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What is Anarcho-Syndicalism and how we work: An Open letter to Media and all workers all over the world

Open letter by the Workers Solidarity Syndicate about repression in Indonesia.

Originally published by the International Workers Association (IWA – AIT).

Responding to the circulating narratives of Anarcho-syndicalism in Indonesia lately, we the Anarcho-Syndicalism group in Indonesia hereby states that:
That Anarcho-Syndicalist is a group that build workers self-management, an independent worker management system with the goal of welfare of workers without oppression.

The acts of politicians, state and the police of intimidating us through the discourse of demonization and criminalization of the Anarcho-Syndicalist is a psychological war that we should oppose. This is especially considering there is no single looting evidence as alleged by the police.

Methodically, the looting that is sounded through the black campaign of the ruling power had negative potential contrary with our principles as working class. Working class views that in efforts for fundamental changes, the use of destruction is unnecessary. We are focusing in improving the welfare of our class, and strengthening clear, balanced bargaining position, to the capital owners and ruling powers.

Currently, we are active part in the solidarity of workers causes in various issues such as: decrease of working hours, proper wages, better working condition, and working safety. We also actively oppose all form of oppression and pressure exerted by capital to the working class such as criminalization of strikes, enforced production increase, additional working hour, curtail of wages, arbitrary lay off, and union busting. We thrive for worker self-management based on mutual aid and equality ethos.

Anarcho-Syndicalist is a non-hierarchical organization, in which we banish all form of labor exploitation of hierarchical trade union such as decision by union elites, centralistic command, and chipping of the severance pay on behalf of “assistance cost”.

“Solidarity not charity” is one of our ethos that we apply in our working class life. Our works are based on solidarity between working class, instead of charity due to pity. The welfare and independence of the workers can only be attained from and by workers, instead of a grant from other party, specially the ruling power and capital.

We want the workers to be able to engage in education so that we can learn corporate production and distribution management to prepare our self in running production spots under independent workers management. We are also involved in social actions, and participated in conserving ecological and healthy environment for all.

The existence of Anarcho-Syndicalist as individual as well as groups manifested the civilians living their civil and political rights to associate, assemble and express opinions. These civil and political rights are warranted by at least two international human rights instruments i.e. the UDHR and International Covenant on Civil and Political rights – ICCPR. The rights are stipulated in chapters 20 and 21 of the UDHR, and chapters 19, 21 and 22 of ICCPR ratified in Indonesia through Act No. 12/2005. In National law system, the freedom to associate, assemble and express opinion are constitutional rights stipulated on Chapter 28E article (3) of Indonesian 1945 constitution, in conjunction with chapter 24 article (1) of Act number No.39/1999 on Human Rights.

More specifically, rights of workers to organize themselves is stipulated on chapter 2 of ILO convention number 87 year 1948 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize Convention (Ratified In Indonesia through Presidential decree No. 83/1998) that asserts “Workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, shall have the right to establish and subject only to the rules of the organization of their own choosing without previous authorization”.
Workers organization is an important element in the cause for workers’ rights. The imbalanced bargaining position between workers and employers mandates us to organize our self and strengthen our bargaining position to the employers. These matters are governed in Chapter 2 or ILO convention number 98 year 1949 on The Application of Principles of The Right to Organize and to Bargain Collectively yang (ratified in Indonesia through Act No. 18/1956) that asserts: “Workers’ and employers’ organization shall enjoy adequate protection against any acts of interference by each other’s agents of members in their establishment, functioning or administration”. The two ILO convention affirms the rights of workers to associate/organize.

The matters exerted to Anarcho-Syndicalist group through the law enforcement had violated at least four International Human rights Instruments. It is also a violation of the constitution and four national legislations.

Government through the police, had violation of these instrument, thus had disclosed their inconsistence to the public.

May 1st 2020, Workers Solidarity Syndicate



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