Indonesia’s Militant Working Class calls: JUNK WTO!

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Jakarta (12 November) The militant workers’ movement in Indonesia, the Federation of Independent Trade Union (or GSBI-Gabungan Serikat Buruh Independen), mobilized more than 3,000 members from Karawang, Tanggerang, Cikarang and Bekasi (industrial complex that surround Jakarta) in a mass demonstration that called for a wage increase for all Indonesian workers and the subsequent junking of the World Trade Organization, or WTO.

No less than 3,200 workers marched through the busy streets of Jakarta to the Presidential Palace and the Embassy of the United States of America to express their unified stance against the Indonesian government’s continued sellout of its own natural resources and people in its bid to host the WTO and further propagate the neoliberal policies that the WTO imposes.

Rudy HB Daman, chairperson of the GSBI, said: “What the Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono-Budiono administration is applying is cheap labor politics that only attacks and violates the basic and sectoral rights of Indonesian workers.”

More than 30,000 workers in Sukabumi-West Java also participated in the said demonstration through their own action in Sukabumi.

“Under the monopoly capitalist scheme in order to solve the protracted multidimensional crises, imperialist states and their local cohorts are intensifying exploitation against the working class,” argued Rudy. “With their impositions that only cause the inflation of basic goods here in Indonesia, why are they now even raising the wages of workers? Clearly, what is more important to the SBY regime is the further commodification of Indonesian labor to attract foreign investors and big business.”

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Rudy highlighted the implementation by the Indonesian government of labor market flexibility by accommodating labor casualization, outsourcing, contractualization of workers and union busting.

According to GSBI, it is US imperialism that remains to be the master of the SBY government and commands the latter in keeping Indonesian industries at a low value, such as those in semi-manufacturing and manufacturing sectors.

“The goal of Indonesia’s August 1945 revolution was to establish an independent country where a strong national industry will become the backbone for the country to build her national capacity,” said Rudy, “but with the US intervention in the country’s economy through our own
comprador bourgeoisie, this goal will not be realized.”

Rudy highlighted the various schemes committed by governments of fascist Soeharto to the present fascist and comprador regime of SBY that suppress people’s progressive aspirations for national democracy, genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization. Such impositions have only caused Indonesia to remain in an economically-backward state.

GSBI also saw that 9th Ministerial Conference of WTO (WTO MC9) as the monopoly capitalist scheme to overcome crises through trade monopoly with the neoliberal policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation. Such policies through the WTO, averred GSBI, only ensure the supply of cheap raw materials and labor to capitalist states, market expansion, capital export destination in countries like Indonesia, being a member of the WTO.

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“Workers in Indonesia already learned that the Indonesian government is a pro-monopoly capitalist regime and will impose WTO negotiations and resolutions that are not truly beneficial to the interests of the Indonesia’s working class and will run contrary to the interests of the general Indonesian populace. The SBY government will only continue to impose wage cuts, union busting, labor casualization and all
anti-worker measures as a submission and in accordance to these WTO agreements and policies,” said Rudy.

GSBI called on the working class and peoples of Indonesia as well as the international community to mobilize for the Peoples’ Global Camp (PGC) that is being organized by Indonesian Peoples Alliance (IPA), on 3-6 December. The PGC shall serve as the people’s alternative and counter conference to the WTO MC9.

The IPA is broad campaign platform calling for the protection of sovereignty and promotion of a pro-people trade. It currently has a membership of 60 national, local and international members.

“Together, let us strengthen our ranks and fight for our just demands for just wages, land for the peasants, and genuine development for the people. A world with all these demands realized can happen – without the WTO. So let us all call, JUNK WTO!” concluded Rudy.

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