Indonesia needs a new direction for its development

By INDONESIAN PEOPLES’ ALLIANCE

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In the last week of March 2013, Indonesia will host the High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the post-2015 Development Agenda. In addition, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit and the Ministerial Meeting of WTO will be also held this year in Indonesia. The UN High Level Panel of Eminent Persons intends to develop a new roadmap for the development of the world after the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In Indonesia, a large number of mass organizations have joined in a broad alliance, which is called the Indonesian People Alliance. This Alliance will conduct a series of activities to face the High Level Panel of the UN, the APEC Summit and the WTO Ministerial Meeting.

“I imagine that the current world leaders have tacitly agreed that the Millennium Development Goals have been achieved significantly through its charitable programs.  In fact, a new work plan is needed for the post-2015 Development Agenda. The optimism of the leaders of the world was contrary to the report of the General Secretary of the UN who declared that the implementation and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals are mixed. The report shows that the formulation of MDG programs was limited in the symptom: it was not directed at solving the root of the problems. Therefore, the MDG programs are actually an institutionalized insult to the people by the government through its charitable programs. “

“There needs to be a serious evaluation of the methods used in the implementation of the MDGs. We are talking about the Global Partnership for Development. In practice, this appears as an attempt to strengthen the relation of dependency between the First World and the Third World. Sharif Arifin from LIPS (Institute of Labor Information ‘Sedane’) says that the methods used in the implementation of the MDGs, in fact legitimize the practice of exploiting the Third World”

“According to UN estimates, the underdeveloped countries have sent, in term of resources, since 2000, an average of US $ 500 million per year to industrialized countries. In 2008 it reached US $ 891 billion. This is not a Global Partnership for Development, but a Global Partnership for Colonization. “

The Global Partnership for Development in Indonesia will be implemented through the major projects of the Master Plan for the Acceleration of Development in Indonesia or MP3EI. The plan of MP3EI is one of the ambitious projects to fight poverty and to tackle unemployment. The project will have three components: (i) the development of six economic corridors (Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Papua and Bali-Nusa Tenggara), (​​ii) the strengthening of integrated national connectivity, and (iii) strengthening of the human resource capacity, the national science and technology.

The clustering concept of the MP3EI will certainly require large area of land for its gigantic expansion to the regions targeted for the development of food and energy. The big capitals financing and supporting large plantations of palm oil and rubber in Sumatra, big plantations of palm oil and timber in Kalimantan and the development of large farms producing food in Papua, will surely displace a lot of people from their homes affecting their former livelihood and forcing residents of the surrounding communities to become a reserve labor force for foreign companies. Rahmat from the Alliance of Agrarian Reform Movement (AGRA), said the practice of land grabbing has become the core of the development in Indonesia.

“AGRA has noted that during the period of 2010-2011, land grabbing in the area of ​​timber plantations has increased by 15%, or 1.6 million hectares per year. In the area of sugar cane plantations there was an increase of 500,000 hectares per year and in the sector of national parks the increase was 87 million hectares. These data have not included land grabbing in the mining sector, more and more massive. The impoverishment of the majority of the population of Indonesia, who are peasants, is the basis on which are based the projects of the Master Plan to Accelerate Economic Development in Indonesia “.

Darto from the Union of Peasants of palm oil (SPKS) added that the practice of land grabbing and the criminalization of the struggle of the peasants have spread to all corners of Indonesia.

SPKS has confirmed that in 2010, 148 peasants were arrested and a woman was killed in the plantation palm oil. In 2011, 152 peasants were criminalized and in 2012 the number of peasants criminalized reached 161.

The government offers flexibility and facilities to foreign investors to seize people’s land. The lands are transformed into manufacturing firms, mining and plantations, which supply the needs of advanced industries.

The increasingly widespread land grabbing is an important factor in raising the rate of unemployment in rural areas. Amid poverty, the government is taking advantage of a large pool of labor forces to implement the policy of labor export and transform them into migrants abroad. Retno from the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers (ATKI-Indonesia) said that the government of Indonesia is using the program of sending migrant workers to finance their development projects, such as the government’s commitment to the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD).

The workers in various sectors are sinking into poverty. Despite an increase in the minimum wage, the formal manufacturing sector workers do not escape from poverty because of the government’s measure allowing the suspension of wages, the various taxes and the rising prices of the products of basic necessity and services. As a result, the income of the workers in the formal manufacturing sector covers only 42 percent of the needs for workers decent life. The living conditions of workers in the fishing and mining sector are even worse. They work more than 8 hours daily with wages below minimum wages and always at risk of unilateral dismissal. Rudy HB Daman from the Federation of Independent Trade Unions said that living in poverty is a condition to maintain low wages and cheap labor. The Indonesian workers face income uncertainty and job losses. From 2012, about 70 industries in Indonesia employ workers with short-term contracts, who were recruited directly or through outsourcing agencies.

The practice of outsourcing and contract labor are the basic elements of labor market flexibility which has become a process of accumulation of super-profits from industries in Indonesia, which rely on foreign capitals; and this is facilitated by the Indonesian government.

Abet Nego Tarigan, member of National Executive Board of Walhi said the Master Plan for the Acceleration of Development in Indonesia is an ambitious mega project of the government on behalf of overcoming poverty and unemployment. However, what actually happens is an increasing exploitation of natural resources menacing (threatening) the level of ecological sustainability. And the people of Indonesia would be sacrificed. He added that the Master Plan of the Acceleration of Economic Development in Indonesia that is being touted by SBY to attract foreign investors would mean the loss of our natural resources and would benefit only a small elite of big and powerful foreign capitalists and the Indonesian political elite and thus further extend the monopoly capitalist expansion to plunder the natural resources of Indonesia.

The position of the Indonesian People’s Alliance

The direction of development dictated and pushed by the developed countries is a “new ethics policy” (“a new policy of ethics”?) in order to maximize the program of privatization, liberalization and deregulation of the economic system of the Third World countries. This is in line with the scheme of free trade pushed by the World Trade Organization (WTO), as well as international and regional cooperations, such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and various bilateral cooperations. All cooperation is putting the countries in the Third World as the mainstay of the crisis that is plunging the developed capitalist countries. The impoverished people of the Third World, including the people of Indonesia, are forced to rescue the world’s giant corporations that are submerged in a deep crisis.

The formulation of the Post-2015 Development Agenda should take into account the fundamental errors of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), at least it should be based on the principle of sovereignty to get rid of colonial and neocolonial relations. For that reason, it is important to change the development model used in the formulation of the MDGs. We should (must?) abandon the development model that depends on the aid of the monopoly capitals and trade serving the multinational corporations and replace it by programs of national and democratic development. The implementation of land reform based on the will of the peasantry is the main road as the basis to develop a strong domestic industry. The social financing can be obtained from financial transaction tax, which has been canceled due to competition for being a tax haven, in order to attract investment. The domestic market will flourish by rising wages and price controls of basic needs.

The development that depends on foreign investment and export-oriented have repeatedly failed. Foreign investment must be accompanied by certain obligations, such as technology transfer, setting the ceiling for capital flight, creating a market oriented toward self-sufficiency, and the prevention of fiscal evasion. The Asia-Africa Conference in 1955 is one of the experiences that can be used as an example of international cooperation that can be performed without a country dominating or exploiting others.

The formulation of the post-2015 Development Agenda should at least take into account the demands that have been the objectives and the fundamental themes of the struggle of the peoples of the Third World countries. Thus we could avoid being trapped in a formulation that identifies the problems only superficially and forget their causes. Sovereignty and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries should be the common platform for future international relations.

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