Monday, January 16, 2012

Javan Farmers' Declaration

Farmers' groups from throughout the island of Java came together last December to hear about each others struggles and share their experiences. Several of the groups are resisting different company's plans to mine iron sands along the whole southern coast of Java. Others have fought cement companies in Central Java and the mud volcano which has been erupting in East Java for five years since the Bakrie company started drilling for gas in the area. This was an important event, because the farmers involved are building their own networks, without the need for mediation by any NGO.

Declaration of the Farming People's Forum for Communication

Farmers from across Java who have been the victims of mining or other industries, or of land-grabbing, have met for discussions and to share their experience. The meeting took place on the 20th and 21st December 2011 in Gerbong Revolusi, Garongan village, Panjatan, Kulon Progo regency.

On the 22nd, the farmers decided to make a declaration at the editorial office of Resist Books in the Amal Insani building in Yogyakarta. Before going there, however, the delegates to the meeting decided to pay a visit to Tukijo, a farmer who as become a victim of criminalisation in the struggle to resist the iron sands mine in Kulon Progo, and is currently in prison.

Below is a statement read by representatives of 10 regencies who participated in the whole meeting and in the end decided to form an informal working network under the name Farming People's Forum for Communication (Forum Komunikasi Masyarakat Agraris (FKMA)).
* * *

Today, as farmers and people's groups from ten different regencies throughout the whole of Java, sharing common visions and aims, will act to defend our human rights over our living space. The collective position we have formulated is as follows:

1. We are ready to fight the injustice that is arises from the policies of the state and corporations.

2. We are ready to defend the people's right to land because land represents our living space and source of livelihood, and this is irreplaceable.

3 We are ready to resist the criminal legislators that use the law as a tool which legitimises the destruction of the people's social, economic, cultural and environmental base.

4. We call on the state's forces of law and order to stop all their forms of intimidation, repression and criminalisation of farmers and others who are defending their rights as the highest level of sovereignty in the Republic of Indonesia, because those forces should serve the interests of the people, not that of capital.

5. Call for solidarity, moral support and the spirit of struggle to brothers and sisters who share the same fate and the same hardships in Mesuji Lampung, Takalar South Sulawesi, Persil IV North Sumatra, the Kulon Progo coast in Jogjakarta, the Kebumen coast in Central Java, the victims of the Lapindo mudflow in Porong East Java, farmers of Padangrincang in Banten West Java, Sedulur SIKEP in the Kendeng mountains of East Java, the Wotgalih cost in Lumajang East Java, the Kalipucang and Cimerak coast in Ciamis West Java, and anywhere else that is forced to confront the abuses of corporations.
Yogyakarta 22 December 2011
Groups involved in FKMA:
1. JMPKK Pati
2. FOSWOT Lumajang
3. FPPKS Kebumen
4. Serikat Tani Merdeka (SeTAM) Cilacap
5. PPLP Kulon Progo
6. SITAS DESA Blitar
7. LPMB Banten
8. Bale RUHAYAT Tasikmalaya dan Ciamis
9. Forum Warga Cilacap
10. Korban Lumpur Lapindo Sidoarjo 


Whilst hidup biasa aims to give prominence to autonomous or self-organised initiatives such as the FKMA meeting described above, readers may also be interested to hear of a significant action which took place in Jakarta and 27 provinces around Indonesia on January 12th. The demonstration was organised by a coalition of 77 unions, networks and NGOs under the banner of the “Indonesian Movement for Recovering People’s Rights”. In Jakarta thousands of farmers and their supporters from the city led a demonstration through the city demanding an end to expropriation of people's land and violent repression such as the fatal shooting incidents that have occurred recently in Mesuji and Bima. At the House of Representatives building, protesters tore down some sections of fence and used it to blockade the nearby toll road.

A newspaper report of the action can be read at and the movement's demands are at

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