Why Women are at War with Chevron: Nigerian Subsistence Struggles against the International Oil Industry

This study is an inquiry into why women were at war with oil companies in Nigeria and how they internationalized their struggle. Employing the Midnight Notes Collective's concept of “the new enclosures”; Shiva, Mies, and Bennholdt-Thomsen's “subsistence perspective”; and McMurtry's concept of the “civil commons,” the study elaborates a “gendered class analysis” to consider the social anatomy of coordinated global actions by producers and consumers of oil. Part one examines the period from July 2002 to February 2003. Nigerian women occupied oil terminals and flow stations and inspired global protests against war and oil companies. Part two considers widespread Nigerian workers’ strikes in the period from February 2003 to July 2003. These included work stoppages in transport, the oil industry, and the public service; a two-week seizure by oil workers of four Trans-ocean deep-sea platforms and an eight-day general strike against increases in the price of petroleum products. Part three analyzes the July-September 2003 period. From 10 July 2003 peasant women occupied oil facilities throughout the Delta. As official government neared collapse, village and clan-based organizations assumed much of the responsibility for the oversight of their own communities. By September 2003, insurgents shut down some 40 percent of Nigerian crude oil production capacity. Villagers denied oil companies all physical access to the western Delta. Chevron/Texaco, Shell, other majors and their contractors evacuated their Warri headquarters. The autonomous village organizations, linked to each other through regional solidarity networks, coordinated pan-Delta defense against Nigerian and U.S. military counterinsurgency. The study concludes with an analysis of the roots of insurgent power and direct deals in oil.

  2004; 39; 63 Journal of Asian and African Studies Terisa E. Turner and Leigh S. Brownhill  the International Oil Industry Why Women are at War with Chevron: Nigerian Subsistence Struggles Against

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