Aug 3rd, 2006, in News, by

A new left wing political party has been launched, Papernas, the Partai Persatuan dan Pembebasan Nasional, National Liberation Party of Unity.

Dominggoes Octavianus, a leader of the new party, says, ranesi the formation of the new party is meant to fill a void, a void that sees the aspirations of the people ignored. Papernas, he says, is anti-imperalism, anti neo-liberalism, and progressive. It is made up of a collection of small political parties (the most important being the Partai Rakyat Demokratik, PRD, People’s Democratic Party), mass organisations, labour groups, university students, farmers, collectives of poor city folk, and such like people who one might consider to be on the fringes of the modern world.

A number of prominent figures were involved in the founding of the party, among them Wimar Witoelar, the former spokesman for President Abdurrachman “Gus Dur” Wahid, sociologist George Aditjondro, Sukardi Rinakit from the Indonesian Survey Institute and Mohammad Sobary, former news chief of Antara. Although Gus Dur has his own party, the PKB, Dominggoes Octavianus still holds out hope that the old man will work with the new party in some form. Papernas also seems to have won the favour of the “indo-marxists“.

A main focus of Papernas is the struggle against “imperialism”, by which is seemingly meant the strength and influence of international capital in Indonesia, and the roles of organisations like the IMF and World Bank. In a similar tone to Amien Rais Octavianus complains that the natural wealth of the country is being stolen by foreign corporations. To combat this Papernas advocates the nationalisation of most major industries in the country including banking, oil, power generation, gas, and heavy industries generally, as well as the repudiation of foreign debt. Free health and education services are also on the agenda, while unemployment and the issue of a fair minimum wage are also at the forefront of Octavianus’ mind.

This fiery program has met with the approval of overseas commentators such as Max Lane in Australia, who writes greenleft in the Green Left Weekly:

On July 23, 1500 people attended a rally at the National Library of Indonesia to publicly launch a new political party “” the Preparatory Committee of the National Liberation Party of Unity (KP-Papernas) “” for the 2009 Indonesian elections. Most of those attending were from poor districts in and around Jakarta. The majority were women.

Papernas already has branches in 23 provinces and in 140 regency capitals and by November of this year it is planned that the party will have fulfilled all the necessary criteria to gain formal status. The nascent party also plans to carry out awareness campaigns among labourers and mass organisations to gear up to compete in the 2009 elections.

23rd September 2006. The conferences of two political parties in Surabaya were disrupted by accusations of left-wingery.

On 17th September a regional meeting of the Partai Bintang Reformasi (PBR) descended into farce when many members of the party walked out in disgust at the new direction the party leadership wanted to go in. It seems the leaders wish the PBR become a “socialist religious” party.

28 of 38 delegates to the conference stormed out unhappy at the move towards “socialism”. A delegate from Pasuruan said l6:

PBR is going to be made a socialist religious party. We don’t want the PBR to become a socialist party.

Some delegates burned their membership cards and other party paraphernalia.

Meanwhile also in the East Java capital, on the 18th, a meeting of the Partai Persatuan Pembebasan Nasional (Papernas), a newly formed overtly left wing party, was set upon metrotv by an anti-communist group, the Gerakan Front Anti Komunis dan Gerakan Tauhid Anti Komunis. The Gerakan members demonstrated against the foundation of Papernas and demanded that it be disbanded, claiming that its membership was made up of former political prisoners, ie communists.

Aditya Fajar of Papernas addressed the protestors and said that his party was democratic and that it sought to address some of the injustices done to victims of the New Order regime. After that the Gerakan boys left.

January 21st 2007. A congress of Papernas was closed early in Sleman, Yogyakarta because of demonstrations by the Front Anti-Komunis Indonesia. l6

March 4th 2007. A meeting of Papernas was forcibly broken up in Batu, East Java, by hundreds of people from a group called Front Anti Komunis Indonesia (FAKI). FAKI accuse of Papernas of being communist and demand that it be banned. tempo

March 5th 2007. Some members of Muslim organisations demonstrated outside the police headquarters in Batu demanding to know why Papernas had been granted a police permit to hold their meeting in the town. l6

March 29th 2007. In Jakarta today the Front Pembela Islam (FPI), along with about a dozen other Muslim groups attacked members of the Partai Persatuan Pembebasan Nasional (Papernas) on Jalan Sudirman, central Jakarta. Rocks were thrown at buses and vans carrying Papernas supporters, who were mostly women and children bussed in for a protest action.

One FPI member, Ahmad Sobari, cut his hand on some broken glass. Two children from the Papernas side and one policeman were also injured. l6

The other groups participating in the anti-Papernas action included Forum Betawi Rempug (FBR), GNPI, AAK, Forum Komunikasi ’66, Taruna Muslim, Front Pembela Merah Putih, Mimbar Pemuda Islam, Laskar Pembela Islam (LPI) and Komando Pemuda Anti Komunis (Kompak). Their number was estimated to be around 1200 men.

Six companies of police SSK (Satuan Setingkat Kompi) were dispatched to the area and violent clashes occurred between them and the anti-Papernas forces. antara

April 3rd 2007. Dozens of Papernas members burned Front Pembela Islam (FPI) flags and symbols in Madiun, East Java. They also demanded that the Front Pembela Islam (FPI) be banned and its members who attacked Papernas people in Jakarta prosecuted. tempo

April 5th 2007. Papernas have filed a formal complaint against the FPI to the national human rights body, Komnas HAM. However Abdul Hakim of Komnas HAM advised Papernas to take up at least some of their concerns with the constitutional court instead. Munarman of the Forum Ummat Islam said if FPI members had committed violence they should be prosecuted but he re-iterated Muslim groups’ rejection of the existence of Papernas. hukumonline

April 23rd 2007. The Front Anti Komunis Indonesia (Faki) of Yogyakarta have threatened to prevent the declaration of Papernas in the province. Eman Sulaiman of Papernas says about 90 men arrived at the Hotel Nitipuran on the 21st of April and threatened the hotel management not to allow the planned declaration of the party on 25th April. The declaration has been postponed. detik

April 30th 2007. Hundreds of Laskar Umat Islam Surakarta (LUIS) members broke up a meeting of Papernas in Sukoharjo, Central Java. indosiar

The office of Papernas in Palu, Central Sulawesi was attacked by a mob of about 40 people on 13th May. Three people in the office were beaten. tempo

October 29th. Police in Makassar, South Sulawesi broke up a rally staged by the South Sulawesi chapter of the National Liberation United Party (Papernas) at the National Defense Hall (BPN) on Jl AP Pettarani on the grounds that the organizers did not have the required permit.

2,200 people, mostly women, had gathered for the meeting and were faced with about 250 policemen behind barbed-wire fencing and water cannons. Dita Indah Sari addressed the crowd for ten minutes before police ordered dispersal. antara

23 Comments on “Papernas”

  1. mad-muhaa says:

    Anti-imperialism, anti neo-liberalism, progressive. One argues that a political body with that much “anties” alienates more than it attracts. It is pointless to fight imperialism when there’s no empire around anymore. It is also blunt to disdain neo-liberalism: what is it anyway? What about plain old liberalism?

  2. Ross says:

    The sloganising of this new group sounds exactly like the boring old marxist garbage we used to hear at uni in the 60s, and a notorious red like Max Lane’s endorsement further gives the game away.
    There is a definite turn-around these days. PKI resurgent in new guises -don’t know about this particular party, but the Reds are around all right – and people teaching communist courses at Indonesian universities, which would be fine if the teachers were out to reveal what communists do whenever they get the chance.
    Instead they seem to think that marxism is just another idea like liberalism or nationalism or conservatism, which is open to reasonable discussion, rahter than the irrational class-hate doctrine it was born as and has remained.
    Canada banned the Communist Party during the Second World War because it was a clear and present danger, and Indonesia is wise to maintain its ban today. The fanatics who use religion to torment minorities are bad enough – if the PKI ever came back from their scurvy exile, they’d been aiming to do even worse.

  3. Yan says:

    Ross you sound like a paranoiac New Order hack. What did the New Order do for 30+ years? Was it open to “reasonable discussion” regarding its interpretation of anything? No it wasnt, and it routinely arrested, intimidated, and killed those who dared to oppose it. The grand irony of the New Order was that despite its constant invoking of an invisible non-existent communist threat (it had slaughtered most PKI and countless others in 65) it was closest thing the region has had to a Stalinist regime. It used the irrational fear of an imaginary PKI threat to legitimate its totalitarian ambition and apparently there are those such as Ross who continue to believe it.

  4. Ross says:

    Yan, nobody denies the excesses of the Suharto regime but look at what the Communists have done WHEREVER they took power. China’s imposed famine plus Red Guard massacres plus the immediate murders at the end of the civil war must total 100 million. Your PKI minions took shelter in that enormous death zone, and sing its praises still.
    In Russia, with a population not dissimilar to Indonesia, Stalin’s holocaust cost 6 or 7 million in the Ukraine alone. Solzhenitsyn is a good read!
    Go and look at the site of the Berlin Wall, or Jan Palach’s memorial in Prague or take a walk through Budapest where buildings are still pock-marked with Soviet bullet-holes from 1956. Think about Pol Pot, or the Belene concentration camp in Bulgaria. Recall Huber Matos and Valladares in Cuban cells for decades.
    Communism is vile. Ignorant peasants may be conned into joining up and may be forgiven but educated people who tried to put the PKI in power here deserve utter contempt as traitors.
    They were hard at work curtailing Indonesian democracy long before 1965. The threat was no myth.

  5. Ihaknt says:

    It seems so easy to create your own party in Indonesia. Maybe Patung and co, should take this forum further into a political party?

  6. Dimp says:

    Hi ihaknt,

    I am proposing that we form a Common Sense Party, or in Indonesian Partai Akal Sehat (PAS).

  7. Yan says:

    Ross, I appreciate the sincerity of your repsonse, however you have missed my point. I am no apologist for communism, or any other ism. Whenever ideology takes precedent over humanity, the outcome can only ever be tragic. It is pointless trying to make historical moral equivalences between state atrocities, be it in the name of pancasila, communism or anything else the end result is the same. It is hardly suprising that in Indonesia where a market majority minority live it up while millions struggle to exist that ideas of redistribution of resources remain attractive. Point being that the danger lies not with Papernas or other left leaning groups (It is not equivalent to the PKI, the democratic socialism they propose in no way resembles standard communist ideology) but with the current system. If the political elites and their rent-a-goons were serious about “curtailing the comunist threat” they would focus less on banning books and political thuggery and more on seriously addressing the real issues: corruption, endemic poverty, unemployment etc. As it stands the PKI exists, but more as spectre and scapegoat that can be arbitrarily applied to anyone who makes substantive criticisms of the system and the self-interests of the few that it protects.

  8. Dimp says:

    Hi Ross,

    How about Cuba, just because they are communists they were sanctioned by the US government, and due to the embargo they can hardly grow. I’ve never been there myself but met many Canadians who said that it is just a fantastic place with plenty of intelligent people (most of the population are college graduate as school is free). So there are some aspects of communism that may be good to be implemented.

  9. Ross says:

    Okay, Yan and Dimp
    Firstly, Yan, I agree the ruling class here are mostly revolting. I also have no idea what this new party is up to. Okay if they are just democratic socialists and not the sort of bullies and brutes who generally join communist parties, then good luck to them.

    Cruelty is not a monopoly of left or right but communism as such is much worse than any other movement, in terms both of the death-toll of innocents and the dehumanising effect of its creed. Here’s a piece from the BBC today:

    ‘A Catholic priest has been jailed for eight years in Vietnam on charges of disseminating information to undermine the state. Father Nguyen Van Ly is a prominent democracy activist and long-time opponent of Communist Party rule.
    The 60-year-old has been under house arrest since early February. His trial lasted one day.
    Four co-defendants received prison terms ranging from 18 months suspended to six years.
    “The behaviour of the defendants amounts to the crime of spreading propaganda against the Socialist state”, Judge Bui Quoc Hiep told the court in the central city of Hue. Earlier, a policeman had removed Father Ly from the court after he shouted “Down with the Communist Party”.’

    That’s what communism is all about, and another reason I find it so bizarre that ASEAN and the West keep whining about Myanmar when a red tyranny like Hanoi still torments its subjects (but that’s another matter).

    Secondly, Dimp. yes, there are Canadians totally ignorant of Castro’s record, usually because they won’t take the time or trouble to listen or read. Also Pierre Trudeau, the late and highly unlamented Prime Minister of Canada, was a great friend of Castro and encouraged him in his repression of Cuba’s freedom. Trudeau’s marxist sympathies have percolated through to some younger Canadians who lack a broad education.

    Cuba was a relatively prosperous country until the reds took it and chained up all opposition, even those who helped them fight Batista’s old regime.

    Thousands have died in prison or by firing-squad, initially supervised by that psycho Guevara. Press freedom was one of the first liberties to go, and trades unions were shackled. Even the guy Castro first installed as President decided to flee to America when he realised what a totalitarian swine Castro was – and is.

    Ask the Canadian fellow-travellers, if Castro is so popular, why does he persecute any Cuban who tries to form an opposition party or suggest free elections. Why is anti-communist argument banned, if communism is so beloved by the majority?

    Free education means free indoctrination. There is no intellectual or academic freedom in Cuban universities. What value then in a degree?

    Check it out. Read about Huber Matos, Valladares, or the many other good democrats who suffered and died at the hands of Latin America’s last despot.

  10. Dimp says:

    Hi Ross,

    Thanks for the info, I know Castro cannot be considered as one of the good guy, the Canadians that I was telling you about actually travelled to Cuba, and he regret the policy that the American implemented punishing all Cubans because of Castro, making him more like a hero rather than a dictator.

  11. Aby says:

    Guys, we are talking about Social Democracy, Green-Socialism, and Liberal Communism, not the distorted impressions created by those Imperial Socialists (USSR, PRC, Vietnam, Zimbabwe). The face of Social Democracy, Green-Socialism and Liberal Communism can be seen in the governments of many of the world’s most developed countries, such as Sweden, Norway, Finland, New Zealand, UK, and Austria. What seems, to me, to be the problem here is that the Indonesian people have not been exposed to enough information about these ideologies, that they just simply brand anything Left-leaning as “Communist”. But the fact is, these ideologies are staunch proponents of personal freedom. However, the real question ought to be why the anti-Communists are not hostile to Megawati’s PDI-P, since it is also a political party which bases itself on the ideology of Muslim Social Democracy, where the government was lenient on people’s personal choice concerning religion, but was harsher with unjust treatment to labour, capital, and the environment.

    Oh, and Ross, if you say that Communism is the most brutal movement there is, why dont you check General A Pinochet. He was the ultimate Free-Marketeer, like Ronald Reagan. Yet his regime was as brutal as Stalin. Also look at Hitler. A staunch anti-Communist, but what happenned to the Jews?

    Good day.

  12. Rambutan says:

    Papernas is strongly left-leaning but hardly communist. But whatever their ideological orientation is, as a democratic party they have a right to exist in Indonesia and should be protected by the state from attacks by the thugs of FPI and cohorts. I applaud their move to report FPI to the police for the attack and hope that FPI will be banned. They have proved repeatedly that they are anti-democratic and nothing more than a bunch of criminals – unfortunately with backing from the police and military.

  13. Discomfort says:

    Is it possible that these ‘gerakan – boys’ aren’t only backed by the police and military, but also by a consortium of foreign bodies (whether it’s governments or corporation) that have major interest in keeping Indonesia ‘socialist-free’? It’s a known fact that the suspected PKI members massacre in the aftermath of the so-called G 30 S/ PKI coup are backed by CIA and M16 isn’t it? So why not now? Call me paranoid, but (at least to me) this idea is somewhat realistic.

  14. Ross McKay says:

    Aby, my apologies for not replying sooner.
    Pinochet was a dictator, but not, repeat not, by choice but because he saw Chile turning into another Cuba and stepped in to stop that.
    I am aware of Hitler’s responsibility for millions of deaths, but you have to hand it to the Communists, they outstrip even the Nazis for death and destruction and oppression. In Ukraine alone in the Stalin era, more Slavs died at the hands of the reds than ever there were Jews killed by Hitler.
    Alas, whenever a Red is challenged, he tends to say that, oh no, Vietnam, Cuba, China, North Korea, they haven’t got it quite right, so you can’t use them as an example of communism…. if WE organise things , we’d do it better.
    Castro used to lie like that, ‘not really commie, just a freedom-lover,’ but when he got his chance the firing-squads and dungeons were brought into action.
    It is not unfair to say that the only good communist is a dead one, as long as we draw a distinction between those free to choose (in democratic countries) and those who are at the mercy of marxist regimes and have to knuckle under for the sake of their loved ones.
    Communists in non-communist countries are traitors, who consciously opt for enmity to their own people’s liberty.
    Look at their record in World War II -banned in Canada, for subverting the war effort against Hitler, eagerly instigating strikes in Britain to harm the wartime economy, cosying up to the Nazi Occupation in France, until Stalin said ‘change course,’ and like the contemptible puppets they were (and are) it was all of a sudden ‘rally round the flag.’
    Discomfort, hesitate please before invoking ‘known facts.’ Most historians, except the Red ones, now tend to think that the CIA was taken by surprise by 1965’s upheavals in Jakarta. It is clear that the Reds got what they deserved because most Indonesians had had enough of their pretensions to power.
    That is not to say that many others did not get much worse than they deserved, of course. The humble peasants conned by marxist propaganda should not have been punished on a par with rats like Aidit

  15. Discomfort says:


    Most historians? Did you count them one by one?

    “..The role of the United Kingdom’s Foreign Office and MI6 intelligence service has also come to light, in a series of exposés by Paul Lashmar and Oliver James in The Independent newspaper beginning in 1997. These revelations have also come to light in journals on military and intelligence history..”

    “..Often cited by the left as evidence of a broader, international plot to topple Sukarno, a number of revelations were made by former employees of U.S. State Department and Central Intelligence Agency regarding American actions during the Indonesian Civil War..”

    ( )

    Well, I guess you could always say that sources such as Wikipedia are weak, right? :)) suit youself sir. I guess just like beauty, truth is in the eye of the beholder :))

    Anyways, politics-schmolitics, whether it is the ‘reds’ or the ‘red white and blues’, there ARE medling hands at works here.. Don’t you think Indonesia should decide which path to take withouth the interference of these ‘foreign’ interest?

    This one is from the archive of the NSA

    On another highly controversial issue – that of U.S. involvement in the killings – the volume includes an “Editorial Note” on page 387 describing Ambassador Marshall Green’s August 10, 1966 airgram to Washington reporting that an Embassy-prepared list of top Communist leaders with Embassy attribution removed “is apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities who seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership at the time”¦.” On December 2, 1965, Green endorsed a 50 million rupiah covert payment to the Kap-Gestapu movement leading the repression; but the December 3 CIA response to State is withheld in full.


    Now please tell me Ross, is the NSA one of those ‘red’ historian? More like ‘red white and blue’ eh? :)))

  16. Colson says:

    Dear Mr Ross McKay,

    Your hatred of communists and communism is remarkable. Remember, its no longer 1989 but 2007.

    And your statements seem to be very, very apodictical. It came to my mind you must live in a very small world thinking that almost every historian nowadays takes it for granted that in ’65 the CIA was taken by surprise. Well, your trick of course is that everybody who disagrees with you, is a “Red”. “Red” meaning scum in your vocabulary.

    There has been a number of colossal crimes in recent history. The Nazi killing of almost the entire Jewish population in Europe was and is unprecedented. But, indeed, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot had their communist slaugherhouses as well. But in as much as it is outrageous to compare Castro’s Cuba with those criminals, you should have compared ( with a clean conscience as well) Suharto’s victims in the aftermath of ’65 ( the estimated number somewhere between 0,5 million and 1 million) with those of the communist dictators mentioned above. In all these cases, no genocide but mass slaughterhouses and severe crimes to humanity.

    Semi-quote: nearly all historians, exept the neocons, now share this opinion.

    Btw: I was an anticommunist already in times when it was worthwhile being one. I still am. But with friends like you, one does not need a foe.

  17. Ross says:

    Dear Mr. Colson
    Of course I loathe Communism and its acolytes as much today as I did in 1989. A foul dictatorship like Castro’s, albeit older, is just as evil and cruel. May Cuba see freedom return some day soon when the swine dies, or sooner.
    I do not think all Communists are ‘scum.’ Many are, but there have been many cases of communists who see the light and become strong fighters against the red cancer. ‘The God That Failed’ is a book by a group of such people. Good on them, also on James Burnham, and I think Robert Conquest too was a man who saw through the drivel of marxism. That was the point I was making. The only good communist is a dead one, but that does not mean we should kill all Communists. Rather we should try to help them see that their creed is a blind alley. Marxism elevates hate to the status of a religion.
    It is hardly fair to say that Hitler’s murder of Jews was unprecedented.
    Saxons drove out or killed the ancient Brits, and Sinn Fein has been working on the genocide principle in Ulster for the past fifty years at least. Not nice.
    My point is that in modern terms, Communism has murdered more innocents than any other ‘philosophy.’ And a lot of their murders were as racist as anything Hitler dreamed up. The Katyn Forest mass-murder was aimed at wiping out Polish leadership, on racial grounds, to subjugate Poles to Russians. The Chechen Ingush deportations were racist (and religious) vendettas.

    You say you were an anti-communist ‘when it was worthwhile being one.’ When does it cease to be worthwhile to oppose bad people and bad things? Cuba and North Korea and the other red regimes have not vanished into thin air. They continue to make a mockery of human rights and common decency. Get with it, man, as you may have said in the days when it was ‘worthwhile.’
    Must work, will return to the fray next week.

  18. Janma says:


    quote “I am proposing that we form a Common Sense Party, or in Indonesian Partai Akal Sehat (PAS).”

    Oooh…. sounds good! Can I join your group?

    *having a pythonesque moment*

  19. Ihaknt says:

    Janma, you need to come up with a suitable color for the party.

  20. Aby says:


    Are you saying that Pinochet did not have any choice but to kill millions? Does this justify his actions, like you seem to justify Hitler’s?

    If you are saying that Socialist states like VN, PRC, NK and Cuba are not really Communists, I have to say “I cannot agree more”. However, I should like to add the USSR to that list as well. Why?

    Because those countries were established as Statist states, not Socialist or Communist. Communism and Socialism is the ideologies where the course of the economy is believed to ruin the social welfare unless the government intervenes, while the personal lives of each individual is believed to be no business of the state. Statism, on the other hand, is the ideology where both the course of the economy and the personal lives of each individual are business of the state.

    Furthermore, the countries you refer as ‘Communists’ seem to be the same countries you call ‘fake Communists’. So how did you make your judgement about Communism?

  21. Ross says:


    Before we proceed, please tell me what ‘apodidtical’ means? Is it English or Indonesian?
    No, I did not say the red regimes still on the go are not communist. I suggested that it is a favourite marxist tactic to pretend that red regimes are not ‘really’ red at all and that therefore communism is worth a try. Thank you for confirming that marxists are still up to their old debating tricks!

    Twisting my words to suggest I ‘justify Hitler’s ‘ actions would be bad enough, but you don’t even twist any words, simply pluck the smear out of the stratosphere.

    Pinochet? Check out Robert Moss’s excellent book, Chile’s Marxist Experiment.
    Take a week to read it or at least some extracts from it, because I have too much to do to resume this argument at least until after Europe Day.

  22. Aby says:


    I dont know what ‘apodidtical’ means. Ask the person who wrote it, not me…
    My basic argument is this. There are two types of “Communism” in general. The first one is the more widely known one, which is State Capitalism (Statism) like those countries we have discussed above. The other one is Communism (or Eurocommunism), which has little to do with Marx except the idea that capitalism has to be controlled. Also, you should read more about ideological diversity, so you realise that there are more of the Left than just Communism.

    As for Pinochet, he was not a Marxist. The Marxist was President Salvador Allende who was the victim of Pinochet’s coup. And, as a matter of fact, Pinochet modelled much of the Chilean economy on the UK under Thatcher. So, again, read more please.

    And, oh, for the record, I am not a Marxist, and I kind of dislike them. I am also not a supporter of Papernas, as the party is just another outdated Marxist organisation (although it claims to be of Social Democratic ideologies). I just agree that capitalism should be controlled to achieve sustainable development. (and from this you can probably guess that I am a Left Green)

    Why did I start my argument here? Because there seem to be a general need to help narrow minded people to realise that the world is much, much more complicated than one single belief or ideology.

  23. The more political parties the more problems and there is no united to built a strong nation and pecae!

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