On the 60th Anniversary of the Bandung Asia-Africa Conference

By RUDI HB. DAMAN
Coordinator, Front Perjuangan Rakyat

The Liberation Struggle against Imperialism and Colonialism, is an unfinished struggle. (The spirit and basic principle of the Asia-Africa Conference-AAC, 1955).

“Strengthen Cooperation and Development of South-South”, is the “illusory” Theme of the Government in the 60th Anniversary of KAA, 2015. As like a trumpet or a gigantic bell, the Asian-African Conference 60 (sixty) years ago, has shocked the world amid warming of the cold war after World War II.

For sure, this activity will never be erased from its history. In the early 1940’s after the World War II, and continuing with the Cold War until 1950s, the people of the world were still not completely free from colonialism, poverty and threat of war. Power struggle for world influence between the US-led west bloc and Soviet-led eastern bloc continued to spreading fear for the people, especially in newly independent and colonized countries in Asia and Africa.

Amid this world development, the Asian-African Conference/Konferensi Asia-Afrika (KAA) was held in Bandung, Indonesia on 19 – 24 April 1955 that gathered people from colonized and newly independent countries in Asia and Africa. With the spirit of fighting colonialism and imperialism and to realize the “independence and sovereignty, prosperity, justice and democracy” of all nations, the Bandung conference successfully issued a joint declaration (or the Ten Principles of Bandung) as the principal reference in establishing international cooperation relations, particularly between countries and regions in Asia and Africa.

The aspiration of Bandung grew even stronger with the birth of the non-aligned movement (NAM) in 1961, which asserted international cooperative relationship that is independent and against any form of intervention from any party. However, with the various interventions and aggressive expansion of influence by United States of America (USA) since the mid-1970s, economic issues became a major concern of NAM members. NAM and the Group of 77 (G-77) then held a series of meetings to discuss the problems of the world economy and the establishment of a New International Economic Order.

The spirit of Bandung Conference in 1955 and of the NAM in 1961 has been much distorted. Under the domination of US interventions, the Bandung Conference and the NAM have been used for the consolidation and expansion of neoliberalism influence cloaked with the illusions of sovereignty, development, prosperity, security and democracy. This was promoted through governments in Bandung Conference’s membership. In 2005, that marked its 50th year, Bandung Conference was declared to take new form loaded with neoliberal agenda and programs through the New Asia-Africa Strategic Partnership-NAASP.

This year, banking on the momentum of the 60th year anniversary of Bandung Conference and the 10th year of the NAASP, the celebration will be held from April 19-24 in Indonesia (Jakarta and Bandung) under support and the direction of US. The celebration carries the theme “Strengthen Cooperation and South-South Development” and will be divided into three segments to discuss mainly economic and security cooperation; the Senior Official Meeting (SOM), Ministerial Conference and Summit. The issues will be discussed in each segment include environment, investment, world economic forum, development fund, and infrastructure, security and independence of Palestinian. The whole celebration will conclude with a ceremonial visit to Bandung Conference’s Museum in West Java where it was first held.

Today, colonialism no longer focuses his power by way of colonization, or occupation directly over the territories colony, but by intervening on a State policy directly (neo-colonialism). Neo-colonialism through monopoly of economy, politics and culture of a country has continued to exploit and oppress the people in the world. However, those all schemes of the Imperialism’s plunder and oppression will never be able to eliminate the reality of exploitation and oppression which faced by the people of the world.

Indonesia itself, since 1965, has been transformed into accomplice regimes of imperialism and anti-people character. The power of puppet regime in Indonesian is running, even more mature until now. Jokowi-JK on their power today, such as the puppet regimes ever before, also without any slightest doubt continue to suck the oppressive economic and political life of the people.

The Regime that evens barely a year in power, since the beginning of his reign continued showering people with his various anti-people policies. The seizures of the labor wages, intensification of monopoly land grabbing and land conversion, labor trafficking, criminalization, violence and various forms of human rights violations and, privatization, so that Indonesia has been getting stuck in reliance on debt and investment.

Thus the current situation, continue to exploit the natural resources and other sources of the people livelihood. These problems are a series of the bitter reality that can never be changed sweet, with “a deck of magic cards of Jokowi’s style, such as: Healthy card, smart card and, prosperous card” or even the illusion of development contained on his programs called Nawacita, which wasn’t different with the programs of the previous administration. These policies, even deprivation worsened with various expropriations of the people basic rights, through the removal of subsidies policy, increasing of oil price, electricity, gas, prices of rice and other basic needs of the people.

Based on these views above, Front Perjuangan Rakyat (FPR) or the People’s Struggle Front of Indonesia, a broad democratic alliance which unifying various mass organizations, believes that the national struggle of the Indonesian people for freedom from imperialism and colonialism which underlies the Bandung Conference in 1955, it remains as an unfinished struggle. The domination of US in the countries of Asia and Africa, people’s poverty and suffering under US intervention has shown that colonialism and neo-liberalism still existing and gave bad impact to the people’s life. Therefore, the Asian-African Conference (AAC/KAA) that is under intervention of US today has betrayed the spirit of anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism of the Bandung Conference, especially for the countries of Asia and Africa which has long been striving towards prosperity.

The 60th anniversary of Bandung Conference amid worsening crisis of capitalism and chronic crisis in various countries today is the right moment to strengthen unity and reaffirm commitment to halt oppression, poverty, slavery of Asian and African peoples, as well as the people of the world. This is the right moment to call for national and international solidarity to stop colonialism and neo-liberalism in various countries.

Based on the background above, FPR initiates to make the People’s Conference to provide space for civil society movement to analyze the nature of Bandung Conference in the past, how it is currently presented, and what should be its future direction. It will become a forum to unify views, position, and action against neo-liberalism agenda that flow into the Asian-African Conference (KAA) today.

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