Water is a Human Right! Grassroots Resistance to Corporate Power


  • Caitlin Schroering University of Pittsburgh




Water, Transnational Social Movements, Human Rights, Alter-globalizations


In this short piece, I seek to explore two main questions: 1) How can communities take control over local governance and shape local economic futures?and2) How can local communities effectively band together to support world-system transformation? I examine examples of transnational organizing around water and, specifically, the National Summit on the Human Right to Water held in Abuja, Nigeria in January 2019. A repeated theme at the Summit was the idea that privatization is a threat because the narrative of the profit-based solution of privatization is at odds with the idea that people—and their human right to basic needs like water—come before profit. Privatization is a threat to human rights everywhere,and as climate change progresses resources will become even more scarce, with more of a push from corporations seeking to control and commodify water. One of the most powerful short-term results of this summit, therefore, was how it served as a space forglobalsolidarity buildingaround the human right to water.

Author Biography

Caitlin Schroering, University of Pittsburgh

Caitlin Schroering is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. She has a background in environmental and social justice organizing and her dissertation research examines transnational right-to-water movements.


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How to Cite

Schroering, C. (2019). Water is a Human Right! Grassroots Resistance to Corporate Power. Journal of World-Systems Research, 25(1), 28–34. https://doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2019.899



Symposium: Corporate Power and Local Democracy