APSN Banner

PRD hunger strike to boycott general election

PRD Statement - May 6, 1997

Democracy is at its nadir! The sentences meted out to the eleven PRD activists have proven that the New Order regime is an oppressive regime. It proves that fundamental differences of opinion are not allowed in this country. In the history of the world, only dictatorial regimes dare to put political parties on trial. The New Order regime has already put itself on par with the worst of dictatorial regimes.

The sentences of the eleven PRD activists have proven the truth of the PRD statement that there is no democracy in Indonesia!!! Democracy, which means people sovereignty, is being trampled for the sake of maintaining a regime that exploits the people. The suppression of the PRD was necessary to threaten people who dare to express and fight for their rights. Those sentences proved that the PRD had precisely analyzed the central problem of the Indonesian people while simultaneously developing a program of struggle, with strategies and tactics, to solve the problem..

Those heavy sentences are needed by the New Order regime to suppress the people resistance which is blooming and beginning to send forth the fragrance of democracy. Those sentences are needed so that workers, peasants, the urban poor, students and intellectuals who have stood up become terrorized into abandoning their resistance. Those sentences are needed so that the exploitation of the workers, the expropriation of people from their land, and the expulsions of the urban poor, can go on smoothly. Those sentences are part of a larger system of exploitation. Therefore, we strongly protest those sentences by launching a hunger strike.

We have begun our hunger strike on International Workers Day, May 1, 1997. Only in Indonesia, under the New Order regime, is May Day not commemorated. Representing respect towards the toiling workers, it is observed in every democratic country as a national holiday. But in Indonesia, PRD activists who fight for the economic and political rights of workers are convicted in kangaroo courts and imprisoned. Please remember on this day that Marsinah had to pay, as the price of her struggle, a horrible death at the hands of ABRI. This is the uncivilized nature of the oppressor which affects the workers and various sectors of the Indonesian people. It is primitive! It is far removed from the civilized and just humanity proclaimed in the second principle of Pancasila.

On this workers day, we PRD activists behind bars call for resistance to this oppression. Our hunger strike is one way we call upon the workers to support Megawati Sukarnoputri leadership and to boycott the elections until the Five Political Laws and ABRI Double-function are repealed! There is no use joining the elections when they are obviously being used by an authoritarian regime to oppress the people and those who are fighting for the people. As long as the elections can not bring any benefit to the workers, there is no point for you workers to make it successful.

We have to be resolute in facing this regime wickedness. Do not tolerate its harsh and brutal acts to silence the people voice. The actions of this regime are immoral and they are against the values of democracy, of Pancasila and of UUD 1945 96 the principles which the regime itself hails. At the drama performance of the 1997 general election, we have to be brave and shout BOYCOTT!

Why? Because we cannot accept this election which has excluded the PDI-Struggle under Megawati Sukarnoputri. We certainly do not want our voices to be corrupted into legitimizing the authority of those who oppress us.

For this reason, we have to take substantive steps to reveal the lies behind the upcoming election. A public campaign has to be launched and spread widely according to the following method:

1) Open mass mobilizations and public gatherings during the campaign period. 2) Producing publications and pamphlets and distributing them to the mass of the people. 3) Raising banners, sticking up posters and pamphlets in places where they can be seen and read by the people.

For the success of the above campaign, we need to form general election committees aimed at developing a wide network with the active involvement of the people. PRD suggestions are, among others:

1) Form boycott committees and also committees to mobilize support for Megawati in the cities where you live.
2) When these committees have been formed, develop alliances among committees so that the resistance network will become larger, moving from the regency level to the provincial level to the national level.
3) Conduct consolidation meetings and discussions about the current political situation in the nation. Hold meetings to organize mass actions with an election boycott as the main issue.
4) Constantly publish fliers and distribute them wherever people gather: at the factory, campus, market, terminal, theatre, mall, etc.
5) Write graffiti with spray paint, markers or any other device. Slogan: "Boycott the elections."
6) Conduct trainings routinely which can impart an understanding and technical ability in the field for mobilizing and leading mass actions. 7) Hold free speech forums and mass actions in campuses, public parks, factories, near parliament or other government institutions.

When the public campaign of the boycott committees spreads, we can then begin tactics for the actual boycott of the election. Precise tactics should be chosen based upon the quality and depth of the networking.

1) Organize people to submit their yellow registration cards to the branch office and central office of PDI-Struggle. Through the committees, the number of yellow cards will be counted so that the real number of people who support Megawati will be known.
2) If mass militancy survives the terror which will be launched by the regime, the number of supporters will be regularly announced to the public. It is important for the public to see the development of the struggle. The courage of the masses has to be considered at this stage.
3) If mass militancy is getting higher, the yellow cards which have been collected and counted should be burned. This burning has to be widely announced. This action can be done when there is a network committee in the big cities even if committees in the villages have not been formed. This action can spontaneously prompt similar actions in other places.
4) On the day of the general election, mobilize the public 96 at the same time, in every region. Here we can show in real numbers the amount of support for Megawati and the demand for boycotting the elections.

The central point is that all boycott activity has to be directed towards mass mobilization. Only when millions of people who have been economically and politically oppressed for decades begin to move, will the New Order pay attention to their political influence. Only when the people are able to organize themselves like this will the regime be forced to meet their demands: WITHOUT MEGAWATI THE ELECTIONS ARE INVALID!!! Only then will the New Order be willing to repeat the elections with Megawati as the legal leadership of the PDI. Only with this kind of organizing activity will people not resort to anarchic activities and people power will be concentrated on the attempt to assert their demands.

From behind the prisons of Suharto regime, we PRD cadre are starting a hunger strike to protest the elections. It is our form of resistance, undertaken with all the strength we have, to oppose the elections that only legitimize the power of this oppressive regime. It is a real step we can take to keep sending the message to the people that the fake elections have to be stopped. Only the people can put an end to this Festival of Deceit. Therefore, LET US FORM COMMITTEES FOR BOYCOTTING THE ELECTIONS! PROCLAIM THE SLOGAN: "WITHOUT MEGAWATI, BOYCOTT THE ELECTIONS!"

Jakarta, May 1, 1997

Signed Budiman Sudjatmiko, General Chairman

Petrus H. Hariyanto, Secretary General