At the intersection of marine conservation and social, economic, environmental and food justice

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Six Things to Know About NAMA

As the year wraps up, we're reflecting on the past 12 months (during which time we started celebrating our upcoming 20 year anniversary!), and we realized that we've gotten to know so many new allies and friends this year, some of whom may not know much about NAMA's history. And we know from time to time, some of our faithful friends might wonder why we work the way we do. So, thought we'd remind ourselves and you about what's brought us to today.

1. NAMA was founded based on a set of values and principles. That makes us a value based organization, which means we determine what we do based on whether or not it reflects those values and allows us to be true to those principles. This means we measure success in ways that are not always tangible or measurable in the conventional fashion.  

2. We take risks. We’ll strive to be bold and brave. We expect to make mistakes because we know we’re not perfect. We trust our collaborators will tell us when we err, so we can correct course. We don’t mind apologizing. But we also don’t mind standing our grounds when it comes to differences of opinion. 

Our opinions are based on the principles NAMA’s built on. That means on some issues, such as privatization of public commons, our opinion won’t change because our principles haven’t. We will stand by our oppositions to fisheries and ocean management that take public commons and turn them into privately held commodities.

3. We believe our work should put us out of work. Seriously. We’re not in this to perpetuate an organizational identity; we’re in this to create real change believing that real change means we don’t have to keep doing this work again. And again. And again.

4. We believe in decentralized community based leadership. We believe that intrinsic ownership in Main Street is worth more than anything on Wall Street. To that end we see our role one of facilitating communities to access their own power, connecting with other likeminded communities and advocates, and elevating their collective voices toward creating long term change. That means we give up being quoted in the paper, or speaking on a stage, etc. because we believe the voices of our community partners are most important.

5. We share our resources, including funding. We operate on a pretty small budget and anything we raise that doesn’t meet the basic operational needs is used to provide stipends to community leaders, enable fishermen to get where they need to go, and provide planning and coordination support for the Fish Locally Collaborative.

6. We are not going to be polite. That doesn’t mean we’re going to be rude. It means we will call things out as we see them and not settle for silence on critical issues such as slavery in the so-called sustainable seafood chain, or the strange bedfellows of the Koch Brothers, their allies, and environmental organizations pushing for ocean privatization. 

Ditto to issues which, on the surface may not appear to be connected to fisheries and marine policy issues but have deep roots that affect all parts of our society such as racial justice, economic justice, environmental justice, food access, and corporate grabs of anything that isn’t tied down.

Now you know! Any questions?