We, the student leaders of the Student Christian Movements in the Asia-Pacific Region who gathered at the Students Empowerment for Transformation 2002 from June 16-30, 2002 in the University of the Philippines, Los Baños Laguna, Philippines, are united in vehemently opposing “globalisation” as an economic order imposed by global capitalism and its instruments.
Globalisation with its policies of liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation only seeks to optimise profits of foreign monopoly-capitalists while violating the basic human rights and dignity of the people who suffer as victims of the economic plunder.
As students, we feel the adverse impact of the privatisation in our education system as it becomes commercialised and inaccessible for most of the youth with its increasingly high cost. Moreover, subjects like Humanities, History and Social Sciences are deleted in our curriculum and are replaced by market-oriented courses like Information Technology, Biotechnology, and Engineering etc. Youth are the most affected by governmental subsidy reductions to social services, which should be delivered to its citizens.
The economic inequalities that are caused by globalisation have become persistent and have aggravated the impoverishment of the toiling masses. Land tillers, farm workers and indigenous peoples are displaced from their farms and ancestral domains to give way to mining, golf courses, subdivisions and eco-tourism ventures of the government and big businesses. The farmers struggle to survive, as the local market is flooded with cheap imported agricultural products brought about by trade liberalization.
As the capitalists reduce production costs to achieve maximum profit, industrial workers are denied of “living wages”, and are forced to work on a contractual basis, and are victimised through massive retrenchment. The government assures capitalists of unrestricted movement of capital; tariff reduction; tax-free status; profit repatriation; and that the capitalists will have “favourable industrial conditions” (no-union, non-strike atmosphere) all at the expense of the rights of the working class.
Patriarchy is sustained by globalisation and has even worsened the lot of women, children and the elderly. Women and children are driven to work in the most unsecured and inhumane conditions as domestic helpers in foreign lands, entertainers and mail-order brides. Economic exploitation perpetrated by the few has made women and children most vulnerable to prostitution.
We condemn globalisation for the depletion of our natural resources in the name of “development” as capitalists wantonly use the resources without benefiting the majority of the people.
The surging protests against globalisation are being met with force and repression of civil and political rights through the use of state apparatuses like jails, laws, police, military and para-military forces. Thus, as we challenge and raise our voices against globalisation, we condemn in the strongest terms the monopoly capitalists, their local cohorts and the client states for their brutal repression.
Globalisation has brought about a world system that is completely the opposite of our envisioned just and peaceful world. Globalisation dehumanises and robs the essential human dignity of a person. Peoples’ dignity is violated and no longer does a person fulfill their fullest potential as the culture of “objectification and commodification” proliferates. Our cultural heritage is being eroded by the imposition of a mono-cultural attitude by the very multi-national corporations who push their products into our market.
In conclusion, we as Christian students maintain our opposition to the sufferings caused by Globalisation as we refer to our Saviour Lord Jesus Christ who had come to bring peace, justice, freedom and fullness of life for all. Globalisation is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ, as it has robbed human beings of their rights to live a fulfilling life. We strongly demand that the unequal, unfair and degrading treatment created by Globalisation should be eliminated. We as members of the Student Christian Movement are resolved to commit ourselves to the betterment of lives in our own societies as we continue our struggles with the people.
June 30, 2002 SET 2002 Participants