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The Worsening Life of the Youth Under the Domination of US Imperialism, Feudalism, and the Puppet Regime of Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla

Written By PP FMN on Senin, 12 Februari 2018 | 00.57

By: Symphati Dimas R
(Chairman of the National Students’ Front/FMN)

The Youth are one element or sector in society which are massive in number compared to the total amount of the peoples of Indonesia. They are 15 to 35 years old, both males and females and has the special characteristic whereby they have a very high mobility, being dynamic and active. As an element which is expanding and growing, they have a future to develop themselves and support many aspects to encourage bright future of people in the country.

Indonesia is one of the most massive population countries in the world. In 2017, the population of Indonesia reached around 262 million people. While the amount of youth based on their age is around 63,2 million people, or around 24,5% of the population. Seen through regions, the urban youth amounts 25,92%, while youth in rural area is 23,14%. The youth are dispersed among various classes and various sectors in Indonesia. The youth are spread as farmers or peasant, workers, students, professional workers to the semi proletariat. Based on the amount, wide spread, and characteristic, youth play an important role in the future progress of the Indonesian people. This has been proven historically, in the national liberation struggle of 1945, to the Democratic movement of May 1998.
However, the people of Indonesia generally experinced of opperession and exploitation until today. 

Under the system of Semi-colonial Semi-feudal (Setengah Jajahan Setengah Feodal), the exploitation of Imperialism, Feudalism, and Bureaucrat Capitalism makes the youth fall into uncertainty future, pulled-out to the dark side of road! They’re facing problems of unilaterally firings massively, unemployment, lack of access for good education, more expensive education costs, social backwardness, harrasement, violances, discriminations, became victims of human traficking and drugs abuse.

Indonesian Youth Under the Domination of US Imperialism

The wave of economic crisis caused by the financial crisis and over-production has increasing poverty and unemployment. The US imperialist is intensifying efforts in order to resolve the worsening of crisis. This eventually creates various maneuvers and schemes to be implemented into many of colonial or semi colonial states. The US continues to strengthen neoliberal policies and promote war of aggression and intervention under the name of world security and democracy. These are to ensure enactment of imperialist dictate and accumulate super-profit by intensification of exploitation and oppression in the colonial and semi-colonial countries.

US Imperialist is intensifying production of commodities to support economic development that continues to exploit the people. The International monopoly capitalist of US accumulate super-profits by decreasing workers’ wages, monopoly and grab the land for investment, and grab the people’s money by forcing the elimination of peoples’ subsidies. The political crisis in the forms of aggressive wars, interventions, threats of nuclear war, and economic sanctions continue in various nations.
Under the regime of Donald trump, US imperialist become “the king of war” and directly intervene in many states. In the beginning of his administration, Trump had released a chauvinist policy called “American First”, or “Make Amerika Great again”, which holds the national interests of the United States, by increasing the global war against terrorism, having anti-migrant policies, spreading racist and discriminative xenophobia towards immigrants and Muslim (Islam), doing missile strikes to Syrian Arab Republic, striking the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and giving economic sanctions which isolate Russia, Venezuela, Iran, and having similar policies to other nations, including Indonesia. These are conditions that clearly shown how the US imperialist became more fascist, threatening and destroying the national sovereignty. 
In the past three years, the domestic crisis in Indonesia has been protracted. This can be seen from the various policies that were issued and implemented through the Nawacita of Jokowi. In the third year (2014 - 2017), the Jokowi-JK regime continues to provide "red carpets" for imperialist investments, particularly the United States in Indonesia. In the Investment Report Executive Summary by AmCham Indonesia and U.S Chamber of Commerce (USCC) it is emphasized that to make investment, it requires a good investment climate and the elimination of complexity of bureaucracy in Indonesia. The US targets the value of Indonesia-US economic activity to rise 46.2 percent from US$ 90.1 billion in 2014 to US$ 131.7 in 2019. The Jokowi regime continues to produce and implement various regulations and policies to serve and protect the flow of capital US imperialists and other capitalists. On behalf of the National Strategic Project (PSN), Jokowi-JK provides services for large-scale plantation investments, agricultural and food estates, mining, national parks, conservation and infrastructure development projects such as reservoirs, toll roads, ports, industrial estates, MRT, fast railway, hydropower, power plant, and others.

The main objective of the Jokowi-JK administration is to provide maximum service for foreign investment, especially US imperialist in Indonesia. Jokowi's government stipulates the required funding needed in infrastructure development until 2019 is estimated at Rp 4,800 trillion. In 2015, the realization of infrastructure budget in the National Revenue and Expense Budget (Anggaran Pendapatan dan Belanja Nasional/APBN) is only IDR 290 trillion; in 2016 IDR 313.5 trillion and 2017 is allocated only Rp 346.6 trillion. Therefore, the government is massively cutting subsidies anddiverting public sector funds to accelerate infrastructure development. In addition, IFC and the World Bank disburse debts of US$ 12 billion for 4 years. Beyond that, these financial institutions have poured US$ 1 billion by 2016. Institutions such as Indonesia Infrastructure Fund (IIF), Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), ADB, World Bank and AIIB are also ready to finance the project infrastructure development in Indonesia both with investment and debt. In the meantime, government debt in Jokowi era is increasing. In 2014 at the end of SBY's power, the government has debts of US $ 209.7 billion or Rp 2,608.8 trillion. While Jokowi is in power, government debt has soared to Rp. 4000 trillion, or a significant increase of Rp 1,392 trillion.

Rural Youth in Indonesia
Rural youth reached 23,14% from the total of Indonesian who live in the village. Many of them are working as farmers, students, farmhands (buruh tani), and other sectors. Since monopoly and land grabbing became the main problem in Indonesia, the rural youth are working as farmers with very small of land, or even became landless which forced them work as farmhand who sold their labor to the rich farmers and “Landlord” with very cheap of wages. Many of them forced to migrate to the cities or even go abroad as migrants workers to get the better life without protection of the government. Majority of them are women

The monopoly of the land for plantation and mining sectors has now reached approximately 41,87 million hectares. The palm oil plantation is owned and controlled only by 25 big private landlords, has reached 29 million ha of the licenses of plantation, where 13 million hectares of them have been planted with oil palm trees. The number has not even included plantation land width that is controlled by the State. Meanwhile, for the logging and tree plantation, there is 531 large scale logging concession given above land 35,8 million hectares. In the mining sector, there is approximately 8.000 mining licenses that reached 2,519,415.82 hectares.

At the same time, the Jokowi regime has pushed even more programs and schemes to debilitate the farmers in the village. For example, CPO Fund (oil palm plantation funding scheme), and PIS-AGRO Partnership for Indonesian sustainable Agriculture: PIS-AGRO, which is an agriculture liberalization partnership issued through World Economics Forum on 2012 as one of the new face of capitalist monopoly exploitation and the enforcers in the country. On the other side, from the “Fake” Agrarian Reform program of Jokowi, the government instead legitimizes monopoly and land grabbing.

Monopoly and land grabbing happening in Indonesia has resulted in deterioration of the lives of farmers and villagers. This is also experienced by the youth in the village depending their lives on farm productions (25,23% from the total of Indonesian youth). The rural youth experienced deterioration resulted by feudalism exploitation. This will badly affect the youth’s future. The youth in the village encounter great difficulties in accessing education. There are two key factors causing such difficulties. First, the acute poverty result in the inability of the youth to access education that is getting even more costly. Second, the unavailable and indecent distribution of infrastructures from school to universities/colleges in every rural regions in Indonesia. This results in 16,85% of the Indonesian youth suffering of illiteracy. Additionally, there is more than 1 million youth in the rural area which will be dropped out from the school or university because their parents become jobless as an effect of crisis and economic slump.

 Other than that, rural youth are also facing reality that they are forced to be low-waged laborers in cities because of the constriction of land in the rural area. Even worse, forced to migrate to abroad becoming a migrant workers, which now has reached more than 8 million people, majority are youngsters and women. Migrating to the city or overseas does not also guarantee the improvement and the fate of rural youth. In fact, being a laborer in the city means being shackled by low wages. On the other side, being a migrant laborer means gambling without genuine protection from the government.
The Urban Youth in Indonesia
The urban youth are facing not much better conditions than youth in rural area. They are working in cities in various sectors, there is 18,20% (industrial laborer), 16,97% (service laborer), 36% (small merchant), and 19,15% (freelancer worker).

The young laborer as modern productive power, face oppression and exploitation multiplied by the low wages political scheme, and labor market flexibility through short term of work contract and outsourcing. The deprivation of wages is implemented under the Government Regulation No.78 year of 2015 on Wages (Peraturan Pemerintah No. 78 Tahun 2015 tentang Pengupahan). This regulated a new formulation of wage based on inflation number and economic growth. This result in the fluctuation of wage raise that will never reach more than 10% per year. In 2017, the governemnt decided the increasing amount of wage will only reach 8,71% for 2018. This number will be impossible to accommodate life necessities that always being on the rise. Deprivation of wages is also applying through state’s insurance scheme of Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial (BPJS) Kesehatan dan Ketenagakerjaan that forces laborers to pay fees that directly cut from their wage.

This condition forced the young laborers continuously struggling with difficulties in their lives. Meanwhile, through many development projects conducted in 225 of the National Strategic Projects, the Jokowi administration is keen on accelerating infrastructure development, reclamation of coastal and sea, developing of elite commersial districts, normalization of many settlements area and etc. Under the name of “Smart City” development, the government is continuously evicting the settlements of the poor in the city. In Jakarta, approximately 360 spots targetted for the evictions. The reclamation of Jakarta Bay is threatening all people who are living in coastal area, including young fishermen. The Jakarta Bay mega-project reclamation will evict more than 16.000 families in coastal area. Every project directly connected with investment of imperialist countries and also financial institution such as World Bank.

Such condition impacts the youth in urban area. Not just being robbed of their wage,  but also being threatened of losing living area because of the eviction by many projects, and forced the youth to fell in antisocial actions such as: drug users, pickpocters, robbers, scammers, prostitutions, gangs, etc. While the youth who have tasted middle or higher education are only capable of doing temporary freelance works.
The University Students in Indonesia
The condition of Education in Indonesia under Jokowi regime’s control is continuously suffering decline. The education sector is one sector sacrificed for the sake of fluency of investments and infrastructure development program. Jokowi-JK regime is allocating budget for University sector in form of Bantuan Operasional Pendidikan.
BOPTN had a budget cut in 2015, as much as IDR 3,763 trillion. It doesn’t even stop there, as the cut happens yet again in 2017, which only has IDR 39 trillion in its budget, a drastic decrease compared to the year 2016, which had its budget on IDR 42 trillion. The education became more expensive which is followed by the narrowing access to education for the people of Indonesia. Based on data published by UNICEF, 7,3 millions of Indonesian youth unable to enroll in elementary school, 3 millions barred from access into junior high school, and another 1 million unable to enroll in senior high school.
Meanwhile, the access to universities can be said to be very limited and difficult to be reached by poor. For example, in 2016, there were around 1,692,514 high school graduates. Yet, only 507,000 were recorded to be new students in universities (320.000 in state-owned universities, while the rest enrolled in private universities). That means, there were only 25% of the graduates that were able to enroll in universities. Besides that, there were totals of 5,4 millions university students in Indonesia. If we compare with the age of 18-25 years old, as the ideal age to enroll in universities, we found that only 10% of all Indonesian youth that could enroll in universities.
As the main stakeholder of the higher education level in Indonesia, the government has prioritized Vocational and Polytechnic schools. This is in line with the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN 2014-2019), which puts these schools to be built, then covers up 80% of every grades of education.

Moreover, students also encounters many other issues, such as the Higher Education Act (Undang-Undang Pendidikan Tinggi No.12 Tahun 2012) and also the expensive Single-Payment Tuition Fee (Uang Kuliah Tunggal/UKT). In fact, those regulations and policies were made as regulatory in calculation of unit cost in education based on inflation and condition of the market. Not to mention, the act of legitimizing given to state owned universities in order to allow them to cooperate with privately owned foreign corporations. Even worse, such cooperation and joint projects would often use the students as a cheaper means of research, treating them as if they’re just tools to reach their interest. This cooperation also involved the students to socialize government and corporate program. For example, when they propagate the ‘Save Migration’ programme in rural area and migrant workers’ residences.

In many universities, students has received multiple acts of repression and intimidation. Since April 2016 up to August 2017, there has been 6 acts of repression, with 115 students suffering from suspension from the colleges’ authorities, and 54 others forcefully dropped out as a means of punishment. There are also 192 students being the victims of physical violance, 190 of them arrested and criminalized.

Moreover, universities has been used by the regime as a means to promote anti-people and anti-masses policies. Through the Ministry of Research, Technologies, and Higher Education (Menristekdikti), and Ministry Coordinator of Political, Law, and Security (Menkopolhukam), even up to Jokowi, all of them attempted to repress and limits the democratic space for students. Such things were done in order to combat the so-called ‘radicalism’. Following such ‘concern’ from the regime, they gathered university directors from all over the country in 25 August 2017 in the State Palace (Istana Negara) and 26 September 2017 in Bali, in order to promote and declarate Nationalism and Defense of Homeland programme.

Those agenda, as we all know, are no more than the attempts of the regime to control the freedom of association, speech, and expression. It’s a form of continuation of the Defense of Homeland programme that was introduced in 2015. Moreover, the Defense Minister has planned that Orientation Weeks in universities will be replaced by Defense of Homeland Week program. Students will be the victims of one-way propaganda from the regime regarding various values, policies, and their controls on it. This is their way to silence and depoliticize the masses, and it’s more than real in this case. To make their way into the realization of such program, the Internal Affairs Minister has announced the plan to make sure that university directorates will be directly appointed by the president.

The Dynamics of Students’ Movement and the Role of FMN in the Democratic Struggle in Indonesia 

Students’ movement in Indonesia has been through so many dynamics and events in its whole lifetime. Even under the threat and attempts of silencing, moderation, and repression by the regime, but the students’ movement has been growing. There were various demonstrations and direct actions with escalating intensity in the period of 2014 up to 2017, with demonstrations held by students from University of Indonesia (UI/Jakarta), Gajah Mada University (UGM/Yogyakarta), Technological University of Bandung (ITB/Bandung), Sriwijaya University (Unsri/Palembang), Andalas University (Unand/Padang), University of Palangkaraya (UPR/Central Kalimantan), Hasanuddin University (Makassar), and State University of Makassar (Makassar), all of them continuously struggled against the liberalization and commercialization of education.

The attempts of regime to marginalize and moderate the students movement has already fragmented movement, nationally. Jokowi is intensifying meeting with the national leaders of national students organizations. Today, the both of organizations has supporting the regime in promoting their fascist programme, and going as far as supporting the inherently fascist and repressive Mass Organization Act, which deems that the regime could free-handedly dissolve mass organizations.

Meanwhile, the National Students’ Front (FMN), still stood on our feet, and will keep our firm and militant position in our view and action against the Indonesian puppet regime. FMN views that Indonesia under the regime of Joko Widodo, is nothing more than the continuation of the previous puppet regimes of the United States, and the guardian of the interest of comprador bourgeoisie, as well as the landlords in Indonesia. Thus, FMN firmly stated our firm, militant, and consistent resistance against the Indonesian, Jokowi regime.

FMN is a national students’ organization, with the spirit of anti-imperialism and anti-feudalism guiding our path to victory. FMN has committed itself to struggle and serve the people, especially with the workers and peasants in Indonesia to end this semi-colonial and semi-feudal system. FMN was born in 18 May 2003, with the Founding Congress held in Jakarta. Currently, we have held the Fifth National Congress. Meanwhile, our organization has grown and exists in 24 major cities in 18 provinces, covering 135 universities.

FMN struggles for a national educational system that is scientific, democratic, and oriented on serving the people which is the aspiration of the whole masses of Indonesia. FMN also have to be the instrument to unite the students into its organization, as a vanguard, and as a means of building an organization which is close and wholly oriented in serving the people. In its Struggle Programmes, 

FMN has manifested its closeness to the masses in form of:
  • “FMN actively played a role in the struggle for genuine land reforms, and the building of national industries as the condition to the realization of prosperity and changes in our society towards a bright future.”        
  •  “Struggling with the workers against low wages, contract of work system, and outsourcing.”
  •  “Struggling with the peasants, fishermen, and national minority groups against the interest of corporate plantations, the building of infrastructures, national parks, corporate mining, reclamation, and other economic planning done in the interest of imperialists, big land lords, comprador bourgeoisie, and bureaucrat capitalists.”
  •  “Struggling with the urban poor against the eviction of the urban poor settlements.”
  •  “Campaigning the problems of the oppression of women and fighting against the feudal-patriarchal culture.”
  •  “Struggling for free, quality healthcare for the people.”
Meanwhile, in our International Solidarity Programme, FMN has stated our political line, which are:
  • “Rejecting every scheme of exploitation and imperialist oppression lead by the United States, rejecting war of aggression, intervention and imperialist domination in the world.”
  •  “Supporting and involving our organization actively in worldwide students’ movement as well as anti-imperialist popular movements.”
In the various moments of naitonal campaign or direct popular struggle in Indonesia, FMN has actively involved ourselves and building alliance with multi-sectoral organizations through the Front of Peoples’ Struggle (Front Perjuangan Rakyat/FPR) which is composed of many anti-imperialist and anti-feudal organizations.

Also, FMN has regularly held Serve the People activities, down to the mass bases of workers and peasants all around of Indonesia. The program of 3 Sama (To Work, To Live, and To Eat with the Masses) has become our primary program to increase the militancy and consciousness of all the members of FMN and other students in general.

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