Groups in civil society such as Oilwatch network have potential strengths that are based on their ability to mobilize social movement, a sporadic collective structure that appears to convey radical and self-conscious ideology. The organizations are able to work with environmental issues in the city in this respect. For example, the social externalities arising from industrial emissions can be given close attention. In addition, their organizational ability enables them to mobilize mass movements to attempt to replace the existing power system and to challenge it. They are also funded by forces that promote the globalization of neo-liberalism. In most cases, they are able to create pressures, which influence the domestic governance institutions concerning local economic circumstances and the international political economy in which they are entrenched.

Secondly, the civil groups are able to address social issues raised by marginalized groups. Therefore, their actions play a major part in mobilizing necessary resources to counter the domination of the government over its subjects. In most cases, their strengths are based on the capacity to associate with strong mass mobilization with an intention to impose a new power within the society. Most importantly, their strengths are founded on the ability form social movement, which opposes coercive, intellectual and ethical apparatus of the current regime. Moreover, they are able to deal with idiosyncrasies and conditionality of the existing regimes. Therefore, they tend to fill the gap of social welfare especially among the discontented and marginalized groups.

Two potential dilemmas of such collaborative organizing within neoliberal contexts

The civil society groups such as Oilwatch Africa have faced dilemma in their efforts to represent communities affected by environment degradation especially during oil extractions. In most cases, contradictions are normally established in their daily operations as representative of the society’s concerns. Firstly, the civil societies are required to oppose the projects which pollute the environment and that affect the local populations negatively. However, they face the dilemma in their actions because most of these projects are funded by their international financiers such as the World Bank. Consequently, most of them are not willing to challenge the supremacy of global capital. Dilemma arises because they at one hand resist the projects while on the other they are partially engraved into the neo-liberal processes which advocates for institutional reforms. For instance, the Oilwatch Africa has made an attempt to provide community concerns in the policy debates of the World Bank Group.

Secondly, at the local level, most of the communities oppose the activities of the civil society, as they tend to support mineral extraction in order to acquire benefits such as infrastructures and other social amenities from the mining companies. Therefore, these civil societies are forced to accept possible gas and oil revenues because they enhance the existing conditions in the local and affected societies. Therefore, they face the dilemma of opposing projects that lead to better living conditions of the community they appear to represent. For this reasons most of these organizations have recorded lower level of success in terms of meeting extensive political goals of achieving self-determination in the local community and eradicating socially damaging oil activity.


Osuoka, Isaac “Asume, and Anna Zalik. “The dilemmas of global resistance against extractive capital: The Oilwatch network in Africa.” Canadian Journal of Development Studies/Revue canadienne d’études du développement 30, no. 1-2 (2010): 237-257.

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