Movements, mining and anti-corporate activism in Bangladesh

Contested Resource Extraction, Anti-Corporate Protests and the Politics of Movement Alliance in Bangladesh” (DOI: 10.1080/00472336.2018.1506043) is a new article by M. Omar Faruque of the Department of Sociology, University of Toronto, Canada.

The abstract states:

Why do activist groups form alliances and why do some alliances later fall apart? This article asks these questions in the context of a popular mobilisation against resource extraction in Bangladesh. It focuses on the dynamics of a strategic alliance between a locally organised community mobilisation against a British mining company and an urban radical activist group, known for its anti-capitalist activism, to explore the subsequent collapse of the alliance and the demobilisation of one group. Based on the qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with activists and organisational documents, the article probes the underlying causes of rupture. Although several individual and organisational factors are identified, it is argued that Bangladesh’s confrontational political culture and its authoritarian party system played a critical role, with local activists vulnerable to co-optation or being silenced by powerful political actors. The article contributes to social movement scholarship by emphasising that specific political cultures can undermine efforts to build strategic alliances between diverse social movement organisations.

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