Indonesia: Onward to the 2009 Election
ARIANE Zely, JOHAN Daniel, SULAIMAN
18 November 2006
An Interview with Daniel Johan and Sulaiman
On August 2006, Prd-online (http://www.prd-online.or.id/en) made an interview with Daniel Johan (a Treasurer of KP-PAPERNAS) and Sulaiman (a Presidium member of KP-PAPERNAS). These two remarkable persons came from different political background which have been committed to many united front consolidation initiated by PRD. Below is the transcription.
Prd-online (PO): Would you please mention your names and organizations you have been work for?
Daniel Johan (DJ) : My name is Daniel Johan. I was a General Secretary of the Central Board of HIKMAHBUDHI (abbreviate of Unity of Buddhist Student) in 1995. Right now I am active in the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, Alternative to Consumerism, Institute of Nationality for Peace and Democracy, Prokader, and Thinks Sangha.
Sulaiman (S): My name is Sulaeman. I am from the Unity of Workers Solidarity Struggle or GSPB. This is an alliance of trade unions/federation which is multi-sectoral and center in Bekasi (one district in West Java, a satellite city of Jakarta). GSPB was previously a branch of Beverage Trade Union in Bekasi. At the first national congress couple months ago I was mandated as a general chairperson. The first national congress of GSPB was also raised a unity theme: “Accumulate Workers Unity toward a Unity of the People.”
PO: Do your organizations involve and support KP-PAPERNAS?
DJ: The recent generation of Hikmahbudhi has a similar vision with comrades in KP-PAPERNAS, and they had placed themselves as one of the elements which established it. But, constitutionally (based on the results of our congress), Hikmahbudhi as an organization only allowing to participate in giving birth to alternatives forces that have better vision than the recent established forces, and it is KP-PAPERNAS. So, Hikmahbudhi could not structurally merge into KP-PAPERNAS. The general chairperson and secretary of the Central Board are not allowed to participate in other organizations, however other members and alumnus are allowed as long it compatible with the vision and commitment of their life.
S: Yes it is. Because KP-PAPERNAS is a preparatory committee prepared as an alternative for the people struggle amidst the crisis of our nation caused by the avarice of capitalists. This situation has worsened because the government is unwilling to resist the economic imperialism maintained by developed foreign countries through their instruments such as IMF, WB, WTO, etc.
PO: Why did you support and involve in KP-PAPERNAS?
DJ: We have the same vision and commitment to the social suffering of the people. The strategy and methodology to overcome the social suffering of our nation today which is reflected by three banner of unity (Tripanji Persatuan) is also similar. The problem of injustice and impoverishment has already very structural and systemic. The source of this suffers mainly because of the foreign capitalism through the free market liberalization policies. Firstly, through the debt trap policy. Most of the country’s income has absorbed to repay these illegitimate debts rather than allocated it to the people’s welfare. Other incomes from energy and mineral resources have been absorbed by this foreign interest as well. With this condition how can this country bring welfare to the people? Yet the state own companies, which ensured in the constitution as “administer of greater public welfare”, mostly have already been privatized. It means that their social functions were mandated in the constitution had been destroyed and replaced by the profit orientation. This, in fact, is very dangerous both for the welfare of the people and the defense of a nation. The situation is worsened by the products of legislation which are advantageous for the capital forces but unfavorable the impoverished. If it continues to happen, inequality and injustice will be a time bomb which ready to explode anytime and ruin this country’s future.
We need an alternative force which would be pioneered by the youth. The political renewal is needed and can only be undertaken by the generation of youth. So far I have a firm belief that the comrades involved in the KP can be counted on morally. We have been long enough be companions and I relatively sure that they will not abuse their vision and commitment.
S: My involvement and other members of GSPB in KP principally because it is an alternative vehicle for the people. As I previously mentioned there has been no alternative forces which is willing to answer the need of the people and the nation of Indonesia. It also represents our concrete concern to the social disaster of the nation.
PO: What is the background of this consolidation?
DJ: The nation of Indonesia is really need alternative and political renewal in many areas. And the alternative should become a relatively strong force. That is why we need to relentlessly address for unity particularly among the similar vision and commitment. To this point, I keep hoping that minimally there is unity between 2 alternative consolidations which relatively broad that are Papernas and PPR (The Party of People Union) .
PO: What make it different from the earlier consolidation effort? Let’s say the Indonesian Social Forum or the Conference’s Committee of the Unity of People Movement (PKPGR)?
DJ: It obvious that we ultimately need to build the real political power. The existing alternative forces must turn into the real political power, through the party. Therefore now we work hard to be worthy to be voted by the people, to make fundamental changes of law, policy, bureaucracy, etc. We need to taking over the sovereignty. For that reason Organization and forum would hardly able to create fundamental change.
S: As I explain it earlier, the condition of the nation has been devastated and the people have been impoverished. It requires an alternative instrument of people’s unity: in a form of united party. Of course we will not put a side of the extra parliamentary struggle, but what make us different from other front are: we-Papernas-dare to take the challenge in the electoral system as a way to change the parliament system, while united front only rely the changes to the extra-parliamentary.
PO: What do you wish to achieve from this consolidation or the party establishment?
DJ: Winning the people’s heart that this is our truly alternative party that will able to voice the voiceless and to defend the interest of the people’s. And we will make the best effort in the coming election.
S: We are Certainly hope the greater number of organizations and individual join into and struggle along PAPERNAS - to rise the nation free from this sinking condition whereas the responsible citizen who aware of those condition motivated to do the fundamental changes.
PO: Who are join into KP Papernas so far? How it potency to be strive for?
DJ: the striving will be depending on our hard-work and the credibility.
S: The organization join into Papernas are ones who progressive and popular in nature. Among others are SRMK, LMND, SPOI, FNPBI, SBTPI, Hikmah Budhi, STN, GSPB, PRD and currently Workers-struggle of Indonesian State Banking as well as LP-KROB stated join into Papernas. And we are very sure there will be more organization and individual join into and struggle along us.
PO: So far, is there any obstacle both organizationally and non-organizationally?
DJ: Certainly, the political party needs human resources that is credible both in moral and professional. Convincing the people is a main concern. So far, the youth are the party’s driving-forces, and secondly convincing other organization and figures. If we are able to deal with that, the other financial and technical problem will be deal simultaneously.
S: for our members who are working, it is still difficult to share the time for the activity, but we keep raise the consciousness about the importance of this united party.
PO: What’ the significance of KP-Papernas in this situation of the politic and the movement?
DJ: The nation needs a real and convincing alternative. So PAPERNAS will be significant and relevant whenever it able to convince the people that we are the reliable alternative. Without it our hard-work would less relevant.
S: among the situation where existing party in the parliament which are expected to defend people’s interest and improve the system, on the opposite they just a party who justify the government and left the people’s behind. Are they still deserved to be trust to make change? The organization or the people who have aware will not be deceived. So more than ever, the alternative political party is needed-to bring us and the nation to the changes-that is National Liberation Party of unity.
 This party is another new unity consolidation of some NGO’s activists.
ARIANE Zely, JOHAN Daniel, SULAIMAN
* The introduction was written by Zely Ariane and the interview was conducted by Lukman Hakim in Bahasa. Translated into English by Zely Ariane and Katarina Pujiastuti.