Statement of the Second Autonomous Peasant Farmer’s Congress – Forum for Communication between Agrarian Communities
To imagine a world without farmers is like imagining a world without food. In the same way, if we imagine a nation which ignores its people can we really believe in its sovereignty? Yet the state’s architects are engaged in conjuring up such dark visions right now, as they become corporations’ loyal servants.
In the name of development, the state and corporations continue to expropriate peasant farmers’ land without cease. In the name of security, farmers are gradually but deliberately being turned into a labour force, available for hire. In the name of the public interest, peasant farmers’ living space is being constricted or even obliterated so a handful of businesspeople increase their wealth. In the name of progress, farmers are hoodwinked into handing over their right to a livelihood, giving up their life, their work, their identity, losing their self-respect as a community, as humans.
There is an absolute contradiction between what is written in the constitution and what occurs in reality. It is written that the highest sovereignty lies with the people, whereas in fact the state and people’s sovereignty is under the control of big business. It is a fact that the government does not exist to serve the people, but is slave to the corporations. A state which was originally meant as a tool to regulate authority and to attain security for their population has instead become a tool to protect repression against that same population, and a tool for politicians and capitalists to plot how they can increase their hoarded wealth. In this village named Indonesia, thieves disguise themselves as distinguished guests, brashly giving orders to their hosts, to whom the earth’s riches rightfully belong.
The people can no longer hope to find justice within the law, instead the law only provides justifications for violations of the very principles of justice. Nowadays the government announces the depletion of Indonesia’s natural resources and the evictions of inhabitants who are seen as obstacles to capital’s expansion, with policies that justify such actions, including amongst others:
1. Law 2 of 2012 (concerning provision of land for development and the public interest)
2. Law 7 of 2012 (concerning social conflict management)
3. Law 4 of 2009 (about mineral and coal mining)
4. Law 17 of 2011 (about state intelligence)
5. Planned legislation on national security
6. Government Regulation 32 of 2011 (concerning the Master Plan for the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development)
The history of Indonesia is a history of agrarian conflict which has endured since colonial times, and continues to the present day. Conflicts which remain unresolved or which are even deliberately cultivated to reinforce structures that benefit political and business elites. And then, as part of these conflicts, acts of violence emerge, by state security forces against the people, legitimised in the name of the law. When peasants and those defending the people’s rights are prosecuted, terrorised, intimidated, arrested or shot, it is a clear example that the state prefers to solve its problems with violence. Meanwhile, the people who are standing in the way of capital’s expansion are themselves labelled as violent, under the pretext that state security forces are merely maintaining security and stability (for capital). Another source of violence comes from those elements of society whose discourse supports that of the state and corporations, with their slogans about resistance, saying that resistance should be non-violent, meaning that the people do nothing in the face of the state’s treachery. The actions which the people take in defending or reclaiming what is rightfully theirs is not violence. It is their struggle, just as in the colonial era people took up arms to fight for independence.
Agrarian conflicts are a sign that the people are not yet free and independent, and it is not just the people, but also a sign that the state’s grounds for sovereignty no longer exist. Independence [merdeka] does not mean freedom without limits, and it is not opposed to co-operation. Independence means breaking away from dependency, being in control of our own decisions, and believing that we are able to rely on our own strengths.
The Forum for Communication between Agrarian Communities (FKMA) was conceived, formulated and formed by peasant farmers and other communities that have been victims of the collusion between the state and corporations to seize agrarian resources (living space). With the theme: Towards an Autonomous Grassroots Resistance, the second FKMA congress puts the people back to their rightful position above the state, and sees corporations under the state’s control. Always alert to attempts to expropriate agrarian resources / the land market, the second FKMA congress resulted in the following points:
1. To resist all forms of oppression and injustice related to natural and agrarian resource management that spring from the abuses of corporations, the state and their various collaborations, such as:
-Resist military training and testing of heavy weaponry by the army and iron sand mining in Kebumen.
-Resist iron sand mining and the Javan Southern Link Road in Kulon Progo.
-Resist iron sand mining and nuclear and thermal power stations in Bandungharjo and Balong, Jepara.
-Resist limestone mining and cement factory in the Kendeng mountains at Pati.
-Resist ground water privatisation by the Java Gas Development Project (PPGJ) in Kradenan, water privatisation by PT Gendhis Multi Manis in Bentolo and a cement factory in the Kendeng mountains at Blora.
-Resist plans to mine iron sand in Wotgalih, and demand an end to mining along the southern coast at Lumajang.
Demand the full restoration of Lapindo victims’ rights, not just compensation for land and buildings and resisting Lapindo’s drilling operations in Sidoarjo.
-Resist eviction by the Bantul Regency Government under the pretext of prohibiting prostitution under local regulation 5/2007 in Parangtritis, Bantul.
-Demand that PTPN VII Cinta Manis be disbanded and denounce the involvement of police, military and paramilitaries in the agrarian conflicts in Ogan Ilir, South Sumatra.
-Resist the construction of an Aqua Danone factory and development of a geothermal project in Padarincang, Banten.
-Resist sand mining in Ciamis and Tasikmalaya.
2. Call upon all elements of civil society to support grassroots movements aiming towards autonomy.
3. Force governments to stop criminalisation and set free peasants and fighters for the people’s rights who have been imprisoned as part of agrarian conflicts.
4. Order the Indonesian president and his regime to give the people their rights to agrarian resources / living space.
5. Call upon corporations to stop all forms of expropriating / confiscating land which is the peoples’ living space.
6. Strongly criticise the military and police’s support for corporations and denounce violent acts taken by the police and military when dealing with social conflicts.
7. Order all state officials to not to make or revoke policies which would legitimate the expropriation of people’s rights, especially the right to agrarian resources.
8. Criticise all forms of conspiracy between elements of society, such as NGOs, political parties, student movements, mass organisations, religious organisations, educational/academic institutions. media and suchlike which could weaken the struggle of grassroots movements to fight for agrarian justice.
9. Call for solidarity with groups whose rights have been expropriated throughout the world.
Yogyakarta, 10 February 2013
1. Kelompok Tani BERDIKARI, Sumedang
2. Urutsewu Bersatu, Kebumen
3. Paguyuban Petani Lahan Pantai (PPLP), Kulon Progo
4. Forum Silaturhmi Masyarakat Wotgalih (FOSWOT), Lumajang
5. Forum Nelayan (FORNEL) dan Persatuan Masyarakat Balong (PMB) Jepara
6. Serikat Petani Blora Selatan, Gerakan Rakyat Menggugat (GERAM) Blora
7. Jaringan Masyarakat Peduli Pegunungan Kendeng (JMPPK) dan Sedulur Sikep, Pati
8. Serikat Petani Indonesia (SPI) dan Front Pemuda Rengas (FPR) Ogan Ilir, Sumatera Selatan
9. Aliansi Rakyat Menolak Penggusuran (ARMP), Parangtritis, Bantul
10. Suara Korban Lumpur LAPINDO/AL-FAZ, Sidoarjo
11. BALE RUHAYAT, Ciamis dan Tasikmalaya
12. Gerakan Rakyat Anti Pembangunan Aqua Danone (GRAPAD), Banten