New left-wing political organisation formed in Papua

On November 3, a small group of left-wing activists met in Jayapura, capital of Indonesia’s Papua province, to form the Papuan Democratic Peoples’ Movement (Garda-P). The participants assessed that under the current neoliberal capitalist government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice-President Budiono, the Melanesian-Papuans remain marginalised in their own land, still suffering the violence and negative stigmitisation that has characterised their past history as a part of Indonesia. Indeed, in the era of political liberalisation (including under “special autonomy”), the theft of land and resources from the indigenous peoples of Papua by international and national capitalists in Papua has accelerated.

Garda-P’s founding congress adopted decisions to struggle for a democratic, free (sovereign), modern, just/egalitarian, prosperous, clean (transparent) and internationalist Papua. The general program was defined as one of struggling for independence in opposition to imperialist capitalism and in opposition to the government of Indonesia, an agent of imperialism and for the formation of a democratic, progressive and revolutionary Unity Government of the Papuan People. The longer term goal is to develop the forces of production of the people of Papua to be financed through the take over and restructuring of industries such as minerals, oil and gas; forestry, plantations, fisheries and agriculture.

The congress endorsed short-term demands for free education and health care and a moratorium on and review of the extention of contracts of companies operating on traditional Papua lands (with the aim of ensuring such companies implememnt programs that can develop the forces of production of the local, traditional peoples).

Such programs, including technology transfer, must be a part of any contracts with such companies. It also called for land, capital and technology for agriculture, plantations and fisheries to be under the control of farmers’ and fishers’ councils; affordable decent housing; clean water and affordable and guaranteed supply of energy; employment the Papuan people; decent wages for workers; dissolution of the district military commands.

The congress decided to adopt the tactical perspective of forming united fronts with other Papuan organisations and with other organisations in Indonesia. Garda-P will support the development of the organisation of resistance and struggle in all areas. It will publish a bulletin or newspaper. Garda-P is a public organisation open to anybody who supports its aims.

The congress was attended by observers from the West Papua National Coalition for Liberation (WPNCL), several NGO activists and a representative from the national leadership of the Union for the Politics of the Poor (PPRM), which is politically aligned with the Committee for the Politics of the Poor-People’s Democratic Party (KPRM-PRD).

[Hendrik Sorandanya is the secretary-general of Garda-P. He visited Australia and spoke at public meetings in 2005, including the Asia-Pacific International Solidarity Conference in Sydney, on behalf of the National Student Front of Papua.]