After my joining the Regional Office in June 193, this is the first time I am formally communicating to all of you, students and long-time friends of WSCF Asia-Pacific region. With much anxiety and excitement, I believe I am coming back from my student time to join this community, which strives rigorously to live our faith amidst the harsh realities of Asia-Pacific.

I am coming back to this community with excitement because I am looking forward to be in touch with all of you, your concerns and struggles; I am returning also with anxiety because I realize this significant ministry to students and the academic community is facing a critical moment. Despite its centennial celebration in 1995, this mission embodied in the Federation is facing immense challenges to critically assess its identity, its contribution in relation to the student community as well as the church at large.

Since June, we have had the Regional Committee Meeting and SET'93 (Student Empowerment of Transformation). In between, there was also the Inter-Regional Finance Committee meeting in Stut­tgart. Therefore, it has been some exciting months in which many important issues have been raised and discussed and some decisions have been reached. One of the important decisions is the theme for the next two years for movements in the Asia-Pacific Region, and that is: "Responding in Faith to Creation's Longing to be Free." The other is the Region's determination to respond actively to the Centenary celebrations.

The concrete expression of the biennial theme is the focus of this year's SET on "Development" and its impact on the marginalized communities. We have included in this issue Chhaya Datar's critique on development and women, an input for the Regional Committee Meeting in June 1993, which has, in a way, set off our continuous discussion on the topic.

Many movements in the Region are undergoing a process of self-study. The SCM of the Philippines and the Indian SCM have just concluded their studies. A part of the study of the SCMP is included in this issue. I hope as we are preparing ourselves to celebrate the 100th birthday of the WSCF, we will engage with all our critical spirit to look at the life of our movements, the struggles, the concerns of the current generation of students and to envision anew our mission in the academic community in the future.

Another significant feature of this issue is the creation of the "Women's Space." It is a new column designed by Tsui Ling, our Regional Women's Coordinator, to highlight the concerns for gender issues in our national movements. It also reflects our Region's continuous commitment to provide space for women's voices and greater exchanges among women to encourage young women's leadership.

There are more movement news included in this issue. The aim is to facilitate a greater sense of our regional fellowship and a stronger sense of solidarity with each other's struggle. We also hope to keep the publication of Praxis as close to a quarterly issue as possible, yet believing that you would understand even if we fail eventually due to the overwhelming workload in the regional office.

In any sense, I shall treasure very much Praxis as a forum for exchange of ideas and concerns for members of our Asia-Pacific fellowship. So please take active part in it and send in your thoughts, comments and challenges from time to time. They will be more than welcomed.

Finally, wishing all of you a very Happy New Year. Till we meet,




Wong Wai Ching






Korean SCF


The Korean Student Christian Federation (KSCF) held its summer mission rally under the theme "Come! Let's Change our world" (Luke 12:49) from August 12 to 15, 1993 at the Goyang Youth Hostel. Some 150 people participated.

The KSCF met under the slogan "For a New Korea" enabling the participants to reflect upon the contemporary issues and to search for the meaning of mission that is demanded of Christian students. Through a rediscovery of the Gospel that heals the pain of Korean history and people the KSCF re-dedicated itself to work, together with the God who became human, for the transfor­mation of the world.

Rev. Hong, Gun Soo (Hyang Lin Church, Vice-director of the KSCF), on the opening day, challenged the participants to discover the Jesus who wants of bring change to the world. He based his sermon on Jesus' state­ment, "1 came to light the fire of the world." In his keynote address, Rev. Kim, Sang Gun (Chairman of the Christian Presbyterian Mission Education Council) taking the parable of the Good Samaritan as the text addressed the question of the KSCF's determination for social change. He said, "essen­tially the process of the Christian Student Movement requires that we free ourselves from the thinking that revolves around the self." Relationships between people must be restored and through a life of faith and social scientific approaches the movement will be a catalyst of change.

The second day of the rally was devoted as the day of social mission, the third as the day of campus ministry and the fourth day as the day of reunification.

Rev. Lee, Choon Sub's (Sung Soo Church) spoke on the theory of social mission. The delegates also heard reports of those work­ing to establish strong neighborhoods and visited various missions - the Hagye dong poor region, left-over missions, Uijongboo "My Sister's Place", the Korean Teacher's Educational Worker's Union office, the Minjung Tang Jae Won, Grandfather's Com­munity (a community of former long time prisoners), Minjung church, etc. The social mission of the KSCF was strengthened and sharpened at this session and the passion for such a direction was very evident in the way the students participated in the discussions.

On the day of campus mission, Rev. Lee, Gye Joon (Yonsei University) spoke about the campus ministry and its current challen­ges. He stressed that there must be a clear perspective and understanding of mission as well as the reality of the various campus-ministry organizations. The KSCF also ac­knowledged the importance of student movements and in strengthening relationships between them. The various campus ministry materials that were prepared and presented by students will be a good resource base for the activities of the KSCF.

On the day of peace and reunification, Professor Lee, Jong Oh (Kye Myung Univer­sity) gave a lecture about the peaceful reunification theory, the road one must go on for reunification. Students' responses confirmed how important are people's problems and therefore the question of reunification. A peace worship service was led by KSCF General Secretary, Rev. Chung, Myung Gee on the concluding day.



Human Chain Links Koreans for Reunification


The annual Korean Christian Convention for Peace and Reunification toward the Jubilee (August 12-14) also witnessed a new




event this year, namely, the Human Chain Rally for North-South Peace and Reunifica­tion. This event produced some important results.

The 60/000-odd participants in the Human Chain included both NCCK mem­ber- and non-member-churches (Protes­tants), Catholics, Buddhists, Chondogyo believers, Confucianists and secular persons and organizations representing all social spheres. This surprisingly large turnout con­firmed the desire and will of the Korean people for national reunification, and marked a turning point in the reunification movement. What had thus far been a government-led process has now become a citizens' movement.

The peaceful character of the Human Chain made it possible for all kinds of per­sons to join in without fear of tear gas or other police suppression. This was due to the fact that the forces for reform in the new Kim Young Sam Government positively supported the event, as did all the major broad­cast media. So another important outcome of the Chain was the realization that the civilian movement in cooperation with the reform forces in the Government can expand the people's participation for reunification.

The success of the Chain was also due largely to the enthusiastic participation, of church members and their pastors, who mo­bilized far more than the 43,000 persons needed to cover the 43 kilometers from Inde­pendence Gate in Seoul to Imjingak (near the DMZ). Participants throughout the length of the Chain were able to listen to the worship service at Imjingak over CBS radio. (Chris­tian Broadcasting System is the only South Korean channel that can be heard in North Korea.) They prayed together the 1993 Com­mon Prayer for Peace and Reunification, created by the North Korean church and adopted jointly by the churches in the South.

The Human Chain was initiated by the South Korean churches. North Korean



A section of the human chain







Christians were invited to take part by form­ing another chain, which would have been linked across the border with the one in the south. Unfortunately, this did not work out, because of still-unresolved political differen­ces between the two governments.

Building on the success of the 1993 Human Chain, a much longer chain is being planned for next year, and in 1995 to have it the full length of North and South Korea (1,200 km). Other kinds of civilian move­ments will also be developed to involve all the Korean people actively in the national reunification process.



Fiji SCM


In 1991 the Student Christian Movement was revived^ and reorganized by the chaplain of the University, who acts as the coordinator. The SCM group in the Univer­sity of South Pacific (USP) has students from the various countries in the Pacific Region. Some former SCMers of the USP who are working in Fiji are also involved.

One of the basic difficulties is the pietistic orientation of the students. To them the question of personal salvation is upper­most in their minds, all the rest are of low priority. Those from fundamentalist church backgrounds still need time to understand the concept of God's design for nation-build­ing and God's will for those who are op­pressed. The other difficulty is that the traditional political system (of chieftains) in many countries in the Pacific has made it hard for the students to speak up on justice issues.

The chaplain takes on the added respon­sibility of designing programs for stu­dent-members taking into account the cultural milieu of the Pacific.

On September 7 and 8 (1993), a camp was held in one of the resorts near Suva. The general objective of the camp was to help members understand the goals of the SCM, create awareness on the theological under­standing of God's purpose in creation, human stewardship of natural resources, and the dignity of human beings.

The keynote address was presented by the chaplain, Fr. Leslie Fugui, on the topic "God's supreme authority in all spheres of development in the Pacific Region."

There were group discussions after the address and then a plenary session. Students expressed themselves strongly against the nature of development in the Pacific, corruption, bribery, nepotism and favoritism, the problem of logging companies, fisheries and other forms of exploitation. This camp was the beginning of a new life for many students and is expected to be followed-up by larger camps encompassing students from the other academic institutions in Suva.



Indonesian SCM


To commemorate the centenary of the World Parliament of Religions, a Con­gress of religions in Indonesia was held in Yogyakarta from October 11 to 12, 1993, mainly organized by three Universities, namely, Santa Dharma University (Yogyakarta), Sunan Kalijaga Islamic In­stitute (Yogyakarta), and the Christian University of Satya Wacana (Salatiga). SCMers in Indonesia were actively involved in the process.

The Congress acknowledged the role of religions in promoting unity and peace among the citizens and stated that personal integrity of humans becomes full only when they share the life of others. One of the problems acknowledged by the Congress was the increasing secularization. In the midst of modern living, religion loses its identity and it was accepted that unless religions can come up with answers to the problems of modern human society, they




will lose their relevance. Searching and find­ing new roles for religions in the context of modern pressures has been posed as one of the challenges facing the Indonesian context today.



Indian SCM


All over the world, street theatre has been playing a major supporting role in the people's movement. The so-called "mass media" is promoting a consumeristic culture in support of the dominating and elite clas­ses of the society. A "culture of silence" is on the rise and this begets superstition/ fatalism, dependence, and fundamentalism.

The Student Christian Movement of India has been giving special attention to the development of alternative media and has been promoting the same among students so that they can participate more meaningfully in negating the culture of silence. As part of this thrust a week-long National Workshop on Street Theatre was organized in Calcutta from the 28th of December '93 to the 2nd of January '94.

The main objective of organizing such a workshop on street theatre was to promote the development of group communication wherever possible as a means of sharing and communicating ideas on relevant issues. This would help in raising consciousness, fostering a spirit of community leading to cultural action. Street theatre can be an alter­native medium to the existing mass media to capture the interest of the people on crucial issues at a very nominal cost.

One main aim of the SCMI is to prepare street theatre troupes, both at the national and area levels, and if possible even at the local unit levels, so that these students can work with the people at the grass root level and help them in their cry for life.


Thirty-two participants from 13 different




states of the country participated and they were welcomed in true Bengali tradition ac­companied by songs and dances portraying the life and culture of West Bengal.

The workshop followed a rigid pattern with the participants applying their skills in dramatics after observing the daily life of various sections of the people - slum dwellers, women, head-load workers, con­struction workers, and so on - through ex­posure trips and then writing a script to perform. Professional critiquing coupled with theoretical inputs by the staff of the Centre for Communication and Cultural Ac­tion/ Calcutta, provided the tools for shar­pening the skills of the participants. The use of body language and the power of miming were brought out very forcefully at this workshop.

For a community of students sensitive to the contemporary realities of the society and having the basic skills of acting, the workshop provided an excellent oppor­tunity to interact with the people in their daily struggles and to find creative and in­novative ways of presenting their aspira­tions to a larger audience.


Jaideep Pande



Pakistan SCM


The five-day annual conference was held at Ghora Dhaka, Ayubia, a hill resort 8,500 feet above sea level in the thick, dark-green pine forest overlooking the valley of Kashmir and attended by 55 participants which included students and teachers (male and female) from Peshawar, Abotabad, Rawalpindi, Sheikhupura and Lahore SCM Units.

The program of the conference was formulated so as to facilitate the students with adequate knowledge and to bring out their leadership qualities. Topics for discus­sion were chosen with great care keeping in view the current problems confronting our world in general and Pakistani community in particular. The WSCF theme "Responding in Faith to Creation's Longing to be Free" was on top priority. The conference also aimed at creating awareness on ecology, child labor, and men-women partnership.

Seminars on the above topics were led by resource persons specialized in the respec­tive areas. Each seminar was followed by a workshop. The workshops were conducted in a very constructive manner making it mandatory for each student to participate actively and effectively. The seminars on en­vironment and men-women partnership were particularly successful. The latter was fully conducted and managed by the stu­dents.

The participants learned the amount of harm being done to our environment due to over-crowding (over-population), noise pol­lution, deforestation, flooding, killing of wild animals and ozone layer depletion. The students realized how the tourists from the plains of Pakistan visiting the mountains during summer season were ruining the pure, clean and healthy environment of the mountains by throwing away rubbish, empty cans, etc. Trees are being constantly cut to construct huge, concrete buildings for tourists. Hence, it was decided in the con­cluding session that each participant will work with a missionary zeal to plant a tree each in their home vicinity and to spread the awareness among those who are still ig­norant of the environmental issues.

The participants were shocked to learn for the first time about the official figures regarding the number of children in the age group of 5 to 14 years who are either self-employed, paid workers or under bonded labor. The students decided that they would collect figures about children employed in brick-kilns, restaurants, in-




dustrial and mechanical workshops, etc. in their localities.

Daily devotion, both in the morning and evening were an important part of the con­ference programme. The devotions were conducted by the students themselves.

The five-day gathering provided an op­portunity for the students to get together from different parts of the country in true Christian spirit. The students and teachers also got a chance to ^now each other more intimately, to share their problems and to help each other as equal partners.


Momtaz Shah



SCM Aotearoa


SCM Aotearoa held its annual conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) from the 23rd to the 26th of August, 1993 at Methven, in a scenic part of the South Island. Over twenty people came from three groups - Wellington, Canterbury and Otago.

A major focus was on group dynamics. Anne Kilgour, an SCM senior friend, gave some insights and skills, that became useful not only at the Conference but that can also be used in the local SCM groups.

The participants explored different theological and social models and did some 'dreaming' and 'visioning' together of SCM and Aotearoa. They shared in creative wor­ship and music but also had an enjoyable and relaxing time.

The AGM decided to locate the Working Group (the Management Committee) at Wellington, and the newsletter editorship at Otago. These functions were previously done by the Christchurch local group. A new executive committee was also appointed.

Rebecca Hayward, secretary for the past three years, who decided to go to Cambridge University, England, to pursue her higher studies, was given a warm and sad farewell.



Australian SCM


A gathering of Australian Student Chris­tian Movement (ASCM) men was held at the SCM campsite at Chum Creek, some hours outside the state capital, Melbourne, Victoria, from 23 to 25 April 1993. The gathering resulted from a directive of the 1992-93 Australian SCM National Con­ference. It was held to establish the feasibility of holding regular National Australian Men's Conferences.

Eleven members from South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria, participated; two visitors attended part of the programme. The group adopted an anar­chist or "self regulatory" model of operation. There were three presentations, one presen­tation from each of the States, an introduc­tion, and a conclusion with worship, apart from the socialization, eating and sleeping that were essential. These tasks were com­pleted during two days and nights.

Women's camps have been held for many years. The idea of men getting together to confront personal issues is a relatively new occurrence. Women have provided a lead, but men need to look again at themselves, especially in relation to patriarchy.

Both secular and spiritual Western society imposes stereotypical expectations on men as well as on women. If Christians are to be truly liberated one must respond to the call of the Gospel in all aspects of life, including sexuality. The Buddha has said that each is to be a light to themselves. Men need to take responsibility for their own liberation instead of expecting women to do all the work.

The Victorian presentation originated from a Gay-Straight Dialogue. A guided dis­cussion included What is Sex?, Ethics and Sex, Sex and Spirituality.

South Australia invited participants to




share the experience of violence and affec­tion without commentary. This session's success was assisted by holding it in the evening with port wine and chocolate.

During the evaluation, a clear desire for a regular National Men's Conference emerged. The format used for this gathering was seen as appropriate for the next Con­ference too. However, some thought the in­clusion of a "keynote" speaker would be an added attraction. Popular suggestions in­cluded talks on domestic violence or the ex­ploration of sex and spirituality.

Since that week-end camp some chapters have held irregular meetings of male SCMers. These gatherings are sometimes very casual social activities, or are presenta­tions led by a designated member. Material is being collected from the local chapters for a "Male Musings Collection" magazine. It is envisioned that the activities of the small gatherings of men throughout Australia will lead to a richer gathering at the First ASCM Men's Conference to be held in 1994.


Denis Voight

ASCM Men's Project Coordinator






Eco-feminism or Perspective on Women's Liberation

Chhaya Datar


Dr. Chhaya Datar is Reader, Women's Studies Unit, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bombay, India.


Eco-feminism may be defined as Alterna­tive Development Paradigm in the con­text of ecological sustainability and gender equality. The present production system creates a material base for women and na­ture to be subjugated, and pinpoints the exact elements, which allow the exploitative production system to continue. The task is to find out the key principles, based on which an alternative production system that is sustainable and equitable can be evolved.


Overview of Marxist Perspective for Women's Liberation

In short, it states that emergence of technol­ogy was an important event in the primitive times. It helped generate and accumulate surplus through domination of one tribe over another, creating stratification along class lines. As a part of this process men, as a group, overpowered women and relegated them to the 'private sphere', imposing the strict division of labor along gender lines. Engels called women as the first subjugated class. Production was carried out in the private sphere by women. Individual man started owning his wife, and the progeny she produced in the framework of family institu­tion. It ensured that she produced his heirs for his property. It entailed the sexual control a husband can exercise over his wife .within the family, as well as laying down the sexual norms under the title 'good woman', prescribed by the society, that is, men in collectivity.

For liberation, two factors are necessary. First, the woman needs to work in the public sphere, transcending her role of a reproducer in the private sphere. Second, the concept of ownership of property needs to be abolished, doing away with the necessity to produce heirs to the property of her hus­band. It would mean that there is no need for the husband to have sexual control over his wife, through ownership right. This will enable women to become mobile and free to participate in public life, production as well as politics.

The concept of ownership of women was considered as a part and parcel of the con­cept of ownership of property, that is, means of production, which is the basis for any exploitative society. Marxists envisaged that for women to enter public life, her domestic work and their reproduction roles had to be socialized and industrialized. Thus women would be free from 'monotony' - the drudgery of domestic chores. Along with material changes, cultural changes were viewed as necessary by the Marxists. In­tegrating women into the mainstream of production and politics had been the objec­tive of this project of change and enlighten­ment.

A few Marxists are willing to look criti­cally at their own formulation of women's question, particularly after the collapse of socialist regimes in Russia and Eastern Europe, where the women's question, for-




mulated on the above premise, could not be sustained.


Valentine M. Moghadam noted,

The 1989 revolutions in Eastern Europe, have conservative cultural component, in as much as new discourses are emerging, which em­phasize women's reproductive role and responsibility for children and the family unit. In a manner reminiscent of the liberal discourse of Enlightenment and the French Revolution, women's family attachment during the era of socialist construction is regarded as "unnatural." The power of dis­course is strong and is internalized by women as well as men (Moghadam 1989:26).

Progress of any society is measured by how much of its population is involved in industrial activity and is living in the cities. Also, by the presence and influence of that society, in the global market.

I have shifted from this position long time ago, ever since I became sensitive to women's issues which could not be ex­plained through this framework. It is more interesting to offer a critique of this position and to point out how the said framework goes against ecological concerns and sustainable development.

Impact of Industrial Mode of Production based on Technology and Production, on Women

Without going into the details of all the flaws of the Marxist position on. women's ques­tion, let us try to analyze and pose counter arguments to the position that technology, that is, the process of industrialization, can make way for women's liberation.

The present production system is in­dustrial mode of production and encompas­ses the world economic system, where many other modes of production are controlled and manipulated by the dominant industrial mode. It is an accepted fact that industrialization based on ever-revolutioniz­ing technology is considered a key element for progress.

Progress of any society is measured by how much of its population is involved in industrial activity and is living in the cities. Market is another key element of this process of industrialization, and the progress of any society is measured by the presence and in­fluence of that society, in the global market.

The major effect of the present develop­ment process, in trying to create a global market encompassing all the economies of the world, is polarization of natural resour­ces in the hands of certain classes of people. The same process has also caused depriva­tion of these resources for the people at the other end. The gap between the pairing categories is widening, sometimes leading to abject poverty, or at the least poverty. We observe that in 1983 the ratio of wealth in developed countries to that in under­developed countries was 46:1 (Mies Maria 1991:3).

Even the World Bank Development Report for 1990 conceded that poverty has increased during what some have called the 'lost development decade' and aggravated differences between regions. Valentine M. Moghadam quotes from the foreword by Barber Conable, to the World Development Report 1990 which focuses poverty,

The plight of poor women is troubling in itself. It is even more troubling because the health and education of mothers greatly in­fluence the well-being and future of their children (Moghdam, 1991:15).

It is not only the level of poverty for the majority of women that is creating concern but it is also the problem of depleting natural resources in general, the degradation of soil cover, the depletion of water and forest that




pose greater danger to immediate livelihood of masses of women in the underdeveloped countries, thereby threatening their very survival.

If everything is available in the market, then people are linked through markets and not through any obligations or love, which reduces people to be atomized and lonely.

Globalization of world markets is accen­tuating this problem, by giving new impetus to the process of accumulation. In India, to repay the foreign debt, the multinationals are invited to export fruit juices or tomato ketchup by enticing local farmers to invest in these commercial crops, and by encouraging them to use genetically engineered seeds and other exogenous resources such as chemical fertilizers and pesticides. This polarizes resources in the hands of rich farmers, degrades the land and deprives poor peasants from the traditional low level of food security, transforming them into landless laborers. The farmers who get the cash income become vulnerable to the rising prices of food grains in the markets.

James 0' Connor observes that it is no longer a classic capitalist crisis of 'overproduction' that is, the crisis from demand side, but, at present, world capitalism is facing a crisis from the supply side, that is, because of the cost of pollution control and due to the rising cost of natural resources, there is a crisis of 'cost of production'. The cost of surplus realization is becoming higher. The effect is, in many developing countries, structural adjustment, which exacerbates gender bias by overlook­ing, if not denying, women's access to and consumption of the types of productive resources and services such as credit and input subsidies.


Myth of the Positive Impact

Yet, the polarization of resources has made it possible for professional women in the developed countries, and to some extent elite women in the underdeveloped countries to buy the commodities and ser­vices. The variety of processed food avail­able has made cooking redundant. Old-age care is socialized through the homes or pen­sions. The child-care centres are not that easily available yet, and costs a lot, denying many professional women the choice of having children. In America, cheap petrol and cheaper cars provide immense mobility to these women. However, if the above-men­tioned material situation creates a myth of liberation or accomplishes the dream of 'be­coming a part of the mainstream,' the other repercussions of the same process need to be understood carefully. If everything is avail­able in the market, then people are linked through markets and not through any obligations or love, which reduces people to be atomized and lonely. The safety net of the family or kinship gets thwarted.

The situation poses a real question to women. Will the present efforts of equality, that is, helping women get into the mainstream of market-oriented production system by industrializing her reproductive activity achieve liberation for all women in the world? Under the command economies, industrialization of women's reproductive activities could not be achieved fully because most of the resources got diverted to militarization and women's participation in public production was achieved by paying very low wages thus making her double bur­den even more heavy. However, the direc­tion of the economy and the underlying principles were the same as the capitalist economy. The impact on these women is a part and parcel of the impact of the industrial mode of production elsewhere.




It is safe for us to conclude that what is apparent in this industrial mode of produc­tion/at the very high level of technological achievement, women's reproductive ac­tivity also gets industrialized. Gender bias of the planners may be one reason why the industrialization of reproductive activity is not prioritized on the development agenda, but the market for labor-power plays an important role in determining at what stage women's reproductive activities can be bought in the public sphere. At the lower level of industrialization, it keeps women either as a reserve army of labor or would like to use them as 'cheap labor', that is, it does not prefer to increase the cost of labor power by industrializing the reproductive activity.


Critique of Industrial Mode of Production based on 'Energy'

And what are the ecological costs of this strategy? Consumerism of all kinds is con­sidered enemy of the delicately balanced ecological system. The ecological conse­quences of this strategy of industrialization of reproductive activity hangs upon the question of 'energy'. Industrializing women's 'reproductive work' means mainly using a lot more energy in the present market system. First, processed food on a large scale does require a large-scale produc­tion of agriculture with the use of exogenous resources, which require large amount of energy. Second, even though large-scale processing may be advantageous in terms of less energy consumed, its packaging, cold storing using CFC2, transportation and dis­posal of plastic and Styrofoam wrappings require a lot more energy. The effect of cfc2 on ozone layer and other polluting aspects add new dimensions to the ecological crisis.

Babysitting, nurturing and socializing of children cannot be yet fully industrialized, however efficient the child-care centres are organized. Old-age homes are not found satisfactory as they stand today. Handling human beings does pose technological problems. Thus, this area has remained 'humane' and oppressive at the same time, since women exclusively look after these ac­tivities. Many feminist futuristic novels have depicted that genetic solutions are being sought by scientists to control the unpre­dictability of human behavior. This may prove to be a reality in the near future -handling 'humans' in an industrial, medical and technological way.

On one level medicalization and marketization deprive women control over their own bodies, and on another level, genetic engineering, coupled with IVF techniques, makes female bodies available for racists and fascists.

Questions are also raised regarding inter­vention in the process of human reproduc­tion. Contraception technology - although found liberating in the beginning and still is when it comes to the understanding of natural body rhythm and using barrier methods - has become invasive and disturb­ing to natural cycles through hormonal im­balances. The amniocentesis and IVF (test tube baby) techniques are found more useful in the process of genetic selection and en­gineering than for the sterile couples. Thus, on one level, there is medicalization and marketization, which deprive women control over their own bodies, and on another level, genetic engineering, coupled with IVF tech­niques, makes female bodies available for racists and fascists. There is, therefore, a definite reason to worry about the destruc­tion of human ecology and plurality as it manifests now.

One must be aware of the implications of




the integrationalist view. It envisages that by getting rid of domestic work, women can transcend their gender identity. It is yet to take a position regarding interventions in human ecology, particularly reproductive technology. The interventions in human ecology are dreaded because they have the potential of eliminating women as the reproducers of human beings. Thus, those who argue that sexual division of labor is the cause for the subjugation of women pro­vide the rationale for the development of reproductive technology. Also, for them in­tegration into the mainstream means women becoming, acting, and behaving like men - in effect acquiring equality at the cost of feminity. It is a grave mistake to define feminity in terms of sheer domesticity and to reject it without understanding its crucial importance in the reproduction of society. The approach is based on the wrong concep­tualization of the production system, which overlooks the vital contribution of women at the level of subsistence. Frederique Apffel Marglin says,

For women to develop their minds and to achieve in the public sphere is to liberate themselves from one of the repressive entailments of the industrialization of society, namely, the ideology and reality of domes­ticity. But the white middle class woman achiever, liberator from the bondage of domesticity has shown herself to reproduce the dominating discourse of dominant (most­ly white) men as the critique of mainstream feminism by minority women in the U.S. has shown (Margalin, 1991, p.21).


Critique of Industrial Mode of Production based on Ideology of Development

After reviewing the disastrous impact of the 'energy'-based industrialization process, one must also review the ideological impact of this production system. This system believes in development of all regions, all communities, both the genders, in the image of its own. What is 'Development'? Vandana Shiva puts it thus:

On the one hand, it carries the meaning of self-evolving organic growth, exemplified in the development of the child into an adult, or a seed into a tree. Carried to the level of society, the metaphor of development sug­gests desirable transformation. Yet 'development' as it has concretely taken shape is a process that has attempted to model Third World political and economic power, which lies in the West and this in turn has created new divisions between the North and South, between the rich and poor, between men and women, even as it has created new partnership between elites in the North and South.

It uses science as universal and neutral system to legitimize and justify the direction of trans­formation. Patriarchy takes on new dimen­sions in an age of science-based transformation of society and nature, creating ever new colonies and new instruments of colonization (Shiva, Note, p1).

There is a need to critique modern science, particularly the reductionist or mechanical paradigm which has projected science as a universal value-free system of knowledge which has displaced all other belief and knowledge systems.

There is a need to critique modern science, particularly the dominant trend, that is, the reductionist or mechanical paradigm which has projected science as a universal value-free system of knowledge which has displaced all other belief and knowledge systems. Women are particular­ly harmed by this because they had very little access so far to the formal knowledge and has relied mainly on traditions, customs, folk tales, and oral history to transmit




knowledge. Modern science tends to dis­regard everything else as superstition and humiliates the existing knowledge.

Women have been responsible for collect­ing and preserving seeds, and for grafting. Biotechnology is taking over this function and is industrializing agriculture by centralizing seed production and homogenizing crop varieties. This is similar to what genetic engineering and reproduc­tive technologies are doing to human ecol­ogy. All these technologies are based on what can be called 'secondary productivity' of land. It requires exogenous resources such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides and exces­sive water. Thus, these technologies neces­sarily consume excessive 'energy' and cater to consumerism depleting the limited natural resources. Biotechnology and genetic engineering have raised ethical issue of invasiveness, mainly because they cause adverse effects on the natural evolutionary order thus inviting unforeseen bio-hazards.


Critique of Industrial Mode of Production based on 'Wage Labor'

Another issue that needs to be raised is the issue of using human labor as 'wage labor', which is a very alienating and dehumanizing experience. Frederique Appffel Marglin calls any mode of production using wage labor, may it be a part of capitalist system or socialist system, as an 'industrial mode of production.'

In short, one can say that the entire logic works in the following way. As the mechanistic, reductionist trend of scientific methodology provides the basis for creating the kind of technology that uses mainly ex­ogenous 'energy' resources, and creates large scale production leading to large scale markets and consumerism, recruitment of 'wage labor', either under capitalist or socialist forms of industrial production, be­comes its essential character. The wage labor ideology is so dominant in this era that people lose their creativity and change their self-perception as dependents. Frederi­que Apffel Marglin describes the process of labor being converted to 'wage labor' in following way:

Wage labor as a commodity is a type of labor separated out from work performed in personalized social context and from work performed in the making of finished objects or in completing a task. The characteristic feature of the industrial mode of production as contrasted with craft production are the fragmentation of the task and the removal of the worker from kinship or community set­ting (Marglin, 1991:14).


Marglin further says,

The new type of person has a tripartite struc­ture: a self as the sole owner of a body and mind. The unitary proprietary relationship between self and a body and a mind that excludes other's claims is it that makes commoditized labor free as opposed to slave and self labor as well as to the claims on other's labor arising from kinship and other com­munity based obligations. It is this unitary and therefore exclusive proprietary relation­ship between a self and its body and mind that enables the owner of labor power to sell it on the market (ibid: 16).

The description of wage labor men­tioned above spells out the extreme in­dividualism that is very useful to the market processes where a person enters either as a consumer or as a supplier of labor power. The impact of the industrial mode of produc­tion and its accompanying rationality, scien­tific methodology and alienation of wage labor on women, according to Marglin, is much more devastating and repressing than it is on men. Marglin contends the reason for that is.

Whereas the male body's ability to act productively was enhanced by the develop­ment of reasoning capacities, in the case of specifically female bodily processes, the development of the same capacities was a threat.




She has cited Emily Martin's study of the medical metaphors at play in birth which proves that the science of obstetrics created a myth of involuntary nature of uterine con­tractions. It also transforms the woman in labor into an unthinking, unfeeling machine. She comments that the phenomenon of birth is perceived as women 'make' babies but the (male) doctor 'manages' their pregnancies and 'delivers' them.

With feminization of the domestic domain men became peripheral to most non-instrumental, non-market social relations, except in the sphere of 'religion' which was relegated to the domain of personal choice of individuals. Marglin attributes this to the phenomenon of separation of the place of residence and the place of work and separa­tion of work activity from socializing, eating/ resting, bathing where these bodily proces­ses were relegated to the private, domestic domain.

By using the same framework one can analyze the slogan of 'mainstreaming' women as making them work as 'wage laborers' in the present industrial mode of production. If the present struggle against domesticity ends up in acquiring a status of 'wage labor,' it cannot be called the final destination of 'liberation'.


Need for Reconceptualizing the Women's Position in Production System

The solution lies in reversing the ideological perspective and in Marx's words, putting theory upside down. In the exploitative production system, as Marx perceived, there exists only one sphere of production where exploitation takes place through class rela­tions of production and surplus is accumulated. In reality, women's work of reproduction is subsumed by men within the family institution. In the prevalent in­dustrial mode of production, women's work, that is, subsistence-oriented activity, is considered marginal activity, as 'unproductive' or only as the production of 'use values' but not the 'exchange values' and hence justified as 'unpaid labor.'

At the same time men's work, which is oriented to production for the markets - not just the local but even the global markets - is considered to be the most crucial activity, because it acquires 'surplus' which is the key element for expansion of production, or for the process of extended reproduction. This process of extended reproduction is .con­sidered as 'mainstream.'

Feminist scholars have conclusively proved that women's labor in reproduction also gets exploited and it contributes to the surplus accumulated in the sphere of extended reproduction.

Several feminist scholars have con­clusively proved that women's labor in reproduction also gets exploited and it con­tributes to the surplus accumulated in the sphere of extended reproduction. The men in the family act as conduits for this, enjoying quite a few privileges in the process. There is an organic relationship between surplus accumulation process in the public produc­tion sphere and the ongoing original surplus accumulation process in the private produc­tion sphere. The activities in the private sphere, or reproduction as it is known, can be called subsistence oriented activities which mostly women, tribals and small peasants carry out.

To put the theory upside down, we have to place the subsistence activity at the centre of the new production system, and the 'surplus accumulating activity' would play




a secondary role. Subsistence activity does not mean that people will have to live in the stone-age, or in an ascetic manner. But it means that importance will be given to the livelihood and reproductive needs of the society.

The production system that has to emerge will do away with the contradiction between public production and private production spheres and encourage men to share many tasks of daily reproduction, which is one way of eliminating the dichotomy between public and private production spheres. The markets will be localized, eliminating the necessity of dis­tancing residences with the place of work and traveling for a majority of people. Women will have easy accessibility to local markets. In a society based on simple reproduction, women used to market their and family products. Frederique Apffel Marglin puts it succinctly,

What has to become of primary concern is the regeneration of human communities un­divided into a subordination of life-environ­ment not as the mechanized, inert, backdrop to human endeavor but as inseparable human endeavor.


No Day-dreaming: Concrete Efforts Visible

It is a foregone conclusion that the present industrial mode of production must change if we take the above analysis seriously. Changes must occur on three fronts. First, the technology which requires excessive energy, which is depletable and polluting such as fossilized and nuclear, has to be dis­carded gradually, reducing its primary im­portance in the present system. Alternative energy sources, which are regenerative, and that require less investment have to be the basis of production activity. Second, the market system has to be two-tier, where mostly local markets, with the cycle of com­modity-money-commodity pattern will predominate. Third, the predominant form of labor has to be the labor in the coopera­tive, or small collective structures which will produce mainly for local needs and are satis­fied through local markets, that is, use-values. Only a very small proportion should be produced for the global/distant markets.

This is not day-dreaming. There are con­crete efforts going on to build units of production, adhering to these new prin­ciples, to create sustainable livelihood for agricultural laborers and small farmers in the countryside of Maharashtra, India. The vision it encompasses is that if land and water are managed optimally, in a certain crop-mix, including agro-forestry and fruit trees, there is enough production possible to take care of food, clothing and shelter needs of not only existing population but also for posterity. This production system can be called 'bio-mass-based' production system. It has been proved that there are several eco-systems and subsystems, and that na­ture thrives on plurality. If the traditional knowledge base of people is used along with the scientists who are willing to learn and cooperate with people, tremendous mobilization of ideas and productivity can be realized.

The efforts that envisage the use of ex­ogenous resources should be the least, reducing investment costs in agriculture. The endogenous resource use always in­creases labor utilization along with the in­crease in the per acre productivity of land. It will encourage the small farmers to cultivate their land reducing the 'leasing out' proces­ses. Thus, the main enemies of environmen­tal degradation in the countryside - excess use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and surface irrigation - would be curbed. The landless are also encouraged to claim the right to natural resources, such as sharing of water, fodder and fuel. In fact, one of the failures identified with some of the programs such as Employment Guaran­tee Scheme is that it talks about 'right to




work' but does not link it up with the 'right to resources'/ and hence are unable to motivate the landless laborers in a sus­tained manner.


Implications for Organizing

This development perspective has several implications for organizing of urban and rural poor. Although much sloganeering has taken place regarding land reforms and land distribution, nobody has taken it seriously. Mechanization of agriculture has resulted in bigger landholdings, making small peasants pauperized. Now that a new integrated planning process based on small watersheds is able to assure the sustenance, they will be willing to come together. In some parts of India, women appear to take more interest in planning, and are patiently waiting for the results to show up. Employment Guarantee Scheme made people perceive themselves as wage laborers. The trade unions too have the same perception, thus concentrating on the demand for wage rise. Very little par­ticipation in the process of planning of assets is noticed.

To strive for a new society, politics and philosophy purely based on the interests of the organized working class will not be favorable. There is a need to accept pluralist efforts, which will give impetus to real democracy

This vision provides a concrete alterna­tive to the development efforts such as dam­ming of the Narmada river through big projects that consume a lot of non-renewable resources, destroying forests and rare animals and even creating contradiction between upstream people and downstream people. Even though hydro-energy is regenerative energy, there are many ways to manufacture it without destroying the deli­cate eco-balance.

This vision also visualizes several in­dustries based on bio-mass production being set up in the rural areas, decentralizing the industry base. This would mean that a reverse migration flow to the countryside will take place. Immediately, there is a need to develop linkages between urban and rural producers, de-linking them from the market catering to 'wants.' Exchange circuits based on a 'need-based production' should be developed.

Once the optimal use of energy, together with the best use of regenerative energy, available in bio-mass and water, is defined as the key element for sustainability of livelihood and environment, the necessary technological and economic models, the ideal production relations and gender rela­tions can be developed which are in con­sonance with one another.

Of course, it is not a matter of drawing a blueprint, but it has to get developed in course of practice, or in Marxist terminology, in the course of praxis. One thing is sure and that is, to strive for a new society, politics and philosophy purely based on the interests of the organized working class will not be favorable. There is a need to accept pluralist efforts, which will give impetus to real democracy.






SCM Philippines: Gearing Up to Meet the Challenges


The crisis brought about by the ailing and decaying semi-colonial and semi feudal system is far from being remedied. The economic crisis we are in right now, is being aggravated further by the capitalist reces­sion in the international market. On the other hand, the US-Ramos regime remains deaf to the clamor of the people for change and has no intention of putting an end to land monopoly, backward feudal system and to the import-dependent export-oriented economy.

Our country continues to suffer from financial hemorrhage, as our government continues to pay foreign and local loans. The government could not allot enough for social services and infrastructure, and continues to be subservient to the IMF-WB policies and dictates.

There is continuous recession inside the country. The 6-8 hours brownout (power shut-down) compounds the economic prob­lem, as the business sector accumulates los­ses every month. As a consequence, there is a massive lay off in the ranks of the laborers. But the main culprit in the stagna­tion and the worsening of economic crisis is the maintenance of a backward, agricultural and semi-colonial economy of the present dispensation.

There is massive poverty brought about by the economic crisis, natural calamities and the continuous destruction of our en­vironment. Eighty percent of the total population live below poverty line and 4.2 million are unemployed and 9 million are underemployed.

Sixty to seventy percent of our 800,000 hectares of virgin forest are considered con­cession areas. Within seven years, we would no longer have forest if logging is not stopped.


Deepening Political Crisis

The logical consequence of economic crisis is political crisis. On the political front, though Ramos has relatively succeed in quelling the factional strife among the ruling elite in his first month in the office, the collaboration among this faction remains vulnerable.

The Catholic church, particularly Car­dinal Sin, continues to criticize the govern­ment on the issue of condoms, consumerism, power rate increase and demolition, despite owning vast tracts of land.

Factional squabbles in the military remains unresolved. Crucial peace negotia­tions have been cancelled many times.

The total war in the countryside is inten­sifying. Bombing, forced evacuation, food blockade and other forms of militarization are being further intensified. The peace negotiation between Ramos administration and National Democratic Front (NDF) con­tinues to be unclear.

With the worsening economic and politi­cal crises, elements in the Ramos faction are trying convincing Ramos that what the country needs now is an authoritarian or military rule. This even made Ramps to ask




for emergency power, to "resolve" the ener­gy crisis, from the Congress without serious­ly presenting a comprehensive plan on energy. The emergency powers granted to Ramos is just a front in conditioning the minds of the people for the resurgence of fascist rule.

The prevailing economic and political situations of our country provide favorable conditions for the whole national democratic movement to further advance its struggle. However, the movement has to consolidate its forces, strengthen its ranks and take les­sons from its previous years of struggles and experiences for it not to repeat the mistakes and to advance new strategies for the nation­al democratic struggle.


SCM Response

The Student Christian Movement of the Philippines is not spared by the political dis-orientation that has crept in to the larger people's movement as well as to the youth and student movements. The SCMP, in the recent past, has focused much of its atten­tion and resources for high visibility mass campaigns and mobilizations at the expense of ideological and organizational consolida­tion. The political and ecumenical disorientations that have crept into the movement still have their vestige inside SCMP. Thus, it is a must for us to sum-up our experiences of the past and learn from it. As a national movement, we have taken the initial step of summing-up the life and work of the past 15 years. But it is not enough. The process of summing up has to be pursued down to our own regions and chapters. This is a key ele­ment in redefining and contextualizing our ecumenical commitment to the basic masses.

It is also important to assess our educa­tion work, which is a key factor in deepening the ideological foundations and the political awareness of our mass membership. We should, likewise, immediately and seriously contribute to the advancement of the nation­al democratic propaganda movement of youth and students.

Also, in the past biennium, the organiza­tion responded once again to integrate with the basic masses. We successfully imple­mented our basic masses integration programme in summer 1993 and conducted a short-span exposure trip to the basic mas­ses during the school year. Now, we have the task to continue to integrate and learn direct­ly from the masses, to have an advocacy programme in the campuses to popularize the struggle of the basic masses, and to deploy SCM organizers into the ranks of peasants and workers, as our concrete con­tribution to the struggle of peasants and workers.

We have, for the past two years, painstak­ingly sown the seed of awareness regarding women's question in our ranks. We only have to hold on to what we have started, continue to integrate the self realization process down to our chapters, for us to inter­nalize further the women's issue in our ranks.

The fall of socialism in Europe and the apparent "victory" of capitalism in modern society demand us to study alternatives to capitalism and uphold our national democratic line, and to engage in serious dialogue with our friends on the contours of a new world order.

In the last biennium, we successfully revived and gave new vigor to our ecumenical relations work. What we need now is to continue forging closer ties with other Christian youth organizations and make it an avenue for our expansion work. Influence and maximize church program­s in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the Christian youth and students.

We have to bear in our minds that we have to grasp and hold on to our ecumenical




principles and tasks, for us to respond com­prehensively and contribute much in giving birth to a new protest movement of the people.

General Thrust: Consolidate ranks and arouse, organize and mobilize the broadest number of youth and students and integrate them to the basic masses for national democracy.


Essential Tasks Ahead


·         Build and consolidate dynamic SCM chapters in the campuses nationwide by

·         Launching summing-up sessions at the regional, island-wide and chapter levels.

·         Building chapters in all National Strategic Schools and by producing one full-time organizer in each chapter within 2 years.

·         Building the National Organizing Com­mittee in the first semester of the school year 1993-1994.

·         Unifying and implementing the revised ED Curriculum.

·         Uniting the whole membership on the revised movement building.

·         Integrating faith reflection in chapter dynamics. Regularize Biblico-theological reflections and Bible Studies.

·         Launching self-realization process towards awareness on patriarchy and gender partnership, through

- men-women caucuses and dialogues on national and chapter levels

- definite guidelines on men-women caucus education on patriarchy

- render sensitivity training and exposure programs

- the women's programme defined in GPC

- gender balance in all committee structures and activities

·         Raising funds at all levels of the SCMP for programs, projects and other ac­tivities.

·         Integrate with and consciously deploy forces to the basic masses and support their struggle by

·         Living with the basic masses at least for one month during summer break and by regularizing  weekend  exposure programs (boycott summer classes)

·         Launching basic masses advocacy programs in the campuses, through

-    actual integration internal education

-    advocacy using/allowing strategies:

-    launch a one-week sustained propaganda in the campuses on the issue of the basic masses (BM). Forms of propaganda may be film shows, litur­gical mobilizations, photo exhibits, worship dialogues, room to room visits tap and maximize academic institute and church for BMI

-    attend peasant and workers organizers' train­ings

-    coordinate with peasant or workers' organiza­tions in building support groups in the cam­puses

-    contribute in research work of basic masses' na­tional organizations particularly with the peasants on the needs of the peasants in the regions

-    encourage dialogue between BM leader and SCM leaders from national to local chapters for coordination of programs and activities.

·      Contribute to the advancement of the national democratic propaganda move­ment of youth and students by

·      Exposing the anti-people and fascist char­acter of the US-Ramos regime with em­phasis on the exposition of total war policy. (Mechanisms: regularize student forums, study circles, discussion groups, alternative classes, and break through and integrate with the basic masses.)

·      exposing the bankruptcy of, and counter current ideas (expose and oppose the state abandonment of education.)

·      Issuing statements containing analysis on




burning issues of the day regularly.

·      Propagating National Democracy.

·      Props gating the need to integrate with the basic masses.

·      Participating in the local struggle and maximizing this to condemn the state for its abandonment of its responsibility to education.

·      Exposing reactionary and fundamentalist groups.


·      Comprehensively implement our Ecumenical Relations Work.

·      The tasks in relation to the Church are to

·      Improve our ecumenical relations (ER) work concept and unify the whole mass membership on the improved ER con­cept.

·      Challenge the institutional church on so­cial issues confronting our society.

·      Maximize church programs and ecumenical activities for arousing, or­ganizing and mobilizing Christian youth and students for basic masses struggle.

·      Launch dialogues and activities with the people particularly the youth of other faiths and encourage them to participate in the National Democratic struggle.

·      Seek assistance of other ecumenical groups in studying and analyzing biblical traditions and Philippine history of Chris­tianity.

·      The tasks in the Campuses are to

·      Launch activities that would propagate and relate our ecumenical understanding to Christian youth organizations and other youth/student organizations towards our National Democratic agen­da, through

relief operations

ecumenical mass/services


prayers and faith reflections


·      Propagate the anti-Imperialist line and uphold our National Democratic strug­gle in international campaigns by

·      Having exchanges of campaign relative to anti-imperialist campaign with our inter­national friends

·      Establishing bilateral links between SCM local chapters directly with units of WSCF member-movements, and other groups

·      Studying and analyzing the new world order, specifically


Modern revisionism

Struggles of national democratic movements

·      Projecting positions on international is­sues and by building solidarity with other oppressed people of the world

·      Facilitating study forums and cultural ex­changes with foreign friends






Myanmar SCM



Under the supervision of Women's Concerns Program, University Christian Work (Myanmar SCM), a gathering and discussion of women students at­tending Myanmar University/ col­leges, and institutes was held at Calvary Baptist Church, Pyin Oo Lwin from 27 August to 2 September 1993. Forty-eight delegates took part in the program.

Bible Studies were conducted by Daw C.C. Htu Ra every morning. Talks on "Women and Men Relationship," "Women's Role in the Christian Family," "Self-esteem/" "Customary Laws of Myanmar and Women's Rights," formed the main inputs of the gathering. Group discussions and inputs on the WSCF and SCM enabled the students to understand better the role of students in the social and political milieu of Myanmar. Evening Devotions formed a regular part of the program.



Australian SCM


The ASCM National Women's Conference, on the theme Through a Glass Darkly: Images of Women in Australian Society was held from April 23 to 26 (Friday to Monday), 1993 at Katoomba. The conference was attended by Kate Leeson, Karen Dimmock, and Marianne Vreugdenhil from the Adelaide University, Susan McMichael from Armidale, Kate O'Sullivan from Melbourne, Meredith Hughes from Newcastle, Terri Fealy and Louise Pitts from New South Wales, Edwina Hunter from Sydney, Belin­da Groves, Michelle Simper, Lucinda






Newell and Vereena Mauldon who are all senior friends living in Sydney and Helen Davids who was visiting      from England.

On the first morn­ing Adelaide led a dramatized Bible study followed by an address by Rev. Maz Smith, a Uniting Church minister in Sydney's western suburbs. Maz's per­sonal faith and strength were very challenging. The stories she told of women in the hous­ing estates around Sydney imparted an understanding of real people, with struggles not the same as students, but whose sense of humor and courage and generosity gave great respect for them.

Berneice Moore spoke of The Beauty Myth, showing some segments from popular films such as Pretty Woman and Steel Magnolias and what messages these gave about women in our culture today. On Sunday morning, Rowena Curtis led a study of the 'hidden' role of women in the early Christian church, basing some of her ideas on Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza's material.

On Saturday night, the group had dinner in a very groovy new age restaurant in Katoomba and returned to the house for a worship service in the spirit of Taize.

The Conference came to an unexpected early end on Sunday the 25th as many had left by that morning to meet bus and plane schedules.



SCM Aotearoa


The first SCM Aotearoa national women's event of 1993 was an Assertiveness and Self Appreciation Workshop held in the Otago region on the 18th of May.

The idea for an assertiveness workshop arose from the observation among SCM women that women lack a certain degree of assertiveness and self-confidence that is ap­parent in the men. A suspicion surfaced that what most women hold in common as a reason for this lack of assertiveness could be the underlying Christian doctrine that says that women are ideally meek and servile. Although not existing in as blatant a form as it once was, this idea is still lingering on in the hesitancy and/or inability to express one's opinion fully, especially if they may be of offence or possible threat to others.

This inability for free expression by women is a serious problem for SCM as a




movement. To begin with, the valuable ex­periential and conceptual insights of these silent women are left out. It also poses a threat to the claim of the SCM calling itself a student, or people's movement, when the vast majority of dialogue is restricted to its male membership.

The problem is not a case of women being inadequate communicators. Women have excellent communication skills especially fine-tuned in facilitation and listening, but still their voices are not heard often enough.

The assertiveness workshop was designed to expose all of these factors that dictate to women why they should not be speaking. This consisted of structural analysis in small groups looking at family systems, role models, cultural expectations, and also addressing the mechanics of speak­ing to be heard.

From this analysis, women discovered family structures that held built-in expecta­tions of the role of women that disallowed speech. If the father's opinion is the last word and opposition from mother will




cause verbal or physical violence, the mes­sage is well learnt - don't risk talking. This silencing violence is often more effective in its verbal form. The memory of ridicule, threat, or being ignored are destructive and lasting voices that can stay speaking for a lifetime.

A practical component of the workshop dealt with assertive techniques in voice projection, posture, and language: explain­ing who the speaker is and where she came from, clearly and directly, to a person at the opposite end of the conference room (in front of ten others); standing with good pos­ture at her true size, looking directly at the person with whom she is speaking, and having the courage to own her statements, that is, "I think, I feel," etc.; and, avoiding diminutive or negative adjectives of herself and others, not using introductions or state­ments that could demean such as "I am only.......," "I'm just a ........," "This is Rebecca, she is the terribly famous general secretary," and so on.

All of these exercises were done within the conceptional framework of rediscover­ing and reclaiming one's worth as woman in the equality that heralds the community of God, and with the recognition of female his­tory and of the women who have lived and struggled before. This activity of looking into the women of yesteryears was an at­tempt to acknowledge the unheard or unap­preciated voices. In doing this, one feels connected to a huge wealth of experience and power that has been denied attention, in a cultural history recorded by, for, and about, men.

The need for assertiveness and self-ap­preciation for women is a far greater issue than can be addressed in a day, a week or even years, but every time we give it space for analysis and energy, it gives the chance of invigorating and enhancing the life of the SCM.




Indian SCM


A National Women Students Conference was held at Whitefield, Bangalore from November 10-14, 1993, jointly organized by the Joint Women's Program and the Stu­dent Christian Movement of India. This Conference sought to enable participants to affirm the need, and to uphold the search, for an inclusive communion within the church and society.

The theme of the conference, "Women for the Fullness of Life" brought out vividly the various aspects of the role of women, espe­cially students, through Bible studies, paper presentations, group discussions and workshops. They convinced the participants of the urgent task to work for a common theological-ideological framework within which the fullness of life can be experienced by one and all.

Thirty-three participants from 10 States of the Indian Union and belonging to various denominations and confessions attended the program.

Rev. Dr. K.C. Abraham, Moderator's Commissary, Karnataka Central Diocese, Church of South India, inaugurated the con­ference by lighting the lamp. Rev. Thomas John, General Secretary of the Student Chris­tian Movement of India, gave an inspiring talk on the theme focusing on the evils that distort the fullness of life and on the impor­tance of seeking and achieving the fullness of life in a patriarchal society through trans­formation and empowerment of women within the church and society. He also em­phasized the importance of uprightness and perfectness within the individuals and the community for achieving the fullness of life.



The inaugural worship was followed by






The keynote address by Rev. Dr. K.C. Abraham who stressed the importance of relationships not only between human beings but also between human beings and nature. He drove home the point that full­ness of life comes only in terms of fullness of relationships both with human beings and with nature. This can be brought to realiza­tion only through commitment to justice and commitment to conserve nature, he said.

All the four Bible Studies were highly appreciated by the participants. Ms. Corrine Scott led the Bible study on "Women for justice and justice for women" giving a new and thought-provoking interpretation to the story of Martha and Mary. Rev. Nirmala Vasanthkumar enlightened the participants with new insights on the problem of pollu­tion and imbalance in the eco-system and called for a responsible stewardship in using earth's resources and protecting the en­vironment. Rev. G.D. Anandarajan in his Bible study on the theme called the par­ticipants to be peace-makers and to be responsible for promoting communal har­mony.

There was a dialogue session with repre­sentatives of women’s organizations, which provided an opportunity to the participants top discuss some of the common problems facing women.

A workshop on "Understanding the process of socialization, breaking stereotypes and rewriting personal scripts" was conducted by Ms. Saroj Welsch from Manav Vikas Kendra. This was acknow­ledged to be a very useful session for many as it enabled them to see themselves.

Bible Studies, papers and other presenta­tions along with the consolidated group reports and plan of action drawn out by the participants will soon be published by the organizers for wider circulation.


Elizabeth Joy






The Big E: Personal Reflections


The Big E was a festival organized by WSCF Europe. The E stands for Event but during the festival, it also came to mean Ecumenical, Europe and Enthusiasm.

This festival was held in Zeist, in is the southern part of the Netherlands, from August 3 to 11 1993. One of the most exciting aspects of the event was the vast range of countries that participants had traveled from. There were people from North, South, East and West Europe as well as guests from Nicaragua, Canada, Egypt, Hong Kong, Jordan, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and, of course, myself from Aotearoa.

One of the themes of the festival was "Many gifts. One Spirit." This theme was developed throughout the event in two ways. First, on the personal level. The par­ticipants were encouraged to use their talents as a means of reflecting on the topics of discussion put forward each day. In the morning, a guest speaker would share thoughts and experiences on specific topics that ranged from "Ecumenism in East and West" to "Ecology and Theology in Or­thodoxy." The afternoons were spent either in small study groups or in expressive workshops. The expressive workshops provided resources for many craft creations. I was able to mould thoughts about a green theology into pottery, whilst others were in­volved in book-binding or drama workshops.

On the second level, that of Christian community, the idea of "many gifts one spirit" was a bit harder to make into reality. The Big E revealed some of the difficulties that Christians in Europe are struggling with, as they strive for ecumenism. For ex­ample, the introduction to the Orthodox faith only produced glimpses of the depth of their spiritual tradition. However, one could really feel the passion of emotion that came out, as both Orthodox and Protestant Chris­tians shared what being ecumenical meant to them. One came away from these discus­sions with hope that ecumenism is possible. And more importantly, people are com­mitted to working towards it.

One of the speakers that I was most im­pressed by was Kami Khouri, who spoke about "A multi-cultural/religious dialogue". Mr. Khouri, is a Palestinian/Jordan. In 1991, he was appointed to the World Council of Churches' Commission on Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation.




He spoke about solidarity being more im­portant than dialogue. Noting that there has always been multi-cultural and religious plurality, he said that more ought to be done than discuss the problems, to go beyond and support and stand alongside the oppressed peoples in all societies.

This solidarity is becoming even more necessary as the instability and violence of the Middle East spreads to Europe and North America. Mr. Khouri recognized that the future of Europe is very related to the situation in the "third world." It appears the world is shifting to a new ideological con­frontation of the North and South and per­haps, returning to 11th century crusades. He sees this in the West's willingness to use great military force in the Middle East.

The war in Iraq was "technological bar­barism" which put Iraq's infrastructure back to the level of the pre-industrial era. The damage was far greater than anything done in the first or second world wars.

Europe and North America have a lot invested in maintaining the fractured society of the Middle East. If the Middle East were thriving it could pose a great threat to global power structures. "The single most impor­tant thing we in the West can do is apply consistent standards of morality throughout the world. Don't make the Arab and Muslim world the exceptions."

Mr. Khouri predicted that in the next one hundred years the majority of Christians will be living in the South and will be poor. Christianity will go back to its roots of being an oriental religion. "We need now to set terms of reference for human dialogue and solidarity with the South."

A series of discussions were held in the afternoons where the tales of horror in the lives of the children of Chernobyl were nar­rated. These are children, who are living with the consequences of the explosion of the Chernobyl nuclear power station.

Within WSCF Europe, a lot of work is being done to develop links with young Christians in the East. Hopefully, the Big E will have revealed some ways that Ecumenism can developed throughout the whole of Europe.

Personally, for me, one of the most fun ways of learning about European cultures was through dancing. Greek dancing was extremely popular. But those from Belarus showed how to really dance.

The Big E was a true festival. It involved celebration, worship, discussion and creativity. However, I did come away with some sadness and a few unanswered ques­tions. My sadness is for the women in WSCF Europe. I came across a lot of wonderful women who were giving a great deal of their energy to the movement. Yet, male culture dominated throughout this event. The or­ganizers had not given adequate thought to the safety of women. This resulted in women experiencing sexual harassment and having no support system- in place to deal with it.

My unanswered questions are: What did the BIG E achieve? and who benefited? As a participant who came from the other side of the world, with only a little knowledge of WSCF Europe, I am unable to answer these questions on broad scale. For me, though, it was a really positive experience of a wide variety and large number of people coming together. By talking to people about their lives I was able to find out a lot more about Europe than I could through text books. This conference revealed to me the depth to which place and tradition are a part of peoples' identity. The Big E showed us that place and tradition are some of the many gifts we bring to the one spirit of Ecumenism.

 Alison Greenaway




Regional Committee Meeting


The Asia-Pacific Regional Committee met in Hong Kong in late June 1993 for two weeks. The biennial meeting saw delegates discussing, debating and making decisions that would have an impact on the direction and life of the movements in the region, m the first week of the Meeting the delegates strived to critically understand and reflect upon the impact of development in Asian and Pacific countries. Chhaya Datar from India led the inputs while Sharon Rose Duri from Philippines shared her theological in­sights.

The other week, termed the 'business week,' was devoted to discussions and decisions on WSCF/SCM matters such as the Centennial celebrations, programs for the coming year and the election of Standing Committee Members.

Amanda Tibbey (Australia) was re-elected Chairperson of the new Standing Committee of the region for 1993-1995. Daniel Peters Penumaka (India) was elected Vice-chairperson, while Alison Greenaway (Aotearoa) and Rudy Corro (Philippines) are the two members-at-large of this Standing Committee. EXCO members - Harsha Bas-nayake (Sri Lanka) and Jane Leong (Sin­gapore) and their proxies were already elected at the 30th General Assembly held in Chantilly, France, in 1990.

For more details of this meeting, look out for minutes of the Regional Committee Meeting that will be published and circu­lated soon.



SET 1993


Student Empowerment for Transformation (SET) 1993 was held at the SCM House, Bangalore, India from 15 October to 12 November 1993. SCM of India played local host to 14 participants who attended the 4-week program. This year's theme was "Women and Men Work Together in Faith and Replenish the Earth." It was, as in the words of the Regional Secretary, Wong Wai Ching,"... a major expression of Asia-Pacific regional theme for 1993-1995 ... summing up concerns for the perception of the existing 'development' models in many countries of our region and its implication for ecology, women and other marginalized groups of our societies." Recommendations from SET 1993 will be included in the report soon to be published in the next issue of Praxis.



Joint Consultation


A Joint Consultation on "Community of Women and Men" was held by the WSCF Asia-Pacific in collaboration with the Asian Women Resource Centre for Culture and Theology (AWRC) and the Christian Con­ference of Asia's Women's Desk from November 7 to 14, 1993 in Bangalore, India. Nine participants from movements in the region attended the consultation. What was seen and experienced was shared in the WSCF/SCM caucus on the last night of the programme. A fuller report of the evalua­tions of this program will be ready for the next issue of Praxis.



Forthcoming Programs


Delegates from Taiwan, Philippines, India, Australia and Aotearoa will be participating in the Indigenous People's workshop to be held in Sydney, Australia from January 29 to February 7, 1994. This workshop comes under the Movement Animators Program which aims to build up and




strengthen animators for the student move­ments and for long-term commitment to the ecumenical movement in general.

A workshop focusing on patriarchy, development and ecology will be held in Malaysia in late March 1994 for about ten women participants including the members of the Regional Women's Committee. This will be followed by the Regional Women's Committee meeting.



WSCF History & Archives Project


During the 100 years of its existence, the WSCF has played a key role in the modern missionary and ecumenical movements; the rich ar­chives and the living memories of many senior friends have seldom been used, and few, mainly old, publications are available on the WSCF History. At its last meeting in Chantilly, France/ the 30th General Assemb­ly decided to launch a Centenary Archives and History Project for the period leading up to 1995.

This project comprises various aspects: 1) the archives, which need to be sorted out, put into chronological order and computerized; 2) publications which include a History Series, a popular history volume, and oc­casional papers; 3) consultations on relevant issues in the history of the WSCF; 4) senior friends' network; 5) coordination through a History Working Group composed of nine senior friends and the two Co-Secretaries General.

Since 1988, much has been achieved in terms of archival work with the help of three interns and several volunteers who have covered the periods of 1895-1931 and 1956-1968, as well as the minutes collection. Preliminary work has been done on the reports and publications, and efforts are cur­rently focusing on the years 1945-1955.

The publications are well underway with Dr. Philip Potter writing the popular history volume scheduled to come out in 1995, and the History Series with two issues, A Com­munity of Memory and Hope, and the transla­tion of Suzanne de Dietrich's Fifty Years of History. The third issue, a collection of travel reports and other articles by Federation leaders of the past and present, is near com­pletion and will be ready for publication soon.

Two consultations focusing on different important aspects of the life of the Federa­tion were held in February 1990 and April 1993. Plans are being made for a third history consultation on the university question, ten­tatively to be held in May 1994 in the United States. Possibilities to organize a consult­ation on the role of women in conjunction with this consultation are being pursued as well.

By 1995, this project will reach its comple­tion and will serve as a valuable basis for carrying the work of the Federation into the next century.


Courtesy: Federation News



WSCF Centennial Fund


A Centennial Fund is being set by the WSCF with an initial target of US$ 1 million to be collected by 1995, and a longer- term target of $3 million.

The Fund is intended to help students throughout the world who participate in the life of the Federation, to support WSCF in­ternational programs, the Ecumenical Assistance Programme and Inter-regional coordination. At present, the Federation is totally dependent on the generous contribu­tions made by some 30 churches and donor




agencies. Funds collected will be invested ethically, that is, in companies that apply non-discriminatory policies, are not in­volved in military production and are ecologically friendly.



Farewell Ting Jin...


On July 8, the last day of the Regional Com­mittee meeting in Hong Kong, all the delegates from fourteen different move­ments presented their gifts to Ting Jin, thanking her for all the "sweat and blood" she shed during the seven years of work in Asia-Pacific region. In fact, we all know that the presentation of gifts says more than the gifts themselves. It is very minimal when compared to all the efforts and thoughts that Ting Jin has put in during her service. We have to thank her once again for her invalu­able contribution in bringing very much alive the critical spirit of students in the movements of our region. As she is well rested and thinking about her future com­mitment, let us wish her all the good luck she deserves, wherever she is and whatever she does.



Solidarity Report


On the 30th of June 1993 Miralyn Gamba, former General Secretary (1991-1993) of the Student Christian Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) and participant of SET 1992 was abducted and detained in Davao at a village fiesta, raided by a paramilitary group. This group assists the Armed Forces of the Philippines in its counter- insurgency operations.

According to information received from SCMP, it was understood that Miralyn was visiting SCM units in the province and was on an 'immersion' programme to better understand the daily life and realities of the people, in the village in Davao. During the raid, Mira was injured, having received a shotgun bullet that grazed her head and back. During her interrogation, she suffered mental and psychological torture and was also sexually harassed.

After almost three weeks of frantic search, Miralyn's whereabouts became known. She was charged of violating Presidential Decree 1066 (illegal possession of firearms). The allegation was that she was possessing a 45 caliber pistol and an M30 grenade at the time of her arrest.

At present, Miralyn is temporarily released, that is, on a bail. Efforts are on to talk to repre­sentative military personalities to drop her case. The SCMP and her legal counsel are also working for a speedy trial to be arranged.

In her fax-letter dated 26 November 1993 to WSCF Asia-Pacific regional office, besides soliciting funds for payment of her bail, she also appealed the regional office and movements to write letters to the following persons:

1.    Letters of appeal reiterating her innocence and appeal for a speedy trail to: Hon. Salurdarea, Judge, RTC Branch 1, Tagum, Davao del Norte, Philippines.

2.    Letters of. appeal reiterating her innocence and to drop the case to: Castor Durado, Fiscal Prosecutor, RTC, Tagum, Davao del Norte, Philippines.