Wednesday, December 9, 2009

37 years fighting to farm - oil palm conflicts get hot in indonesia

Oil Palm: the ill-famed monoculture converts the islands of South East Asia into one big plantation, as commodity capitalism continues its troublesome advance over Indonesia and Malaysia's rural areas. The rainforests fall, to be replaced by oil-fields, as in distant capitals politicians with their eyes shut proclaim a new green biofuel, and the trees keep falling. Yet the effects of the industry are not limited to ecology. Where there is oil there is conflict, and that is true for the oil that grows on the ground just as much as for the oil that is mined from under it. In the Indonesian Province of North Sumatra, nearly every oil palm plantation is a zone of friction. The palm trees are all planted on stolen land, and farmers are desperately fighting to get their land back.

Thousands of Kulon Progo Farmers Resist Corporate Evil, Fighting the Police.

[For more background on the community of Kulon Progo, Yogyakarta, Indonesia and their resistance to the planned Iron Mine on their land see:
For a video from the news media, see ]

This morning (Monday, 20th October 2009), around 2000 coastal farmers connected to PPLP (Paguyuban Petani Lahan Pantai = Shoreline Farmers' Association), took to the street in front of the office of the mayor of Kulon Progo, in the town of Wates. Twenty-eight trucks full of farmers, who wanted to convey their wholehearted rejection of the planned project to mine iron sands, arrived to demonstrate at the public consultation event. They were in the mood for action, just as they had already carried out many times before.

A tale of Sand

A Tale of Sand, and Those Who Feed From It:

History and Etnographic explanation of Kulon Progo’s Village and Resistance

-translated from Amor Fati #3

Sand defines the life story of those who live along Kulon Progo's southern shoreline.
Up to the present day, this sand has nourished thousands of souls along the coastal fringe of Kulon Progo regency, Yogyakarta province. The story starts before 1942, when coastal dwellers were already trying to turn the sand into a source of sustenance. Notes taken from the oral history of Arjo Dimejo, a villager from Karang Sewu, reveal that before that date many of his fellow villagers survived by planting rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes and beans on the coastal sands.