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Stuart Christie (born 10 July 1946) 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. 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 publishing house, later ChristieBooks and in 2008 the online "Anarchist Film Channel", which hosts over 850 films and documentaries with anarchist and libertarian themes.
Christie was born in the Partick area of Glasgow 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 and anarchism, and she provided the star which I followed." He joined the Anarchist Federation in Glasgow in 1962, at the age of 16. He became active in CND campaigns, attracted to the more militant approach of the Direct Action Committee and Committee of 100 and took part in the confrontational Faslane Naval Base CND demonstration on 14 February 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, 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, he was interviewed for a television programme with Malcolm Muggeridge, 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 11 August 1964. At the time he was in possession of explosives. Christie faced a military trial and a possible execution sentence by garrote, but was instead ordered to serve 20 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, Luis Andres Edo and Juan Busquets. Christie was freed on 21 September 1967, thanks to international pressure, with support from notables such as Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre. 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, re-formed the Anarchist Black Cross and Black Flag with Albert Meltzer, 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, 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 and Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts International) during the late years of the Soviet Union 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.
An updated and single-volume version of his autobiography Granny Made Me an Anarchist was published in 2004 by Scribner (UK). It had previously been published in three 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's Respect - The Unity Coalition in the European Parliament elections that year.
He also wrote, with Meltzer, The Floodgates of Anarchy, which includes an early version of the political compass. His other books include Stefano Delle Chiaie: Portrait of a Black Terrorist, (on Italian neo-fascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, founder of Avanguardia Nazionale and member of P2 masonic lodge, involved in Gladio's strategy of tension) and We, the Anarchists! A study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937 (2000).
As a publisher Christie founded Cienfuegos Press (1972) and edited the Cienfuegos Anarchist Review (1977? - 82?), Refract Publications (1982), The Meltzer Press (1996) and Christiebooks/Christiebooks.com/Read 'N' Noir. He also edited The Hastings Trawler, a monthly magazine that ran from December 2005 until December 2006.
Christie recently displayed an exhibition of Anarchist Art at the Dragon Bar in Hastings, which was in conjunction with Wesley Magoogan, former saxophonist with The Beat, Billy Ocean and Hazel O'Connor.
- Campbell, Duncan (23 August 2004). "The woolly-jumpered anarchist". The Guardian. G2 p2.
- Keeley, Graham (21 May 2011). "Anarchist jailed over plot to kill Franco fights to clear name". The Times (London). Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- Meltzer, Albert (1996). "IX: The Iberian Liberation Council; How the Thames was Lost". I Couldn't Paint Golden Angels. Edinburgh: AK Press. p. 164. ISBN 1-873176-93-7.
- Review of General Franco made me a "Terrorist" - The Christie File: Part 2, 1964-1967.
- Review of Edward Heath Made Me Angry, Infoshop News, 27 July 2005.
- London: Anarchy Magazine/Refract Publications, 1984. 182 pages (ISBN 0-946222-09-6)
- Review of We, the Anarchists! A study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937.
- Stuart Christie entry at the Daily Bleed's Anarchist Encyclopedia
- 1964: Stuart Christie's account of his actions in a Franco assassination attempt
- ChristieBooks and Anarchist Film Channel, Radio etc.
- "'My stomach churned. Something had gone badly wrong ... '", an edited extract from Granny Made Me an Anarchist, by Stuart Christie. Guardian.co.uk Guardian News and Media Limited. August 23, 2004.
- "Looking Back at Anger", Stuart Christie interview with Andrew Stevens. 3:AM Magazine. 2004.
- Den skotske bombmannen Stuart Christie interview with Jonas Stål in the Swedish magazine Kolet, 2011.