In this paper, the focus is on land dispossession instigated by large corporations, and the way they produce spaces of colonial persistence through particular structures and sovereignty systems that differ from the state-based administrative settings in which they are located. The study looks at phenomena that can be observed on large agricultural estates, particularly in the Teita sisal plantation in Taita-Taveta county in Kenya. This is one of the largest sisal estates in the world, established during colonial times. It is a corporation that uses migrant workers to avoid potential conflicts with the neighbouring communities which still consider those fields to be their own ancestral land. Different working tasks are racialized, and functioning bodies are exploited as resources that have to be maximised. Inside the camp, life and work are regulated with meticulous biopolitical order in restricted conditions. Patrolled borders and gates maintain distance from the local communities who claim the estate is expanding, dispossessing them of land, roads and the river, and repositioning them as squatters on what they see as their ancestral land. In relation to this private company, the national state values its taxation contributions and does not question the exceptional conditions of exploitation of human and environmental resources occurring within that space. The estate was accessed in 2013 and interviews took place then and later. This case study reveals situations of oppression on both sides of the estate borders, including struggles that remain fragmented and hidden. There is a need for new solidarity linkages between groups confronting land and other resource dispossession on a wider scale, to support their political empowerment and rights to human and environmental justice.
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