[Marxism] Indonesia: Ex-revolutionary leader joins Megawati's party

Tom O'Lincoln suarsos at alphalink.com.au
Sun Dec 5 15:25:24 MST 2004

The following was circulated by the far left educational body INCREASE. It
doesn't surprise me particularly. Budiman Sudjatmiko became a celebrity
when Suharto imprisoned him. In 1999, when his People's Democratic Party
was back above ground I went to their headquarters and there at the
entrance was a larger-than-life painting of a romanticised Budiman -- that
was a bad sign and in the end, counter-productive. He was famous but his
organisation was tiny, and it seems that within a couple of years he became
dissatisfied with that situation and began looking for other avenues
commensure with his Major Intellectual status. For a while he was operating
as an independent. Perhaps in the post-Megawati era he thinks he can rise
to the top of her party. A pity; he was a valuable revolutionary leader.


Budiman Sudjatmiko and 51 activists join Megawati's PDI-P

Detik.com - December 3, 2004

M. Rizal Maslan, Jakarta - Around 52 activists have declared the formation
of the Volunteers for Democratic Struggle (Relawan Perjuangan Demokrasi,
RPD) and say they have decided to join with the Indonesian Democratic Party
of Struggle (PDI-P). One of them is the former chairperson of the People's
Democratic Party (PRD), Budiman Sudjatmiko.

The declaration took place at the Hotel Sofyan Betawi on Jalan Cut Meutia
in Menteng, Central Jakarta, on Friday December 3. Aside from Sudjatmiko
other activists include Rahardjo Waluyo Jati from the PRD, former
Information Centre for Action and Reformation Network (Pijar) chairperson
Haikal, Akuat Supriyanto, Beathor Suryadi, Masinton Pasaribu from the
Indonesian Youth Front (FPPI) and Sinyo from the Joint People's Movement

In a statement read by Sudjatmiko, they said that they were launching the
RPD and joining with the PDI-P in order to return the party to being a
party based on populist struggle. "Or principle is that a political party
must always be sustained by the life blood, the determination of energy and
ideas. Therefore although so far the functions of this political party have
yet to be optimal and even that here and there [the party] has weaknesses
we are of the view that it is inappropriate for a political party to be
ignored in [the struggle to] build democracy", he said.

Sudjatmiko said that their own struggle had similarities with the spirit of
the PDI-P. Therefore he continued, they had chosen a political party which
is nationalist, pluralist and with a populist base. "Although there is
still much which must be sorted out in terms of professionalism, ethics and
morals, in the vision of struggle and other programs within the PDI-P, all
of this is a challenge for the PDI-P to become the party of the little
people", he said.

When asked if their merger into the PDI-P was because they were tired of
the road and want seek their fortunes, Sudjatmiko firmly denied this saying
the task of the younger generation is not to just maintain their idealism
but to make it into reality.

"We have not changed in terms of our idealism, but we just want to realise
our ideas and concepts within a party. On the issue of being poor or not,
we are not seeking riches within the party. Certainly in the past there
have been those of us who have worked in other places. We will demonstrate
[in practice] that we are not seeking riches in the party", he asserted.

Beathor Suryadi added that the entry of youth into the PDI- P will provide
significant capital to the party lead by former President Megawati
Sukarnoputri. To date, pro- democracy activists have only been spectators
and have been sidelined. "If is for this [reason] that we chose the PDI-P
as a party which is open, pluralist and nationalist as our political tool",
he said.

Membership forms

Following the declaration, they filled in forms to obtain 
party membership cards which were then handed over to 
People's Representative Assembly member Trimedya Panjaitan 
who was present at the event.

"I am not a central executive board member [but] perhaps later [I] can find
the right time to hand over (the forms) to the central executive board,
perhaps they could also be given to the chairperson. But I don't know when
the [right] time will be. But yes, after the plenary meeting to prepare for
the PDI-P's congress last night, the central executive board was pleased
with these friends joining [the party], the only thing remaining is what
kind of ceremonial process [will be organised] to present the party
membership cards [to them]", he explained.

Panjaitan warned that the atmosphere within the movements is different from
a political party and therefore he hoped that they would not try to
position themselves in too high a position. "If [you try] to position
yourself too highly [you] will be disappointed. But if [you] have a
commitment to restore the PDI-P's image as the party of the little people,
we can work together", he said. (rif)

[Translated by James Balowski.]

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