Indonesia: Paper on the economic solidarity movement and the transformative social protection of various practices and initiatives of KPRI members

Dear Comrades and Friends

Warm greetings from Jakarta,

Here we sharing our paper on the economic solidarity movement and the transformative social protection of various practices and initiatives of KPRI members (Confederation of Indonesian People Movement).

As you know KPRI members consist of federation of sectoral unions such as; workers, peasant and farmers, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, urban poor, and women’s unions. The number of KPRI members there are 8 national federations and consists of 70 people unions. Our members are spread across 22 provinces and 125 cities / districts in Indonesia. (Indonesia consists of 34 provinces, 560 cities / districts)

This paper describes various practices or experiences in carrying out the 3 pillars of the struggle program, namely; Political, economic and transformative social protection, which is the mandate of the fourth KPRI congress on 2015.

We will continue to move to organize, strengthen and expand the organizational structure both sectorally and territorially. One of the obstacles that is still a challenge is the unfolding of the true democratic faucet (democracy of the people), liberal democracy and free market is still very strong grip Indonesia, so that the fate of the people of this country is still far from our ideals; justice, equal, and prosperous.

Furthermore, through this paper, at least can explain the development of the people movement that we are building. We will be glad if there is a strategic network to work and learning together, support both concept and experience, as well as logistics / funds to strengthen our movement or program. And in building a true solidarity movement of “people to people” in the world.

Thank you for you are reading and discussing it in the future.

In solidarity

Anwar “sastro” Maruf

 Community Engagement as a Non-Statutory Social Protection Deliverance For Working People in Indonesia

Confederation of Indonesian People Movement (KPRI) - Indonesia

Confederation of Indonesia People Movement (KPRI), is an organization consisting of 8 national sectoral federations, among others federation of workers, peasants, fisherfolk, indigenous people, urban poor and women. The number of union members is 71 unions. Territory of member structure is in 22 Provinces and 127 cities and districts in Indonesia.

Anwar “Sastro” Maruf [1]

Indonesia is a country with the fourth largest population in the world after the USA, India and China. The growth rate of population during the last ten years, declining but absolutely the number of permanent residents has increased from years to years.
The quality of life of the population of Indonesia is currently still left behind compared to the ASEAN countries. The quality of life of the Indonesian people impacted from the multi-dimensional crisis experienced by this nation since 1997. The crisis led the emergence of various problems dimension span from the social, economic, physical, political or even institutional.

Due to the crisis, the number of poor people (the poorest and the poor) continues to increase. In 2000, the number of poor people reach 37,7 million people (National Census, 2000). In 2015, the Indonesia Central Bureau of Statistic show the number of poor people in Indonesia reached 28,59 million people (11,22 percent) or increased as much as 0.86 million people, reached 27,73 million people in 2014.

In addition to economic and political crisis in 1997, Indonesia is also one of the most natural disaster prone country in the world, and many referred to as a “supermarket” of disaster. It is because Indonesia locate on the point of friction three tectonic plates of the continent and is prone to seismic activity such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

There are several events such as the tsunami disaster that devastated several areas in Indonesia during the 1990s, such as in the Island of Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, and Banyuwangi - East Java. In 2000s, earthquake struck Bengkulu- Sumatra, and in 2004 the earthquakes accompanied by tsunami waves in North Sumatra destroyed and kill hundreds of thousands of people and causing more homeless. Natural disaster continuing in subsequent years such as earthquake in Nias (2005) and Yogyakarta (2006), the earthquake and tsunami hit West Java (2007), The Eruption of the Merapi Mountain- Yogyakarta (2010), the flow of cold/rainy lava of Central Java (2011) and tsunami in West Sumatera (2011).

In addition, Indonesia also prone to landslides. Some of landslides not only killed many people, but also destroy the livelihood assets such as agricultural land, house, transportation network and trade channels. The landslide occurred more due to the high rainfall in the rural areas affected by deforestation and the massive land function.
The floods also regularly hit some places such as Java and Madura and Kalimantan. In 2002s, flooding occurred in the Island of Java that cause the death of 150 people, and displaced refugees as many as 15,000 people. The El Nino weather patterns that cause drought and forest fires that resulted in food shortages and health problems in the whole of Indonesia. To put it more worst, beside the natural disasters and climate change, some regions in Indonesia also are experiencing in armed conflict and between tribes that resulted in a very high social trauma.

Multi-dimensional crisis experienced by Indonesia, both the economic crisis and global politics, also the crisis as a result of natural disasters and extremes climate change, resulting in most people lose their jobs, decreasing purchasing ability and incomes and lack of access to the sources of livelihood to fulfillment the basic needs as well as the decreased level of the welfare. Such condition, pushed the Indonesian people at risk and vulnerable to face the shock the socio-economic and political that encourage lapsed into the hole of deepen poverty.

[Illustration not reproduced here]

In response to the condition of the crisis, in 2004s the government of Indonesia committed to providing the social security and protection system for the people through the Law No.40/2004 about National Social Security System (SJSN) and followed by Law No. 11/2009 about Social Welfare, which defines social protection as the entire effort is directed to prevent and addressing the risk of shock and social vulnerability, and the social security as one of the forms of social protection to ensure the people to be able to meet the needs of the decent life.

However, the fact is social protection and social security still far from expected to create social welfare for the community. The Social Security scheme based on dues/contributory thus causing widespread controversy, while for the poor and vulnerable people are covered by the state still having the discrimination at the access of services.

The government argues that they paying attention and acting significantly to ensure the welfare of the citizens, and the government will set a portion of budget to poverty alleviation programs, and poverty alleviation program were used by the government to a justification that this is why the program of SJSN not worthy to ask more funds from the government. If we compare borne some poverty alleviation programs in the New Order era in the comparative scale program are remains much smaller compared with the existing government subsidy program. Moreover, most of funds for the activities of the program tends to rely on foreign funds, both because of its debt or grants.

Due to the nature of the program as a debt or foreign aid, the project is designed to have the size of the achievement which is easily seen by donors in the short term. The consequence of this option is that the selected region is a region which is not the poorest or difficult areas in Indonesia, the community as the beneficiaries get funding was not the community that need it most, and the data collection of poor people still limited on the recording at the level of household in areas that are relatively affordable by the government officials and the programs facilitators.

 The Community Engagement as an Alternative on Delivering Social Protection

The social protection ideally is a rights for all citizens that must be met by the state. However, current social protection program which implemented by the government only limited into the form of social safety net (SSN). The form of social protection is limited only on the provision of economic assistance programs such as the Family Hope (PKH), Family Card, Rice Aid for the poor (Raskin), Cash Direct Assistance (BLT) etc. Social protection program with a shape like that does not increase the quality of life, but only cause the dependence of the people on social assistance.

The schemes of the social protection programs initiated by the government, allegedly based solely the interests of the elite to reducing the social instability in the middle of the community as a result of the economic crisis and or as a result of natural disasters or climate change, that governed from managed approach from above (top-down). Moreover, instead of being free, inclusive and universal, most of public goods and basic servies that need to be protected are being sell-off in the market.

Meanwhile, instead of spending more budget to fund social protection services, most of state budget are allocated for military, defense and infrastructure project spending. As in Indonesia case for example, those spending are the top priority of 2017 state budget which allocated over IDR 101,5 trillion for infrastructure spending and IDR 108 trillion for military and defense spending (Katadata, 2016). This view is contrary with the education and health spending as show below. Thus, it could be argued that the state is in favor of neoliberal development agenda.

2017 Indonesia State Budget (In trillion Rupiah)

Military 108,00
Infrastructure 101,50
Health 58,30
Education 39,80
Social 17,50

Source: Katadata, 2016

In the mid of degrading state responsibility, people in the grassroots are also struggling to deliver their protection needs by themselves. This grassroots initiatives are happening at the same time with the struggle at the top-politic levels—that is state policy level. Yet, this initiatives are also have an independent and autonomous characteristics, which even put aside state responsibility. Some of scholars even seen non-statutory social protection has been existed before formal or statutory social protection with its various limitations (Oduro, 2010).

To put it briefly, this autonomous grassroots initiatives scheme could be regarded as non-statutory social protection. It is called as ‘non-statutory’ because of its mode of distribution and organizing services are outside of state mechanism and rather autonomous. This model operates based in the certain community or economic sectors, provided protection informally and resembling traditional culture of solidarity. People are organizing and delivering their social protection needs, from micro finance, health care to education, by themselves within their own community.

This bottom-up initiative could be seen within the framework of ‘transformative social protection’. Transformative social protection approach has capacity to lift up political capacity of working people by giving them power to develop their own community. It also could redevelop and strengthening solidarity among people and community that has been undermined within neoliberalism (Devereux and Wheeler, 2004). Within this view, non-statutory social protection plays a important roles.

 Local Tradition Based Solidarity Movement: Some Examples

During the Indonesian people embracing societal life nationhood and statehood, it is not yet touched the village context. Although indeed most people still live in the villages, which supposedly identical with the poor and vulnerable communities. The rising of the Villages Act No. 6/2014 about have placed the village as a collective container in life of statehood and heterogenic communities, until the establishment of the concept of the village traditions . The core of the idea of the village traditions are;

1. The village became the basis of social capital that foster the tradition of solidarity, togetherness, mutual-cooperation (gotong royong) in an inclusive manner that goes beyond the boundaries of the exclusive kinship , ethnic, religion and sectarians

2. The village has a governing power that contain the authority and accountability to control and manage the interests of the community.

3. Villages are present as driving as a local economy driver that can perform the function of social protection and the distribution of basic services beyond the diversity of community

The idea of the village traditions, the Confederation of Indonesian People Movement (KPRI) has built a building of economic solidarity principles into 4 (four) community economic pillars, including;

1. Structuring the consumption pattern that emphasizes the sovereignty of community consumption or their own environment;

2. Structuring the production process that pay attention to the potential and collectivity principle in the production process.

3. Manage distribution channels to ensure the fulfillment of the needs more available and cheap, and ensure the production exchange network between communities, between people organization and between the regions;

4. Institutional development as container to organize and managing practices of consumption and production base on collective approach.

Some of the KPRI on going efforts along with the network of civil society organizations from various sectors to develop the collective action among the village community are described as follows;

[Illustration not reproduced here]

1. Productive Economic Sector

Guarantee of price and trade channels is the biggest problem faced by smallholder/peasant. One of the cases for the coffee commodities that cultivated by smallholder in several area in West Java Province. The KPRI helps to overcome the problems for the coffee farmers by increasing the capacity of farmers to cultivate crops into finished product, giving markets channels directly to consumer through promotional and marketing, built the coffee shops and tooks the product from the farmers directly with prices were defined by the farmer itself, and also provide the additional skill training for the smallholder children in preparing and serving the coffee drink as the coffee roaster expert/barista, and also serves entire hand production items from the members of KPRI.

In Tulungagung, East Java province which is the basis of the largest sender of migrant workers. Migrant Community Center (MCC) together with the members of the migrant workers family provide guidance in structuring the production base on agriculture, fisheries and livestock, through of community cooperatives. Besides that, other activities such agricultural waste processing to be reused for livestock feeding and organic fertilizer. This effort at least able to reduce the number of migrant workers as well as provide a new employment opportunities for the people of their village.
Similarly in Majalaya- Bandung district as known as the industrial area, a view unemployed worker established the cooperative to making the T-shirt, sweater, slipper and snacks as their base production. And the coast of Nipah-North Sumatera, the fisheries community who joined as the Nusantara Fisheries Union Federation (FSNN) succeed to established the eco-tourism, that was begin through conservation activities along the coast about 15 years ago. As a result, now they get the reclamation land that known as the ecological-tourism.

2. Education and Microfinance Sector

The Pasundan Peasant Union (SPP), which consist of smallholder, peasant and landless farmers, at least has managed to build 8 (eight) alternative public schools in 4 (four) district area in West Java, such as Ciamis, Garut, Tasikmalaya and Pangandaran. The learning materials and curriculum has incorporated a local content related to land management and materials organization. The school community also manage their land collectively from the student/pupils parents, and the farm yield was used for advances the next cultivation and for the children education. In addition, beside West Java, the alternative school model also was built by civil society organizations in North Sumatra, Bingkat, Bengkulu, Salatiga and some other districts.

The Indigenous Peoples Alliance (AMA) in West Kalimantan, has helped to resolve the problem of capital expenditure members were mostly farmers by developing the credit union, more than it helped to established the community television channels named RUAI TV, which most of the contents was shown the activity of indigenous peoples life in the traditional way to fulfill the basic needs.

In Tangerang cities, as the biggest of industrial area, the credit union movement is also growing quite rapidly. The majority members of credit union are the member of the Federation of Karya Utama Worker Union (FSBKU), who also helping their members to have housing and empowering the unemployed worker by establishing the furniture workhshop, design and another life skills training for the unemployed workers.

3. Health Sector

A view issue of health, the maternal and child mortality in the villages of relatively high due to the difficult to reaching health service are both access information and health action, some village in West Java developing the media center for cosultancy related on maternal and child health based on the mobile phone, to reach the house of the pregnant mother and her husband as a poor households. The management of information technology is fully managed by the women and the village health workers. The financial support by the village government administration, while the PI’s as an NGOs take a role to increased capacity building.

It is similar to that has been done by Indonesia People Struggle Union (SPRI) in Jakarta, which provides assistance and legal air for the urban poor who difficult in gaining access to treatment and hospitalization, which during the urban poor actually get a lot of resistance from hospital with various reason.

4. Information and Communication Technology Sector

Community Media 160 (MK 160) in the village of Timbulharjo – Bantul, Yogyakarta that almost ten years to build community media in providing the channel information exchange based on cellular phone, as a means of information exchange job opportunities, village business opportunities, disaster response, first aid for pregnant women, security of the village, until on village development supervision. These inisiatives all are managed and regulated by the village community itself. Until today, MK 160 as the community has a database of villagers independently some 6,000 people, and ensure the protection of personal data each villagers, along with a range of information daily lives of villagers were translated into bulletin and village newspaper.

Some real practices described above, is one form of manifestation of social protection transformative that promotes the social capital (the tradition of solidarity, cooperation, mutual-cooperation and self-help) in village communities as an act of collectivity local economy to build self-reliance and community resilience to face the risk due economic orb natural hazard crises, to create quality of life and a better life. Furthermore, if the social capital of village communities are well-managed, it is able to counteract the current privatization of the sources of life and basic services.

 Lesson Learned

Non-statutory social protection based on community engagement plays an important role on supporting its community member immediate needs or to cope an immediate risk where the state is not covering yet. Because of its scope limited to locality or given community, it has a strong social cohesion among its member. The mode of protection deliverance is embedded to traditional or indigenous culture, as shown from some of examples below. In general sense, it could be argued that non-social protection in community based cooperative example also playing a role on redeveloping social cohesion and solidarity that capitalism-neoliberal development has undermined.

One of key lesson we could learn from some of above examples that the non-statutory social protection is built on the basis of community organizing effort. As mentioned before, in the mid of degrading state responsibility, people on the grassroots are struggling to fulfill their protection needs. Such needs are being fulfilled by their self-efforts by organizing social protection within their community. This self-effort at the same time could be redeveloped solidarity among people and thus strengthening political capacity of working people.

However, if social protection is placed on the basis of universal human right, that has to be ensured its fulfillment, then non-social protection can’t replace statutory social protection. Rather, it has specific function to cope with immediate needs or risks that have not yet been protected by formal social protection. Its important role is lay within specific context, that is in the mid degrading state responsibility.

In this regard, Oduro (2010) has mentioned that based on South Africa case study, non-formal social protection have various limitations: from its uncertainty, limited scope, and contingency. Thus, as Oduro further explain, the formal social protection interventions should be seen as designed to be a substitute for informal mechanism and not additional to them. Rather, it could be argued that the non-statutory social protection play a role as a complementary of (incomplete) statutory social protection.


* We shall try to introduce later the missing illustrations.


[1General Secretary of KPRI, sastro09

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