Farmers from the three different regencies met at PPLP-KP’s third anniversary celebrations in 2009. That was when the idea to build a network came up. People liked the idea and it caught on. After various meetings, people agreed to create a forum. Its objective, to consolidate collective strengths between our communities.
On 20th-22nd December 2011, in the first Autonomous Peasant Farmer Conference, the forum was created. Several points were agreed, includng a name: the Forum for Communication between Agrarian Communities – Forum Komunikasi Masyarakat Agraris (FKMA). There was also a decision to maintain the same intensity of communication between members of the forum.
Communication continues between the different regencies. At the same time, each regency made an effort to be accessible to other communities in struggle. This effort paid off. New groups kept joining FKMA, which went from the original three regencies to encompass twelve regencies. As the members increased, the problems they were facing became more diverse. Whereas in Kulon Progo and Kebumen, peasants were resisting a mine, in Parangtritis, Bantul, street-traders were resisting eviction.
The diversity of problems they are facing is not a problem for FKMA. Because, Widodo explained, the core of the problems are the same. Living space (generally land) is being seized by the State and corporations. Even though it is exactly this living space, they explain, that brings security to their lives.
‘I would say that right now, with the land I own, I feel my livelihood is secure’, said Widodo.
The groups which have joined FKMA since that time consider the forum important to strengthen networks.
“This forum consolidates our network. So information from Ogan Ilir can reach Jakarta, Jogja, Kulon Progo and so on,” said Muhammad Sazili, a member of the Rengas Youth Front (FPR) Ogan Ilir, and also a student in Bengkulu University, when he was asked why he joined the FKMA.
Over a year passed before the communities involved in FKMA gathered once more for the second Autonomous Farmers Congress. At that event, the participants identified problems and formulated the next steps for their movement. Although intelligence agents (from both the police and military) paid a visit, the congress successfully took place between 8th -10th February 2013.