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Sari, Dita (b. 1972) and Indonesia's labor insurgency, 1992–2009

Soe Tjen Marching


Dita Indah Sari is an “ordinary” Indonesian woman who dropped out of university but was able to defy rich and powerful multinational companies through student and labor organizing. Born in Jakarta in 1972, Dita Sari first became involved in politics in 1992 when she attended a demonstration organized by the then underground Students in Solidarity for Democracy in Indonesia (SMID). She became increasingly active in the organization and later decided to abandon her law degree in order to learn more from laborers directly rather than from the secure and remote ivory towers of the university, where she found research often lacking in understanding the real-life situations of the working class. Defying the perception that learning was done mainly in academia, Dita became educated through her work with the laborers. She was one of the founders of Pusat Perjuangan Buruh Indonesia (Center for the Struggle of Indonesian Laborers, PPBI), which was established in Ambarawa, Central Java, in October 1994. PPBI was the first labor organization to promote political issues, such as a referendum on East Timor, revoking the dual function of the Angkatan Bersenjata Republik Indonesia (Indonesian National Armed Forces, ABRI), and calling on Suharto, leader of Indonesia's autocratic government, to step down. Along with Serikat Buruh Sejahtera Indonesia (Indonesian Prosperity Trade Union, SBSI) led by ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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