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Resilience, Contestation and Resistance

Contesting Extraction: Challenges for Coalition Building between Agrarian and Anti-mining Movements

Contester l’extraction : défis pour la création de coalitions entre les mouvements agraires et les mouvements anti-miniers
Resistiendo frente a la extracción: desafíos para la creación de coaliciones entre los movimientos agrarios y antimineros
Louisa Prause

Abstracts

In the context of a global expansion of the extractive frontier, building broad protest coalitions is key for emancipatory and non-extractive future transformations of the countryside. Yet even though movements in both the agrarian and the mining sector struggle against the enclosure of land and the loss of livelihoods in rural areas, inter-sectoral coalitions remain scarce. This chapter therefore aims to identify challenges to inter-sectoral coalition building between movements struggling against extractive projects in the agrarian and the mining sector. Based on a case study of Senegal it shows that mutually exclusive identities, missing ‘bridge builders’, and different policy spaces constitute key challenges for the building of coalitions. Furthermore, extraction plays out differently in the agrarian and in the mining sector. Different regulations and economic histories as well as distinct impacts of extractive activities on land and nature provide different incentives and challenges for claim making in the two sectors. In order to understand resistance to extraction, it is therefore key to stay attuned to the different impacts extractive investments have on the ground.

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Authors' notes

The author declares no conflict of interest. The work that contributes to this chapter was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of two funding lines: ‘Bioeconomy as Societal Change’ [FKZ 031B0750] and ‘Global Change’ [Grant Number FKZ 01LN1302A].

Full text

I am very grateful to Jan Brunner, Sarah Kirst and Mario Schenk for their valuable comments on an earlier draft of this chapter. I would also like to thank the Initiative Prospective Agricole et Rural (IPAR) particularly Dr Aminata Niang, the West Africa office of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung, ENDA Pronat, the Collectif de Ndiael, and Dr Lamine Diallo for support during my fieldwork.

1. Introduction

1This chapter analyses the challenges faced in the building of inter-sectoral coalitions between social movements that struggle against the expansion of the extractive frontier in the mining and the agrarian sectors. Extractive activities have become a core feature of many economies in the global South in recent decades (Greco, 2020; Burchardt and Dietz, 2014). The extractivist logic of ‘operating through depletion’ (Durante, Kröger and LaFleur, 2021, 20) is thereby no longer only a characteristic feature of mining investments alone, but has also become prominent in large-scale investments in agricultural land (Mezzadra and Neilson, 2017). These latter investments, often referred to as land grabbing, not only change control and ownership of land, but also introduce a ‘green revolution’ and more recently digital technologies (Prause, Hackfort and Lindgren, 2021) into areas that have previously been dominated by smallholder agriculture. This involves an industrialisation, specialisation, and intensification of farming, based on the extraction of soil fertility and water reserves, alongside a loss of biodiversity and often the deforestation of large areas of land. Furthermore, industrialised agriculture extracts large volumes of materials that are destined for export, usually with little or no processing (McKay, 2017). Agro-industrial and mining projects are thus characterised by ‘value generation that is necessarily temporary and generally followed by barrenness and an inability to sustainably reproduce livelihoods in the affected habitat’ (Ye et al., 2020, 155).

2As a reaction to the expansion of extractive agro-industrial and mining projects, numerous protest movements have sprung up throughout many countries in the global South since the mid-2000s (Sändig, 2021; Conde, 2017; Engels, 2022). Protest movements regarding both agro-industrial and mining projects are similarly concerned with issues of land and land use, questions of access and control, and the challenge of sustaining land-based livelihoods in the context of an expanding extractivist frontier, as well as with broader emancipatory developmental pathways for the countryside (Prause and Le Billon, 2021; Kapoor, 2022). However, despite these similarities in motives and goals, coalitions between movements in the agrarian and the mining sectors have, to the best of my knowledge, so far not been reported and analysed in the literature. While this does not necessarily mean that they are non-existent, such coalitions seem to be at least rare (see Borras, 2016).

3This lack of inter-sectoral coalitions is problematic for movements that struggle for a non-extractivist development path for the countryside, since coalitions are among the most important tactical tools available to social movements (Gawerc, 2021. They enable the sharing of networks, resources, expertise, and information, and strengthen abilities to mobilise (McCammon and Moon, 2015). Coalitions can act as ‘transformative encounters’ that produce or induce wider social change or provide an opportunity for learning and knowledge exchange (Berriane and Duboc, 2019). In particular, coalitions between diverse groups and transnational or translocal coalitions can lead to broader-based mobilisations, which can heighten movements’ visibility and legitimacy (Gawerc, 2021; Tarrow, 2005; Temper, 2019). The literature stresses how important coalitions are for the success of struggles against extractivist projects, but the contributions focus on coalitions between organisations and movements contesting the same form of extractive project, either industrial mines or agro-industrial projects, in the same country or across countries (e.g. Walter and Urkidi, 2017; Gingembre, 2015), or on transnational coalitions linking protest actors in the global South to organisations in the global North (e.g. Anyidoho and Crawford, 2014; Renauld, 2016; Kapoor, 2022).

4At the same time, the broader debate on the expansion of the extractive frontier in agriculture and in mining shows that both sectors are increasingly entangled. There are growing spatial overlaps between both industries and they often compete over access to key input resources, in particular water (Le Billon and Sommerville, 2017). Large mining projects also often endanger local subsistence and small-scale food production because of the land they use, the water resources they need, and their often negative environmental consequences. Such ‘colliding ecologies’ (Kirsch, 2014, 15) are not limited to the vicinity of the mine. Polluted waterways can also have negative impacts on agricultural production in regions that lie downstream. Finally, several contributions have shown the close interlinkages between artisanal mining and small-scale farming as often complementary and sometimes contradictory rural livelihoods strategies (Pijpers, 2014; Mkodzongi and Spiegel, 2019).

5In view of the similarities between agrarian extractivist projects and mining projects and of the interlinkages between both sectors, forming cross-sectoral coalitions between agrarian and non-agrarian actors might be a key tactical tool for social movements that are struggling against dispossessions and for the protection of local livelihoods and emancipatory development paths for the countryside (Borras, 2016). Thus, activists as well as critical academics need to pay more attention to the potential and challenges of horizontal alliances and the ‘coalitional politics of resistance to dispossession’ (Kapoor, 2022, 346) on extractive frontiers. This chapter therefore aims to put forward a first exploratory attempt at explaining why such inter-sectoral coalitions are, despite the many similarities between movements in the agrarian and the mining sector, difficult to establish. Drawing on my own field research in Senegal, I investigate two movements, one struggling against large-scale land transformations for agro-industrial projects, the other contesting large-scale mining operations. I use this case study to gain insights into the challenges faced when building coalitions between movements that are struggling against different types of extractive projects, and thereby show what hinders the scaling up of political struggles in a way that would transcend a sectoral logic and tackle the development vision of extractivism more broadly.

6I chose Senegal as my case study context since investment in extractive projects in both the agrarian and the mining sector have increased significantly since the turn of the millennium (Anseeuw et al., 2012; Nolte, Chamberlain and Giger, 2016; ITIE Senegal, 2019) and new movements have formed to contest these projects. In the agrarian sector, the Cadre de Réflexion et d’Action sur le Foncier au Sénégal (Reflection and Action Network on Land in Senegal (CRAFS)) was formed by organisations active in the agrarian sector in 2011. In the mining sector, the coalition Publish What You Pay (PWYP) Senegal was formed in 2015. I chose these two movements as they are the only two actively opposing land appropriations for agro-industrial and mining projects at the national level in Senegal. Furthermore, each was formed by bringing together a larger number of organisations, and each had excellent ties to international partner organisations. PWYP Senegal specifically is part of an international movement, thus demonstrating its willingness and ability to forge large coalitions and networks.

7My analysis of these two movements is based on 65 interviews and seven focus group discussions that I conducted during four field trips in Senegal in AprilMay 2014, FebruaryApril 2015, MarchMay 2016 and November 2021. In 2020, I also conducted two interviews using teleconferencing tools. Many interviewees were members of movements active in conflicts regarding agro-industrial projects and industrial mines in Senegal. They included members of local communities that were engaged in resistance actions against agro-industrial and mining projects, and representatives of national and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the national peasant federation. I also conducted interviews with state representatives and representatives of corporations active in mining and agro-industrial projects. The case study is also based on a thorough review of national Senegalese press reports on land and mining conflicts in the country and on the reform processes of the land and mining law, as well as of documents published by PWYP and by CRAFS and of these movements’ social media accounts.

8The chapter is structured as follows. I first develop my theoretical framework based on approaches from social movement studies and critical agrarian studies to identify factors that impede coalition building between different movements. In the empirical section, I then introduce the two main protest movements in the agrarian and the mining sector in SenegalCRAFS and PWYPand show that they struggle to attain similar goals and use comparable protest strategies. In subsequent sections, I identify factors that, despite these similarities between the movements, hinder closer collaboration and coalition building in Senegal. I conclude by highlighting key challenges for coalition building, and reflect upon the necessity to acknowledge the specific impacts of different extractive projects on local communities if such challenges are to be overcome.

2. Analytical Framework: Building Coalitions in the Countryside

9To understand the challenges faced by efforts to build inter-sectoral movement coalitions in the countryside, I draw on approaches from social movement studies and critical agrarian studies. While the former offers a general understanding of the factors facilitating and impeding coalition building, its approaches have mainly been developed drawing on urban social movements in the global North and lack the analytical tools necessary to grasp the agrarian and rural structures in which movements engaged in struggles centred on extractive projects in the global South are embedded. Approaches from critical agrarian studies allow us to understand the structural changes that are induced by an expansion of capitalist relations and extractivist logics in the countryside.

10I understand coalitions as a ‘kind of coordination within and between movements that entails closer activist relationships than networks but looser ties than mergers’ (Daphi, Anderl and Deitelhoff, 2019, 2). The identities of the groups involved as well as their organisational structures remain separate, but they do engage in cooperative joint action (Tarrow, 2005; McCammon and Moon, 2015). With the term inter-sectoral coalitions, I refer to coalitions between movements that are active with regard to (partially) different issues, but are united by shared goals and seek to engage in joint planning and actions (Beamish and Luebbers, 2009). These include, for example, coalitions between environmental and labour movements (Obach, 2004), between peasant and indigenous organisations (Brent, 2015) and, in the case of this chapter, between agrarian and anti-mining movements. With the term ‘social movement’, I refer to collectivities acting with some degree of organisation and continuity outside of institutional channels for the purpose of challenging or defending extant authority (Snow, Soule and Kriesi, 2004, 11). I use the terms ‘movement’, ‘protest movement’ and ‘social movement’ interchangeably throughout the chapter.

11The literature on social movements has shown that inter-sectoral movement coalitions are often brought about by critical issues that affect various movements (Veltmeyer, 2004), and are facilitated by shared goals and protest strategies (Van Dyke and McCammon, 2010). Hindering factors for inter-sectoral coalitions (and coalitions more generally) include distinct and narrow beliefs and identities. These might inhibit coalition building even if broad goals are shared (Gerhards and Rucht, 1992; Lichterman, 1995). Whether or not divergences in terms of ideology and collective identities between different movements can be at least temporarily overcome depends to a great extent on existing social ties and direct interpersonal connections between activists across organisations (Rose, 2000; Van Dyke and Amos, 2017). Social ties provide knowledge of past actions and commitments, which can help foster trust (Gawerk, 2021). Here, so-called bridge builders or brokers can be key to establishing contact and to facilitating the formation of social ties in the first place (Tarrow, 2005). Multi-issue organisations that work from a broad ideological base on a variety of issues may act as important bridge builders, particularly for inter-sectoral coalitions (Van Dyke, 2003). Negative social ties in the form of personal differences might, meanwhile, impede coalition building or increase tensions in existing coalitions (Borras, Edelman and Kay, 2008). Whether positive or negative social ties exist depends partly on the histories of struggle and the previous interactions of different resistance groups (Martiniello, 2015). Furthermore, different geographies of struggle might prevent social movements’ members from forming social ties. If a group is spatially isolated and has limited opportunities to interact then coalition formation with actors from other regions will be difficult (Bandy and Smith, 2005). Limitations to interaction are not, however, linked only to differences in geographical spatial locations, but also to differences in political spaces or arenas. The state and particularly its policy apparatus serve as a focal point of much movement activity. In the policy process, however, the state creates policy subsystemssuch as specific agencies or committees that are responsible for certain policy areaswhich movements must address with their actions. Thus, the state creates important opportunities for interaction among particular groups of movement actors operating in the same policy area, which may facilitate the establishment of social bonds between movements. At the same time, these state-defined policy spheres also serve to separate protest actors, since they create very little opportunity for interaction between actors in policy-distinct movements, even if these actors’ goals might be similar (Obach, 2004).

12Studies from the field of critical agrarian studies stress the social class origin of social movements as another key factor influencing coalition building between different movements (Borras, Edelman and Kay, 2008; Borras, 2010). Different class affiliations shape the interests, goals and identities of various social groups when it comes to land-based extractivist projects . Land means different things to different groups of people, depending on their social class. For small-scale land users, it is a means of production and reproduction and a central source of livelihoods; for investors or large-scale landholders, it constitutes a commodity and a site of investment (Dietz and Engels, 2020). Social movements with different class bases, such as peasants and large-scale landholders, might therefore take different positions vis-à-vis the changes that are induced through extractivist projects(Borras, Edelman and Kay, 2008).

13Furthermore, while the rural poor have long been perceived as being mainly peasants; this perception does not adequately reflect the complex and diverse livelihoods of people in the countryside, who combine different activities such as fishery, pastoralism, artisanal mining or wage labour in both the agricultural and the non-agricultural sector. Henry Bernstein (2010) therefore talks about ‘classes of labor’ that encompass those who have to pursue their reproduction through increasingly scarce wage employment or a range of precarious small-scale and insecure survival activities. These ‘classes of labor’ do not have a pre-existing form of class consciousness or a sense of collective identity, especially since class relations intersect and combine with other social differences and divisions, such as gender, race, or ethnicity (Bernstein, 2010). Thus, even if the class affiliations of two movements are not as different from each other as are, for example, those of peasants and of large-scale landholders, movement actors nevertheless need to actively shape a collective identity if their aim is to mobilise the diverse groups belonging to these classes of labour (Borras, Edelman and Kay, 2008).

14These approaches from social movement studies and critical agrarian studies have shown us key facilitating and hindering factors with regard to coalition building. Shared goals, broad, cross-cutting issues, and similar protest strategies as well as social ties and shared geographical and policy spaces of movement action all facilitate coalition building. Their absence, in turn, makes coalition building more difficult. Distinct and narrow beliefs and identities as well as different class origins of movements’ bases can also hinder successful coalition building.

3. Protest Movements Contesting Extractive Projects in Senegal

15In response to rising investment in extractive agro-industrial and mining projects in Senegal, two new national movements formed, bringing together a variety of actors that were already active in the agrarian and the mining sector but that had not yet formed a formal network. The agrarian movement CRAFS was formed on April 28, 2011 (CRAFS, 2016). The roughly 20 organisations that participate in CRAFS include associations of land users who were affected by and opposed to large-scale agrarian extractivist projects , national organisations (mainly NGOs and think tanks), and the national peasant association the Conseil National de Concertation et de coopération des Ruraux (National Council for Consultation and Cooperation of the Rural Population (CNCR)), which brings together a large variety of associations of peasants, pastoralists, and fishermen. In addition, some regional organisations active in West Africa and the national sections of certain international NGOs are also part of the alliance (Prause, 2019). CRAFS acted on the national level, for example by organising demonstrations in Dakar that addressed the Senegalese government and by engaging in the national land reform process and lobbying national decision makers. It was also was involved in many local struggles at the sites of large-scale land transactions, mainly in the Senegal River valley in the department of St-Louis in the north of Senegal as well as in the area of Ndiaye in the department of Thiès.

16In the mining sector, meanwhile, 25 civil society organisations came together in 2015 to establish the national chapter of PWYP. In Senegal, PWYP is mainly comprised of local and national NGOs and the national sections of international NGOs such as Amnesty International. The most influential national mining-related NGO in the early years of the movement has been La Lumière, whose president also served as the president of PWYP. Unlike CRAFS, PWYP Senegal is part of an international network. This network promotes transparency and environmental protection in the mining sector and the fair transfer of mining levies to the local communities concerned (PWYP, 2017). Like CRAFS, PWYP is active at the national level and is also involved in local actions, in this case with regard to specific mines. These are located mainly in the region of Kédougou in the south-east of the country and to a lesser degree in the area of Ndiaye, in the region of Thiès.

17Even though these two movements developed in a similar time frame and both came together in reaction to the expansion of the extractive frontier, formal inter-sectoral coalitions between the movements and their member organisationsor even lengthy periods of collaborationhave yet to be realised. The following sections aim to answer why closer collaboration between the two movements has not occurred.

3.1 Goals and Strategies

  • 1 Source: interview with representatives of a member organisation of CRAFS, Dakar, 4 February 2015.

18The literature on social movements highlights shared goals and protest strategies as being key for the facilitation of coalitions. CRAFS formulated two central goals for its struggle. The first was to stop or downsize large-scale land transactions to international and national investors. CRAFS did not reject land transactions outright. Rather, it criticised the size, non-inclusivity, and negative impacts on local communities of the larger land deals and aimed to secure access to land for local communities.1 It thus advocated a vision whereby local land users could use land more productively and sustainably than multinational investors and in a way that would safeguard their own livelihoods and contribute to food sovereignty (ENDA Pronat, 2019; Prause, 2019). The CRAFS movement’s second goal was related to the land law reform process that President Macky Sall initiated in 2012 following his election. CRAFS saw its struggles against large-scale land investments as closely related to this project. The movement aimed to make the reform process inclusive so that the voices of family farmers would be heard, and to guarantee that a new land law would protect access to and control over land for smallholders and rural communities.

  • 2 Source: interviews with the president of PWYP Senegal—Tambacounda, 6 March 2015; 8 April 2016.

19PWYP formulated similar goals to CRAFS in some respects, but there were also some important differences. Like CRAFS, PWYP does not reject investments in large-scale mining projects outright. Rather, its main concern is to protect local communities from adverse impacts such as pollution or resettlement, and to secure access to land for rural communities.2 PWYP’s goals differ from those of CRAFS, however, in that the former movement does not propose an alternative vision of how to use the land now mined by the mining companies. Instead, PWYP aims to ensure that local communities derive some form of benefit from these mining activities and receive other lands by way of compensation. Regarding the process of reforming mining law, there were yet again strong similarities between the respective goals of the two movements. PWYP also struggled for a more participatory reform processthis time with respect to the reform of mining law, a process from which civil society actors had initially been excludedand for a mining law that would guarantee access to and control over land for communities affected by large-scale mining. PWYP, though, went further than CRAFS, stressing the importance of financial benefits for these communitiesin the form of a community fund that would distribute a part of mining revenues among themand of higher mining revenues for the state in general (Agence de Presse Sénégalaise, 2015; La Lumière, 2008).

20CRAFS used four core strategies in its struggle. First, it organised a large-scale, bottom-up process including workshops with peasants and pastoralists in all regions of Senegal in order to develop propositions for the land reform, which it was to bring to the negotiating table in 2016. Second, CRAFS organised and supported several demonstrations against large-scale land allocations for agro-industrial purposes. The most prominent of these was related to the Senhuile-Senethanol project in the region of St-Louis, which demonstrations successfully brought to a temporary halt (Benegiamo, 2020; Gagné 2021). Third, CRAFS attempted to build bottom-up networks of land user collectives, bringing together users threatened by land loss. In 2020, CRAFS member organisations began to form a network of peasant collectives active in conflicts centred on agro-industrial projects in different regions of Senegal, as well as those mobilising with regard to industrial phosphate mines in the region of Thiès (ENDA Pronat, 2020). Fourth, CRAFS lobbied key decision makers regarding both the land law reform and the allocation of land to agro-industrial projects.

21PWYP strategies were very similar, if generally less inclusive of local land users. First, PWYP also developed its own proposals for the reform process and struggled for the right to be heard by the commission in questiona demand that was finally granted in 2015. PWYP’s development of civil society proposals was, however, expert based and thus far less participatory, and it did not have the same mobilising effect for rural communities as was the case in the agrarian sector. Second, PWYP supported local community struggles centred on industrial mines, mainly on gold mines in the region of Kédougou and phosphate and zircon mines in the area of Niayes, where its member organisations mounted protests, lobbying, and media campaigns (EJ Atlas, 2018a; 2018b). Unlike CRAFS, PWYP did not systematically attempt to connect collectives of local land users; it did, however, engage in lobbying, contacting politicians and traditional authorities.

22This brief overview of the two movements and their involvement in struggles regarding the expansion of extractive projects in the mining and the agricultural sector has revealed many commonalities: both aimed to secure land access for smallholders, using similar strategies of engaging with community struggles and becoming active in the national law reform process. Despite some clear overlap in goals and strategies there are, however, important differences between PWYP and CRAFS that might impede the building of coalitions between them. In terms of goals, PWYP invests more in securing local communities’ access to and control over the benefits and revenues generated by extractive projects. While this point is a core aspect of struggles in the mining sector, it barely plays any role in its agrarian counterpart. CRAFS, meanwhile, has developed a vision of alternative land use based on smallholder agriculture, while PWYP has not. In terms of strategies, it is important to note that the CRAFS approach has a stronger bottom-up character regarding both engagement in the reform process and the organisation of protests against specific land transactions.

3.2 Class and Collective Identities

23Differences in class positions has been identified in the critical agrarian studies literature as a key challenge to coalition building. While a systematic sociological analysis of the social bases and class composition of both the movements being examined is beyond the scope of this chapter, the claims, in this regard, of PWYP and CRAFS show that each aims to represent groups of land users that have similar class positions but that practice partially different land-based livelihoods. Members of CRAFS claim that the movement represents mainly poor peasants and family and smallholder farmers, as well as pastoralists engaged in family-based, often semi-nomadic cattle breeding and milk production. The interests of medium-sized or large-scale farming or large-scale, industrial cattle breeders or dairy producers, as well as those of workers who are formally or informally employed in the agricultural sector, are not prominently represented bythe movement (CRAFS, 2016).

  • 3 Fisher communities in certain villages on the coastal strip between Dakar and St-Louis have started (...)

24In order to bring pastoralists and peasants, two groups that often have conflicting interests when it comes to land use, together in the struggle against large-scale land transactions, CRAFS used the term ‘rural producers’. This term was originally developed by the national peasant federation, CNCR. The idea of rural producers was proposed with the aim of expanding a purely peasant-based identity to include other agrarian and food-producing activities (CNCR, 2018). The term encompasses pastoralists, peasants, and fishers.3 While this collective identity of rural producers does succeed in grouping together a broad range of food producers and agriculturalists, it nevertheless tends to exclude other forms of rural livelihoods, and such exclusion is a frequent issue for agrarian movements (see Borras, Edelman and Kay, 2008).

25In Senegal, one of the key land-based livelihoods excluded from this collective identity is that of artisanal miners. Next to small-scale farming and pastoralism, artisanal mining is one of the key livelihood activities practiced in the gold mining region of Senegal. It has traditionally been practiced to generate additional household income in the dry season, alongside small-scale agriculture (Niang, 2014). Since the rise in gold prices in the mid-2000s, artisanal gold mining has become the primary household income generating activity in many communities living in the area of the two industrial gold mines in Kédougou (Persaud et al., 2017; Prause, 2016). Artisanal gold miners occupy a similar class position as peasants and pastoralists (Engels and Dietz, 2018). Artisanal miners are generally informally employed by ‘big men’ who own the mine shafts, and are paid in shares of the material mined, or they collectively mine easy-to-access gold deposits (Diallo, Diouf and Ngom, 2016).

  • 4 Source: interviews with representatives of PWYP member organisations, 19 April 2016, 5 March 2015, (...)
  • 5 Source: interviews with PWYP representatives, Tambacounda, 06 March 2015 and 08 April 2016, and wit (...)

26In Kédougou artisanal miners make up an important constituency of the PWYP member organisations active in the region4 and thus it was important that they be included in the collective identity of the movement. Rather than constructing its collective identity around the land-based livelihood activities of its constituency, PWYP opted to construct it around the external factor of large-scale mining. PWYP describes itself as a coalition representing the interests of communities affected by industrial mines, and tends to depict these communities as victims of large transnational corporations.5 This collective identity is more inclusive, in terms of the land-based activities that local community members are engaged in, than the ‘rural producers’ identity of CRAFS. It still, however, excludes communities that suffer from the adverse effects of other kinds of land investment. So, while the differences in class bases between PWYP and CRAFS do not necessarily constitute a challenge to inter-sectoral coalition building, the respective collective identities constructed by the two organisations are divisive as each excludes key constituencies of the other movement.

3.3 A Lack of Social Ties

  • 6 Source: interviews with representatives of a CRAFS member organisation, Dakar, 12 February 2016 and (...)

27An important element of any effort to overcome differences in identities, strategies, or goals between movements are the social ties and inter-movement familiarity that enable a collaborative negotiation process to take place (Obach, 2010). Such social ties between PWYP and CRAFS were largely lacking. Even though one organisation, Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (African Assembly for the Defence of Human Rights (RADDHO)), was a member of both movements, and Oxfam was a donor to both coalitions, there are no records of official meetings between CRAFS and PWYP. Some representatives of organisations involved in either CRAFS and PWYP that I interviewed stated that they did know by name some of their counterparts in the other movement, and a few reported having briefly come across one another at conferences or workshops. Regular meetings, though, were not reported, and other representatives interviewed stated that they did not know any of their peers from organisations active in the other of the two fields.6 So neither RADDHO nor OXFAM seems to have acted as an effective bridge builder with regard to the two movements.

28One explanation for the overall lack of social ties between the organisations active in CRAFS and in PWYP is the different geographies of struggle in the mining and the agrarian sector. Some key organisations active in struggles over mines do not have their offices in the capital, Dakar, but in the cities of Tambacounda and Kédougou, which are located in Senegal’s gold mining region. These regions are only poorly connected by road infrastructure with Dakar, where most of the member organisations of CRAFS have their offices. Furthermore, community-based struggles regarding mining were, at least until 2016, concentrated in the gold mining area of Kédougou. Only in recent years have conflicts over industrial mines intensified in the phosphate mining region of Thiès, north of the captial. Struggles regarding agro-industrial projects are largely located in the region of St-Louis along the Senegal River delta and in Thiès in the area of Niayes, since these are the areas with the best conditions for agro-industrial production, with easy access to water and infrastructure (Benegiamo, 2020; Bourgoin et al., 2019).

29Thus, personal meetings between representatives of NGOs from each sector, as well as between those of the grassroots collectives active in struggles with regard to local agro-industrial and mining projects, respectively, are difficult to arrange due to the different geographical locations of the struggles themselves and the different locations of these organisations’ headquarters. This might change though. In the past few years there has been increasing overlap between industrial phosphate and zircon mining and agro-industrial activities in the area of Niayes. This spatial overlap might provide fertile ground for closer inter-sectoral collaboration. It is thus also in Niayes that the CRAFS member organisations CICODEV (The Pan-African Institute for Citizenship, Consumers, and Development), ENDA Pronat (Association pour l’Environnement et Developpement Action pour une Protection Naturelle des Terroirs (Association for the Environment and Development Action for the Natural Protection of Lands)) and CNCR have become active in struggles regarding minesthus far, however, without building longer-term coalitions with the PWYP member organisations that are also involved in these struggles.

30The lack of social ties between PWYP and CRAFS is also a result of the different histories of struggle in each of the two sectors. Senegal’s colonial and postcolonial economy was built around agrarian production. Thus, the political organisation of peasants and pastoralists and political struggles led by peasant organisations have a long history in the country (McKeon, Watts and Wolford, 2004). The mining sector in Senegal is, by comparison, relatively young. Even though phosphate mining dates back to colonial times, industrial mining has only substantially expanded since the turn of the millennium (Coderre et al., 2019). Many grassroots organisationsincluding collectives and networks of land users and communities active in conflicts centred on mineshave only formed as a reaction to this recent expansion of the mining sector (Prause and Le Billon, 2021). Similarly, many of the NGOs active in the mining sector were founded only in the late 1990s or early 2000s, when mining investments were on the rise in Senegal (KEOH, 2018; La Lumière, 2008; SADEV, 2018). Since both struggles focusing on mining and the political organisations engaged in these struggles are a comparatively recent phenomenon, CRAFS and PWYP have no common previous struggles, which might have established inter-sectoral social ties and relationships between them, to draw upon.

31Finally, each movement operates in different policy spaces. The use of land for agricultural or for mining purposes is regulated in Senegal by different laws, and governed by different institutions. This is not unique to Senegal. In fact, it is the norm in most countries (Le Billon and Sommerville, 2017). In Senegal, the mining code regulates land use and land transactions for mining purposes, and the leading bureaucratic and regulatory agency is the Ministry for Industries and Mining. The land law regulates land use and transactions for agro-industrial purposes, and the leading agency is the Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development. This means that the activities of PWYP and of CRAFS take place in different policy spaces and are directed at different state agencies. This division became most apparent in each organisation’s engagement with the processes of reforming the land law and the mining code, respectively. For both movements, these reform processes constituted important institutional opportunities to bring their demands to the policy arena, and they sparked significant activity and mobilisation from each movement. Even though these processes took place in a similar time frame, there was, however, no overlap between the activities of PWYP and of CRAFS. Instead, each movement struggled for access to the respective law reform commissions and fought to have its own suggestions included in the discussions and their results, which once again left few opportunities for exchange and the formation of social ties.

4. Discussion

32Building inter-sectoral coalitions between movements contesting extractive projects in the mining and the agrarian sector might be key to the success of struggles for an emancipatory transformation of the countryside. Not only do many governments pursue parallel extractivist development paths in the agrarian and in the mining sector that threaten rural livelihoods and risk deepening social inequalities in the countryside, both sectors are also closely intertwined. Mining activities often impact (both small- and large-scale) agricultural activities negatively because of their need for resources, mainly water, and their negative environmental impacts, including water and soil pollution. Furthermore, small-scale mining and small-scale farming are strongly interdependent as livelihood strategies for rural households.

33My analysis has revealed some key challenges for such coalitions: First, even though investments in mining and in agriculture are both characterised by an extractivist logic, the consequences of these respective activities for land and nature differ, which provides different incentives for movements active in the respective sectors. While open-pit gold mining, as it is practiced in Senegal, makes it virtually impossible to use the land for agriculture in the future, the negative consequences, for the environment and for soil fertility, of agro-industrial extractivist projects are, over time, at least partially reversable. Agriculture, even in its extractive form, is still based on cultivation, and its physical effects on nature thus differ from those of mining (Boyd, Prudham and Schurman, 2001). Thus, when Ye et al. (2020, 155) define extraction as value generation that is followed by barrenness and an inability to sustainably reproduce livelihoods, it is important to note that this inability can have very different time frames in the agrarian and the mining sector. Second, state income generated by mining through taxes and royalty payments is not comparable to the considerably lower amounts paid by agricultural businesses for lease agreements. Thus, different regulation and different amounts in rents in each sector as well as the different impacts on land and nature set different incentives for movements and their formulation of demands and goals. In Senegal, the agrarian movement emphasised alternative, non-extractive visions for future land use. While the anti-mining movement stressed access to mining rents, compensation payments, and access to alternative land.

34The literature on social movements’ coalitions clearly shows that social ties between movements are key to any efforts to overcome such differences regarding goals, ideologies, or identities. In Senegal, the establishment of these ties was hampered by the different histories and geographies of struggle in the mining and the agrarian sector. Social movements’ activities with respect to large-scale extractivist projects are, on the ground, bound by the locations of the investments in question. In Senegal, investments in large-scale mining and agro industry projects have only begun to geographically overlap in the past five years, in the region of Thiès. Finally, the agrarian and the mining sector are governed by distinct laws, and their struggles with regard to extraction are thus negotiated in different policy spaces, which contributes to the separation of the two movements that are the subjects of the present study.

35This points to certain particularities of struggles centred on agriculture and mining. Investments in these sectors are place-bound (Le Billon and Sommerville, 2017). Thus, different geographies of struggle might be a more important hinderance to the establishment of coalitions than it is in other areas of political struggle. Furthermore, it is not only differing policy spaces that prove challenging for attempts at coalition building. The different regulations of the agrarian and the mining sector also provide different incentives for movements’ claim-making activities from the outset. Policies thus not only structure the spaces of negotiation as Obach (2004) argues, but also influence what is negotiated in the first place.

36This, in turn, points to an important debate within the literature on extraction. Many authors currently emphasise how extractive logic is now characteristic of global capitalism as a whole, and that it is no longer specific to the extractive industries (Yen et al., 2020; Mezzadra and Neilson, 2017). However, in order to understand resistance to and struggles against extractive projects it is important to pay close attention to differences regarding political regulation, economic histories, place, and impacts on land and nature across a range of extractive projects. Rather than only focusing upon the commonalities of extractive projects, it is necessary to also look at their specificities, and to acknowledge that extractive logics can, on the ground, play out quite differently, and that they therefore also provide very particular challenges for acts of political struggle. Only by acknowledging such differences can we understand what hampers coalition building between movements struggling against extraction, and identify avenues via which these hampering elements might be overcome. In order to strengthen future attempts at coalition building, a focus on shared policy spaces relevant across sectors, such as environmental or water-related policies, the construction of more inclusive collective identities for rural land users and communities, and a broader vision of non-extractive rural development might all constitute important starting points.

5. Conclusion

37In the context of an expanding extractive frontier in the mining and the agricultural sector, particularly in the global South, building coalitions that span both sectors is a key challenge for social movements’ attempts to successfully prevent dispossessions, protect local livelihoods, and foster non-extractivist developmental paths for the future countryside. This chapter has investigated the factors hindering closer inter-sectoral collaboration and coalition building through a case study of two movements, CRAFS and PWYP, in Senegal. CRAFS and PWYP share broad goals such as the protection of access to and control over land for local land users vis-à-vis extractive projects, and similar types of organisational structures, similar protest strategies, and similar class bases. So why have they not formed a coalition against land dispossessions?

38The analysis presented here has shown that some of the goals espoused by CRAFS and by PWYP were none the less different between the two movements, and that the social ties necessary for each to overcome such differences were lacking due to their different histories and geographies of struggle as well as to the different policy spaces the two movements operated in. The analysis has also shown that the collective identities constructed by each movement with the aim of bringing together the classes of labour each represents were mutually exclusive. The agrarian movement built an identity based on the notion of food producers; the anti-mining movement one built around the fact of being a victim of industrial multinational mining corporations. This echoes challenges faced by other agrarian movementsincluding the transnational movement La Via Campesinain their efforts to extend their identities to groups of rural poor who do not fit the notion of agrarian and food producers, including rural workers, or, in the case of Senegal, artisanal miners (see also Borras, 2016).

39The analysis in this chapter has also highlighted the usefulness of bringing approaches from social movement studies together with approaches from critical agrarian studies when studying anti-extractivist movements in the countryside. Only by combining both these theoretical traditions can we understand the specific conditions and constituencies that social movements work with in rural spaces in the global South.

40My analysis also points to some more practical implications, particularly for international, multi-issue NGOs, but also for sympathetic development agencies. These often support and work with movements in both the mining and the agrarian sector, and thus could play an important role in facilitating coalition building. In view of the separate policy spaces movements in the agrarian and the mining sector usually engage in, such organisations and agencies could provide neutral spaces for open and respectful dialog between movements, facilitate ongoing interactions between different groups and movements, and act as bridge builders. They also could enable conversations about constructing a non-extractivist vision of future development. Here, the international agrarian movement La Via Campesina already offers many starting points, with its vision of food sovereignty that could also be relevant to struggles centred on mining. For future research on the lives and afterlives of extraction, I believe it is important to go beyond identifying the extractivist logic that governs rural spaces through the mining industry and the agro industry, and its consequences. Development studies also need to provide pointers for concrete transformation paths that lead towards a non-extractivist countryside if they are to support both engaged policy makers and social movements.

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Notes

1 Source: interview with representatives of a member organisation of CRAFS, Dakar, 4 February 2015.

2 Source: interviews with the president of PWYP Senegal—Tambacounda, 6 March 2015; 8 April 2016.

3 Fisher communities in certain villages on the coastal strip between Dakar and St-Louis have started to organise resistance to the offshore exploitation of gas and oil, which is supposed to begin within the next several years. These same communities have, however, so far not been concerned either with large-scale land transformations for agro-industrial purposes or with the land reform process, and have not been a prominent force within CRAFS.

4 Source: interviews with representatives of PWYP member organisations, 19 April 2016, 5 March 2015, and 14 April 2016.

5 Source: interviews with PWYP representatives, Tambacounda, 06 March 2015 and 08 April 2016, and with representatives of a PWYP member organisation, Kédougou, 05 March 2015 and 12 April 2016.

6 Source: interviews with representatives of a CRAFS member organisation, Dakar, 12 February 2016 and by telephone on 24 October 2020, and with representatives of a PWYP member organisation, Tambacounda, 8 April 2016.

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Louisa Prause, Contesting Extraction: Challenges for Coalition Building between Agrarian and Anti-mining MovementsInternational Development Policy | Revue internationale de politique de développement [Online], 16 | 2023, Online since 12 June 2023, connection on 23 June 2024. URL: http://journals.openedition.org/poldev/5385; DOI: https://doi.org/10.4000/poldev.5385

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About the author

Louisa Prause

Louisa Prause is a postdoctoral researcher at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, where she is part of the Agricultural and Food Policy Group and the Biomaterialities Research Group. Her research and teaching focuses on socioecological transformations, the bio-economy, the digitalisation of agriculture, land and mining conflicts, and social movements, with a regional focus on Africa and Europe.

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