Sunday, November 3, 2013

Massive General Strike in Indonesia

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

A massive general strike and week of actions is taking place in Indonesia. That the US media ignores this is an example of the bias of the mass media.  If there were a terrorist bombing it would be well publicized.  The problem is that this sort of activity, the mass, conscious withdrawal of labor power by workers is mass terrorism from the bosses’ point of view.  It not only hinders profit taking, it is an example of how to fight, a step along the road to changing society and controlling our economic and political lives. It affects consciousness not only of the participants but of all workers who see and read about it. A General Strike places the question of who runs society on the table.

In Jakarta, workers are demanding the government set the minimum wage at 334 US dollars per month.  According to reports I have read, there are two million workers in 20 Indonesian provinces participating. The links in the quote below should take you to more information about events leading up to this strike

“Workers across the country have launched a series of protests in the past month in preparation for the October 31-November 1 strike. There were factory shutdowns, union visits, and rallies to recruit workers to join the strike. On October 21, unions gathered 20,000 workers for a national dialogue. “ (Global Voices)

Workers are demanding:

50% increase in minimum wage
Universal healthcare
Abolition of outsourcing
Abolition of an anti-labor law (Presidential Instruction No. 9/2013) that not only suppresses the minimum wage but also instructs the police force to “monitor the process to set a minimum wage and the implementation of minimum wage policy”.
Introduce legislation to protect domestic workers.

The other aspect of this is that this is the world’s most populous Muslim nation.  In Bangladesh and places like Indonesia, Muslims and women are in the forefront of the struggle against global capital yet listen to a speech by Obama or US and western politicians ands see how often they use the word terrorist and Muslim or terrorist and Arab together. See how Muslims are painted with the terrorist brush in the bosses' media. Yet millions of Muslims are being beaten, victimized and terrorized by international capital and their hired gangs for fighting back.

The men and women of Indonesia are an example of the heroism and sacrifice that workers have exhibited throughout our history, a history that is buried, hidden, distorted at best.

Victory to the Indonesian workers. An inspiration to us all.

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