Dita Sari, the former trade union leader and political prisoner under the Suharto regime, is chair of the ‘ new, broader National Liberation Party of Unity (Papernas). She will be its candidate for the 2009 presidential elections. Sari was interviewed by Green Left Weekly in January. Below are some extracts.
Q: Now that Papernas has been launched, what is the future of the PRD?
A: The whole resources, infrastructure, energy, finances and political attention of the PRD are to be devoted to Papernas. Papernas will be our political face at least until the 2009 presidential elections.
Q: Will the PRD still retain its basic organisation and structure during this big turn towards building the new party?
A: I am the chairperson of the PRD but most of my work now is building the broader alliances on behalf of Papernas so that we can respond to the presidential elections. Some projects of the PRD will still carry on, such as our publication Pembebasan.
Q: The PRD has come to be associated with more than anti-imperialist and national-democratic politics. It is associated with socialist politics. Will this continue to be projected while you build Papernas around a more limited anti-imperialist platform?
A: It is almost impossible to campaign for socialism in the electoral sphere at present. But if there is a chance we - in the PRD - will seek ways to campaign for socialism, but perhaps not through Papernas.
Q: You are probably best-known as one of the founders and leaders of the FNPBI trade union federation. What is its future?
A: The FNPBI seeks to present political leadership in the trade union movement and part of this leadership is pointing out to the other trade unions that, if they want to survive in the current extremely difficult conditions, we need to make a political breakthrough. If unions simply try and organise in the traditional way, they will be defeated.