Statement by Seruni (Indonesian Women’s Union)
Imperialism and its puppet regime Joko Widodo increasingly continue to reveal themselves to the people with their incompetence in handling the Corona Virus Disease Pandemic 2019 ( COVID-19 ) and show their inability to overcome the problem as a result of a crisis in imperialism and a semi-colonial and half-feudal system. This outbreak makes the number of virus cases reach 575,444 and has led to the death of 26,654 people in 201 Countries / Regions as of March 29, 2020. In Indonesia, the number continued to increase with 1.285 positive infected people, 64 recovered, and 114 people died (data as of March 29, 2020, Covid19.go.id) since Jokowi first announced it on March 2, 2020. A significant increase in just 27 days only.
In its development since the virus spread and entered Indonesia, the government has even more committed itself to imperialism, revoked the democratic rights of the people, and made people suffer more. Joko Widodo pretended to be serious in handling COVID-19 by issuing Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 4 of 2020 regarding Refocussing of Activities, Budget Reallocation, and Procurement of Goods and Services in the Context of Accelerating the Handling of Corona Virus disease 2019 (COVID-19). He ordered the state apparatus to revise and amend the central and regional expenditure budget to allocate budget and procure goods and services to accelerate the handling of the Corona outbreak. This means, opening a revised budget for the entry of new debt by World Bank and ADB (Asian Development Bank) in early March. This fund is also used for the government’s plan to import drugs and health technology for Corona’s Rapid Test plan in various regions.
The regime has increasingly oppressed the people since the issuance of a state of emergency or extraordinary conditions until 29 May 2020 with the enactment of Social Distancing (social restrictions by keeping distance and, prohibited from the gathering) which turned into maintaining a physical distance that deprived the people’s democratic rights. The rule makes people, especially in urban areas, suffer more. For example, the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government issued a Circular Letter from the DKI Jakarta Manpower Office on March 20, 2020, about calls to carry out activities from home, except for four sectors which are health, energy, financial services, and food. In fact, workers in DKI Jakarta still have to work eight hours of work without good protective equipment.
In one of the garment industry centers in Jakarta, the North Jakarta Cakung National Bonded Zone (KBN), workers still have to work with self-made protective masks, work with close interaction, and are not paid if they do not come to work unless there is a sick letter from the doctor. The government makes the workers have to negotiate themselves with the company about wages without any intervention or protection of guaranteed labor rights and compensation that must be received if they do not work due to government policy.
In addition, the petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie do not get the protection and guarantees of capital and their businesses continue to decline and are threatened with bankruptcy. Restrictions on the activities of workers which have drastically dropped their production and business finances, including traders distributing of the people’s needs. The state has not issued a policy on compensation that must be given to the people due to the loss of the policy, such as wage cuts, layoffs, and job uncertainty, declining income, worsening public services, rising prices for basic necessities, and rising prices for raw materials and production.
The state also mobilized the military apparatus (the National Police and Indonesian National Armed Forces) to ensure that the people obey by issuing the Decree of the Chief of Police No. Mak / 2 / III / 2020 regarding Compliance with Government Policies in Handling the Corona Virus Spread (COVID-19) on March 19th. With these rules, the police disperse the crowd and activities that involve the gathering of many people as that happened in poor villages in Jakarta and several other areas in Indonesia. These activities include demonstrations, seminars, concerts, sports, fairs, night markets, family receptions, and community gatherings. The police will impose layered KUHP articles (articles 212,216, and 218) concerning the rules of the crowd somewhere. This article was also applied by the police in disbanding the mass action in Mataram Lombok to reject the enactment of the Omnibus law on 25 March. In fact, in almost all regions in Indonesia, the government with the Civil Service Police Unit continue to ensure that no student leaves the house.
In the cultural aspect, people are increasingly forced to lose their educational rights and replaced by online teaching systems that are applied to all of the students. The state does not compensate the people for changing the normal teaching system to online, which requires more credit when there is no income due to the policy of “keep distance and be prohibited from gathering”. Cell phone operators and internet communication controlled by international monopoly capitalists and comprador bourgeoisie accomplices reap more profits from the policy. The international monopoly capitalists and large compradors bourgeoisie enjoyed the suffering of the people by gaining huge profits from the Corona pandemic by changing the learning and teaching system into an online system . The massive use of online systems offers the advantage of increasingly abundant services.
This policy also makes more problem to women, because they have to accompany children during school at home. Women who already have double works are increasingly multiplying their responsibilities because of this changing learning system. Especially women workers now have to face triple jobs, domestic work, homeschool children, and ensure that work responsibilities continue to run. In addition, markets have begun to be closed because the #stayathome policy has made it increasingly difficult for women to meet family food.
The regime’s policy which also increasingly impacts to the people, especially those living in the Jakarta area is to ban the people to visit their hometown in the Eid-al-Fitr holiday. This means that the tradition that has been going on for years to be able to meet with family and relatives is at risk of being unworkable.
The spread of the virus has also contradicted the central government and regional governments in overcoming the problem. The rejection of the central government over the proposals of the DKI Jakarta Provincial Government and the Bogor City Government to implement a lockdown (quarantine area) in their regions in overcoming the spread of the virus shows the unification of the reaction class because of its incompetence, panic, and inability to unite the people. The central government has allowed the local government and even its health apparatus at the sub-district and village levels to solve the problem alone even with their personal funds to provide equipment and health facilities to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
The rules of restrictions and calls for “Mutual cooperation of all classes to overcome the crisis caused by the COVID Pandemic 19” are also used as a shield to suppress popular protests and destroy mass movements and spread widespread pacification and terror. The suppression is a terror to cover up his crime and let the people fight alone to face the Pandemic and not carry out their obligation to provide compensation to the people who are severely harmed. And it was getting worst because of the statement by the government’s spokesman for handling COVID19 cases, Achmad Yurianto who seemed humiliate the poor people by saying “the rich protect the poor so they can live normally, the poor protect the rich so they won’t spread the disease”. Indeed, it hurts the people more and shows how low the capacity of state officials to take care of this COVID-19 outbreak.
Coronavirus issue can be a momentum to unite the people of larger and wider because of the imperialist and the regime of Jokowi that shows himself to the people because of the incompetence and the government acts to serve the interests of imperialism and maintain a system of half-colonial and semi-feudal in this country. In this situation, it is increasingly showing a real gap between the people. This outbreak shows clearly that equality of welfare is absolute for the people. The #stayathome policy is only suitable for those in the middle class and above who have the decent houses so that they are able to quarantine themselves. Conversely, for the poor who do not have adequate housing, even homeless people will suffer more and it is very difficult to follow this policy.