Dita Indah Sari

Apr 13th, 2007, in News, by

Dita Indah Sari plans to run for president.

Labour activist Dita Indah Sari intends to run in the 2009 presidential elections representing the Papernas, a party plagued by accusations that it is communist. Papernas is a coalition of leftist groups led by Dita's People's Democratic Party (PRD).

Dita Indah Sari
Dita Indah Sari, behind bars, and now.

Dita Indah Sari became known in the nineties as a firebrand labour union activist and was imprisoned between 1996-99 for demonstrating in favour of a rise in the minimum wage. She has not moderated her views now and considers the government of president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to be a weak failure, beholden to big (foreign) business.

Dita, like Amien Rais, believes that the examples of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, and Bolivian leader Evo Morales, should be followed by Indonesia, specifically their nationalisation programs of key industries.

The government is also too weak in defending the rights of citizens attacked by militant groups such as Front Pembela Islam, she says: adnki

The FPI attack against us is one example of this. In the past, the FPI has attacked churches and other groups but nothing has been done.


11 Comments on “Dita Indah Sari”

  1. avatar riccardo says:

    I like her as a person, (met her a couple times) I like her style, her enthusiasm, her integrity and spirit to make Indonesia better…. BUT, I just don’t understand her unrealistic approach to “foreign” businesses.

    Let’s face it, whether we support Globalization or not, she/we must realize that we can’t turn back now, and Indonesia needs to stay connected to “foreigners” — in a healthy give-and-take relationship, a win-win situation. Isolationist nationalism leads to one thing… NORTH KOREA = starvation in a pariah state.

    She has to balance her big talk of playing the “let’s all hate the foreigners” card and blaming everything bad in Indonesia on foreigners.

    She needs to use her integrity and intelligence to strike a healthy balance between Indonesia and the rest of the countries on this planet, whether they are ASEAN countries, developed Rich Western countries, developing Asian countries like India and China or other undeveloped countries like the Arab states or black Africa.

    Indonesia can benefit from all of them, and all of them can benefit from Indonesia. It’s just plain silly to pander to the lowest common denominator of humans in society and rail against all “foreigners” to gain votes.

    I’ll continue to support her, but I think she needs to have a little wider vision.

  2. avatar Rambutan says:

    Riccardo, totally agree. The big mistake of the left is that they prefer to blame foreign companies, “neo-imperialism” and “neo-liberalism” for the problems of the Indonesian state. But let’s face it, most of the problems are home-made. Although the international community and foreign companies certainly play a role they are hardly the dominant factor that could explain Indonesia’s poor economic performance.

    The left wants to fight corruption. They want especially state-owned companies to be more transparent and modern. On the other hand they demand nationalisation of key industries which would result in the exact opposite, i.e. more corruption, less transparency. The left is dreaming when they think they can nationalise industries and prevent corruption at the same time. It’s not going to work. They have to be realistic.

    Anyway, 22% of Indonesia’s GDP is produced in state-owned companies. That’s more than in most Asian countries, even China. The better solution would be to reduce this dependence on BUMN and strengthen the private sector (especially small and medium enterprises, not the Kallas and Bakries of this country). This, however, requires a functioning judiciary. Without firm rule of law it’s not going to work.

  3. avatar Odinius says:

    I’m all for raising the minimum wage in Indonesia, but otherwise she seems full of pretty stupid ideas.

  4. avatar Suhada says:

    I think this case just gives us another vivid illustration about a grim weltanschauung: “Unless we hate what we are not, we can not trully love what we are.”

    We have a tendency to fall into certain extreme. We view moderation as a weakness. A sign of doubt. A proof of opportunism. Those we embrace facism so dearly.

    The left wing side admires people like Chavez and Morales as their vigilante. They are so anxious to criticize globalization as the culprit of our enduring crisis.

    In some sense they are just right. One of the driving force of globalization is, indeed, neo-imperialism. We can see how multinational companies owned by wealthy countries flourished within cathasthropic rate. We can see how critical is the position of somehow weaker and poorer countries. Here and there we can see a vulgar display of economical domination pursued by wealthy ones. Blame it to liberalism. Blame it to imperialism. But neither isolationism nor socialism is the answers to the enduring crisis.

    I am truly agreed to Riccardo. We have to be realistic. Isolationism and socialism will not lead us into a better future. May be not necessarily become the pariah among countries.

    What we really need now is a strong governance. A clean and tidy one. May be it sounds like a cliche, but indeed we need to clean our govermental system from corruption. It takes a strong and legitimate person to cope such a great task. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono might be a legitimate leader. He won nearly 61% of the vote during the election, but surely he doesn’t have enough political strength to cleanse his regime from corrupt bureaucrats.

    I’m always be a fan of such an anxious and enthuastic movement like PRD or Papernas. But I think somehow they sacrifice their logic for an utopic ideal. Their jargon might sound brave and valiant, but trully it is rather difficult for them to gain popularity among will be voters bearing the stigma socialism under their band.

    Thanks to 32 years of succesful indoctrination, nowadays many Indonesian view socialism and communism like a sort of devil incarnation. What those FPI thugs did is just an honest picture of the phobia. Well, might be in rather exessive fashion. But the message is that most of the people are still reluctant to see socialism in rather objective manner.

    I think Budiman Sudjatmiko has taken a correct political step. By joining the band of PDI Perjuangan. He still sounds very “PRD” during every ocassion, but he has succed to blend his idea so seamlessly with nationalism. May be he look less valliant, but he surely is wiser.

    Nevertheless every strive is just and fine, as long as it is done in the hope of having a brighter and better future for Indonesia. God Speed!

  5. Yeah, too bad, but I agree with you guys. She’s a nice person, and she fights for something that a lot of people don’t do, but the approaches that she’s offering are irrational. Give me a break.

    Hugo Chavez can act the way he’s acting now because he knows he has something: oil. If Venezuela didn’t have oil resources that kind of leadership would definitely go to hell, no question. The fact is, Venezuela is not doing as good as its outside supporters think. Poverty will still be a great issue or not an issue at all as their dictator is trying to cover it up with lies. Even China is moving toward capitalism and embrace globalization and what are they having? I don’t have to answer that as you guys will find most of products sold in Mangga Dua are made in China. But, I agree with her opinion toward FPI. They’ve gone too far. And it seems like the cops are afraid of them.

  6. avatar Dimp says:

    Yeah, right! And I am getting an Academy Award for my perfomance in my wedding video.

  7. avatar Colson says:

    Let’s hail any politician who gives priority to social justice over religion. A kind of social democracy is relevant, especially in a part of the world where caring about the poor has not been high on the agenda.

    @ guebukanmonyet: Capitalism and neo-liberalism may seem to be victorious. But it has tremendous disadvantages. Especially for the exploited poor. China and India have a booming economy, but at the cost of the majority of people who live in miserable conditions ( for instance: only last week the headlines of some major newsmedia were made by millions of cotton farmers who are well below living standards in India just now). Countering this development is necessary. Like it is happening right now all over South America. It’s not just Chavez but also Morales , Lula and other leaders follow this line. South America may be a shining example for RI.

  8. avatar Odinius says:

    Guebukanmonyet: you are totally right about Venezuela.

    Indonesia should look at the REAL success stories of globalization. not the US, EU or Japan, and not Venezuela and Bolivia. China, Malaysia, Singapore, India, S Korea and Singapore. All Asian, all combining liberal reforms with some, limited mercantilist policies.

  9. avatar Panta says:

    Indonesia generates huge wealth from its resources and none of the money ever finds it’s way back to infrustructor such as roads, airports, shipping ports, technology and education all of which are vital to the growth of this great country. The potential in Indonesia is enormous and until you change the structure of the political system so that the peoples vote actually counts and the people can have real representation in order to attain a better lifestyle.

    Changing the president won’t make the slightiest difference.

    Indonesia does not need to copy anybody else they only need to have a system that will allow the people to vote for candidates that have the countries interest and the needs of the people first on their agenda. Everything is already here the resources and the wealth it just needs the correct application and strong leadership from leaders outside the normal system that we have where money and power buys you a presidency that makes the rich richer and the peoples needs forgotten.

    Unfortunately there has to be foreign investment in order to build any country, however there has to be deals structured that see money returning to Indonesia from the resources taken by overseas investors, Globalization albeit a curse of the world is now here to stay and we have to learn to work within this framework.

  10. avatar Brad says:

    So many of you commenters seem to have given up the fight before it has begun. Dita has more balls than all of you put together. She believes in a change for the better and has constantly put her body and soul on the line to help those less fortunate.

    Firstly, I don’t see that her policy is Isolationist. It merely aims to stop the pillaging of Indonesia’s vast resources. In any event, Indonesia is one of the few countries on Earth that could actually stop trading and be pretty much self sufficient, if it were well-managed.

    Some of you seem to suggest that you can’t stop corruption because the people in charge of stopping corruption are corrupt. And you’re probably right. But that proves, rather than argues against, Dita’s point about changing the system and putting more power in the hands of those who are doing all the work and getting none of the benefits. Yudhoyono spent his whole career as a Suharto lapdog. Why is anybody surprised that he’s done nothing to recover the stolen wealth?

    A lot of the corruption money comes from foreign companies paying huge bribes to get favourable deals for their companies in Indonesia. So even more than usual goes to the rich at the expense of the poor.

    A Venezualan model would probably work better in Indonesia than in Venezuala, because there is already a strong community attitude in Indonesia, especially among the lower classes. The transition would be pretty smooth in most areas.

    Don’t get confused about policies being good or bad for Indonesia’s economy. Most people aren’t in Indonesia’s economy. Half the wealth is controlled by about a dozen men. As things stand, most Indonesians are at the mercy of these men. This has to change, one way or another.

    Of course we can all do our bit by not buying foreign products. It’s ridiculous that someone working at Starbuck’s has to work for two days to afford one cup of their coffee. Do you realise it would be cheaper to hire someone to follow you around all day, making you as many coffees as you like, than to buy a cup from Starbuck’s? That has to change.

    And Dita’s policies certainly do not add up to communism, no matter what those FAKIng idiots say. In fact, Indonesia is pretty close to being communist now. The wealth and means of production are highly centralised. The people have virtually no power, and most are wage-slaves at best. Everyone lives in fear of the police and the military, or violent groups like FPI and FAKI, or other local thugs. This is not the natural existence of beautiful, friendly people living in one of the richest countries in the world.

    Get the money back from Suharto, invest it domestically-owned production that hires local people at decent wages, and use the profits to buy back all the mines. Then use that profit to invest in local alternatives to foreign-owned businesses. And, of course, that would free up more money for education, health and other vital infrastructure.

    And for God’s sake start a company that makes Indonesian-made electric cars for city use. You can’t drive faster than 10kmph in Jakarta. Why is there one person in each gas-guzzling 4wd? They should be in golf carts. They’d get there quicker, and without pollution.

    I’ll be marching with Dita when I get back to Jakarta. The rest of you guys… if you can’t make any real sacrifices, at least do the little things. Buy local, refuse to give bribes, and organise a neighborhood clean-up once in a while. Any anything else that doesn’t hurt too much.

  11. avatar Loko-Loko says:

    Indonesia needs social democracy introduced by Sutan Sjahrir. Communism is actually a kind of state’s capitalism. Both communism and facism are totalitarian. What people need is real participation in economy and politics.

    China and India are not a good examples for this real participation, since there is huge gap between the rich and the poor in both countries, even worse in the recent years after they applied neo-liberalism.

    Both communism and capitalism has failed to remove alienation from human life, since these two systems value human as a production factor, not more than a spike.

    Human is more sacred than a spike. Self fullfilment only can reached through self giving for the other.

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