Tens of Thousands Protest in Indonesia

Indonesia protest

Workers demand a higher minimum wage and an end to outsourcing as unrest in southeast Asia’s largest economy amplifies.

Al Jazeera, November 22, 2012

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2012/11/2012112253436646925.html

Tens of thousands of workers have gathered outside
the presidential palace in Jakarta in Indonesia,
demanding higher wages, better working conditions
and that more economic growth trickle down to the
working class.

The demonstrations on Thursday come a day after a
governor in the capital Jakarta agreed to raise the
minimum wage by 44 per cent but protesters said
they wanted government to provide better health
care and pensions and wanted to ensure that the
courts do not over turn their decision. Continue reading

Indonesia: Ex-political prisoners stage plays to survive stigmatization

[Though this description of the 1965 events and massacre are re-packaged, and carefully cleansed of the CIA role; and the scale of the mass murder was much greater, this article from the Indonesian press does raise the largely unrecognized impact on a million political prisoners from that time, seen through the experience of elderly survivors. — Frontlines ed.]

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Saturday, 06/30/2012

The commemoration of the abortive coup blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) is still a few months away, but former political prisoners always remember Sept. 30, 1965, as the day that changed their lives. Following the attempt, which claimed the lives of six Army generals, the Indonesian Military, with the help of mass organizations, prosecuted anyone thought to have links with the PKI. The precise number of fatalities has been disputed, but some put the number as high as 500,000. Those who survived the massacre lived with the stigma of communism and lost their civil rights. One of them, Nani Nuraini, is now 71 years old.

“Even though we are now aged and frail, we still keep smiling and fighting,” said Nani, who claims she has just been fighting for her rights. At the Central Jakarta District Court in 2008, she won the right to a lifetime identity card just like any other elderly citizen. In April, however, the same court rejected her request for rehabilitation.

She was arrested in 1968 and sent without trial to Bukitduri Women’s Penitentiary in South Jakarta for seven years, simply because, at a young age, she had performed as a presidential palace dancer at the party’s anniversary gathering in June 1965. Nani has lived with the stigma of being an ex-political prisoner and communist sympathizer ever since. Continue reading

Inter-imperialist rivalry in Asia heats up between US and China

Obama and Hu Jintao make nice for public consumption

 

[This article provides a useful overview of the current state of economic, political and military contention between the US and China in Asia. However, it does not not identify China as an imperialist power in its own right, and it one-sidely portrays the US imperialists as “encircling” China. This makes it impossible to understand the capitalist/imperialist nature of China’s growing economic investments in Asia, as well as China’s development of military ties with Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This not a “defensive” reaction to pressure from US imperialism, but is a calculated strategy of a newly emerged imperialist power that is trying to break into the US’ traditional spheres of influence in Asia, and elsewhere in the world.–Frontlines ed]

World Socialist Web Site, 13 November 2010

US diplomatic offensive tightens strategic encirclement of China

Washington’s aggressive diplomatic campaign in Asia over the past two weeks has amounted, in the words of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to “a full court press” against China, with the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean emerging as potential future theatres of war.

President Barack Obama’s visits to India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, and Clinton’s trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia, sought to either strengthen existing alliances or create new partnerships for a US-led strategic encirclement of China.

Obama fervently courted India, China’s regional nuclear-armed rival. He urged New Delhi to become a “world power” and backed its bid to become a UN Security Council permanent member. Clinton twice reiterated that Washington could invoke the US-Japan Security Treaty to militarily support Japan against China in the conflict over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. Vietnam announced it was ready to hire out its strategic Cam Ranh Bay port in the South China Sea “to naval ships from all countries”—with Washington the most likely client. Canberra agreed to provide greater US access to its military facilities, especially those in northern Australia. Continue reading

Indonesian students stage protests against Obama’s visit

November 08, 2010

Prior to the visit of U.S. President Barrack Obama to Indonesia, a number of student groups staged demonstrations to protest the visit. 

A group joined by dozens of University of Indonesia (UI) students staged a protest on Monday in the campus premises, opposing Obama’s visit.

The protesters who burned down the United States’ flag called on the government to uphold the country’s dignity, stop bowing to U.S. government foreign policies, the detik.com reported.

“Indonesian government seems like dead already. It always bows to U.S. policies,” one of the student shouted during the protest that was held near the station of trains serving transport for the students to Jakarta’s downtown areas.

The protesters also demanded the government to review the contract of U.S. firm’s exploitation in gold mineral resources mining located in Indonesia’s easternmost province of Papua that they said unfair for Indonesia.

UI campus is listed to be one of President Obama’s places to be visited during his two-day visit in Indonesia.

Another group joined by hundreds of students, called themselves as Student Movement for Freedom (Gema Pembebasan), staged a protest in front of U.S. embassy in Jakarta on Friday last week.

They opposed the visit of the leader of the country they regarded “a new colonialist”.

Source: Xinhua

Democracy Now: US ties to special death squads in Indonesia

With Obama in Jakarta, secret documents show US-backed Indonesian Special Forces Unit targets Papuan churches, civilians

President Obama arrived in Indonesia today on the second stop of a ten-day trip to Asia. It’s Obama’s first state visit to Indonesia after having lived there for four years as a child.

We go to Jakarta to speak with investigative journalist and activist Allan Nairn, who has just released secret documents from Kopassus—the feared Indonesian special forces—which has been responsible for human rights abuses since the 1950s.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration lifted a 12-year funding ban for the training of Kopassus. While Obama talks about human rights, the documents indicate that Kopassus targets churches and civilians and includes a Kopassus enemies list topped by a local Baptist minister in West Papua. Nairn will continue to release documents on his website AllanNairn.com. Continue reading

US-Chinese rivalry looms over Hillary Clinton’s visit to Vietnam

[The two articles that follow (promoting American interests) paint a detailed picture of the growing rivalry in Southeast Asia between US imperialism and China, which has emerged as an imperialist power in its own right.  While Vietnam like China is a thoroughly capitalist country with a one-party state that masquerades as “communist”, and has been propped up by billions of dollars in foreign investment in all areas of its economy, it is worried about its big northern neighbor.  Now the Vietnamese government is being courted aggressively by the US in order to counter China’s growing economic and military power. This will be a bitter experience for many Vietnamese who experienced the US war that killed upwards of 2 million soldiers and civilians and ravaged their country from 1965-75.  A US-Vietnam alliance may sail into some rough waters in the years ahead.-ed]

US Secretary of State Clinton appearing in Hanoi with Vietnamese general

 

China’s rise prompts Vietnam to strengthen ties to other nations

Washington Post, October 30, 2010

HANOI – Three weeks ago, an exhibition opened at the Vietnam Military History Museum. On one side of a long hall, the mementos of Vietnam’s 25 years of war against the United States and France – letters of surrender, quotations from Ho Chi Minh, hand grenades and AK-47 rifles – lined the walls. Nothing new there.

But on the other side, the History Museum was actually making history. Along those walls hung daggers, paintings and quotations from Vietnam’s struggle with another rival: imperial China.  Battles dating to 1077, 1258 and the 14th and 18th centuries were featured in intricate detail.

Putting China on a par with “Western aggressors” marks a psychological breakthrough for Vietnam’s military and is troubling news for Beijing. For years, China has tried to forge a special relationship with Vietnam’s Communist government. But China’s rise – and its increasingly aggressive posture toward Vietnam – has alarmed the leadership of this country of 90 million, prompting it to look differently at its neighbor.

Beijing risks losing its status here of a fraternal Communist partner and being relegated to its longtime place as the empire on Vietnam’s northern border that has shaped and bedeviled this country for centuries. That change of perception has led Vietnam to embark on an extraordinary undertaking to befriend the world as a hedge against China. And prominent among its new intimates is the United States, which is equally eager for partners to help it cope with Beijing. Continue reading