Solidaritas.net, Jakarta (Erniyanti) – An announcement by the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions (KSPI) that the punk rock band Superman Is Dead (SID) will be performing at the May Day Fiesta on May 1 has been denied by the band.
This is despite the fact that the KSPI has been hastily distributing flyers saying that SID will be playing at the event, albeit with a small footnote that SID has yet to confirm its attendance.
On its official Twitter and Facebook pages, SID said that it would not be appearing at the event. “The flyer is a lie!” read an 8.39pm status update on the SID Facebook fan page on April 22.
The posting has attracted both positive and negative responses with some are saying that the posting has been engineered so that workers will not hold demonstrations to commemorate May Day.
The owner of the Facebook account, Ricky Mohammad YS, has confirmed that it is a lie as he knows SID’s schedule of appearances.
“Moreover in the tour dates there is no May 1 SID stage appearance at the GBK [Bung Karno Stadium] in Senayan”, he wrote, along with a link to SID’s schedule of appearances that can be accessed at Supermanisdead.net.
Not only that, there are also fans that are calling on the band not to sell the name SID. The Facebook account Giska Septiana wrote, “A trick to draw the masses… don’t go on stage with the Er Ce Em puppets”.
Er Ce Em (RCM) refers to the Love the Republic (Republik Cinta Management) owned by Ahmad Dhani who has been invited to appear at the May Day Fiesta.
FSPMI (Indonesian Metal Trade Workers Federation) and KSPI activist Amir Mahfouzh explained that SID’s appearance is still waiting on a confirmation as printed in the flyer.
“Although in the end the agreement was canceled the flyer had already been printed. [But] SID will in fact not be appearing”, he said.
This statement has sown confusion because the [Facebook] status on SID’s appearance states that it is still waiting on a confirmation, so what exactly has been cancelled?
As reported earlier by the April 2014 edition of the Koran Perdjoeangan newspaper, one of the FSPMI-KSPI 2015 May Day Fiesta
organising committee members, Herianto, said, “This year it will be the same, it’s planned that Zaskia Gotik and Superman Is Dead will fill the music performances. We chose Zaskia Gotik because dangdut music [a popular music with strong Hindu type musical beat] is the music of the ordinary people, while Superman Is Dead is a band that takes up critical social themes”. (See: FSPMI-KSPI invites Jokowi and Zaskia Gotik to enliven May Day 2015)
Prior to SID announcing its decision not to appear at the May Day Fiesta, one of its fans criticised its appearance at the event.
“How could a ‘critical’ band of the caliber of Superman Is Dead be willing to perform at a pro-militarist party event? What is the use of this noise about OPPOSITION if you don’t want to learn from history!”, wrote Wahyu on the wall of the SID fan page on April 20.
The FSPMI and the KSPI supported former New Order general Prabowo Subianto from the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) during the July presidential election.
Many believe that Prabowo will return Indonesia to the era of former president Suharto’s militaristic New Order regime. Aside from trade unions, a number of celebrities also supported Prabowo during the election including Ahmad Dhani and the RCM.
SID is known as a critical and political band. One of its campaign activities has been to oppose the Benoa Bay land reclamation project in Bali. Although SID is classified as non-mainstream and idealists, it has been widely acclaimed and won the 2014 Indonesian Choice Awards and the 2014 Indonesian Music Award as the best rock group.
In June 2014, a music video made by musician Ahmad Dhani as a tribute to presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto sparked outrage with its strong Nazi overtones. In the video, an adaptation of the Queen classic “We Will Rock You”, Dhani sports a fascist-style uniform and holds a golden Garuda – a mythical bird that is Indonesia’s emblem but which, against the black of his paramilitary attire, looked remarkably like the German imperial eagle that the Nazis incorporated into their iconography.
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was “Bohong! SID Bantah Akan Tampil di May Day Fiesta KSPI”.]