Extractivism and resistance in North Africa

23 November by Hamza Hamouchene


Northern African countries are key suppliers of natural resources to the global economy, from large- scale oil and gas extraction in Algeria and Tunisia, to phosphate mining in Tunisia and Morocco, to water-intensive agribusiness paired with tourism in Morocco and Tunisia. The commodification of nature and privatisation of resources entailed in these projects has led to serious environmental damages, and forced these countries into a subservient position in the global economy, sustaining and deepening global inequalities.

This report documents several cases of natural resource extraction which take the form of brutal “accumulation by dispossession,” degrading environments and ecosystems through the privatisation and commodification of land and water. However, these extractive activities have also been met with new waves of resistance and the entrance of new social actors onto the scene, demanding that wealth generated in resource projects be shared equitably in society. Are these new actors mainly motivated by environmental concerns, or are they fundamentally anti-systemic, seeking to undermine the basis of the capitalist extractive economy? Are these passing episodes of resistance, or do they represent a new development in the historical trajectory of class struggle in North Africa?



Hamza Hamouchene

is an Algerian campaigner, writer, researcher and a founding member of Algeria Solidarity Campaign (ASC), and Environmental Justice North Africa (EJNA), London-based organisations campaigning for peaceful democratic change in Algeria and for environmental and climate justice in North Africa respectively.
He also works for Platform where he researches British energy interests in Algeria.

Hamza has authored two publications for platform titled: “Reinforcing dictatorships: British gas grab and human rights abuses in Algeria” and “The coming revolution in North Africa: the struggle for climate justice”.
He previously worked for Global Justice Now on issues of climate, food and trade justice.

His writings appeared in the Guardian, Counterpunch, New Internationalist, Red Pepper, Jadaliyya, openDemocracy, Pambazuka, El Watan, Maghreb Emergent and Huffington Post. He has been interviewed by BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, France 24, RFI amongst others.

Hamza has a PhD in environmental carcinogenesis at the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London.

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