Jun 052013
 

Cover of first (and only) print edition (1972)

Miggers1FRANCO’S PRISONER. Anarchists against the Dictatorship by Miguel García García and annotated by José Ignacio Alvarez Fernandez ISBN 978-1-873976-52-4, ChristieBooks, PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1ZS (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.71/€3,17/$4.12 READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!  Fully annotated by José Ignacio Alvarez Fernandez, Department of Foreign Languages, Emmanuel College, Boston

UK : £2.71 ; USA : $4.12 ; Germany : €3,17 ; France :  €3,17 ; Spain:  €3,17 ; Italy :  €3,17 ; Japan : ¥ 402 ; Canada : CDN$ 4.15 ; Brazil : R$ 8,56

Miguel García García was born in Barcelona in 1908, the seventh of nine children. He became a newspaper-seller at the age of nine, and an apprentice printer at twelve; he was a lifelong member of the CNT, the anarcho-syndicalist trade union in Spain.

Miguel García García fought for nearly forty years for the freedoms we take for granted. A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, Miguel then put his experience as a printer to good use — forging documents and printing pamphlets for the Resistance.

On 21 October 1949, he was arrested, tried and sentenced to death together with eight comrades. He spent thirty-eight days in the condemned cell until his sentence was commuted to thirty years’ imprisonment. Four of his comrades were executed.

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Sep 162012
 

SAM DOLGOFF, retired house painter, editor and translator of Bakunin on Anarchy, The Cuban Revolution: A Critical Perspective, The Anarchist Collectives: Workers’ Self-management in the Spanish Revolution (1936-1939), was 83 years old when he completed this Memoir. He started out in life, more than half a century earlier, as a working hobo on the railroads and waterfronts, in lumber camps, canneries, and steel mills of the United States. Caught up early in ideas of radical social change, he moved from reformist socialism to anarchism, publishing his first piece, a criticism of Gandhi, in the anarchist journal Road to Freedom. As a member of the IWW he became a strong propagandist for libertarian labor movements—incidentally teaching himself to read six different languages—lecturing across America in union halls, civic centers and colleges. Under the pen name Sam Weiner, he published innumerable articles in labor and anarchist periodicals, many of which he helped to found and edit.

Fragments: a memoir, Sam Dolgoff, ISBN 978-0-946222-04-9. First published (one edition, now long o/p) 1986 by Refract Publications (formerly Cienfuegos Press Ltd), Cambridge. This Kindle eBook published 2012 by ChristieBooks. (€3,21; £2.58; $4.13UK ; US/Canada/India and RoW ; España ; France ; Germany ; Italy

Jul 092012
 

Twenty Years in Franco’s Jails. An Anarchist In Franco’s Prisons by Juan Busquets Verges. ISBN 978-1-873976-58-6 (Kindle eBook). Prologue by Ángel Urzáiz and Introduction by Stuart Christie. Translated by Paul Sharkey (£5.98, $9.26, Eur 7,55) Kindle UK, Kindle US/Canada, Kindle Spain, Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Italy

Juan Busquets Verges, 1948

First arrested in 1944, aged 16, Juan Busquets Verges was an apprentice fitter in the Hispano Suiza factory in Barcelona, a member of the clandestine anarcho-syndicalist labour union, the CNT (Confederación Nacional Del Trabajo — and a member of the factory strike committee. In 1947 he crossed into France where he contacted the Spanish Libertarian Movement in Exile (MLE) in Toulouse, and found employment in the mines of Cransac. The following year he joined Marcelino Massana Bancells’s (‘Pancho’) anti-Francoist guerrilla group and took part in a number of operations inside Spain including, in June 1949, the dynamiting of more than 40 electricity pylons and the uprooting of a kilometre of railway lines in the vicinity of Terrasa.

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Jun 032012
 

Farquhar McHarg (the ‘Big Man’ from Govan), Céret, Pyrénées-Orientales, 1959

Autobiography is essentially an act of confession. Some people can’t bring themselves to do it; others just can’t be stopped. Sometimes what comes out is so unbelievable it’s easy to mistake it for fiction. In the case of “The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg”, you couldn’t make it up if you tried. Or could you?

Albert Meltzer introduced me to Farquhar in 1974, but the legend had already preceded him. I refrained from asking how much, if any, of it was true. What little I knew about his past seemed the sort of stuff you keep quiet about, if you want to avoid answering serious criminal charges, or stopping a bullet with your face. When Laureano Cerrada Santos was murdered in Paris two years later I expected Farquhar to be next; so did he. Farquhar furiously committed to paper his experiences of a lifetime of anarchist activism, to leave behind an explanation of things which powerful and dangerous people would much rather leave unexplained.

This is the testimony of a man drawn into clandestine struggle as a naive but idealistic teenager, who witnessed the “heroic” days, and the not so heroic days, of Spanish anarchism and survived long enough to tell the tale.

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May 232012
 

Available now on KINDLE UK, US and Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Italy

'Mario de Langullo' (Cover illustration by Phill Evans)

Mario Rodríguez Losada, (‘Mario de Langullo’ — nom de guerre ‘O Pinche’), was one of the many legendary guerrillas who, after the fall of the Republic, took to the mountains of North-West Spain to continue the armed struggle against the repressive forces of the Franco regime. Mario’s guerrilla group, one of the most active in the region, was based in the Sierra de Queija and operated in the area of El Bollo-La Gudina-Verin and Castro Caldelas — from the spring of 1941 until August 1968 when he went into exile in France.

Mario Rodríguez Losada (O Pinche, O Langullo). Guerrilla Warfare in Galicia, by his friend and biographer Antonio Téllez, is a riveting personal account of the lived experiences of one band of little-known anti-Francoist guerrillas who operated in the mountains of Galicia. Tellez’s story of O Pinche’s life as a resistance fighter provides a rare insight into the ‘intangible’ atmosphere of the events of the time and the outlook and motives of those who, putting their lives on the line, refused to abandon the struggle against injustice and oppression.

Mario Rodríguez Losada — 'O Pinche'

Operational area of the 'O Pinche' guerrillas

Apr 202012
 

KINDLE edition available here (click on image)

This compelling and moving book, first published in Spanish in 1972 (and in English in 1974, and now republished for Kindle), examines the life of one of the best-known of all the Spanish resistance fighters — Francisco Sabaté Llopart, known as El Quico, General Franco’s ‘Public Enemy No. 1’. But it is more than this, for the author, Antonio Téllez, traces in detail what has been called ‘a little-known period of Spanish history’, the period that saw the development of the Anarchist resistance to the Fascist regime following the tragic end of the Spanish Civil War, a resistance that continues to this day (1974). It paints a striking picture not only of the development of resistance in Spain, but also of its too-long ignored influence on contemporary (1960s and 1970s) urban guerrilla movements in South America and in Europe.

It is a sad story: of a man who would not compromise his ideals nor treat with a system he found tyrannical and vile, a man who devoted his adult life to freeing the most openly oppressed people in Europe. But Sabaté ‘s story does not end in 1960, as did his life, in the dusty street in San Celoni surrounded by Militia and Guardia Civil and broken by their bullets. His struggle was taken up by men and women throughout Spain. As Téllez demonstrates, Sabaté proved by his selfless battle that the individual is never helpless; there is always a possibility of rebelling and defending an idea one considers just. Francisco Sabaté, unquenchably brave, undismayed by failure, unmarked by treachery, gave to his people and to the free world the knowledge of the rightness of his cause.

‘Soy El Quico!’ 1Soy El Quico‘ – 2 — El Maquis a Catalunya

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Feb 272012
 

Click on image to read book

Edward Heath Made Me Angry: The Christie File: Part 3, 1967-1975. This third volume of Christie’s memoirs provides the historical and political context for the international anti-Franco resistance of the anarchist ‘First of May Group’, from 1967 to the dictator’s death in 1975. It is a first-hand account — by someone accused but acquitted — of the campaign of anti-state and anti-capitalist bombings by diverse groups of libertarian militants who came together as the ‘Angry Brigade’ to challenge the aggressively anti-working class policies of the Tory government of Edward Heath.

The coming to power of Edward Heath’s government in 1971 redefined the limits of protest. Opponents of government were ignored or criminalised, hard won employment rights and social reforms were rolled back, and so was democracy itself. To challenge government became life threatening, as radicals across Europe and America were to discover (Benno Ohensorg, Thomas Weissbecker, Georg von Rauch, Rudi Dutschke, Giuseppe Pinelli, the six anti-Vietnam war protestors at Kent and Jackson State universities).

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Dec 152011
 

Francisco Ponzán Vidal, The Anarchist Pimpernel (b. Oviedo, 1911- d. Buzet sur Tarn, 17 August 1944)

Around 6:30 pm on 17 August 1944 a number of trucks carrying some 50 prisoners left Saint-Michel prison in Toulouse heading northwest along the Albi road. Half an hour or so later, people living on the outskirts of the village of Buzet-sur-Tarn (Haute Garonne) saw a caravan of German military vehicles with an accompanying Gestapo touring car turn off the road and drive up a track into a wood. Shortly afterwards they heard shouts and the sounds of automatic gunfire and rifle shots coming from the woods. The shooting continued for 45 minutes. Some time later the vehicles emerged and returned in the direction of Toulouse. Two days later, informed by local residents, the authorities from Buzet-sur-Tarn visited the woods where they discovered the site of a chilling massacre. Beneath a still smouldering funeral pyre — and the debris of two burned-out barns, of which only smoke-blackened side walls bearing the pockmarks of bullets remained standing — they found what the carbonized remains of the 50 prisoners, all members of the Resistance. Among the blackened corpses was that of Francisco Ponzán Vidal, a lifelong Spanish anarchist and CNT union militant, one of countless unsung heroes of the Spanish Civil War and the anti-Francoist and anti-Nazi/Vichy resistance.

Founder and organiser of the escape and evasion lines used by the ‘Pat O’Leary’ and ‘Sabot’ networks, the French security services (Travaux Ruraux), and local French Resistance organisations, from 1940 to 1943, Francisco Ponzán Vidal’s group, consisting mainly of Spanish anarchist exiles, saved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of resistance fighters, evadees and escaped prisoners of war. Between January 1942 and April 1943 (when he was arrested by the Vichy milice), Ponzán’s records, consisting of two notebooks, list the names, dates and some photographs of 311 Allied evaders who successfully escaped to Spain and Gibraltar through his network. The names in the books include those of Lt. Airey Neave (the later MI9 officer and Thatcherite Tory MP), and RAF sergeant John Prendergast (later Sir John, colonial police chief — Kenya, Cyprus and Aden — and head of the Royal Hong Kong Police Special Branch). Among other successful evaders Ponzán’s anarchist network helped to make it back to Britain included Bill Sparks (my wife’s cousin’s brother) and major ‘Blondie’ Hasler, the sole survivors of ‘Operation Frankton’, the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ Royal Marine commando raid on German ships in Bordeaux harbour.

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Oct 182011
 
COSTANTINI - A Catalogue courtesy of the Museo Luzzati

COSTANTINI - A Catalogue courtesy of the Museo Luzzati

Flavio Costantini was born in Rome on 21st September, exactly sixty years after Herbert George Wells. When, during the war, he became a young utopian influenced by the books of the English writer he was pleased by the coincidence, finding it “particularly meaningful”.

His mother, a Roman housewife, kept a record of all her dead relatives. Every evening she opened the book she prayed for each of them, naming them one by one. From time to time the book was updated. “I was afraid of becoming one of them!”

His father, from Osimo, worked for the INA insurance company; his hobby was painting. “He was an amateur painter, he painted on everything using oils.”

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Oct 082011
 

See ChristieBooks Films:
Adapted by Robert Getchell from Woody Guthrie’s 1943 autobiography ‘Bound for Glory’, the film stars David Carradine as folk singer Woody Guthrie and Ronny Cox, Melinda Dillon, Gail Strickland, John Lehne, Ji-Tu Cumbuka and Randy Quaid. Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie (July 14, 1912 – October 3, 1967), a lifelong radical singer-songwriter, performed with the slogan ‘This Machine Kills Fascists’ on his guitar, and travelled with migrant workers from Oklahoma to California where he learned and wrote many folk and blues songs. Many of these are about his experiences in the Dust Bowl era during the Great Depression, earning him the nickname the “Dust Bowl Troubadour”.