Analyzing the Anti-Posco Movement in Odisha Beyond Identity Issues: A Critical Examination of New Social Movement Theory

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Binay Kumar PATTNAIK, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
Manoranjan DAS, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
Unlike earlier resistance movements of Odisha which were studied on issues of R&R, ecological degradation, loss of livelihood, and local identity, this anti-POSCO movement with a nuance is studied, through a novel variable called the Politics of development. The formation of networks of solidarity groups and emergence of their umbrella organization as social movement organization (SMO), strengthened processes of mobilization, invited wider attention of civil society organizations (CSOs) and through that intellectuals at national and international level (with strong media linkages) to join the movement. Navanirman Samiti was an organization that initially played a stellar role in the anti-POSCO movement. Thereafter Posco Pratirodha Sangram Samiti (PPSS) had been spearheading the anti-POSCO movement as the SMO. Loss of livelihood involving primary produces like, Dhana, Pana, Meena and loss of native place (Bheeta Matee) were the initial issues of identity (local peasantry) for the resistance movement.

The analytical thrust of this paper is the politicization of the movement by various political parties. Engaging the organizational networks, deploying strategies for dis-information/ mis-information campaign to mislead the PAP, using covert coercion tactics for mobilizing PAP, shifting their identity issues, etc were the major strategies of the PPSS backed by CPI. The mobilization process continued in spite of counter mobilizations by another pro-project SMO. This strong hand tactics could be deployed by the SMO and the local solidarity groups because of their political patronage. Hence as a victim of politics of development, POSCO’s mega-project faced closer. This questions here the new social movement theory, as the movement is not found to be based on voluntary collective actions, instead is fomented through a wide network of a national political party and its affiliate CSOs as well as solidarity groups. Further it questions the autonomy of the CSOs which were to play a conscientious role.