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Peasants Day 2017

On Wednesday (27/9), volunteers from Relawan4Life, in collaboration with RMI, walked together with more than 7,000 peasants, men and women, old and young,in the 2017’s National Peasant Day commemoration. Besides joining the main front in the march toward the Presidential Palace,they were divided into five groups of two, spreading around the perimeter of the main front, and handing out peasant’ products to Jakarta’ citizen nearby. The mission was to (re)introduce the agrarian struggle to the target group (urban-middle class citizen), creating space for them to understand the presence of thousands of peasants before their eyes, and understanding peasant’ struggle which has long been misunderstood as disconnected from the urban life. The other mission was to find out how much the agrarian issues touches the target group.

Basically, the agrarian issues (e.g. land grabbing, land domination by big corporation and the state, lack of protection to local farmers’ products) put forward by KNPA throughout the long march was a matter of survival for all Indonesian; not only for peasants, activists, and CSOs—whilst this fact is hardly recognised by groups beyond the aforementioned ones. At the very least, it relates directly to the products that everyone consume everyday: the food on our plates. Therefore,to relates these issues to the urban-middle class group is relevant. Advocacy-wise, we think this is a potential target for this struggle because these groups are media literate, which has been proven to contribute topolitical changes.

On the finding out mission, the volunteer threw some words to the target and ask what are on their mind when they hear those words—“The Top of Mind Game” (the words are: land, forest, river, indigenous people, and peasant). The feedback shows how the targets can hardly connect the words they heard to the National Peasant Day, even though the volunteer had told them that the activity is a part of the National Peasant Day celebration. In other words, the target group coming from urban areas cannot relate the importance of the commemoration of National Peasant Day to their daily life.

This finding shows how this campaign model (targeting the urban-middle class citizen with subtle approach), should be pushed forward in line with the annuallong march act, to gain more pressure for the advocacy through the new media and to obtain more solidarity from groups beyond the peasants themselves.

Video by: Wahyubinatara Fernandez
Description by: Mardha Tillah and Wahyubinatara Fernandez

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