 General Elections. It was the first time that people lost its fear in expressing its choice. But Megawati´s ascension to power was a result of a political compromise with the Military and Golkar Party and the reactionary-conservative forces in the Parliament which meant the end of the reformist process demanded and initiated by the student movement in 1998, and the return of the Military as the real ruler of the country.
The failure of the student movement to bring about substantial political changes or reforms has proven several things:

A student movement can not be the leading force of a mass movement capable of bringing about
fundamental changes favorable to the interests of the majority of the Indonesian people. Such a leading force must be shouldered by the Working Class through its Political Party which would form a United Front with the peasantry as its closest ally and other sectors of the population suffering the same explotation by the Bureaucrat Capitalists, Big Bourgeoisie Comprador, Landlord Class and Imperialism.

In a society like Indonesia whose economic system can be characterized as Semi-Colonial and Semi-Feudal a movement demanding reforms is not going to solve the essential problems of our people.
What are the fundamental problems of our people? The exploitation, the repression and total absence of justice are our essential problems.
One of the demand of the reformist movement was and is to establish justice, to erradicate violent repression and the respect for human rights. All the effors directed to bring those responsible for the crime against humanity since 1965-66 massacre to justice have met insurmountable obtacles. Under Megawati´s Government violent repression and violation to human rights are increasing. Those who have and are commiting economic crimes are free beyond the reach of the Law.
Since the economic crisis in 1998 Indonesia has sunk even deeper. Indonesia has a population of 210 millions. 55% of our population are qualified to be part of those categorized as poor by the World Bank as they spend less than $2.00 per day for their living. In South East Asia, Indonesia has the highest rate of mother and infant mortality and also the highest percentage of people suffering from tuberculosis. Poverty has caused more than 2 millions children under five years old to live undernourished and an avarage of 2 millions dropsouts every year. Child prostitution is a flourishing business as parents would sell their daugters as solution to their economic problems.

In April 2001, the foreign debt was $139 milliard which meant each Indonesian owed $10.235,29. In the meantime the average earnings per capita was only $650,00. Last year we payed $4,7 milliard as installlment and interest of the foreign debt, the equivalent of 25% of the National Budget or 50% of the National Income from exportation.

The unemployment has reached 40 millions which means 50% of the active labor force. 1,3 million people live miserably in refugee camps spread over the regions like Aceh, Maluku, Central Sulawesi, Central Kalimantan, and Madura (East Java), where violence has started several years ago and no solution comes into view.

Now, I am asking you honestly, can we solve all those problems by organizing a movement fighting only for reforms within the framework of a political and economic system which regard exploitation, market economy and private property as sacred?

The reform movement, initiated in 1998 by the student movement, has always been following a
peaceful line in their demands for social justice and democracy. What kind of response have they been receiving from the government? Violent repression, kidnapping, murder and prison.
When workers organize themselves to demand only the application of the minimum wage stipulated in the Law, not only that they risk losing their jobs but they also have to face brutal police repression.
When peasants fight to defend their lands and urban poor fight to defend their means of earning a living, the same violent machine of the State come to repress them.
The CPI waged a legal parliamentary struggle hoping that that peaceful way would bring them to Socialism. But what was the result? A bloodbath in which at least a million of innocent people were butchered, thousands were sent to jail and concentration camps, and millions of families and friends of those wrongly accused of being involved in the 30 September movement have to live as pariahs. It was a very bitter and painful experience and lesson that we should never forget and that mistake should never be repeated.
The struggle for a better and just society and a lasting peace will take a long time and need big sacrifices because our enemies are strong and we are still small and weak.
We have lost two generations. The massacre of 1965-66 has eliminated a generation of the best sons and daugters of Indonesia, the best cadres of the nation with a high level of political awareness. The military dictatorship of Suharto has during 32 years amputated and sterilized another generation through a process of depolitization inundating them with capitalist consumerism. So you can imagine how hard it is to raise people´s consciousness. But that is a task of enormous importance because without the active participation of the masses no revolution can be won.
To advance the revolution all forms of struggle should be used, including armed struggle but we always have to bear in mind that all those forms of struggle must not be separated from the masses.
Brilliant examples have been given by the people of the Philipines, of Nepal, of India, of Colombia and other countries. Protracted people´s war will finally defeat our domestic reactionary regimes and imperialism.

Amsterdam, 28th July 2002