New left party formed in Indonesia

Peter Boyle peterb at
Thu Jul 31 18:46:07 MDT 2003

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[The INDOLEFT news service is produced by the Indonesian
Centre for Reform and Social Emancipation (INCREASE) and
Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific.

[INDOLEFT News Service Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam VIII No. 6A
Jakarta Selatan 12820 Indonesia Phone: 6221 830 7235 E-mail:
jamesbalowski at]

People's United Opposition Party launched - July 28, 2003

Jakarta -- Scores of mass organisations, workers, farmers
and pro-reformasi students have formed the People's United
Opposition Party (Partai Persatuan Oposisi Rakyat, Popor).
The driving force behind the party, labour activist Dita
Indah Sari, launched [the party] in Jakarta on Sunday
afternoon (27/7) saying that they are ready to participate
in the 2004 general elections.

In a speech before supporters, the [recently elected]
general chairperson of Popor, Dita Indah Sari made the
assessment that the politicians who are currently in power
are no different from the politicians [who were in power]
during the period of the New Order [regime of former
President Suharto]. They have failed to wholeheartedly
implement the spirit of reformasi, so that the people are
still suffering even though it has been four years since the
New Order fell. Dita therefore hopes that the party they
have established can become an alternative choice for
[people in] society who want reformasi to be implemented

The [new] party, which has the aim of uniting the
pro-people's opposition, claims that it already has
leadership bodies in 20 provinces and 106 regencies. Dita
admitted that with these numbers their party has not yet
fulfilled the [official] requirements to be able to take
part in the 2004 elections. However, she was optimistic that
in the lead up to the close of party verification next
August, the party will be able to fulfil the requirements to
participate in the elections. (PIN/Tim Liputan 6 SCTV)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

Mass organisations form political party Popor

Kompas - July 28, 2003

Jakarta -- The Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggle
(FNPBI), the National Student League for Democracy (LMND),
the National Farmers Union (STN) and 53 other mass
organisation have established a new party, the People's
United Opposition Party (Partai Persatuan Oposisi Rakyat,
Popor), which was launched in Jakarta on Sunday (27/7).

"We have established this party as an effort to strengthen
the national opposition forces which have been divided by
the elite forces, the oppressors of the people", said
Popor's [newly elected] general chairperson Dita Indah Sari
before hundreds of supporters.

[Dita], an FNPBI leader, was accompanied by [Popor] general
secretary Donny Pradana from STN, vice-chairperson Jusuf
Lakaseng who is also the chairperson (sic) of the People's
Democratic Party (PRD) and vice-chairperson Heru Atmadja
from the Association of Victims of the New Order (Pakorba).

Dita hoped that Popor will be able to become a significant
political force to resist the power of neo-colonialism. "Our
platform is clear, anti-New Order [regime of former
President Suharto], anti-militarism and anti-global
capitalism", she affirmed.

"To date, the people's struggle against the corrupt elite
has had no structure. So we are attempting to build a
structure [to facilitate] this struggle through Popor",
added LMND chairperson Iwan.

Dita admitted, that their party has not yet fulfilled the
[official] requirements to contest the 2004 general
elections because "We must still establish leadership bodies
in 15 regencies and sub-districts".

According to Dita, at the moment Popor has leadership bodies
in 50 provinces(1), 50 regencies and 25 sub- districts. "But
we are optimistic that we can fulfill these requirements by
August and take part in the 2004 elections", explained Dita.

Dita explained that they did not want to create false hopes.
The 2004 elections will become an arena to measures the
people's interests in supporting a united opposition, "we
are emphasising the long term target of the party, that is
to form a force of united struggle to bring victory to the
people", she continued.

When asked by journalists about the question of presidential
and vice-presidential candidates, Dita answered that "We
will put forward a candidate after we have passed [the
process of registration and verification] and are allowed to
participate in the 2004 elections. However [we want to make]
it clear, we will never put forward a presidential candidate
who is a defendant [in a criminal case]"(2), she said.

Separately, Lakaseng said that the PRD would not be taking
part in the 2004 elections. "We will concentrate our
attention and forces in activities to campaign for Popor in
the 2004 elections. If Popor encounters obstacles in
participating in the 2004 elections, then the PRD is ready
to become a vehicle for the votes of Popor supporters. As
such, the term is a backup not a rival", he explained.


1. This paragraph is clearly erroneous since Indonesia only
has 33 provinces. Popor has established itself in 106 cities
where already have branches or are ready to form branches,
covering a total of 22 provinces (the new electoral laws
stipulate that a party must have branches in at least 50 per
cent of the provinces).

2. This statement refers to efforts by Akbar Tanjung,
chairperson of the former state ruling party Golkar, to be
nominated as a presidential candidate despite having being
convicted on charges of corruption (he is currently awaiting
a decision by the supreme court).

[Translated by James Balowski.]

The Urgent Tasks of the People: Uniting the People’s
Struggle to Defeat the Political Elite

[The following is a statement issued by the Central
Leadership Board of the newly formed People’s United
Opposition Party (Popor) which was launched on in Jakarta on
July 27. Translated by James Balowski.]

Why has the people’s disappointment with the traditional
political elite(1), and the broad acceptance by the people
of demands for total reformasi, which has been accompanied
by the people’s experience in using methods of radical
struggle, not created a movement which can be an impetus for
real change in Indonesia? In other words, why have the
people, who are disappointed with the political elite and
want immediate change, who support demands to replace the
national leadership (the regime of President Megawati
Sukarnoputri and Vice-president Hamzah Haz), who want
changes to the political structure of the state and to purge
[nation’s] political leadership of the remnants of the New
Order [regime of former President Suharto], not accepted the
overture to replacing the authorities [though] extra-
parliamentary [methods] as proposed by the people’s
opposition groups and organisations, as they did in 1996
(with the support of Megawati), in 1997 (through the Mega-
Star-People coalition)(2), in 1998 (the overthrow of
Suharto) and in 1999 (the rejection of [former President
B.J.] Habibie and the emergency legislation UU PKB(3)?

These questions have become a major problem which is being
faced by all groups struggling for democracy and social
justice in confronting a situation [created by] the
objective demands of Indonesian democratisation, where it is
increasingly apparent that this cannot be fulfilled by the
Megawati-Hamzah government which is ladened with the
opportunism of the traditional political elite an the rotten
tactics of the New Order remnants. These condition are added
to by the continuing destruction of the people’s economic
livelihood because of the demands of international capital
which wants to take over all of the assets upon which the
people’s livelihoods depend. The people are made to suffer,
to surrender themselves to a vicious circle of poverty,
oppression, state violence and an obscure future with no
foreseeable end. The promises of change which were ignited
by the traditional political elite who came to power after
the New Order was pushed aside have been discarded, the
people’s lives have been sunk a world of multi-national
companies and a government which is truly at odds with the
ordinary people of Indonesia.

Based upon this, a number of elements from the people’s
struggle have [decided to] advance the spirit of anti-
colonialism (neocolonialism/re-colonisation), [the struggle
for] total democracy and social justice -- one which can
improve the lives of the poor -- and came together at a
congress with the aim of establishing a [new] political
party(4) which can unite the potential of the genuine
opposition movement which has worked actively beside the
people, which is already conscious of the need and the
importance of genuine [struggle] and which has consistently
carried out [a program] of struggle and mass actions. Over
the last three days, between July 24-26, representatives of
a number of organisations and individuals who agree with the
aim of uniting the opposition, discussed and debated the
problems [faced by the] people’s struggle, primarily in
relation with what must be done in the 2004 general

The people cannot be abandoned again, so that the political
elite can win them over through false dreams, false
promises. The people must retake their authority which has
been stolen by the elite. These two issues provide a basis
to take action which will promote a popular political
alternative for the people, provide direction for the people
to act [in a way] which will bring democracy and social
justice to the people. The popular opposition groups
therefore, cannot just abandon the people to cradled by
misleading ideas which are disseminated by the political
parties who are in power at the moment. The false promises
of these political parties must be exposed through the
elections, these parties cannot be allowed to left to
[falsely] win the people’s support.

The Congress to Form a United Opposition Party which
resulted in the formation of the People’s United Opposition
Party (Partai Persatuan Oposisi Rakyat, Popor), is aware
that genuine people’s power, a democratic government of the
people, cannot be won though the 2004 elections. However the
congress is also aware that the most correct course [of
action] at this time in order to broaden and draw together
the strength of the people, is to take part in the 2004
election campaign, where the people’s interest in the world
of politics and the nation are at their peak. It will be
during the 2004 elections, that Popor will have an
opportunity to fight, to defeat the misleading ideas of the
political elite. Once again, Popor’s historical task in the
2004 elections is to struggle to draw together the people’s
strength and to break through all of the efforts to deceive
and oppress the people being carried out by the political
elite though their political parties.

In closing this statement declaring the establishment of the
People’s United Opposition Party, we call on the people to
join together and be active with Popor. Popor is not just a
political party who’s symbol must be marked by the people
[when they vote], but a party which represents a vehicle for
the people’s struggle to create a democratic government of
the people, a government which represents an actual creation
of the people, a government which represents the highest
form of organisation by the people to realise their demands.

We also call on the people join enthusiastically with Popor
in establishing Popor secretariats which will become centres
for the genuine struggle of the people.

Jakarta, July 27 2003 Central Leadership Board People’s
United Opposition Party (DPP-POPOR)

Dita Indah Sari, general chairperson Donny Pradana,
secretary general


1. The use of the term “elite penguasa” in the title and
text was rendered as “the political elite”.’

2. Mega-Star-People (Mega-Bintang-Rakyat) - a slogan
popularised during the 1997 election campaign calling on
pro-Megawati supporters, the Islamic orientated United
Development Party and broader popular forces to unite in a
mass movement to replace Suharto.

3. Undang-Undang Penanggulangan Keadaan Bahaya, legislation
to “prevent a state of danger” which was intended to
strengthen the hand of former President Habibie during the
1999 October and November sittings of the People’s
Consultative Assembly, when large demonstrations against the
military and Habibie maintaining the presidency were
expected (but in fact did materialise).

4. The original statement used the term “partai” rather than
“political party”.


The INDOLEFT news service is produced by the Indonesian
Centre for Reform and Social Emancipation (INCREASE) and
Action in Solidarity with Asia and the Pacific.

INDOLEFT News Service Jl. Tebet Timur Dalam VIII No. 6A
Jakarta Selatan 12820 Indonesia Phone: 6221 830 7235 E-mail:
jamesbalowski at

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