Jakarta, Indonesia July 23 – Twelve years ago, dozens of young people declared the birth of a new political party, which had a radical-progressive political line. This event became one of the changes that brought down the New Order regime and gradually expanded the democratic space. Today members, former members and supporters of the PRD (People's Democratic Party), who are dispersed throughout various political parties, government departments, non-government organizations, have become social workers, or who work in mass organizations and trade unions, etc are taking part in a celebration to mark 12 years of the PRD's declaration. This modest event took place in the offices of Papernas, in Tebet St, South Jakarta.
Petrus Hariyanto, former general-secretary of the PRD declared that, 'this celebration is actually aimed at celebrating and remembering once more the enthusiasm and early dreams of the founding of the PRD. The PRD have put themselves forward as a radical-progressive party which was founded by youth and bravely reckoned with the authority of the New Order, which was refreshing. Many PRD cadre surrendered their body and soul in the struggle for democracy and for some their fate is up until today still not clear, like Wiji Thukul, Herman Hendrawanm Suyat, Bimo Petrus and others.'
Dinner was served by former general secretary of the PRD, Petrus Harianto and given to several comrades who were present at the PRD Declaration on 23/07/96, like Suroso and Yakobus EK. The mood of the evening brightened when those present sung the PRD anthem and other songs.
Agus Jabo Priyano, general secretary of the PRD, who arrived late from visiting people in Central Java, said that, "the prime challenge in the mass struggle is now much different to the situation in the PRD's past. Now there is open democracy, but it's entire purpose is in the interests of economic liberalization and foreign interests. Meanwhile, members and former members of the PRD who nowadays are spread throughout social and political organizations, political parties, NGO's, trade unions, government departments and others have the same response to this, that is, national liberation."
After these greetings the night continued with testimonies given by Revitriyoso, who was a candidate for the upper house in Jakarta, and others. The main enthusiasm which emerged from the PRD anniversary was for consolidating their strength and motivating people to take power, including through using formal channels like through local elections, the House of Representatives, the Legislative Council, etc.
[Source: Berdikari Online (26/07/08), Ulfa Ilyas translated by Mel Barnes.]