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Interviewer: In the last few years we’ve definitely seen an increase in authoritarian rule in many parts of the world, and austerity measures, in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks in the States and the global financial crisis, more recently. How do you see those issues, and how have they affected Africa, and the struggle here?

Sam: When I wrote African Anarchism with my friend, we wrote against the backdrop of three decades of military rule, nearly four decades of military rule, in Nigeria. Military rule was a form of government that believed in over-centralization of powers, and dictatorship, as it were, and it was a strand that evolved from capitalism. So while the Nigerian society and much of Africa was under the grip of military rule and military authoritarianism, today we have a nominal civilian administration, a nominal civilian democracy.

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Interviewer: Sam, you played a very important role in the ‘Awareness League’, which was a Nigerian anarchist organization that flourished in the 1990s. Can you tell us a bit about how it grew and how it declined?

Sam: It’s a little nostalgic for me these days, talking about the Awareness League, because the Awareness League was a romantic idea. When we entered the universities in the early 80s, what we encountered was socialist groups, socialist teaching, Marxist teaching especially. And we became attracted to Marxism, in the sense that it preached the coming of a new dawn in society, and by extension, the African continent.

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Interviewer: What about gender? Is there a change in the struggle for women’s liberation?

Sam: The struggle for women’s liberation in Nigeria and the rest of Africa has come a long way.

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[This is a full transcript of an interview with Sam, recorded in March 2012 in Enugu Nigeria. Excerpts by subject area are also published in this blog. You can also listen to or download the audio files in the Audio section of this blog. The interviewer, Jeremy, is a member of the Jura Books Collective – an anarchist collective based in Sydney Australia.]

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