Free the World from the Domination of Imperialism, Build a New Just System, Emancipate the World From Imperialism
by Helda Khasmy
I am happy and honored to speak before this assembly of people who are struggling for and with the billions of oppressed and exploited, people who have the same aspirations, determination, and spirit to defeat imperialist domination in every country, and for the birth of a new system, one that is free, just, and advanced.
With full spirit we come together for the 6th International Assembly of the ILPS, united under the theme “Win a bright socialist future for humanity! Unite the people to fight and end imperialist war, racism and fascism”. This theme made me very excited, remembering the recent national and global occurrences showing the brutality of imperialism in its war of aggression and intervention, as part of its efforts to mask and cover up the worsening economic and political crisis. Parasitic Imperialism is increasingly decaying, it is indeed moribund. And as it rots it worsens further the condition of the people of the world. But imperialism, however, will not annihilate itself. It will not just die on its own, in Bahasa we say “hidup segan, mati tak mau”, which means “life is reluctant to end willingly”. It will contiue to rot and as it does it will destroy the productive forces of our society, and also those who try to rebel out of the restraints of imperialism. What is absolutely needed is to make the final blow! A blow that will be delivered by the oppressed and exploited people of the world – the proletariat, the peasants, the indigenous people, the women, youth, migrants, the LGBT, ALL OF US.
US, while still the number 1 Imperialist Power, continously face deterioration; their exploitation grows deeper and more oppressive and barbaric. The recovery of the economic conditions of the United States imperialist is only on paper. They only deceive the working class and the oppressed people with manipulated data, in order that their monopoly capitalist system looks “healthy” and can still be relied on to produce wealth and welfare for all nations and peoples in the world. But in reality US has lost its status as the sole superpower and is increasingly threatened by other imperial powers, such as Russia and China. Their competition for neocolonies increase and is becoming even more aggressive. They aim for a redivision of the world, which would mean an inter-imperialist war!
In its aim to divide and rule, imperialism is also spreading divisions against the people. It is promoting and inflaming racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia, transphobia, and misogyny.
It promotes blockade, counter-intelligence operations, fake mass mobilization under the guise of a pro-democracy movement against a nation that wants to uphold its sovereignty. The people who want to be completely free from imperialist domination and continue to struggle to build a new system that is more in line with the demands of the era are also fought. Provocation, isolation and endless bullying against North Korea; the expansion of the U.S military base African Command (AFRICOM) and ongoing military operations plans after the day spring operations (operasi Fajar) in Libya such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and Mali; provocation of Iran and Syria in Central Asia; intimidation of countries that supports China in the South China Sea issues; Strategic defense installations bring the world into an atmosphere of sustained war.
The war of aggression and intervention and the neoliberal policies that accompany it must be stopped! The democratic movements throughout the countries must rise up to defend the right of every nation and people to self-determination, even to separate from an oppressive system. With these struggles advancing, the dawn of freedom is surely in the horizon!
I do believe and very sure that ILPS has gathered so many delegates from various countries united in the same goal; to find the best way, the right strategy and tactics to defeat the imperialist forces. We are all learning from each others victories, and also from every setback. Our solidarity is stronger than ever. We have better coordination, we help each other whenever we can, and we are more intact as one global movement marching together!
The crisis of the monopoly capitalist system that continues to deteriorate further alienates it from democracy and draws it closer to national-chauvinism, even racism. The ruling class finds it increasingly difficult to govern and remain in power in the old way without depriving the little freedom that is still left to the people.
Injustice and inequality between nations and living conditions of the people in each country under imperialist oppression and exploitation have been very wide and deep. Spontaneously and systematically, the oppressed and exploited people rise to fight. In this situation the most reactionary layers of the reactionary class such as Donald J Trump could be president of the United States, Macron in France, Salvini in Italy, the same thing in various Western European countries. Even a monster like Duterte could become president in the Philippines. It takes a reactionary iron-handed reactionary government those very likes war to be able to survive in a situation where the people are already so angry.
Look at the waves of migration from Latin America, Central Asia and Africa to the imperialist countries both to the United States and Western Europe. They ignore the safety of their lives as they cross the Mediterranean Sea to the European mainland. Or the caravans of migrants who cross the American continent try to come to the United States. Migration from various continents and countries where the exploitation of the United States imperialist is aggravating. This unequal development is innate in imperialism and will continue to be so unless the system is destroyed and replaced with a new one.
I do not have other important news from Indonesia, except news about the further undervaluing of people’s work, and the plunder of natural resources. Large mines and plantations are set up and spread in the countryside even to the mountains. But there is no capital left in the rural areas. Only a small amount is left but in the hands of the workers, poor peasants and farm workers. Even though we see many factories in several big cities, businesses, and banks, Indonesia still has no money to build its own infrastructure, even for food and production needs. Indonesia has to beg the World Bank, IMF and G-7 countries.
Because of the deep and continuous oppression and exploitation, we have forgotten how beautiful this largest tropical archipelagic country in the world is. Colonial shackles have taken away opportunities from us. Moreover, we do not even know how to maximize the benefits of improving living conditions from the warmth of the tropical sun that can grow any food crop throughout the year.
On April 17, 2019 Indonesia just held a direct National General Election to elect a new president and to form a new parliament. The illusion that is already embedded in the imperialist country that Indonesia is the 3rd largest democratic country has doubled the burden on the shoulders of the Indonesian people. Elections must be successful, the change of power must run normally and smoothly, Indonesia must be an example for other countries, especially as the largest Muslim country where the democratic system can reconcile with moderate Islamic values. Elections are a propaganda tool to show the people and the world that Indonesia is very democratic, fine, does not have any fundamental problem that demands an unusual solution.
Since the colonial era, imperialists have grabbed the communal land of indigenous peoples and peasants and built larges mines of oil, coal, and gas in the entire country. We have our own oil. It is ironic that the poor fisherfolks do not have the fuel to go fishing to the sea. Electricity is limited so it is impossible for industrialization to be developed sustainably. Rice, meat, and vegetables must be imported. Land for subsistence food crops and livestock as well as hunting areas are simply transformed into land for export commodity crops. Until now, capital has been consistently generated from primitive accumulation.
When President Joko Widodo spoke frantically about the 4.0 Industrial Revolution, Indonesian farmers were still using medieval work tools that in Western Europe and the United States could only be found in museums. With this traditional knowledge and tools, Indonesia supplies the United States and Europe with wood, palm oil crops, rubber, coffee, and tea. Remarkably, Indonesia is the leading supplier of palm oil crops and rubber. Thus, the agricultural commodity production in Indonesia has not changed since the colonial era.
Indonesia is the country of peasants, because majority of its people depend on agricultural land, but there are only few who actually own land and are able to produce independently. Most of them are poor peasants and farm workers who are the victims of profit sharing from the big landlords, very low wages, and debts. Even though the peasants still have individual small land planted with commodity crops such as export-oriented palm oil and rubber, they must live side by side with very large plantations owned by big landlords who have different interests and orientation of production. They are in full power in any case, including agricultural inputs and output.
In Indonesia, neoliberal policies will still be implemented in all ways. Imperialist capital must be able to move freely in all the big islands, in the bowels of the earth, in the sea and, in the sky, even free to move within the state bodies. Infrastructure development must be oriented to serve free movement of imperialist capital, ensuring that they can reproduce and be centralized in the hands of the imperialists easily and quickly. Likewise various Indonesian state policies and regulations, must to serve the same interests.
Using infrastructure development as a reason, Jokowi continues to be a servant of imperialist greed in pursuing the grabbing of people’s land in West Papua. Jokowi keeps trying to attract the sympathy of the masses with the construction of infrastructure, which was presented as the main solution to the backwardness in Papua. For this reason, he has taken out loans already amounting to Rp. 76 trillion since 2016, which is essentially robbery. Meanwhile, almost every day, the Papuans are deprived of their democratic rights. Their lives are threatened. They endure harrassment by the state through their repressive apparatus, the TNI (Indonesian forces) and the police. So many have been killed.
Jokowi’s efforts are actually part of the counter-revolutionary program to defeat the struggles of the people of West Papua. The program runs with fascist oppression – murder, criminalization of dissent, violence, and stigmatization of the struggle for legitimate rights – crimes that are covered up and hidden from the media. Journalists are prohibited from entering West Papua and are accused of doing intelligence work. Similarly, Indonesian people who choose to stand up with the Papuans are repressed and labeled as “traitors”!
The statement of ILPS Indonesia firmly supports the movement for national liberation and self-determination of the people of West Papua. We further affirm the need to unite the Indonesian and West Papuan people in the common struggle against imperialism, especially US imperialism, and the need to combat narrow nationalism. In this principle, we believe the struggle has a strong foundation for achieving genuine liberation for all.
President Joko Widodo is re-elected and in the next five years he will remain the same, the imperialist accomplice. He will remain dictated to carry out anti-people, anti-national, and pro-imperialist programs as campaigned during the national elections. Therefore, in the next five years the burden of the suffering of the Indonesian people will mulitiply. Democratic mass organizations and movements must strive to hinder the implementation of imperialist policies and programs in Indonesia by consistently promoting genuine land reform and national industry in order to develop a strong and militant organization and a sustainable movement.
The good news that I want to convey from Indonesia and that makes me proud – the majority of the people are unwilling to live as a large archipelago that is constantly backward and subjugated to slavery.
Indonesia does not need to and will not be able to follow the footsteps of the United States and other colonial countries which tried to free themselves and advance their own country by seizing freedom and making other countries as a colony. Moreover, the opportunity to become a capitalist country has been tightly closed by a system of monopoly capitalism!
But everything will not be easy. The terms “imperialism”, “feudalism”, and “capitalist bureaucrats” have been buried very deeply a long time ago by Suharto with the suppression of the revolutionary movement in the 1960s. The terms have been so demonized in Indonesia, until finally the genuine national democratic organization and movement was re-born and emerged in Indonesia since the 2000s by the best ex-activists who were forged in the anti-fascist movement throughout Suharto’s New Order power.
Today, genuine people’s organizations and movements are competing with the United States which has made Indonesia a “laboratory as well as a showcase of Western democracy.” The so-called democratic projects of the United States and Europe are very broad in Indonesia. This lays the groundwork for policies and regulations that openly accept the semi-colonial system and surrender to living under the old semi-feudal production system. Mining projects, infrastructure, climate change, and projects on Green Prosperity are pouring down on the country. Moderation, pacification, and general reformism have developed widely among the peasants, workers, and intellectuals in campuses.
Democratic organizations and mass movements in Indonesia that demand freedom from imperialist domination, feudalism, and capitalist bureaucrats are continously growing both in urban and rural areas. Education movement, coordination of actions, and campaigns at various levels continously advance. All are trying to be united and determined to be able to liberate the peasants first. Genuine land reform must be realized as to open a way for the national industry and pave the way for liberation of the workers and other Indonesian people.
Transformation in the countryside is a priority and most urgent along with the progress of the democratic struggle in the countryside. The movements to improve the profit sharing system, fight against debt, improve the wages of farm workers, fight against monopoly on agricultural inputs and outs, was mobilized through collective action in the countryside. With it, the peasants and the people in the countryside know imperialism and all its chronic crimes and realize it as a heavy burden that must be eliminated to lay the conditions for liberation and advancement.
In the international work, the consciousness to work for solidarity to fight imperialism with the nations and people from various countries is better and continues to be forged. Mass actions and campaigns against the war of aggression and intervention and actions against neo-liberal policies continue to be strengthened and expanded. Attention and support of the Indonesian people towards the struggle of the people, especially women and children, who suffer the worst as victims of the war of aggression in Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, and Mali. The No. 1 imperialist United States embassy has been the main target of the action and campaign of the democratic people’s movement in Indonesia.
In those situations the role and position of ILPS is very useful. ILPS must be able to play a role in helping strengthen the anti-imperialist movement which is still weak and scattered, unite them in coordinating broader and more effective actions and campaigns. Various forms of action and international mass campaigns including more advanced international missions must be sought. ILPS must be able to reach out, touch, and directly help the nations and peoples especially those who are the affected and victimized by imperialist wars of intervention and aggression, as well as those who are victims of counter-insurgency measures. Humanitarian assistance and other forms of assistance will be very meaningful and useful to encourage the local liberation movement for self-determination in their efforts to separate from the domination of the imperialist oppressive and exploitative system that prevails throughout the countries.
ILPS has greatly helped the Indonesian people to understand imperialism and the struggle against imperialism better than before. The people of Indonesia recognize the truth and study in earnest Lenin’s thesis on imperialism. The semi colonial and semi feudal society determine that imperialism and its accomplices could only be combatted with the national democractic revolution as an early step that should be done toward socialist revolution.
Therefore, with all of our limitations, we try to make the best contribution so that ILPS can continue to grow stronger and broader to bring together anti-imperialist and anti-fascist mass organizations throughout the world. Most important of all are the nations and people who truly have determination to build a new system and dismantle imperialism which has long been a parasite, decaying, and moribund.
In Indonesia, we must continue to improve our commitment so that we can gather a wider network of organizations and a bigger number of people. Shoulder-to-shoulder, we shall build ILPS at the regional level, improve coordination of campaigns and actions, and continue to advance so that we can truly isolate and overthrow imperialism in Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Asia, and the world. Of course, we are really hoping for a direct helping hand, unlimited cooperation, and solidarity from the more advanced people’s movements and organizations from various countries so that the anti-imperialist democratic movement in Indonesia can continue to develop and advance. We shall deepen the struggle for genuine land reform and national industrialization and for the new system that brings just and lasting peace! We are looking forward to liberating women and all the oppressed classes and building a bright socialist future with all the nations in the world!
Rakyat tertindas dan terhisap seluruh dunia bersatula !
Long Live ILPS!
Down with Imperialism!
The oppressed and exploited people, United!
*Helda Khasmy is the Chairperson of the Indonesian Women’s Union (SERUNI) and Executive Committee member of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA). SERUNI is a national women’s organization established in 16 provinces in Indonesia that organizes women from all sectors, but most of its members come from women workers, peasant women, urban poor women and the youth.