Solidarity Work, A Reply
aabdo at SPAMwebtv.net
Wed Jan 26 03:03:06 MST 2000
Thanks for your patience in waiting for a reply. No, I don't think
that calling for Indonesia to stop killing Timorese is wrong, or even
consisting in itself, of being an effort to split pieces of Indonesia
off. But there has been much more than just a call to end the
military attacks on what have been almost entirely, Timorese civilians.
The island of Timor has been terribly victimized by imperialist control
throughout it's history. As has the entire East Indies region.
The violence didn't just start last year, and the violence didn't even
just start in 1975. And East Timor has not been the only victim of
violence due to imperialist control of The East Indies.
Let's be real clear about why East Timor was the scene of such horrible
massacres by the Indonesian military. Chomsky would have us focus on
the US support for Indonesia taking over East Timor in 1975, when the
Portuguese abandoned their imperial claim to the eastern portion of
Timor. However, that is not really the beginning of the problem.
Though it was certainly then, the beginning of a horrible massacre.
The real beginning of the problem, happens to be the end of World War
Two, when the US continued it's alliance with two key fascist countries,
Spain and Portugal. When the main body of Indonesia gained it's
independence from The Netherlands in 1949, it was in no position to then
demand of a key US ally, Portugal, that it surrender it's imperial claim
to the other side of Timor Island.
This was the principal imperialist violation of Timorese self
determination, as it was also the continued major violation of what was
a now partially liberated, East Indies. It is just not correct to see
the 2 sides of the one island as being 2 different entities.
They were a collection of struggling tribal groupings for centuries
before the Europeans arrived. First the Portuguese arrived, and then
the Dutch arrived and fought both the Portuguese and natives, to then
gain what became the Dutch sector of Timor. Two different colonial
masters; one society under colonial control.
The argument can be made by Europeans later on, that somehow one was
transformed into two. But it is certainly understandable, that the
Indonesians would disagree. But what could they do about it? Was
the UN a governing body under the control of the Third World? No.
Indonesia was forced by the US, to essentially not press it's claim
against the US supported, fascist Portugal. This was the fundamental
violation of self determination that has led to a half century of
slaughter in the region. And has led to now, a new Australian backed
Kuwaiti- style, oil state being built.
The sad part, is that a Solidarity movement built with the best
intentions, has now become a spearhead for this sort of political
development. The combination of the Australian government's
interests, the Catholic Church, and a support committee of generous
minded people, has led to US sponsorship of a new political effort to
build stability in the area of the Timor Gap, where the oil reserves
This area can now be drilled for oil, to be used for the benefit of
whom? It won't be for the people of Indonesia. Can this be
considered a violation of self determination? The answer is
definitely...YES. An area HAS BEEN chipped away from Indonesia by US/
Contrast the surrender of Macao by the Portuguese last year to China, to
that of how Indonesia was undermined in it's efforts to maintain
control of Timor. Maybe if they had had nuclear weapons like the
Chinese, the outcome would have been different.
This in no way, excuses the bloody stupidity and violence of the US
backed Indonesian military. But then again, their principal mission
has been to contain popular revolt for the benefit of US imperialism.
They are not set up to be an instrument to fight for Indonesian self
determination against Australian, Portuguese, or US imperialisms.
And they have not done so.
The shameful coverup in the Left literature about these very real
issues, once again has led Left resources astray. Contrast the
amount of attention that many organizations have put into this issue, to
the lack of support given to the Colombian people.
National demonstrations have been called in the US, ostensibly to help
get refugees out of camps guarded by Indonesian military units.
Nobody has issued a national call to demonstate against increased US
sponsored bloodshed in Colombia. I won't speculate on the reasons
for the different responses, since they may be fairly obvious.
An effort to build solidarity with the Colombian people's right to self
determination helps the people of Ecuador, the people of Mexico, the
people of Peru, andthe people of Venezuela, also.
The call to demonstrate against Indonesia, helps increase centrifugal
forces tearing apart a multinational Indonesia. Do we think that this
will bring positive change in the relationship of forces between The
Left, and mutinational capitalism?
The breakup of Indonesia into smaller national entities will lead to
increased barbarism and violence. Getting the US to back out of
Latin America, will lead to revolutionary advance.
The US Left needs to concentrate on buildng an antiwar movement to stop
US militarism in Latin America. Let's resist certain international
tendencies that want us to do other things. Things like doing
"solidarity work" in allignment with US interests.
That's the best political work we can do in the US to stop the New
Imperial World Order from destroying the self determination of us all,
minus a minute few.
Best wishes, Tony Abdo
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