Glaswegian anarchist, writer and publisher. Arrested in Madrid, aged 18, in possession of plastic explosives to be used during an attempt on the life of the dictator Franco. Christie and his Madrid contact Fernando Carballo Blanco were charged with Banditry and terrorism and tried by a drumhead court martial within two weeks of their arrest. The action was organised and co-ordinated by the clandestine anarchist armed resistance organisation Defensa Interior (DI) for which Christie was acting as courier. Carballo Blanco was sentenced to 30 years imprisonment and Christie 20 years, of which, due to international pressure, he served only three years. Carballo Blanco, on the other hand, was not released until 1976 — becoming Franco’s last political prisoner. On his release in 1967 Christie was involved in the re-formation of the Anarchist Black Cross and the launch of the anarchist monthly Black Flag, and was later arrested and charged with seven others of being a member of the ‘Angry Brigade’ in what became, at the time, the longest trial in British judicial history. Acquitted on all charges at the Old Bailey trial Christie set up the anarchist publishing house Cienfuegos Press which later became Refract Publications, The Meltzer Press and what is now ChristieBooks. His website http://www.christiebooks.com hosts over 800 films and documentaries with anarchist and related libertarian themes.
(photo credit Iain Clark, Bio credit Kate Sharpley library)
- The Angry Brigade (DVD)
- Arena One: On Anarchist Cinema (Journal)
- Arena Two: Noir Fiction (Journal)
- The Floodgates of Anarchy (Book)
About the Film:
"You can't reform profit capitalism and inhumanity. Just kick it till it breaks.”
— Angry Brigade, communiqué.
Between 1970 and 1972 the Angry Brigade used guns and bombs in a series of symbolic attacks against property. A series of communiqués accompanied the actions, explaining the choice of targets and the Angry Brigade philosophy: autonomous organization and attacks on property alongside other forms of militant working class action. Targets included the embassies of repressive regimes, police stations and army barracks, boutiques and factories, government departments and the homes of Cabinet ministers, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. These attacks on the homes of senior political figures increased the pressure for results and brought an avalanche of police raids. From the start the police were faced with the difficulty of getting to grips with a section of society they found totally alien. And were they facing an organization—or an idea?
This documentary, produced by Gordon Carr for the BBC (and first shown in January 1973, shortly after the trial), covers the roots of the Angry Brigade in the revolutionary ferment of the 1960s, and follows their campaign and the police investigation to its culmination in the “Stoke Newington 8” conspiracy trial at the Old Bailey—the longest criminal trial in British legal history. Produced after extensive research—among both the libertarian opposition and the police—it remains the essential study of Britain's first urban guerilla group.
Extra: The Persons Unknown (1980, 22 minutes)
The so-called “Persons Unknown” case in which members of the Anarchist Black Cross were tried (and later acquitted) at the Old Bailey on charges of “conspiring with persons unknown, at places unknown, to cause explosions and to overthrow society.” Featuring interviews and footage of Stuart Christie, Nicholas Walter, Crass and many other UK anarchist activists and propagandists of the time.
Arena One: On Anarchist Cinema
Edited by Richard Porton
Contributions by: Russell Campbell, Pietro Ferrua, Dan Georgakas, Andrew Hedden, Eric Jarry and more.
Published by PM Press/Christie Books
Pub Date March 2009
Page Count: 180 pages
Size: 6 by 9
Subjects: Anarchism, Film
In the wake of the end of the Cold War and worldwide protests against corporate globalization, anarchism continues to attract new adherents among both aging leftists and new generations of young radicals. Arena aims to tap into this revived interest in libertarian ideas, culture and practice by providing a dynamic focal point: a journal that brings together good, stimulating and provocative writing and scholarship on libertarian culture of all kinds.
Designed for a general, intelligent, popular readership as well as for scholars and aficionados working in the area, the first issue of Arena focuses on film and video--historical and modern--and future issues will cover the entire spectrum of the arts: film, theatre, and art criticism as well as political theory and practice, reportage, letters, reviews, and unpublished fiction and nonfiction.
"The essential publication for everyone interested in radical ideas, culture, and new writing." --Stuart Christie
Arena Two: Noir Fiction
Edited by Stuart Christie
Published by PM Press/Christie Books
Published February 2011
Page Count: 152 pages
Size: 6 by 9
Subjects: Anarchism, Fiction
In the second issue of Arena we aim to provide general insights into the role of the anarchist in fiction, both as protagonist and author.
David Weir’s essay “Anarchist Fiction, Anarchist Sensibilities” focuses on the progenitor of anarchist fiction, William Godwin’s Caleb Williams, published in 1794, that demonstrated the pressing need for the utopian system he described in the first systematic elaboration of anarchist philosophy, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice.
“Epic Pooh” is a newly updated revision of a 1978 article by Michael Moorcock reviewing epic fantasy literature for children, particularly J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.
While researching early twentieth-century French anarchist plays translated into Italian, Santo Catanuto discovered interesting information on the literary side of the Communard Louise Michel, indicating that she was the author of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.
Stephen Schwartz, a longtime critic of the detective novel, evaluates the arc of French writer Leo Malet from anarchist to arabophobe and in “Between Libel And Hoax,” counters Miguel Mir’s libelous depiction of the Spanish anarchist movement, Entre el roig i el negre.
In his discourse on B. Traven’s The Death Ship, Ernest Larsen looks at the intractable modern problem of identity. Larsen’s short story “Bakunin At The Beach” is about Mr. and Mrs. Bakunin holidaying at Lake Maggiore under the watchful eyes of Inspector Dupin of the Swiss Department of Justice and Police.
Joseph Conrad’s short story “An Anarchist: A Desperate Tale” is republished here from A Set of Six (1908).
“Anarchists in Fiction” is a collection of idiosyncratic reviews of books in which anarchists are portrayed as an eclectic group of villains and criminal degenerates.
Finally, we conclude this second issue of Arena with an article by our cinema editor Richard Porton on Dušan Makavejev’s playful, allusive 1971 film WR: Mysteries of the Organism.
The Floodgates of Anarchy
By Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer
Pub Date March 2010
Page Count: 160 pages
Size: 8.5 by 5.5
Subjects: Anarchism, Politics
The floodgates holding back anarchy are constantly under strain. The liberal would ease the pressure by diverting some of the water; the conservative would shore up the dykes, the totalitarian would construct a stronger dam.
But is anarchy a destructive force? The absence of government may alarm the authoritarian, but is a liberated people really its own worst enemy--or is the true enemy of mankind, as the anarchists claim, the means by which he is governed? Without government the world could manage to end exploitation and war. Anarchy should not be confused with weak, divided or manifold government. As Christie and Meltzer point out, only with the total abolition of government can society develop in freedom.
“Anyone who wants to know what anarchism is about in the contemporary world would do well to start here. The Floodgates of Anarchy forces us to take a hard look at moral and political problems which other more sophisticated doctrines evade.”
--The Sunday Times
“A lucid exposition of revolutionary anarchist theory.”
“Coming from a position of uncompromising class struggle and a tradition that includes many of our exemplary anarchist militants Floodgates of Anarchy has a power and directness sadly missing from some contemporary anarchist writing. It is exciting to see it back in print, ready for a new generation to read.”
--Barry Pateman, Associate Editor, The Emma Goldman Papers, University of California at Berkeley
Albert Meltzer (1920-1996) was born in London in 1920. Committed to anarchism from the age of fifteen, he engaged in rent and other strikes as well as the movement for workers’ councils. He was an amateur boxer, a bookseller, a print worker, an author and publisher of countless works on anarchism, but he was, above all a 'torchbearer of international anarchism’ who fought, in theory and practice, for anarchism to be a living movement.
For a calendar of speaking events, please click here
- Stuart Christie Interview On BBC Outlook
- Acquitted "Stoke Newingon Eight" anarchist life story to be told in film on the Hackney Gazette
- The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Britain's First Urban Guerilla Group: Political Media Review
- The Urban Guerrillas Britain Forgot: The New Statesman
- The Angry Bridage on Anarchist Studies Journal
- Arena One on Anarchist Studies Jouirnal
The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Britain's First Urban Guerilla Group
By Sarat Colling
Political Media Review
This BBC film by Gordon Carr, released in 1973 and republished in 2008, documents the events surrounding Britain’s longest ever conspiracy trial, in which eight young anarchists were charged with conspiring to commit 25 bomb attacks as members of the Angry Brigade.
In the late Sixties and early Seventies, the Angry Brigade enraged the establishment. Jonathon Green on the questions that remain unanswered 30 years on
"The Angry Brigade is the man or woman sitting next to you. They have guns in their pockets and hatred in their minds. We are getting closer. Off the system and its property. Power to the People. Communique 9. The Angry Brigade"
(22 May 1971, following the bombing of Tintagel House)
By Stuart Christie
Christie, Stuart and Albert Meltzer. Anarchism: Arguments For and Against. AK Press: 1996.
Christie, Stuart and Antonio Téllez Solà. Anarchist international action against Francoism from Genoa 1949 to The First Of May Group. Kate Sharpley Library: 2010.
Christie, Stuart, Albert Meltzer and Antonio Téllez Solà. The Assassination Attempt On Franco From The Air, 1948. Kate Sharpley Library: 2006.
Christie, Stuart. The Christie File. Partisan Press, 1980.
Christie, Stuart, G. Cresciani, Mike Donovan, Buenaventura Durruti, Paolo Finzi, Don Hamerquist, Anna Key, Errico Malatesta, Rudolf Rocker and Dr. Gerhard Wartenberg. Beating Fascism : Anarchist anti-fascism in theory and practice. Kate Sharpley Library: 2005.
Christie, Stuart. Edward Heath Made Me Angry. ChristieBooks: 2004.
Christie, Stuart. General Franco Made Me A Terrorist. ChristieBooks, 2003
Christie, Stuart. Granny made me an Anarchist : General Franco, the Angry Brigade and Me. Scribner: 2005.
Christie, Stuart, Albert Meltzer and Phil Ruff. I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels: Sixty Years of Commonplace Life and Anarchist Agitation. AK Press: 1996.
Christie, Stuart, Pedro de Paz and Richard Warren. The Man Who Killed Durruti. Christiebooks/ Red and Noir: 2006.
Christie, Stuart. Stefano Delle Chiaie. Anarchy & Refract: 2004.
Christie, Stuart. We, the Anarchists! A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation. Christiebooks: 2002.
Téllez Solà, Antonio. Sabate: guerrilla extraordinary. AK Press & Elephant Editions: 1998. 208 pages. Translated by Stuart Christie.