Stuart Christie

Stuart Christie (10 July 1946 – 15 August 2020)[1] was a Scottish anarchist writer and publisher. When aged 18, Christie was arrested while carrying explosives to assassinate the Spanish caudillo, General Francisco 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, as well as radical publications The Free-Winged Eagle and The Hastings Trawler, and in 2006 the online Anarchist Film Channel,[2] which hosts films and documentaries with anarchist and libertarian socialist themes. His memoir Granny Made Me an Anarchist was published in 2004.

Stuart Christie
Born(1946-07-10)10 July 1946
Partick, Glasgow, Scotland
Died15 August 2020(2020-08-15) (aged 74)
OccupationAnarchist writer and publisher
Notable work
Granny Made Me an Anarchist (2004)
Spouse(s)Brenda Earl


Early lifeEdit

Christie was born in the Partick area of Glasgow and raised in Blantyre by his mother and grandparents, becoming an anarchist at a young age. He ascribed 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."[3] He joined the Anarchist Federation in Glasgow in 1962, at the age of 16. He became active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, 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.[4]

Attempt to assassinate FrancoEdit

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.[5]

Before he left England, he was interviewed for a television programme with Malcolm Muggeridge, a known MI6 contact, and 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 in possession of explosives. He faced a military trial and a possible execution sentence by garrote, but was instead sentenced to twenty years in prison. An accomplice, Fernando Carballo Blanco, was sentenced to thirty years' imprisonment. He served three years in Carabanchel Prison, where he studied for A-Levels and was brought into contact with anarchist prisoners, including Miguel García García, Luis Andres Edo and Juan Busquets.[6] Christie was later freed. The official reason given by Francoist Spain was that it was due to a plea from Christie's mother.[6]

Back in BritainEdit

Industrial Workers of the World picket in Australia in 1981, calling for the release of Christie's wife Brenda from prison

After his release he continued his activism in the British anarchist movement, 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, which for a number of years he operated from Sanday, Orkney, where he also edited and published a local Orcadian newspaper, The Free-Winged Eagle.

Christie had various writing and journalistic jobs including as editor of an unauthorised British edition of Pravda and Argumenty i Fakty (Arguments and Facts International) in the late years of the Soviet Union and the early years of the Russian Federation.[3]

Published workEdit

An updated and single-volume version of his autobiography Granny Made Me an Anarchist was published in 2004 by Scribner. It had previously been published in three parts, the other titles being General Franco Made Me a Terrorist,[7] and Edward Heath Made Me Angry.[8][9] 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, because of the general anarchist stance against participating in capitalist democracy.[3] Christie also wrote articles attacking freemasonry.[10]

He also wrote, with Meltzer, The Floodgates of Anarchy. His other books include Stefano Delle Chiaie: Portrait of a Black Terrorist,[11] (on Italian neo-fascist terrorist Stefano Delle Chiaie, founder of Avanguardia Nazionale and member of P2 masonic lodge) and We, the Anarchists! A study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927–1937 (2000).[12] As a publisher Christie founded Cienfuegos Press in 1972 and edited the Cienfuegos Anarchist Review (c. 1977–1982), Refract Publications (1982), The Meltzer Press (1996) and Christiebooks/ 'N' Noir. His The Christie File was published by the Cienfuegos Press in 1980. He also edited The Hastings Trawler, a monthly magazine that ran from 2005 to 2006.[13]

Christie also translated into English the biography of Francisco Sabate Llopart, Sabate: An Extraordinary Guerrilla, by Antonio Téllez Solá.


Ross, Raymond J. (1981), "Review of The Christie File", in Murray, Glen (ed.), Cencrastus No. 6, Autumn 1982, p.35

Personal lifeEdit

Christie's wife of more than 50 years, Brenda Christie, died of cancer at the age of 70 in June 2019.[14] Stuart Christie died aged 74, also from cancer, on 15 August 2020.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Stuart Christie 1946-2020", Bella Caledonia, 16 August 2020.
  2. ^ Campbell, Duncan (17 August 2020). "Stuart Christie obituary". The Guardian.
  3. ^ a b c Campbell, Duncan (23 August 2004). "The woolly-jumpered anarchist". The Guardian. G2 p2.
  4. ^ Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. "abolition-usa-digest", Abolition 2000 Grassroots Newsletter, 14 February 2000, Vol. 1, Number 257.
  5. ^ Keeley, Graham (21 May 2011). "Anarchist jailed over plot to kill Franco fights to clear name". The Times. London. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
  6. ^ a b 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.
  7. ^ Review of General Franco made me a "Terrorist" - The Christie File: Part 2, 1964-1967.
  8. ^ Review of Edward Heath Made Me Angry, Infoshop News, 27 July 2005.
  9. ^ Patten, John (16 August 2020), "Stuart Christie 1946-2020 Anarchist activist, writer and publisher", Kate Sharpley library.
  10. ^ "A wink, a nod, or a shake of the hand: on the Masons". Kate Sharpley Library. 13 July 1983.
  11. ^ Stefano Delle Chiaie: Portrait of a Black Terrorist. London: Anarchy Magazine/Refract Publications, 1984. 182 pages (ISBN 0-946222-09-6)
  12. ^ Review of We, the Anarchists! A study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937. Archived 12 April 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "The Hastings Trawler – a treasure chest for HOT readers", 1067 & All That, Hastings Online Times, 12 December 2012.
  14. ^ Christie, Stuart (18 July 2020), "Brenda Christie obituary", The Guardian.
  15. ^ Wade, Mike (16 August 2020), "Scottish anarchist who attempted to assassinate General Franco dies from cancer", The Times. (subscription required)

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit