Land Sovereignty

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= alternative concept to replace or augment Food Sovereignty


Jun Borras and Jennifer Franco:

"We define land sovereignty as the right of the working class people to have effective access to, control over and use of land and live on it as a resource and territory. Simply put, land sovereignty is the rural poor people’s right to land. The use of the term ‘sovereignty’ here sounds awkward, but we could not think of any other better term that would capture the essence of ‘working class people’s effective access, control and use’ as well as a phrase that could naturally be linked to an emerging broader alternative development framework, namely, ‘food sovereignty’.

The starting point of land sovereignty is a reaction to the dominant view on land which is founded on the quest for the most efficient economic (re)allocation and use of land as a scarce factor of production that can be attained by leaving it primarily to the forces of the free market. But the forces of the free market respond primarily to profit motivation, and are almost impossible to hold accountable for their workings. We therefore bring the state back in, and so the idea of sovereignty which immediately brings in the role of the nation-state. However, in our definition of land sovereignty, we do not stop in the nation-state as we bring the ‘people’ into the definition, and so the notion of a ‘popular sovereignty’ – but more specifically the working class, or the rural poor."

More Information

See the paper by Jun Borras on transformative, redistributive land reform in: Food Movements Unite.