Our Mother Ocean: Enclosure, Commons, and the Global Fishermen's Movement

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by Maria Dalla Costa and Monica Chilese

Common Notions

2015, paperback

SKU: 9781942173007


Our Mother Ocean tells the story of the Global Fishermen's Movement from its beginnings in Southern India to its crucial role in the global movement against neoliberal capitalism. In a time of profound economic and ecological crisis, Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Monica Chilese offer a long-overdue reminder that the ocean is an integral terrain of struggle for the preservation of dignity and life.

The authors draw attention to the polyvalent functions of the ocean as a source of food, medicine, raw materials, biodiversity and culture; and also as a site of human labour, livelihood, and culture threatened by industrial fishing and tourism that distorts landscapes, depletes fish stocks, and destroys natural barriers for the protection against climate disaster. Their perspective is both practical and theoretical, exploring the related issues of globalization, development, work, and food, and illuminates strategic connections between those struggling for social justice in the global North and South.

For humanity and against capital, Dalla Costa and Chilese remind us, it is time for love and respect for our mother Ocean.

With a preface by Silvia Federici.


"This book about the world's fishermen movement provides us with new insight about a phenomenon that is completely ignored, not only by the mainstream media, but also by independent researchers. Yet the questions it raises about the safeguarding of resources, the right to live, and the satisfaction of needs are strategic. Mariarosa Dalla Costa and Monica Chilese have achieved a great and highly enjoyable book." --Claudio Albertani, History Department, Universidad Autonoma de la Ciudad de Mexico

"This book is indeed a timely one. With climate change and the exhaustion of natural resources, patriarchal capitalist civilization seems to have come to an end. The authors remind us that Mother Earth and Mother Ocean are indeed the sources of all life on our planet. Without Earth, no life; without oceans and water, no life. The authors argue that the vital connection between humans and the sea, between humans and the earth has been disrupted by capitalist and patriarchal exploitation. The victims of this exploitation, among others, are the small coastal fishermen who lose their livelihood. However, the authors do not stop at analyzing their problems, but show how people everywhere are fighting against this destruction. I warmly recommend this book to all who are concerned about the future of life on this planet." -- Maria Mies, author of Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale and coauthor of The Subsistence Perspective with Veronika Bennholdt-Thomsen

About the Authors:

Mariarosa Dalla Costa is an influential feminist author and activist, whose seminal book The Power of Women and the Subversion of the Community, coauthored with Selma James, has been translated into six languages. For decades, Dalla Costa has been a central figure in the development of autonomist thought in a wide range of anticapitalist movements.

Monica Chilese is a political sociologist in the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Padua, where she devotes her study to the question of ecology, giving special attention to the marine environment, the impoverishment of the fisheries, and the analysis of social problems.

Silvia Federici is Associate Professor of International Studies and Political Philosophy at New College, Hofstra University. She is a founding member and coordinator of the Committee for Academic Freedom in Africa. Among her earlier publications is Enduring Western Civilization: The Construction of the Concept of Western Civilization (Praeger, 1995).