THE URBAN POOR
Partai Rakyat Demokratik
THE URBAN POOR
What’s the source of their militancy?
What we call the urban poor are made up of the unemployed, the lumpen proletariat (pickpockets, burglars, con men, sex workers, and drug sellers, guys who jump up onto moving trucks and grab some of the load) as well as peddlers, government clerks and employees (Мы вызываем урбанские бедные составлены безработных, lumpen пролетариат (pickpockets, взломщики, жульнические люди, работники секса, и продавецы снадобья, ванты которые скачут вверх на moving тележки и хватают некоторую из нагрузки) также, как разносчики, правительственные чиновники и работники).
In north Jakarta, they also include factory workers, shop assistants, supermarket and department store employees (mostly women), coolies, public transport drivers, street stall owners and so on. Most of these people live in squalid kampung [geographically delimited “villages” inside the city zone]. Rubbish is piled up everywhere, there is no water, the drains are blocked, mosquitoes abound, the rooms are tiny so that people pile up next to each other like sardines to sleep, and they wash and defecate in public toilets where they have to pay. Electricity is around 100 watts total per household (if you’re a bit better off you can get up to 450 watts). It’s rare for anyone to get a senior high school or university education. Incomes are around 100-300 thousand rupiah (US$20-US$60) a month. Most families have two to five members. Children regularly suffer cholera, typhus, meningitis, dysentery, skin disorders, influenza, sinus and eye infections and malnutrition.
At demonstrations, protest most often takes place around the demolition of their homes, the increase in public transport vehicles which cuts into the incomes of existing public transport drivers [paid by commission and not wages], the banning of street stalls and peddlers by local government, the closure of small kiosks without the operators being given somewhere else to operate or being forced to wait too long for a new place.
The urban poor usually read papers like Sentana, Swadesi, Pos Kota, Suara Karya and Inti Jaya. In Surabaya [Indonesia’s biggest metropolitan and industrial centre after Jakarta] the public transport drivers read the middle class paper Jawa Pos and the sensationalist Memorandum, whose editorials are often very radical. (The military has instructed the paper that the editorial writer may be published only twice a week!) Reading these papers means the urban poor have been able to learn from the protest actions by students and peasant farmers when protest delegations to the parliament and the National Human Rights Commission are common. They imitate these actions, using leaflets, posters, placards, press releases and even giving interviews to the media.
The urban poor also read the penny novels of Fredy S and the Chinese sword fighting stories of Wiro Sableng and Kho Ping Ho which teach of holiness of pure love and that those who struggle for justice and truth are always victorious, always survive. Many of them are members of the PDI and use the sense of kampung solidarity to involve their neighbours in PDI actions.
Many were supporters of the PPP during the May elections. Gossip about government officials, their wealth, scandals and corruption, is their daily staple. Many of these kampung have come to the same conclusion as the students as to the source of their problems. Many too, ever since they were teenagers in junior or perhaps senior high, have become accustomed to violence in the form of fights and mass brawls between students from different schools (often with knives and guns) or with the police trying to separate the warring students