asia-apec listserve <email@example.com>
Subject: [asia-apec 889] Unity Statement of the APPA
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 13:13:53 +0800
We, 636 participants representing 316 organizations from 30 countries, have gathered here in Kuala Lumpur for the Asia Pacific People's Assembly from the 7th to the 15th of November 1998 on the occasion of the 6th APEC Leaders Meeting. We have come to confront the issue of globalization, and in particular the APEC as an instrument to implement it, in order to strengthen our understanding and resistance, and reassert people's rights.
Neo-liberal globalization is the response of monopoly capital to the
global crisis. Liberalization and deregulation of markets and
investments, and privatization of public utilities and services have
been imposed to expand TNC business and increase super-profits.
Globalization is being promoted through the myth of unlimited growth
by giving free rein to business and the
The IMF-WB, and the WTO act as the main instruments of the superpowers
to impose neoliberal policies. The APEC, like other regional and
plurilateral formations such as the OECD, has been organized to hasten
the process of globalization by strengthening business96 government
partnership in enforcing specific action programs and policies that
enhance liberalization through trade and investments facilitation,
enforcing policy commitments to liberalization and
cooperation. Further the TNCs themselves are the most important
driving force of globalization in their unquenchable thirst for super
But the Mexican crisis, then the Asian crisis and now the global crisis have shown us the resultant collapse and ugly side of speculative finance and as a result have debunked the myths of globalization. The major points in the agenda of APEC now are how to rationalize the failure of globalization in the Asia Pacific and pursue even greater liberalization as a response to the crisis.
The state has been redesigned and its role manipulated in order to meet the demands of monopoly capital and the local ruling elites of big landowners and big business and divesting the state of its social responsibility. The economic crisis has destabilized the hegemony of monopoly capital and particularly, the power sharing of US, Japan and the European Union in the region. It has also brought about political crisis and intensified popular resistance from all sectors of the people of Asia and the Pacific. As a result there is increased defense spending and militarization in the Asia-Pacific countries. There are also efforts to strengthen the US-Japan military alliance through the New Guidelines for Defense Cooperation between the US and Japan, maintenance of US bases in Okinawa, Japan and South Korea, and the return of US military presence in the Philippines.
However far from its promise of jobs and progress, globalization has resulted in widespread unemployment, displacement of peoples and destruction of their livelihoods, marginalization of large sections of society, intensified discrimination and repression as well as the disintegration of families and communities. Far from its promise of development, globalization has wrecked societies, destroyed economies and financial systems. It has destroyed production systems, resources and the environment, destroyed the means of subsistence of small entrepreneurs and producers and brought then to ruin and has led to famine conditions in many countries in Asia and the Pacific. It has brought peoples and countries to greater poverty and misery.
Globalization thrives on the promotion of an ideology of consumerism, individualism and patriarchy among the people enshrined in globalist monoculture. It has also brought about the emergence of dangerous forces promoting narrow, chauvinist-nationalist anti-globalization platforms that have intensified social conflicts and politics of fundamentalism, neo-fascism and xenophobia.
The appropriation of land through landgrabbing by mining, logging and agro-industrial TNCs; by tourist and real estate development projects and by shifting from sustainable food production to export monocrops; as well as displacement by hydro-electric and other mega-maldevelopment projects have increased landlessness of the peasants and indigenous peoples.
The fisherfolk are deprived of their livelihood, and access to aquatic resources because of commercial and corporatized aquaculture, large-scale commercial fishing, landgrabbing, and conversion of fishery areas to non-productive purposes, as well as the degradation of the aquatic environment due to industrial pollution and chemical use.
Corporatized agriculture dependent on high-yielding monocultures and industrial chemical inputs has destroyed food security, endangers human health and destroys the environment irreversibly. Food security is further threatened by the destruction of local food production, the widespread landlessness and displacement of peasants, the loss of biodiversity and indigenous knowledge, the new and fast expansion of genetic engineering and the dumping of agricultural supply from Northern countries.
Globalization has resulted in massive rural displacement and, along with concentrated maldevelopment in the cities, has resulted in intense urban migration. In the burgeoning cities, the urban poor face joblessness, and homelessness as well as forced evictions due to megamall development projects and urban land speculation.
With greater mobility of capital, workers rights, wages and working conditions have been extremely eroded. The crisis has led to mass layoffs and unemployment. Greater exploitation of labour is realized through neoliberal methods of union busting, and the promotion of contract work, casual work, home-based work, and labor flexibility. Increased joblessness has intensified labor migration. The thirst for more profits through lower labor costs has resulted in the increase of trafficked labor, women and child labor.
Women suffer most from globalization. It has intensified discrimination and degradation of women. They are pushed to migration in greater numbers and they are forced to enter into extremely exploitative working conditions and trafficked into the sex trade. Privatization of health care violates women's right to total well-being by denying them access to safe, appropriate, affordable and quality preventive and curative health care. More and more, they are facing extreme forms of discrimination, violence and rape, which are increasingly being used as tools for subjugation by men and the state.
The future of the youth and students is threatened by globalization. Access to people-centered quality education has been limited by commercialization, which has raised the costs and narrowed the curriculum to serve the interests of capital. Student organizing and dissent, as well as their efforts to find solidarity with the people's movements, are systematically and violently suppressed.
Indigenous peoples are denied of their right to self-determination. They are violently displaced and deprived of their land to give way to maldevelopment projects, and TNC mining, oil and gas exploration and logging business. To accelerate this process, their territories are militarized. Tourism projects commercialize and denigrate their culture. Community rights over their biological and genetic resources as well as their indigenous knowledge are trampled upon.
Trade liberalization is destroying our natural resources. Governments in crisis are selling off non-renewable and scarce resources including forests and water as a way out of the crisis. Globalization has accelerated environmental abuse the world over, intensifying the destruction of various ecosystems and, with it, the people's livelihood.
The full realization of the people's human rights should be the primary objective of economic arrangements. However, economic, political, civil, social and cultural rights are violated by the state and monopoly capital with impunity. As the people resist and assert their rights, they are met with violent suppression by the state. Under the guise of political stability, repressive laws, together with the control of the judiciary, tighten the grip of the state and promote dictatorship.
We vehemently resist globalization as we struggle for equality, peoples' democratic rights and sovereignty, self-determination, social justice, people-centered development and welfare.
Fight to reverse neo-liberal globalization and put an end to its policies of liberalization and deregulation of trade and investment and privatization of public assets and services.
Expose, resist and reject APEC. Other multilateral instruments of globalization like the IMF, World Bank, the GATT, WTO and recently the MAI as well as other multi-lateral instruments such as regional associations that, in various ways, contribute to globalization must also be thoroughly exposed in order that they be dismantled along with the APEC.
The TNCs must also be dismantled and the state must be challenged and their efforts to promote neo-liberal globalization must be resisted and overcome.
What we need is genuine cooperation among peoples and countries of the Asia Pacific, and uphold the peoples' sovereignty and right to self-determination.
1. We reaffirm the universality and indivisibility of our rights as enshrined in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and in various UN and ILO conventions. But these are not being enforced; they are being breached with impunity and states are not being made accountable. We assert our rights, forward the struggle and strengthen the people's movements.
2. We must develop broad information campaigns and intensive education to promote people-centered actions, organize at all levels of oppressed communities and sectors and continue the resistance through creative political actions at the local and national level, as well as pursue community level alternatives.
3. We seek different levels of alliances with different groups and build international solidarity to resist globalization and realize the people's alternatives.
We can not expect any government or TNC or international organization to do this for us, we have only ourselves, our strength, our unity and determination!