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The crisis hits Indonesia, mass protests on the streets

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Recent mass protests in Indonesia against the government's bank bailout policy show the extent of the crisis in the country

March 2 and 3 were pretty exhausting days for politics in Indonesia. On these dates the parliament convened to decide the bank bailout policies century and debate the possible impeachment of the government. The debate centres on the bailout money given to the small Century Bank and allegations of corruption surrounding it.

The controversy over the bailout of Century Bank has become the momentum for the movement in Indonesia that after a while does not descend into the streets after the fall of Suharto in 1998. Thousands of protesters, consisting of students, workers, pro-democracy activists, and other mass organisations took militant action which led to violent clashes with the police. The resistance is dominated by young people and it show how the new forces have been growing in Indonesia.

The government argues that the recent bank bailout they provided is part of some kind of global crisis rescue package to try and reduce the cost of the crisis on Indonesia and save the economy, therefore it is good for everyone. But this argument is absurd and full of holes because these bailout policies are directly harming the community at large, especially the working class and the poor. Because the funding that has been provided for the banks and the financial institutions is provided only for the benefit of the ruling class. This is shown by how the 6 trillion rupiah ($720m) cannot go back to the bank's customers, but instead lines the banks accounts to ensure they are solvent.

While parliament, made up mostly of various bourgeois parties are trying to make political capital out of it by attacking the deputy minister of finance. By doing this they hope to bring down the government or at least some of the ministers and perhaps open up a space for themselves. Moreover, bourgeois parties such as Golkar and PDIP have the loudest voice against the bailout policy, but without any concrete alternatives. Party accused was guilty of this policy is Boediono and Sri Mulyani both well-known pro-economic neo-liberalism.

Huge opposition outside the parliament session on 2-3 March which lead to clashes reveal that some people are taking the first steps to struggle against the old order and find the way to a new society. The Masses will continue to take action against the current government that is anti-working class, students, poor and women. President Susilo Bambang has very openly supported free market economics and other forms of neo liberalist capitalism, the bourgeois parties of the opposition also do not have real alternative since they are tied to the capitalist system from head to foot.

The task now is to build a socialist movement within Indonesia, with a clear strategy for taking power. The bank bailout shows how desperate the capitalists are to save their system, but it causes suffering for ordinary people, a clear example of the reactionary nature of capitalism in the current crisis. Instead of bailing out banks and the rich we need to build working class power, seize the assets and property of the rich and build a society which puts people before profit.