Promoting interfaith and intrafaith solidarity among women and youth is a major undertaking of Peace for Life that has informed its programmatic approaches to key issues and campaigns. The Muslim-Christian Feminist Alliance and the Interfaith Youth Camp are spaces organised for women and youth of faith to conduct contextual reflection and analysis to aid in formulating strategies for both short and long-term engagements in the counter-imperial movement.
The International Conference on Women and Youth against Militarised Globalisation constitutes the first phase of the one-year long youth camp project of the Intrafaith-Interfaith Solidarity programme of Peace for Life.
Militarisation and globalisation are intimately related. Globalisation, as a multi-pronged drive for the capture and plunder of resources and territory, creates the material conditions for inequality, poverty, hunger, and unrest among the people it dispossesses and excludes. As mass unrest escalates and threatens to upset the corporate monopoly of resources, globalisation relies on the military power of the state to protect the ruling system. By exacerbating local conflicts and internal contradictions, globalisation breedsbfundamentalist movements for super powers to use as pawns for their own objectives. This aspect has particularly become more pronounced with the ascendancy of “war on terror” rhetoric to “protect democracy” and the “free market” system.
Thus, we can speak of militarised globalisation as a feature of the globalisation process where the empire extends the frontiers of the global market system, transforms sovereign nations into open territories, and bolsters transnational corporate ownership through the combined militarism and war. This global system propagated, secured, maintained, and reproduced not only through coercive institutions such as the police and the military, but also through ideological apparatuses such as the family, church, and schools.
Militarised globalisation greatly affects women and youth in a number of ways. Women, who disproportionately make up the poor majority, bear the brunt of the negative impacts of liberalisation, privatisation, and deregulation of the economy. Majority of the rural poor who are being dispossessed of their livelihood owing to dwindling prices of agricultural commodities and conversion of farmlands to industrial crop production are women. The race to the bottom that depreciates wages and labour standards further marginalises women’s labour. More and more women are joining the informal sector where work is vulnerable, cheap, and insecure.
For the youth, globalisation has meant limited opportunities for decent jobs and living wages. Social services including education have become privatised and are no longer geared towards human and social development but profit growth.
The competition for markets and profits is more and more turning into direct military confrontation. The United States, as the leading global military power, is asserting its hegemony in Latin America, Middle East, and the Asia Pacific through direct armed interventions and sprawling bases. Fundamentalist groups have emerged to fill the political vacuum created by decades of Cold War and wars of aggression. Counter-terror and counter-insurgency campaigns are being used as cover to clear communities to allow corporate plunder of resources. Often, women and youth are the direct casualties of armed conflicts.
These are the contexts and challenges that Peace for Life and other interfaith and intrafaith movements advocating for peace and justice confront today.
1. Understand the global, regional, contexts of militarised globalisation
2. Identify key issues affecting women and youth related to the problem of militarised globalisation
3. Draw up a plan for an international inter/intrafaith solidarity campaign for communities of youth and women facing war, occupation, and militarisation
General Schedule of Activities:
I. Nov. 28: The International Conference of Women and Youth Against Militarised Globalisation
II. Nov. 29
a. Morning Session: Workshop on the 3 Major Themes:
i. Feminist/Gender Perspectives in the Counter-Imperial Movement (MCFA)
ii. Interfaith/Intrafaith Youth Movement against Militarised Globalisation
iii. Resisting Militarism and War: Experiences of Social/Faith-Based Movements in the Asia-Pacific
b. Afternoon: Plenary Deliberation on and Approval of Conference Declaration
c. Solidarity Night
III. Nov. 30: Exposure trip to local community