Stuart Christie
Stuart Christie is a Scottish anarchist writer and publisher. Christie is best known for being arrested as an 18-year old while carrying explosives to assassinate the Spanish dictator General Franco
Francisco Franco
Francisco Franco y Bahamonde was a Spanish general, dictator and head of state of Spain from October 1936 , and de facto regent of the nominally restored Kingdom of Spain from 1947 until his death in November, 1975...

. He was later alleged to be a member of the Angry Brigade, but was acquitted of related charges. He went on to found the Cienfuegos Press
Cienfuegos press
Cienfuegos Press was an anarchist publishing house. Founded by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer, it operated from 1974 to 1982. It published a broad range of material....

 publishing house, later ChristieBooks and in 2008 the online "Anarchist Film Channel" which hosts over 850 films and documentaries with anarchist and libertarian themes.

Early life

Christie was born in the Partick
Partick is an area of Glasgow on the north bank of the River Clyde, just across from Govan. To the west lies Whiteinch. Partick was a Police burgh from 1852 until 1912 when it was incorporated into the city.-History:...

 area of Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

 and was raised in Blantyre, by his mother and grandparents, becoming an anarchist at a young age. He ascribes this to his grandmother's influence, "Basically, what she did was provide a moral barometer which married almost exactly with that of libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

 and anarchism, and she provided the star which I followed," and joined the Anarchist Federation in Glasgow in 1962, at the age of 16. He became active in CND
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

 campaigns, attracted to the more militant approach of the Direct Action Committee
Direct Action Committee
The Direct Action Committee against nuclear war was a pacifist organization formed "to assist the conducting of non-violent direct action to obtain the total renunciation of nuclear war and its weapons by Britain and all other countries as a first step in disarmament"...

 and Committee of 100 and took part in the confrontational Faslane Naval Base CND demonstration on February 14, 1963 among others.

Attempt to assassinate Franco

On the last day of July 1964 an 18-year-old Christie departed London for Paris, where he picked up plastic explosives from the anarchist organisation Defensa Interior
Defensa Interior
Defensa Interior was a militant anarchist organisation, founded in September 1961 by the congress of the Movimiento Libertario Español...

, and then Madrid on a mission to kill General Francisco Franco. This was to be one of at least 30 attempts on the dictator's life.

Before he left England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, he was interviewed for a television programme with Malcolm Muggeridge
Malcolm Muggeridge
Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist. During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy...

, a known MI6 contact, and was asked whether he felt the assassination of Franco would be right. He answered that it would; when the programme was broadcast after his arrest in Spain, these comments were edited out.

Christie hitchhiked into Spain and was arrested in Madrid on August 11, 1964. At the time he was in possession of explosives. Christie faced a military trial and a possible execution sentence by garrote
A garrote or garrote vil is a handheld weapon, most often referring to a ligature of chain, rope, scarf, wire or fishing line used to strangle someone....

, but was instead ordered to serve twenty years in prison. An accomplice, Fernando Carballo Blanco, was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment. He served only three years in Carabanchel prison, where he studied for A-Levels and was brought into contact with anarchist prisoners including Miguel Garcia
Miguel García (anarchist)
Miguel García was a Spanish anarchist activist, forger, and writer, and was a political prisoner under the regime of Francisco Franco. Born in Barcelona, García worked first as a newspaper seller, then a printer...

, Luis Andres Edo
Luís Andrés Edo
Luís Andrés Edo was a militant and historian of Spain's anarchosyndicalist movement the CNT.-Early life:...

 and Juan Busquets. Christie was freed on September 21, 1967 thanks to international pressure, with support from notables such as Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 and Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

. The official reason given by the Franco regime was that it was due to a plea from Christie's mother.

Back in Britain

After his release he continued his activism in the anarchist movement in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, re-formed the Anarchist Black Cross
Anarchist Black Cross
The Anarchist Black Cross is an anarchist politics support organization. The group is notable for its efforts at providing prisoners with political literature, but it also organises material and legal support for class struggle prisoners worldwide...

 and Black Flag
Black Flag (newspaper)
Black Flag is the name of a number of anarchist periodicals, most notably the British anarchist bi-annual magazine Black Flag, mainly known for its coverage of international anarchist politics as well as supporting "class war" prisoners....

with Albert Meltzer
Albert Meltzer
Albert Meltzer was an anarcho-communist activist and writer.-Early life:Meltzer was born in London, and attracted to anarchism at the age of fifteen as a direct result of taking boxing lessons . The Labour MP for Edmonton, Edith Summerskill was virulently anti-boxing and his school governors at...

, was acquitted of involvement with the Angry Brigade, and started the publishing house Cienfuegos Press (later Refract Publications), which for a number of years he operated from the remote island of Sanday
Sanday, Orkney
Sanday is one of the inhabited islands in the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. With an area of , it is the third largest of the Orkney Islands. The main centres of population are Lady Village and Kettletoft. Sanday can be reached by Orkney Ferries or plane from Kirkwall on the...

, Orkney where he also edited and published a local Orcadian newspaper The Free-Winged Eagle.

Christie has had various writing and journalistic jobs including as editor of an unauthorised British edition of Pravda
Pravda was a leading newspaper of the Soviet Union and an official organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party between 1912 and 1991....

and Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts International) during the late years of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and the early years of the Russian Federation. He also worked as Production Editor with IT Matters, publishers of The House Magazine, the weekly UK journal for both Houses of Parliament, during the late 80s.

Published work

An updated and single-volume version of his autobiography Granny Made me an Anarchist
Granny Made me an Anarchist
Granny Made me an Anarchist: General Franco, The Angry Brigade and Me is the 2002 autobiography of Scottish anarchist Stuart Christie. Christie recounts his radicalization through the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Committee of 100, and his eventual imprisonment over his involvement in a plot...

was published in 2004 by Scribner (UK). It had previously been published in 3 parts, the other titles being General Franco Made Me A Terrorist, and Edward Heath Made Me Angry. Christie attracted criticism from some fellow anarchists for making a gestural protest vote against Labour and its war in Iraq by voting for George Galloway
George Galloway
George Galloway is a British politician, author, journalist and broadcaster who was a Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2010. He was formerly an MP for the Labour Party, first for Glasgow Hillhead and later for Glasgow Kelvin, before his expulsion from the party in October 2003, the same year...

's Respect - The Unity Coalition in the European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 elections that year.

He also wrote, with Meltzer, The Floodgates of Anarchy which includes an early version of the political compass
Political compass
The political compass is a multi-axis model, used by the website of the same name, to label or organize political thought on two dimensions. In its selection and representation of these two dimensions, it is similar to the Nolan Chart...

. His other books include Stefano Delle Chiaie
Stefano Delle Chiaie
Stefano Delle Chiaie is a neofascist Italian activist . He went on to become a wanted man worldwide, suspect to be involved in Italy's strategy of tension, but was acquitted. He was a friend of Licio Gelli, grandmaster of P2 masonic lodge...

: Portrait of a Black Terrorist
, (on Italian terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, founder of Avanguardia Nazionale
National Vanguard (Italy)
The National Vanguard is a name that has been used for at least two neo-fascist groups in Italy.-Original group:The original National Vanguard was an extra-parliamentary movement formed as a breakaway group from the Italian Social Movement by Stefano Delle Chiaie in 1960, initially based around a...

and member of P2
Propaganda Due
Propaganda Due , or P2, was a Masonic lodge operating under the jurisdiction of the Grand Orient of Italy from 1945 to 1976 , and a pseudo-Masonic or "black" or "covert" lodge operating illegally from 1976 to...

 masonic lodge, involved in Gladio's strategy of tension
Strategy of tension
The strategy of tension is a theory that describes how to divide, manipulate, and control public opinion using fear, propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, agents provocateurs, and false flag terrorist actions....

) and We, the Anarchists! A study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation
Federación Anarquista Ibérica
The Federación Anarquista Ibérica is a Spanish organization of anarchist militants active within affinity groups inside the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo trade union. It is often abbreviated as CNT-FAI because of the close relationship between the two organizations...

 (FAI) 1927-1937

As a publisher Christie founded Cienfuegos Press
Cienfuegos press
Cienfuegos Press was an anarchist publishing house. Founded by Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer, it operated from 1974 to 1982. It published a broad range of material....

 (1972) and edited the Cienfuegos Anarchist Review (1977? - 82?), Refract Publications (1982), The Meltzer Press (1996) and Christiebooks/ 'N' Noir. He also edited 'The Hastings Trawler' a monthly magazine which ran from December 2005 until December 2006.

Christie also translated into English the biography of Francisco Sabate Llopart
Francisco Sabaté Llopart
Francesc Sabaté Llopart , also known as "El Quico", was a Catalan anarchist involved in the resistance against the Nationalist regime of Francisco Franco.-Biography:At the age of 10 Sabaté escaped his clerical school and by the age of 17, he had joined the anarchist...

, Sabate: An Extraordinary Guerrilla, by Antonio Téllez Solá
Antonio Téllez
Antonio Téllez Solá was a Spanish anarchist, journalist and historian.He fought on the Republican side against Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War. At the war's end in 1939, he went into exile in France...


Christie recently displayed an exhibition of Anarchist Art at the Dragon Bar in Hastings
Hastings is a town and borough in the county of East Sussex on the south coast of England. The town is located east of the county town of Lewes and south east of London, and has an estimated population of 86,900....

 which was in conjunction with Wesley Magoogan former saxophonist with The Beat
The Beat (band)
The Beat are a 2 Tone ska revival band founded in England in 1978. Their songs fuse ska, pop, soul, reggae and punk rock, and their lyrics deal with themes of love, unity and sociopolitical topics....

, Billy Ocean
Billy Ocean
Billy Ocean is a Trinidad-born English Grammy Award winning popular music performer who had a string of rhythm and blues international pop hits in the 1970s and 1980s. He was the most popular British-based R&B singer / songwriter of the early to mid-1980s...

 and Hazel O'Connor.

External links

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