OUT OF TIMOR EAST AND INDONESIA!
the Independence of East Timor from Indonesia!
Armed Self-Defence of the East Timorese Communities!
a Socialist Federation of South East Asia!
16 November 1999
invasion of East Timor by imperialist troops under UN cover must be
by all socialists. This is not "UN peacekeeping", it is an
invasion. The UN is purely a cover. Imperialism is occupying
Timor as surely as NATO is occupying Kosova, and it is necessary to
absolutely clear about this and discuss this issue in these terms. It
necessary to call things by their proper names. Imperialism is trying
tighten its grip on the entire Indonesian archipelago, now that its
Suharto is out and the Indonesian military is weakened. Taking
control of East Timor is part of this.
Timor is an oppressed nation, oppressed both by Indonesia and
The people of East Timor have suffered vicious repression
the Indonesian state for many years. This was the same regime that
a million Indonesians in 1965. The Maubere people had to defend
against murderous attacks by Indonesian troops and militia.
the arming of the East Timor resistance continues to be a crucial
of the international East Timor solidarity movement.
the imperialist invasion simply replaces one form of
and violence against the workers and peasants of East Timor
another. The situation is reminiscent of Ireland in 1969. Pogroms by
thugs against the Catholic ghettos resulted in British troops
sent to Ireland on the pretext of "ending the violence". The
were openly welcomed by Catholics in the streets, who even
refreshments and gifts to them. The newspaper of the
Socialists (forerunner of the British Socialist Workers
supported the sending of the troops at the time, essentially on
same basis. Over the past two decades, and with the benefit of
we can now see the results of the British occupation of
British imperialism was hardly a solution to the problems of
is with this hindsight that we must now view the spectacle of the
of East Timor welcoming the imperialist troops into their country
also that of the people of Kosova welcoming NATO into their
It is with this hindsight also that we must view the equally
spectacle of sections of the left either supporting the
invasion of East Timor (Solidarity/US, AWL/Britain,
or failing to call for the withdrawal of the imperialist
(Socialist Outlook/Britain and other USFI sections).
has always sought to legitimise its military interventions
the Third World, and the Eastern bloc also, on the basis of its
pretensions. It has always sought to play
and hypocritically, upon the internal tensions and
within the semicolonies for its own ends. National
are one example of this. While promoting such tensions it also
to play the role of neutral arbitrator, stepping in militarily
"end the violence" which it has helped to create. In this way,
imperialism has established bridgeheads in various parts
the world over the past decade: the Persian Gulf, the Balkans, and
East Timor. Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosova are now effectively colonies
Anglo-American imperialism. East Timor is becoming one. The violence
repression of the Indonesian militia will be replaced by the rifle
of imperialist troops wearing the UN uniform.
mass Trotskyist party in East Timor, supported by a reconstructed
International, would have organised the working class vanguard
the self-defence of communities attacked by the Indonesian militia.
would have established strong links with the workers of neighbouring
including the vanguard of the Indonesian workers' movement,
order to promote the kind of solidarity needed to resist Indonesian
toppling of Suharto by the Indonesian masses was, in fact, a key
in forcing Indonesia out of East Timor, since it weakened the
regime and gave the East Timorese population the confidence
vote for independence in the referendum. It is necessary to emphasise
the fact that East Timor's "independence" from Indonesia was
by Indonesian students, workers, and urban poor in the streets last
not by Australian troops this fall.
Timor "independence" is a fiction while imperialist troops
towns and villages of this small nation. True independence can come
through expelling both the Indonesian oppressors and the
troops operating under cover of the UN. And even true
would not solve the problems that come with being a small
in a big world. Only a genuinely voluntary association of
republics, a Socialist Federation of South East Asia, would
the necessary economic and political framework to liberate the
of East Timor from oppression and impoverishment.