‘Frack off’: towards an anarchist political ecology critique of corporate and state responses to anti-fracking resistance in the UK

Brock, Andrea (2020) ‘Frack off’: towards an anarchist political ecology critique of corporate and state responses to anti-fracking resistance in the UK. Political Geography, 82. a102246 1-15. ISSN 0962-6298

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Abstract

This paper puts forward an anarchist political ecology critique of extreme energy extractivism by examining corporate and state responses (or ‘political reactions from above’) to anti-fracking resistance in the UK. The planned drilling for unconventional gas and oil through hydraulic fracturing has triggered unprecedented opposition, with protest camps, direct actions, and legal challenges disrupting operations and slowing down planning and exploration development. Drawing on green anarchist thought, critiques of extractivism, statism, and industrialism, and a (corporate) counterinsurgency framework, I examine the strategies adopted by drilling companies and state actors to manage resistance and win the ‘hearts and minds’ of the population, deploying tactics from greenwashing in local schools to harsh policing of dissent. The latter has included the criminalisation and stigmatisation of land defenders, targeting campaigners as ‘domestic extremists’, physical abuse, targeting protesters with disabilities, and entering public-private security partnerships with local police forces which involve the ‘outsourcing’ of police communication to drilling companies. Such actions are complimented by the contracting of PR firms, lobbying, sponsorships of sports clubs and school competitions, ‘astroturfing’, and influencing local so-called democratic procedures. This has gone hand in hand with political efforts to classify operation sites as ‘Nationally Significant Infrastructure projects’ to facilitate the suppression of protest. These strategies are embedded in a recently well-documented history of police infiltration and corporate spying, laying bare an unapologetic commitment to sacrifice human and nonhuman wellbeing for industrial growth, commitment to extractivist ideology and centralisation of power at the cost of further eroding local autonomy and control.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Hydraulic Fracturing, Anarchist political Ecology, Extractivism, Resistance, Statism, Counterinsurgency
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2020 08:14
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2021 10:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/92656

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