1 March 1, 2017 – A report about the protest action against Donald Trump’s Muslim Ban on 04.02.17 that was organized by Anarkonesia, Persaudaraan Pekerja Anarko-Sindikalis (Anarcho-Syndicalist Workers Association) and Antifa Jakarta (Jakarta Anti Fascist).After being organized and announced in only a week, the solidarity and protest action against the USA’s elected president’s Muslim Ban policies, spontaneously proceeded quite well according to plan.
Around 25-30 participants from the three groups were involved in direct action by marching from the assembly point at Galeri Nasional to the main action point in front of the USA Embassy building. Besides the three groups –which were the main organizers and initiators —there were also other individuals who were also involved in the action. They came from many groups with different backgrounds, such as the women movements, LGBTQ , PLHIV, progressive Muslim groups, advocate organizations for West Papua, War on Drugs victims, Shia Muslims, students, foreign citizens (including several citizens of the USA), and also Indonesian citizens themselves.
Anarkonesia itself is a local anarchist collective (the members come from Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi), its members come from many variants of anarchism, while the PPAS is a local syndicalist association, which means the organization has more focus in the anarcho-syndicalism. And of course, we absolutely understand the Antifa as a strategic confrontation group against fascism.
At 10AM that day, these groups met each other in front of the Galeri Nasional bus station, then marched to a city park near the Embassy. Media persons and a group of police officers were already there. Using many attributes and also direct verbal messages, the anarchists explained the characteristics and the revival dangers of fascism movements in the wider scale, and in specific situational context in Indonesia: about how massive the growing of civil intolerant organizations based on religion, ethnicity and nationalism in Indonesia which are known to have a close relationship with the Government –such as Front Pembela Islam (Islam Defense Front).
There were many comments about the number of the participants which was considered too little if compared to other mass actions several times before, which held to protest and to block a strong candidate of Jakarta Governor who comes from a minority ethnic and religious background. We need to explain simply, that the situation regarding the Governor election (and also the president election two years ago) are big events which significantly affect the spread of intolerant political activities. This electoral practice of political contestation –which will meet its highest level in the middle of February– is considered so rotten and not a good reflection of a healthy democracy in Indonesia. It also will become a bad precedent for political education in Indonesia.
Although in local scale, this Jakarta Governor Election itself actually has made polarized a division among the people on a national scale. It is because Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia. And the other reason is obviously because the issues that have been ‘played’ in this contestation: ethnicity, racism, and religion issues. There are two big groups who attend this competition. They are the Bhineka group (people who fight for so-called unity in diversity –including the liberals) versus intolerant groups based on ethnic, racial and religious background. The movement scale of these two groups is quite massive. The increased use of internet technology and social media have given rise to a significant impact and massive growth of mass illusions in this proxy war. The state’s interest of hegemony –also with the capitalists, obviously—seems shrouded in this war. There is a big gap between the movements of each groups. The intolerant religious groups have already started their movement for at least 20 years. On the other hand, the democrats and liberals movement –which the leftists always feel sorry about—are very weak at the grassroots level. While the right wing is expanding and taking over the spaces which are not touched by the opposition, instead of fighting back, the opposition got weaker and even drowned in scepticism, pacifism and alienation as a result of the production and consumption pattern of capitalist-economy society, which has made them end up as a silent majority.
This low understanding of class consciousness has been predicted and understood by the anarchists, so we, the anarchists, are not trapped in mass-supporting illusion as shown in the process of planning and organizing. Illusion, which looks so on fire in their fight to get public participation through their supports, slogan and existence which wanted to be seen as mass representation. Instead, the anarchists see this phenomenon as a part of collective work in increasing and growing the class consciousness. Not by becoming a vanguard, but through taking the initiative and working together with autonomous-individuals who are developing their class consciousness via class struggle.
As a part of propaganda process in public space, in the end, this action has finally triggered many responses , comments, debates, discourses about fascism, capitalism and of course anarchism at a national level, which used to be thought of as a taboo thing to talk about. The anarchism movement itself can be counted as a new thing in Indonesia. The anarchist movement had its highest level of introduction in the middle of the 1990s, with the massive growth the of punk music scene, with its ups and downs, and also the betrayal history of the authoritarian left wing party (Partai Rakyat Demokratik). This can be a thing to being studied in history that always taken place within the anarchism movement on an international level. Moreover, we also have to consider the dark history (or propaganda) of the left movement in Indonesia many years ago, which makes almost all Indonesian people have a bad impression of everything that is connected to socialism/communism.
Anarkonesia and the PPAS are completely new groups in the left movement in Indonesia, having been around for just over one year. But, several individuals who are involved in both groups have been involved for many years in the Indonesian left movement. The Antifa Jakarta also started recently after we rebuilt the organizing activities from bottom to top. Considering these facts and situations, these groups together design a movement step-by-step and consolidations which are accountable and responsible. Direct actions in the field are concrete application of theory which always being educated.
The people see and asked to get involved concretely and consciously in organizing activities of protest against fascism and capitalism. From the beginning, the struggle is absolutely based on decentralized and autonomous distribution of power and freedom to the individuals collectively; a free association that connected one another. Direct democracy through meetings and discussions is the soul of this movement. Any fight against repression, no matter how small it is, is a must. Revolution must be picked up and we must do it in daily steps and daily scale. The proletariat workers unite in consciousness to fight and to destroy the exploiting capitalism order and their fascist alliances.
For any question and responses or networking here’s our contacts on Twitter: @anarkonesia @JktPpas @antifaJKT
Long live the movements.
Long live anarchism.
Jakarta, in front of the USA Embassy,
February 4th, 2017.
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