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Interviewer: Sam, climate change is a major threat to Nigerians, as it is to everyone else on the planet. What are some of the specific environmental issues here, and what sort of consciousness is there of climate justice, and sustainable development?

Sam: I’ll answer your question from two perspectives. Let me answer it with the general perspective and then I’ll come to the more personal perspective. The threat of climate change is real. We, in this part of the world, are not immune from the threats of climate change. If we take a look around us, the humidity levels are rising. In recent times, where I live (I live in a small bungalow of three rooms), if there is no light [no electricity, no fan], I can hardly sleep.

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Interviewer: What about working-class organizations in Nigeria, trade unions, to what extent can they be reclaimed as vehicles for working-class struggle?

Sam: The trade unions in Nigeria were particularly very active in the early anti-colonial struggle. I told you some time ago about the struggles of the coal miners here in Enugu, Enugu was the coal mining capital of Nigeria. During the anti-colonial struggle for independence, the colonial masters killed about 49 coal miners here in this city, who were struggling against the exploitative tendencies of the managers of the mines.

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Interviewer: Sam, how do you conceptualize global solidarity? I mean, how best can activists in so-called ‘developed’ countries support activists in the majority world, and vice versa?

Sam: Yeah, the activism in the developed world can do a lot really to stir up the consciousness of people here. But I guess that at the end of the day, the people here must take responsibility for our lives, must take responsibility for resisting autocratic governments, must take responsibility for seeking to hold them accountable as well.

People in the metropolitan world can assist us by trying to help us build capacity.

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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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