Our friends in Indonesia asked us to translate the following text and distribute it with an attached appeal for donations. Even if the text does not come directly from anarchists and certainly needs a critique in some points, it still reflects the spread and deeper radicalism of the resistance against the omnibus law. The resistance against capitalism, state and neoliberal reforms is strong in Indonesia and culminates in efforts to build a counter-movement to parliamentary politics. But repression by the state and its reactionary supporters is intensifying as well, with many people imprisoned, deported, injured, or in hiding. Of course, the situation is particularly serious during the ongoing pandemic.
Originally published by Barrikade Info.
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THE ALLIANCE OF PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT (ALIANSI RAKYAT BERGERAK)
A PROTEST CALLING FOR A MOTION OF NO CONFIDENCE:
WE DEMAND JOKOWI-MA’RUF TO STEP DOWN! REVOKE JOB CREATION LAW! DISSOLVE THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES! ESTABLISH A PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY!
October 8, 2020
In the period leading up to and after the passing of Omnibus Law by the House of Representatives (DPR RI), there has been a massive wave of protests by diverse groups in various regions from January to the present. Workers, peasants, college and high school students, and many other elements are united in demonstrations and other ways of protesting. The protest movement rests on the people’s mistrust of the State that has blatantly favored the interest not of the marginal people, but the capitalists. The mounting mistrust reached its culmination when the State passed the Omnibus Bill into law.
The legislation of the Bill is unconstitutional. Not only was it rushed through without public participation but DPR’s plenary agenda also lacks transparency. The state’s institution, along with their bigoted supporters, has continued to deceive the people by campaigning that the Law would purportedly open wider job opportunities and take the disadvantaged people’s side. The truth is it is all a lie.
Similarly, regarding labor, agriculture, environment, education, and other sectors, none favors the interest of the marginal people; it is all for the interest of the rulers allying themselves with the oligarchs. With this starting point, the people’s movements in many regions in Indonesia—including the one in Yogyakarta (the Alliance of People’s Movement)—began an initiative and organized themselves towards the aim of the revocation of Omnibus Law.
Nearly all the protests against Omnibus Law in many regions, including the one in Yogyakarta, have been the target of brutal violence by the state apparatus and reactionary mass organizations, to which many people have fallen victim. In fact, by the time the release was made, many of our friends had been arrested by the police—some have not been released while the whereabouts of the others are unknown. Lawyers are not given access, partially or thoroughly, to assist the arrested protesters as happened in Surabaya, Cirebon, Bandung, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, and some other regions. The barbaric acts of repression by the police and reactionary mass organizations have to be thoroughly investigated by the people in the solidarity.
The way the state favors the interest of rent seekers, repressive state apparatus, and reactionary mass organizations has increased people’s mistrust considerably. The property damage as a result of demonstrations against the abominable law is hardly comparable to the environmental destruction and the violation of people’s rights perpetrated systematically for decades by the state. In fact, it is incomparable at all. The civil disobedience in horizontal patterns in many regions has to continue. The people’s victory won’t be achieved without an interconnected massive movement.
On account of all forms of violence the people have suffered, a bigger and more massive movement as a form of civil disobedience is necessary to put political pressure to the state and its vile accomplices, aiming to
1. Revoke Omnibus Law
2. Release the arrested protesters
3. Resist the violent acts of state apparatus and reactionary mass organizations
4. Continue to take to the street until a people’s assembly is established
Tuesday, September 8, 2020, at 9 am mass protesters from various backgrounds assembled at Bunderan UGM Yogyakarta and soon began a long march to Malioboro. They marched in an organized way without any disturbance and handed out flyers containing the demands of the protest. At 12:11 pm, represented by ARB’s Public Relations Team, the protesters began a press conference with journalists and afterwards continued the long march to the rally point.
At 1:01 pm, the protesters arrived at Abu Bakar Ali parking lot and then spread out a poster from the third floor. At 1:03 pm, the first chaos broke out because tear gas was fired at the protesters hurling things at the front yard of the Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) building. At 1:10, the speaker at the demonstration command car asked the protesters to return to their sitting position and then directed them towards the “km 0”. At 1:22, small projectiles were hurled at the building front yard, but the speaker at the command car asked the protesters to remain in order.
At 1:23, the hurling situation was escalating, and the protesters thronged the DPRD building front yard. At 1:25, the firing of tear gas heard, and the protesters immediately retreated to keep away from it. From 1:33 to 1:38, shootings were still heard, and it began to be really hard to idetify the mass of protesters. At 2:05, the situation was getting out of control as a result of the mass panicking over the tear gas shooting. Several injured protesters were immediately evacuated and given medical treatment. At 2:58, protest casualties were evacuated to the front of Mall Malioboro. At 3 pm, the sound of the protesters yelling “revolution” clashed with tear gas shootings.
At 4:20 pm, a protest statement was briefly read, but it was met with another tear gas firing; soon the mass of protesters retreated to the direction of Abu Bakar Ali parking lot. At 5:50 pm, we found that 30 members of the protest received medical treatment, some of which were in critical condition according to the report of ARB’s Medical Team. At 6 pm, Documentation Team provided the information that 20 people had been arrested, two of which were unconscious.
Based on the series of events described above, several important points can be concluded on the Protest Calling for a Motion of No Confidence on September 8, 2020:
1. This was an open protest joined by all elements of the society and, therefore, the nature of the protesting mass was fluid;
2. This protest strongly held the principle that protests should be oriented towards the interest of the people; therefore, this protest had no agenda whatsoever to start provocation and social friction with other elements of the society;
3. This protest did not limit the number of protesters; the fact that the number exploded was likely a result of the passing of the policies that caused social unrest;
4. This protest strongly held the principles of leaderless resistance, equality, and democracy; therefore, it did not specify the identities of the protesters with the consideration that identity restriction in any forms is repression of freedom of expression;
5. It is true that a clash occured between the mass of protesters and the security forces;
6. It is true that several protesters were injured and received medical treatment in the hospital or by the medical team;
7. It is true that 95 protesters have been arrested by the security forces (in Polresta Yogyakarta) and are being assisted by the Legal Team to ensure that their rights are fulfilled;
8. It is true that damage has been caused in the clash between the police and the protesters;
9. It is true that a building in Malioboro area was on fire;
10. On account of the fluid nature of the protesters and their exploding number, there is a firm basis to conclude that the mass protest could have been infiltrated by anyone aiming to frame a democratic people’s movement;
11. The claim that the fire had been started by the protesters can be refuted by a video documenting the protesters’ attempt to help extinguishing the fire. However, during their attempt to put out the fire, police fired tear gas at them;
12. Due to the fluid nature of protest participants, ARB is unable to identify them one by one, but ARB will try to provide legal assistance and medical treatment for them;
13. Any official statements with regards to the protest have been created through a mutual agreement between all elements of ARB as a collective entity.
We have learned how colonialism happened. When will those who are oppressed—from America to Asia—and decide to rise up be greeted with a bouquet of flowers?
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