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The Indonesian revolution has begun

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The ousting of Suharto marks the beginning, not the end, of the Indonesian revolution. For nearly a third of a century he exercised an iron grip on this vast country of 210 million people.

The coalescence of a student-led movement for democracy with a revolt of the urban masses against the economic crisis and the IMF austerity measures, brought about his downfall.

However, Suharto's replacement by his vice-president Jusuf Habibie is an attempt to save the bureaucratic military regime not to replace it with a democratic one.

It is an attempt to head off revolution.

The old elite who bled Indonesia white for so long are trying to engineer a slow, controlled, “democratic opening” which will give them a breathing space to create “new” political parties and a restrictive constitution.

They hope in this way to swindle the masses out of their full democratic rights and relief from the acute economic hardship arising from the crisis and the IMF's “therapy". But the deep roots of the political, social and economic crisis in Indonesia will make it impossible to limit things to changing a few personnel at the top.

Such cosmetic changes will not satisfy the masses who are breaking out of the atomisation and enforced passivity that Suharto and his cronies kept them in.

The people of this huge country are awakening to political life, overcoming decades of enforced silence. Parties, trade unions and peasants' organisations are already emerging.

The Indonesian ruling class was split from top to bottom by the protracted crisis that opened last year. Army commander-in-chief General Wiranto has succeeded in removing Suharto's son in law General Prabowo, the man who gave the order to open fire on the students in May.

For the moment, Wiranto is clearly the man in command, the one most trusted by imperialism and the Indonesian ruling class. But relations between Wiranto and Habibie are, reportedly, far from cordial.

The army has strengthened it’s grip on government, holding three key ministries (Defence, Interior and Information). But the divisions within the ruling class exist within the military hierarchy as well and will probably erupt into open conflict as the crisis deepens.

When elections come there is already a queue of former generals offering to play the role of “Mr Clean", a minimum job requirement for a presidential candidate given Suharto’s record.

But the Indonesian people - even if such an “anti-corruption government” replaces Habibie - will rapidly discover that they have swapped a swarm of gorged locusts for a swarm of hungry ones.

Sooner or later, such a revolutionary explosion was inevitable. Suharto’s Indonesia had no democratic safety valves. All real opposition parties, all genuine trade unions and mass organisations - even reformist ones - were banned.

The official party, Golkar, and the tame opposition parties, could not play that role.

The leaders and militants of the illegal opposition have been repeatedly imprisoned or killed.

General Suharto’s regime, which came to power in a military coup in 1965, destroyed the mass Communist Party (PKI) which had a claimed membership of two million.

In this coup hundreds of thousands of PKI militants perished.

For three decades, Suharto savagely crushed any sector of society which challenged the dictatorship. He waged a genocidal war against the people of East Timor, a country invaded by the Indonesian armed forces in 1975.

Some 200,000 people died as a result of oppression and famine.

Massive loans and investments from the imperialist countries, allied to a very high rate of exploitation, resulted in a long period of economic growth under Suharto.

But eventually the limits of world market growth and the overaccumulation of both Indonesian and imperialist capital have caused the current crisis.

An added factor has been the wastefulness and corruption of the regime.

Suharto used his political power to seize for his extended family an incredible slice of Indonesia’s wealth. This has been estimated at anywhere between $17 billion and $46 billion.

At least 80% of the top 400 companies in Indonesia are controlled through massive conglomerates run by 20 to 30 families, many linked to the Suharto family.

Suharto’s decision earlier this year to stand again for president sent the Indonesian currency, the rupiah, into free fall.

The privately held foreign debt of the country stood at $70 billion. $50 billion of foreign capital has fled Indonesia since the economic crisis started. The IMF, the commercial banks and Washington were worried sick.

The IMF rushed in to bail out the regime with three successive packages of loans. But they did not do so out of disinterested concern for the country’s development.

They demanded the removal of all obstacles to foreign ownership of Indonesian industry.

With their “debt for equity” schemes, the international monopolies sought to swallow up whole sections of bankrupt or ailing industry and banking.

The IMF’s packages are at one and the same time a giant takeover of key assets of the Indonesian ruling class and the restoration of western commercial confidence in Indonesia by the imposition of a savage austerity programme on the mass of the people.

No wonder Suharto and the Indonesian business elite jibbed at fully implementing these measures.

They naturally resisted their own expropriation but they also hesitated to carry through the austerity programme in full because they realised it would goad the population to revolt.

Yet the IMF and the international speculators pressed on and brought Suharto to his knees, economically, shortly before the masses brought him to his knees politically.

Against their will, Washington and Wall St brought about a revolution in Indonesia.

Washington’s nightmare now is that the entire political and military regime could fragment if popular mobilisations continue against austerity, inflation and price rises.

They are right to be worried.

Indonesia is a powder keg. In outlying islands there are long standing guerrilla movements fighting for independence, most notably in East Timor and Irian.

Religious antagonisms, especially between Muslims and Christians and ethnic tensions, between the Chinese minority and the majority population, have increased as economic conditions have deteriorated.

In the Javanese countryside decades of growing land hunger and polarisation between rich and poor farmers and landless labourers have only been held in check by the economy’s rapid economic growth and efforts to export “surplus population” to the outer islands.

Who brought down Suharto?

The protest movement against Suharto developed in two phases.

In February the students began their demonstrations for democratic reforms.

Then, in early May, the students challenged the attempt to restrict their protests to the university campuses and took to the streets.

When Suharto raised the fuel prices by 70% (as dictated by the IMF) the workers and the urban poor joined the movement en masse.

Serious clashes took place with the army in many areas. At Sudiman University in Central Java, 65 students were injured by rubber bullets and baton charges.

In Medan, capita] of Northern Sumatra, a week after students had marched through the streets, a massive riot took place following the ending of subsidies on fuel.

This entry of the masses onto the stage opened the second phase which immediately threatened the existence of the Suharto regime.

Faced with the escalating scale of the mass protest, there were only two alternatives: deploy the army to bloodily repress the protests, or dismantle the regime.

To choose the first option would have threatened the army with disintegration and led directly to the second scenario - but “from below” - by a popular revolutionary upheaval.

The entire state machinery might then have split or disintegrated. This became clear when a section of the army opened fire on protesting students, killing six from the elite University of Trisakti in Jakarta.

The capital exploded on 14 May and rioting spread to other major cities.

The army pulled back from an all-out confrontation, especially since many rank and file soldiers openly showed their sympathy for the protesters.

The Jakarta poor, normally confined to the massive slums surrounding the city, took to the streets in an orgy of looting and burning.

The fact that troops did little to stop the rioting showed that the upper circles of the military and indeed of the Indonesian bourgeoisie were not prepared to go down with Suharto.

While Chinese shops and businesses were often the target - because Chinese businessmen make up a heavy proportion of the retail sector - so too were symbols of the regime, especially those belonging to Suharto’s family.

Of course, anti-Chinese chauvinism can play a dangerous and reactionary role. So too can political Islamism if it develops strongly.

For the real enemy of the Indonesian masses is not to be located by nationality, religion or ethnicity but by class - the capitalist class in Indonesia and its overlords in the US, Europe and Japan.

By mid-May it was clear the regime was in its death agony. The Indonesian ruling class was simply unable to go on in the old way and the masses were unwilling to do so.

As the students demanded the removal of Suharto and an end to the corrupt regime, other powerful figures joined them.

While in some areas the army greeted the students with repression, in others, particularly in Jakarta, many soldiers showed open sympathy with the students’ demands.

The US, which had been very circumspect in its comments throughout the early protests, made it clear to Suharto that it was time to go. Once this advice was widely known, the parliament, despite having been stuffed with Suharto and military appointees, called for him to go too.

Realising the ruling class was turning against Suharto, the students occupied the parliament building. This nationwide media focus and the refusal of the military to clear the building meant simply Suharto had to go.

But he tried to preserve the essential core of his regime by handing over to his deputy Habibie. His resignation thus represented only the most partial victory and the students knew it.

They were demanding the trial of Suharto and investigations into the corruption of the regime, the release of political prisoners, the legalisation of political parties and new elections.

They knew Habibie would not deliver any of these things voluntarily and correctly continued the occupation, demanding his resignation.

But the Indonesian ruling class, as represented in the parliament, was satisfied with Suharto’s departure even if it was divided as to what should come next. They wanted the students off their back.

Habibie used his support in ICMI, an Islamic organisation set up by Suharto, to send students from one of the Islamic universities to end the occupation by force.

The political struggle moved into the streets and as legal rights are wrung out of the regime, old and new parties will enter the field.

The working class has hitherto played a restricted role. This is in large measure because all its organisations were crushed by Suharto, several times over, and because of the sudden onset of mass unemployment.

It will now have the opportunity to build trade unions, factory councils and political parties.

The East Asian economic crisis

The underlying cause of the revolutionary situation in Indonesia lies in the deep economic crisis of the whole region since mid-1997. Industrial growth, which was running in double figures each year for nearly two decades, has slumped to declines in the range 5-15%.

Starting in Thailand last year the crisis spread to Malaysia and then to Indonesia. By early 1998 1.7 million Thais, 1 million Malayans and 2.3 million Indonesians had lost their jobs.

Both Malaysia’s Mahatir Mohammed and Indonesia’s Suharto resorted to racist demagogy - both blaming “the Jews” who “run” the IMF, before capitulating to its dictates.

Across the region, the huge capital flows from Japan, the US and Europe which fuelled the tiger economies have gone into reverse.

During 1996, the last year of south East Asia’s “long boom", some $93 billion of new private capital was invested in Indonesia, Malaya, the Philippines, Thailand and South Korea.

In 1997 the net figure was a $12 billion outflow. The overall swing represents 10% of these countries’ GDP.

The former “Asian Tigers” are now wracked by a terrible economic crisis which reveals their continued status as semi-colonies; politically independent but economically subordinated to the great imperialist powers of North America, Europe and Japan.

It is plain, even to bourgeois apologists, that their spectacular growth from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s was not the result either of neo-liberalism or an “Asian model” of capitalism. These countries have not achieved “take off", that is, independent development which will rapidly make them the equals of Europe and North America.

Their growth was the product of massive investment by western and Japanese multi-nationals, massive loans foisted on them by globally powerful banks and generous credit to their governments tied to the purchase of capital equipment and military hardware.

The initial reason for the US-sponsored drive to develop South-East Asia was to build a bulwark against “Communism” in the region during the Cold War.

The reason for global finance’s eagerness to invest was somewhat different: the overproduction of capital and the stagnating profit rates in the metropolitan heartlands drew it towards the temptingly high rates of exploitation in South East Asia.

As a new proletariat, many millions strong, was assembled under the control of bonapartist or semi-bonapartist regimes, it seemed that this bonanza would go on for ever.

But every capitalist crisis is rooted in its preceding boom. Capital chokes on its own superabundance. The bigger the boom the harder the slump.

However, these millions of new proletarians would not indefinitely suffer such super-exploitation and political oppression.

Even highly industrialised South Korea is groaning under the yoke of an IMF package which demands privatisations, closures and massive layoffs, as at Hyundai.

The Korean workers have shown they will not remain passive before this challenge.

Their resistance is an inspiration to workers facing similar attacks as in Taiwan.

Adding depth to the East Asian crisis is the current mess that Japan - the region’s superpower - finds itself in.

An acute banking and industrial crisis is forcing the Japanese ruling class to face up to the need to “reform” its entire post-war system - a reform which will seriously undermine its social stability.

In Indonesia, the effects of the Asian crisis have been made even worse by the IMF-dictated “bail out plan” which in the short term means misery for the masses and in the long term the complete opening up of Indonesia to US, Japanese and EU multinationals.

Whilst throwing a lifeline to the regime by offering $43 billion, to bail out the bankrupt banks and businesses run by Suharto and his cronies, the IMF insisted that state expenditure had to be slashed on welfare, education and above all on state subsidies on basic goods, which kept prices down for the poor.

The IMF insists that state industries be targeted for closure or privatisation. The only buyers in present conditions are, of course, the western multinationals which will buy them up at rock bottom prices.

The IMF and its imperialist masters are playing a dangerous double game. Whilst criticising corruption, and advocating a turn to democracy - that is, suggesting an end to the dictatorial regime - the IMF package puts any new regime which carries it out against the wall.

The really explosive social fuel of the movement for democracy was, and remains, resistance to the economic hardship. But this hardship is caused not only and not mainly by the Suharto clan’s corruption, but by the crisis of Indonesian capitalism, by imperialist disinvestment and last, but not least, by IMF “aid” and its strings.

The new regime inherits all of this.

The struggle after Suharto’s fall

Habibie may have been installed by Suharto to change only the facade of his regime, but to hold onto power he has been forced to make a few limited concessions.

He has been forced to promise elections, though as yet without a date. He has announced that he will legalise parties. He has released Muchtar Pakpahan, the leader of the Indonesian Workers’ Welfare Association (SBSI) who had been sentenced to four years in prison for “inciting workers". But hundreds of political prisoners still languish in jail, including the leader of the East Timurese national liberation movement Xanana Gusmao who is serving a twenty year prison sentence.

The prospect of Habibie lasting for long is slim. He is respected and trusted neither by the business elite nor the army. Nor is he fully trusted by the imperialist banks because he was formerly the advocate of state sponsored industrial development in aircraft and shipbuilding, precisely the areas targeted by the IMF for closure or privatisation.

If the movement for democratic rights once more shows its power on the streets.

Habibie cannot rely on the army to crush it. The soldiers and their families have also suffered the economic effects of the crisis. They have shown their sympathy for the students and clearly do not wish to fire on the people.

The students, and indeed the rioters from the shanty-towns, wisely did not provoke the heavily armed troops but fraternised with them.

A revolutionary movement in the streets can take advantage of these divisions by making propaganda lor soldiers’ democratic rights, the election of committees in the barracks, the election of officers and the investigation and purging of the corrupt and reactionary officers. By such persistent agitation, the army ranks can be won over to the side of the people.

But there arc real weaknesses in the democratic movement led by the students. The students want reform and they want democracy. But what sort of reform and what sort of democracy? The “economic reforms” demanded by the IMF go beyond the ending of nepotism and corruption.

They want the lull neo-liberal shock therapy to be applied to Indonesia. This means the even greater prostration of the country before the multinationals.

As for democracy, if it is a democracy for the millionaires, for the landowners, the press lords and the clergy then it will not meet the simplest needs of the youth, the urban poor, the peasants or the working class.

Many student leaders have kept their distance from the workers’ movement and expressed open disapproval of the uprisings by the urban poor in Medan and Jakarta.

But others have held a series of meetings between student and workers’ representatives and in one case the latter signed a national platform demanding the resignation of Suharto, radical democratic and economic reform, and no further attacks on the workers.

It should be no surprise if, after thirty years of dictatorship, most students and workers have as yet no deal vision about which kind of society they want.

Nevertheless, after the downfall of Suharto the student movement will tend to divide in its aims and programme. What united them up to the fall of Suharto was the struggle lor democratic rights, the destruction of the old regime, the ending of corruption and winning of free elections.

To the extent that these goals are won, the students will tend to divide along political and, indeed, class lines. Those students from the more privileged classes will see the answer as the tree market, neo-liberal “reforms” advocated by the IMF. Others may see the answer as the continuation of the Indonesian mixture of private and state capitalism of Suharto and Habibie but one radically cleansed of corruption - a Utopian project if ever there was one.

One wing is more Islamist and looks to figures like Amien Rais - who demagogically denounce corruption - to lead the struggle against the regime. Rais played a key role in voicing the “Suharto must go” sentiments, unlike the secular bourgeois nationalist Megawati Sukamoputri, who was very nearly silent.

But Rais showed himself to be no revolutionary at the decisive moment, retreating at the first serious threat by the army, demobilising the mass demonstration called for 20 May. He cautiously welcomed the army’s role in changing the Presidency while-leaving the regime completely intact.

Another wing of the student movement is at one and the same time pro-bourgeois democracy and pro-IMF. They could provide the cadres for the building of a new bourgeois neo-liberal party around figures like Ginandjar Kartasasmita.

Such a development, similar to what happened in the Philippines after the downfall of Marcos, would be a serious threat to the masses.

But, as the experience of the Cory Aquino led “people’s power” revolution in the Philippines shows, bourgeois parliamentarism linked to a popularly elected executive presidency will do nothing to end the poverty and misery that afflict the Indonesian people.

Far from challenging the IMF programme, which will cause even more unemployment and poverty for the masses in the years ahead, it will prove an instrument for imposing it.

The obstacles to this reactionary project are, on the one hand, the most rapid, full and revolutionary democratisation as possible - as many students demand.

This would weaken the state apparatus and expose the bourgeoisie’s weakness amongst the masses before they can build new bourgeois parties and structures.

On the other hand, a retreat can be blocked by the political and trade union mobilisation of the working class against the IMF austerity package and the “economic reforms".

The most consistently revolutionary of the students, those who want to smash the entire military apparatus which can launch new coups, those who want to root out all the corrupt businessmen, without handing the country over to the IMF and the multinationals, will have to turn to the workers’ organisations and those of the urban and rural poor.

They will have to put their literacy and other skills, at the service of building a revolutionary workers’ party which alone can complete the Indonesian revolution.

Already one strand of student activism has shown its willingness appeal to the workers for support.

Where students have invited workers to join their demonstrations they have responded. For example, 300 factory workers from east Jakarta, wearing red armbands, joined a medical school demonstration in early May, while the SBSI held a demonstration of several thousand to protest the IMF attacks.

Obviously, it is this current which can play the most progressive role.

It is precisely the organised workers’ movement and the masses that hold the key to fundamental and lasting change in Indonesia.

The workers’ movement

The Suharto regime allowed no genuine independent mass labour organisations.

The official union federation, like all like other official unions in East Asia, was a stooge of the old regime and is useless for waging the class struggle.

An independent trade union, the SBSI, was founded in 1992 and survived the repression. Many of its ten thousand members were leading activists in their enterprises.

The SBSI has already led several militant local strikes. Muchtar Pakpahan, its leader who was released from jail in May, has said that he supports the former finance minister and now “super-minister” for economic affairs, Ginandjar Kartasasmita.

This man is very much pro-IMF and is a candidate for a future neo-liberal party.

Pakpahan has been immediately drawn into discussions with IMF envoys. Clearly, the SBSI is politically very weak.

Indonesian workers need to learn the lessons of the so-called “independent” unions in Russia - strong initially amongst the miners - which soon fell into the hands of the neo-liberals.

This led to class collaboration, the creation of a corrupt trade union bureaucracy in the pockets of the managers and employers, and unpaid wages for the workers.

The only unions which can defend the jobs and wages of Indonesia’s workers, especially in the crisis conditions wracking East Asia, will be militantly anti-capitalist and anti-IMF ones.

To prevent existing union leaders selling out, and to be able to replace those who do, a powerful democracy of rank and file workers has to be built in the unions as they recruit millions of new members in the coming months.

Factory and workplace councils, elected at mass meetings, whose delegates are open to immediate recall by their electors, must control the leaders. Officials must also be instantly recallable and paid the average wage of their members.

But the key to a workers’ movement that really fights and defends its members’ interests lies in the field of politics. If the workers are to escape domination by neo-liberal politics then they need revolutionary communist politics.

Many militants of the Communist Party , the PKI, are still in jail. The PKI could become a significant force again.

At the moment, however, the most important left party is the People’s Democratic Party (PRD) which has significant support in the working class and the peasantry.

Its militants were in the forefront of the struggles in 1996, when Suharto had Megawati Sukarnoputri ousted from the leadership of the legal opposition party the PDI.

Its programmatic statement - The New Order and Capitalism - calls for “people’s power that will lead to an economic, political and cultural democracy", i.e.

that the current struggles must be limited to the fight for democratic rights.

The culmination of these struggles it sees as a “People’s Coalition Government".

Moreover it sees figures and parties such as those of Megawati and/or Amien Rais as necessary participants in, if not leaders of, such a government.

This is the classic Stalinist popular front strategy.

Even if one measures the PRD in terms of its struggle for democracy, it is far from revolutionary. Indeed it abdicates from any leadership of the masses in the fight to overthrow and smash the military regime.

This can be seen in its position after Suharto’s resignation.

It called for Suharto’s puppet parliament, the MPR, “to hold an extraordinary session within one month".

It called on this session to reject Habibie as president, legalise parties, end the military’s role in politics, release all political prisoners, respect self-determination for East Timor and set up a transitional government.

Only if the MPR refuses to do this will PRD then “call for a general election to be held within three months".

Once again this election should have to be supervised by “a transitional government composed of the different forces and individuals which have and are playing a critical role in the struggle against the dictatorship” (Morning Star Saturday May 30 1998).

If the PRD is to play any progressive role in the Indonesian revolution then its cadres and working class base will have to dump this wretched programme and oust those leaders who stand by it.

It is significant that the army wants to release Pakpahan and some East Timor independence leaders but not the PKI supporters of 1965 and not the eight prisoners of the PRD.

It is the duty of all leftists to campaign vigorously for their release.

But there are also reports that other labour activists have formed an Indonesian Workers’ Party.

Wilhelmus Bokar, its spokesman, is reported as saying, “we will stage an all out battle to win the general election and improve the welfare of the workers.

If a labour party can govern in Britain and Australia, why not in Indonesia?"

All signs of the urge to class independence are important.

The working class must not be dragged in the wake of some military, populist or islamist demagogue. It needs organisational and political independence in order to play a leading role in the struggles ahead.

Organisational independence or even the labels, “worker", “socialist” or “communist” are not sufficient. Workers need to make sure that their party is a revolutionary party which has learned the lessons of the past.

Neither Labourite nor Stalinist reformism can provide the Indonesian workers with the instrument they need to take power.

Only the perspective and programme which the Bolsheviks worked on in 1917 and which is embodied in Leon Trotsky’s strategy of permanent revolution can bring the workers victory.

This strategy supports and pushes to the forefront the vital demands of the workers, the peasants and students for democracy, land, jobs, increased wages.

It spells out how the workers and their allies must establish control over the economy and society, win over the rank and file soldiers and arm themselves against the counterrevolution.

But it recognises that the goal during the revolutionary crisis, be it of long or short duration, must be the establishment of a revolutionary workers’ and peasants’ government based on councils of the workers, the poor peasants, the urban poor and the soldiers.

Only such a government can set about ending the exploitation of Indonesia by “native” capitalism and imperialism.

Whither Indonesia?
Fundamental change in Indonesia will come about only by a firm commitment to carry through the democratic struggle to the end.

In short, it needs to be waged by revolutionary means and its goal become real power for the majority, the workers and the poor peasants.

The working class, leading all the oppressed into battle, must fight - by mass demonstrations,

- factory and land occupations, the general strike and uprising - to sweep away the entire foundations of corruption and exploitation.

It must break up the military hierarchy and win the soldiers to forming a mass democratic peoples’ militia, controlled by the workers, poor peasants and rank and file soldiers themselves.

This means specifically:

o End all restrictions on the formation of political parties, lift the specific bans on the PKI and all Marxist parties;

o Release all political prisoners!

o Freedom to form trade unions, student unions and peasant unions independent of all state control!

o Freedom of assembly; against censorship in the media.

For an end to big business and state control of TV, radio and the press;

o In order to thwart all attempts to restrict constitutional reform as much as possible it is crucial to fight for the convening of a sovereign constituent assembly elected by universal suffrage of all over the age of 16:

o Its delegates must be instantly recallable by their constituents so that they cannot break their mandates to the people;

o It must immediately set about the resolution of the major problems facing the poor - breaking free from the shackles of the IMF, expropriating the great landowners, expropriating the 30 families who own industry and commerce, liberating the peoples of East Timor and Irian.

The latter aim is not so as to Balkanise Indonesia, thus putting its human and natural resources even more at the mercy of the imperialist predators, but to lay the basis of an expanding union of the workers and popular masses.

This can only be based on the freedom to secede or - as is greatly preferable - to unite.

Last, but not least, there must be no question of imposing sharia law as the Islamists wish.

There must be a total separation between the mosques, temples and churches and the state and the school.

An emergency plan needs to be adopted to combat the catastrophe ripping through the Indonesian economy and to meet the needs of the masses .

This should include the following key demands:

o Reject the IMF programme and retain subsidies on food and fuel.

Form committees of workers and housewives to control prices and prevent hoarding of food by distributors;

o Renounce all the debts run up by Suharto and his clique with the imperialist banks.

Demand the return of the looted billions salted away in the western banks;

o Expropriate the Suharto clan’s property and that of the 30 families;

o Put Suharto and his principal supporters on trial before a tribunal of workers, peasants and the oppressed nationalities for their genocidal crimes:

o For a living wage as calculated by the trade unions and factory committees.

For a sliding scale of wages to protect against inflation;

o Immediately reinstate all workers made redundant or laid off.

Expropriate any firm which refuses reinstatement, or declares itself bankrupt;

o Place all nationalised industry under the control of the workers.

Remove all industry from army control and place it at the disposal of the state:

o For an agrarian revolution: cancel the peasants’ debts to the money lenders, expropriate the big landlords and redistribute the lands to the peasants and rural labourers.

Introduce a massive aid programme of loans, fertilisers and machinery to increase the productivity of the land.

Expand and promote co-operative production:

o Recognise the right of self-determination, up to and including complete secession, for the nations such as East Timor, Irian and Aceh, where there are movements for independence;

o To fight the IMF and the imperialist multinationals, a voluntary union of the peoples of the entire region is necessary.

For a Socialist United States of East Asia.

The full programme of revolutionary democracy and of economic measures to defeat the IMF, the multinational plunderers and their Indonesian agents, can only be carried out by a workers’ and peasants’ government that acts in the interest of the masses and not the capitalists, native or foreign.

But it will only be able to do so if its is based on councils of delegates of the industrial, commercial and rural workers, the urban poor, the peasants and the rank and file soldiers.

Moreover, these mass organisations have to arm themselves and win the soldiers to their side, if a repetition of 1965 is not to occur.

These councils need to spring up all over Indonesia now, to lead the struggle and to make sure that the likes of Amien Rais or Megawati Sukarnoputri do not take it over and betray it, as Cory Aquino did in the Philippines.

Moreover, the example of such a revolutionary struggle can spread like wildfire in the whole region, which is suffering in different degrees from the same crisis and faces the same enemies. It could spread to countries like Korea and China where the working class and its gains are under attack.

But to win the masses to this programme needs a party of militants to fight for it today - a new revolutionary communist (Trotskyist) party, part of a new Leninist-Trotskyist International. The LRCI is fighting today to build such parties and such an International.

What can workers in the imperialist countries and the semi-colonies do to aid the revolution in Indonesia? First and foremost they can expose their own governments’ collusion with Suharto’s dictatorship and their plundering of Indonesia.

The reformist leaders - agents of imperialism - should be pressed to abandon their support for repression against the Indonesian people.

In Britain the Labour Government has carried on the Tory policy of arms sales to Indonesia.

The water cannon and gas used against demonstrators are British made and supplied, as are the light tanks which stand guard outside the Presidential Palace.

The US and Australia continue their “military co-operation” and joint exercises with the Indonesian military. Australia recognises Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor. Until recently, the US was secretly training the most notorious death squad grouping in the Indonesian army - the Kopassus Red Berets.

As to the exploitation of Indonesia by the multinationals and the IMF, all socialists and class conscious workers should fight to force the G8 governments to withdraw support for the IMF deal, return Suharto’s plunder secreted in their banks and send massive aid, without strings, to the workers and peasants of Indonesia.

In all countries, the unions and political organisations should mobilise financial and material aid to rebuild the Indonesian workers movement.

At the first sign of imperialist intervention, the workers’ movement of the imperialist countries and the semi-colonies should take direct action to stop it.

o Down with the Indonesian military dictatorship!
o Down with IMF sponsored hunger-reforms!
o Down with the multinational plunderers of Indonesia!
o Long live the revolutionary struggle for full democratic rights!
o Long live the struggle of the people of East Timor and Irian for their freedom
o For a revolutionary workers’ and poor peasants’ government in Indonesia!

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