May 3, 2006
Forest Property Right: Class-Based Approach
Class based approach (CBA) defines path of agrarian transition, class formation and social differentiation (Kay, 2005). The transition is based on capitalist relationship of production and surplus value of production. In this relation livelihood of people is highly determined by ownership and effective control over productive resources, the means of production, that is land, variable inputs, instruments of production and machines (Ellis, 1993: 47). Therefore social relation of production will explain clearly how relation of serf-feudal lords and capitalist-the workers. From that point of view, capitalists who have control over means of production would also control other social class’ live (serf, the workers). It means that they must work for another social class (feudal lord, the capitalist) to get their livelihood. In the relation of production, social reproduction is needed to maintain a society to renew itself overtime (Ellis 1993:49). It can take form of simple reproduction, which is sufficient to continue production at recurrent level. The other form is expanded reproduction, which require simple reproduction forms plus extra production for raising output further over time. Capitalists use this form of production when surplus produced are continuously re-invested in the new means of production in order to raise future output. It is argued that surplus over and above recurrent needs is prerequisite to increase the output however it is not the case. CBA would argue that class structure in society become important (Ellis 1993:49). In capitalist society, the workers sell their labor and produce surplus for the capitalist class (Ellis 1993:50). They utilize the surplus to reinvest in new means of production to raise output in the successive period. The capitalists can do so because they have control over means of production in contrast to the workers. The implication so far that a process of social differentiation is ongoing which lead to integration of peasants into two social classes in the society that is capitalist farmers and rural wage labor (Lenin as quoted by Ellis 1993:51). The reasons why this is happening are the implication of private property in land, different agricultural technology adaptation, inability to compete with more advance neighbors and growing employment for wage labor in capitalists farming (Ellis 1993:52). In earlier process, differentiation occurs involving rich peasant, middle peasant, poor peasant and landless laborer (Lenin, 1982). In the context of forest property right in Indonesia, CBA would view that state assumed in line with private interest (Kay, 2005). It is not surprising then after announcing forest under state control, there were many private companies involved in forest operation and operated across the country mainly in Sumatra, Kalimantan and Irian Jaya (now Papua). Brown (1999) calculated 585 timber concessions covering 62 million hectares of forest in the end of 1995. The concession companies, most of them, had link with military organization. Dauvergne in McCarthy (2000) found that logging become opportunity for financing political and military ellites at that time. Passing resources to capitalist class has contribution to the process of social differentiation. The fact that MoF gave the concession to private sector without consultation with local people (McCarthy 2000a: 104), lead to social differentiation and changing structure of access to land and resources. While concession was operationg in particular forest area, people were losing their access to forest in term of access to land, food and income. Most of forest dwellers depend on forest in order to survive for example Dayak communities in Kalimantan had developed market for timber and non-timber products such as rattan traditionally with China and Arab for centuries. Furthermore, in the early 1970s, the government mapped, demarcated and allocated management of forest area which known as production and protection forest (Peluso and Harwell 2001:94-95) given forest zoning as a tool for organize space and control of its use. This implied that forest enclosure prevail to exclude and abandon the existence of indigenous people, expelled from their land and unable to take part in capital-intensive forest management unless being wage workers. There have been evidences in Europe of the sixteenth until eighteenth centuries that enclosure escalated conflict and local resistance similar to Asia during colonialism period (Peluso 1992:14). The conflicts are still happening since forest has been allocated to private sector, indigenoues expelled from accessing the source of livelihood in forest as well as land. Moreover, the externality arises that is forest has been destructed because of concession operation. Magin (2001:15) noted the conflict between RAPP (Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper) and 3 villages (Kerinchi, Sering, and Delik) claiming of portions of the 285,000 ha was one of prolonged conflict since 1997. The conflict was escalated when people were occupying the claimed land until company invited police to disperse them. The use of police as state instrument, once again, tells us that state is in capitalist side as class-based already noticed. Related to capitalist relation of production, surplus value, in the context of forestry sector, surplus value has been created through labor exploitation in the form of cheap labor. Rent in forestry refers to a surplus value above its normal profit. Brown (1999) found that when the price of Meranti timber is around US$80, extraction cost in forestry business in Indonesia is around US$17 and putting normal profit US$5, hence the concession still enjoy US$58 as a rent (Brown, 1999). As long as capitalists enjoy the rent, they become addicted for the sake of accumulation motives. Therefore the worst consequences would be bear by indigenous people since they have been excluded, lost their livelihood and push back toward simple reproduction by capitalist (Ellis 1993:53). So that the way to survive would be joining labor regime in capitalist production–in this case to be the workers in concession company.