Friday, June 22, 2012

Call for Solidarity with the Malalayang Traditional Fisherfolk's Struggle Against Coastal Reclamation in Manado

Coastal Reclamation, a megaproject that began in the early 1990s, continues along the length of Manado Bay. New land is being created in the sea to host big business, such as the establishment of new shopping palaces, the mushrooming of the banking industry, and assorted entertainment spots for the weary workers. The area of new land created in the reclamation zone stretches to thousands of hectares, spread over several major developments.

During the course of this development, there has been sporadic resistance from traditional fisherfolk along the Manado coast. Then in 2009, fisherfolk resisting in different parts of the bay began discussions to create a network of communication and started to show direct solidarity each time a group of fisherfolk was faced with conflict.

In Manado city, there are two hotspots which openly engage in occupations and sabotage as direct actions to stop building work along the coastline. The first are the traditional fisherfolk of Sario-Tumpaan. Their adversary is a businessman called Henky Wijaya, who uses a contractor company with the name of PT Kembang Utara. After seeing the legal battle end in deadlock, they became aware that it had been a futile effort, and started using different methods of direct action, which they had never tried before.

One of their tactics was to use blockades as a form of sabotage, and eventually occupied the space by opening the Daseng (a place where fisherfolk gather). The Daseng, originally only used as a garage by the shore to store fishing equipment and a place to relax after mooring their boats, was given a new purpose: permanent resistance. The daseng which the fisherfolk built in the middle of the reclamation land which is still in use until today. Most recently, angry fisherfolk blockaded the entrance for trucks carrying building material in order to stop the reclamation work.

The second resistance hotspot is along Malalayang II beach, where the fisherfolk continue to fight businessman Agus Abidin's attempts at reclamation. Abidin also uses repressive methods, seeking interventions from the police and hired thugs. The Malalayang fisherfolk's resistance has not been dampened by the developer's wave of repression, and has for the moment successfully interrupted reclamation work.

Several anti-authoritarian activists joined in these acts of resistance as a form of direct, horizontal solidarity. Previously, a group of people using the label Anti-Authoritarian Fraction also had stood in solidarity with traditional fisherfolk occupying the reclamation site at Sario-Tumpaan beach in a spectacular celebration of Earth Day.

However, like a the waves that keep crashing onto the shore, the problems keep on coming. Malalayang II fisherfolk are now facing the same problem once again: land reclamation. But this time the opponent is a landowner called Dr. Awaludin, who is in possession of a piece of land along the shoreline. Although the fisherfolk had reminded him that the strengthening work that workers were currently carrying out on his land should not not turn into coastal reclamation, it was clear that was his intention. Awaludin had even hired thugs to protect his reclamation work. The police and government also clearly chose the developer's side, accusing the people of disturbing the public order and looking for problems.

Terror has thus become their adversaries main weapon to strike back at the Malalayang fisherfolk's persistant struggle to resolutely defend the sea and shore. Terror as police exposed their guns at the work site, or the abduction of two Malalayang fishermen accused of being “leaders and provocateurs” of the resistance action, or the use of hired thugs to protect reclamation work. In their anger, the fisherfolk eventually decided to take direct action, attacking the heavy machinery that is being used to dump material in the sea and blockading by occupying the trees along the shore that the developer wanted to cut down.

That latest tactic resulted in injury for the fisherfolk, as two women were struck by a falling tree as they persistantly refused to get out of the way, which would have meant stopping the blockade. L, one of the victims, is three months pregnant while the other, A, suffered serious concussion and had to be rushed to hospital for further treatment and examination. However it is well known how discriminative healthcare institutions are. Inadequate service and the lack of funds to pay for treatment meant she did not get the care she wanted.
We are asking individuals, collectives and affinity groups to help with the costs of caring for the two women injured during the resistance to coastal reclamation. Help can be sent to:

Bank Nasional Indonesia
account number: 012 99 48 212
Themmy Aditya

We, the people who disseminate this appeal, believe that whoever confronts the state and capital must also engage in mutual and horizontal solidarity with all people who are also fighting and making attempts to disrupt capital's expansion and negate state power, however small they may be. Respect for all enemies of the state and capital is the reason why we call for and extend direct solidarity to all who wish to reach out for it. But at the same time, we don't want to place limits on the forms of solidarity that might emerge with the traditional fisherfolk of Manado's struggle.

Long live autonomous and decentralised resistance!
Long live sporadic direct action!

Source: Negasi

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