The Right to the Sea
In the current climate of the global financial crisis, there is an increasing focus on economic growth and development. The crisis is continuously being used to entrench a neoliberal agenda allowing for further deregulation of the economy and privatization of public assets.
According to Lefebvre’s ‘the production of space’, space has been used to create new markets, ‘saving capitalism from extinction‘. Now, the expansion of privatization of space for corporate interests has moved from primarily in-land and the coastal space to marine space. Both, the coastal and marine space, up to the 200 nautical miles, are supposed to be managed by the State, on behalf of its citizens (according to part V of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea also known as UNCLOS). Just like in the case of public spaces in towns and cities, the State often becomes the usurper of community rights. We continuously witness cases of displacement of coastal communities and / or fishers, the prohibition of citizens to use coastal and marine space and in general, the marginalization of all those who cannot become, or refuse to become players in the market for coastal and marine space but also marine resources.
This website is an urgent call for the creation of a global movement to reclaim our sea(s)! When our rights are continuously being pushed out of the public sphere to make room for those who have the capital, then we need to push back and reclaim them.
Through the reclaimthesea.org, we call all of those that have had their right to the sea taken away, those who have fought the state or a big development and lost or won to get in touch. Fill in the ‘report a violation’ form, make your story heard and share your experiences.
What we are witnessing is an attempt to appropriate one of our last remaining “commons” through different levels of control: the state, sometimes involving local authorities, and private capital itself. As Eduardo Galleano taught us, and as we will need to remember while we keep fighting for the right to the seashore, the purpose of Utopia “es para caminar” — it’s to keep walking, and this website hopes to bring together all of us who are refusing to give up their last utopias. [roar.org]
editor of reclaimthesea.org
Maria is a researcher on political ecology, the commons and the sea.