There was an interesting article in Kompas this week covering a seminar held by the Trade Union Rights Centre (TURC) in Jakarta which was entitled “The Pursuit of Social Security Reform: Transformation of the Labor Movement Towards a Social and Political Movement” (my translation). The Kompas article focused on one issue in particular that come up during the seminar, the possibility of a labor-based political party in Indonesia.
Surya Tjandra, director of the TURC, is quoted a pointing out the dilemma faced by the labor movement regarding social security reform, the fact that other than PDI Perjuangan (PDI-P) dan Partai Keadilan Sosial (PKS), political parties in power have not shown serious support for these programs. And Daniel* Indrakusuma is quoted as raising the key questions regarding a potential labor party: 1) In Indonesia, will such a party actually represent the interests of workers? 2) Would workers & farmers support it? 3) Why shouldn’t the labor movement give its votes to a party of its own creation?
Oddly, despite the first sentence of the report saying that workers in Indonesia must have a labor party similar to the labor parties in other countries, the article does not actually attribute quotes to anyone enthusiastically calling for a labor party, let alone discussing what form it should take. Besides the questions being raised and discussed by Surya Tjandra and Daniel Indrakusuma, the only other quote is from Mochtar Pakpahan discussing why previous attempts to create a labor party in reformasi Indonesia have made little progress.
While there was not actually much news in this particular article, it is notable that the issue is still being discussed and reported on. And as a number of other new political parties are emerging, each with an eye on the 2014 elections, it will be interesting to see if talk of a labor-based political party goes anywhere.
*Kompas spelled his name as Danial, but if I am not mistaken, it is actually spelled Daniel.