Mar 262012
 

, Glasgow , D

John Brailey, anarcho-syndicalist (1934-2012)

John Brailey, SOGAT rank-and-file militant (with fellow anarchist Albert Meltzer) and anti-war activist, worked for many years as a printer in Fleet Street until the mid-1980s when the newspaper print industry moved to Wapping, after which he became involved in bookselling.

A founder member of the Committee of 100, John was closely associated with the ‘Spies for Peace’ group in 1963 and was one of those who demonstrated against the Greek royal family during their visit to London in the summer of 1963, the first time the Queen of England had been booed on the streets of London. He  also among those who occupied the Greek Embassy in London in April 1967.

My first contact with the Brailey family was when John’s partner, Laura, visited Brian and Margaret Hart at their flat at 57 Ladbroke Road in Notting Hill (where I was living at the time). Brian and Margaret hosted the monthly Notting Hill anarchist meetings (from which sprang, eventually, the Notting Hill Anarchist Group). She’d brought her three children along, and telling me about it later Brian told me the little boy was ralking excitedly about the moon. All the kids were well behaved, but lively and natural. They had all just moved into Peter Lumsden’s large and rambling apartment in Colville Houses further down Notting Hill. Peter, a truly saintly person, was a great admirer of the US Catholic Anarchist movement round Dorothy Day (Catholic Worker Movement), and had visited their centre for ‘down and outs’ (‘the Joe Hill House of Hospitality’) run by Ammon Hennacy, the Irish American Christian anarchist and pacifist in Salt Lake City. Anyway, Peter wanted to run something similar in the UK, but was unable turn anyone away and his place soon filled up with less unfortunate leftists, mostly under forty and unmarried, with housing problems. Many of these were members of — or associated with — the London Committee of 100 (as opposed to the more holier-than-thou Committee of 100 people around Bertrand Russell). These included some of the original ‘Eskimos’ — Terry Chandler and Mike Nolan — who attempted to board the Polaris submarine Patrick Henry on the Clyde from their kayaks in 1961. It was also home to the late Doug Brewood Jr, the only (as far as I know) identified member of the ‘Spies for Peace’ group. In fact Colville Houses was such a hotbed of radical activism that the security service had at least one agent planted there as a tenant. The one I am aware of, a guy called Darren, was exposed when someone asked him for change and, pulling a handful of coins from his pocket, a brass button inscribed ‘RAF Police’ fell to the floor.

I went to Spain soon after and didn’t re-establish contact with John until 4 or 5 years later when I was working closely with Albert Meltzer, who by that time was employed as a copytaker on the Daily Sketch and, later, on the Daily Telegraph, and quite often would run into John in ‘The Albion’ bar, with Albert, after SOGAT meetings, or on demonstrations. In later years, after Wapping, John took up second-hand bookselling, and he would be my first port of call if I was looking for a particular title or the back issue of some magazine or other. He’ll be sadly missed! May the earth lie lightly on you, John.

Stuart Christie

Danger! Official Secret: the Spies for Peace: Discretion and Disclosure in the Committee of 100 by Sam Carroll

Feb 272012
 

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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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Jan 302012
 

Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura, Piazza Fontana, Milan, December 12, 4.37 p.m. 1969

The Piazza Fontana massacre of 12 December 1969 is a crucial milestone in post-war Italian history. It was on that date that the criminal intentions of a political class — which demonstrated it would shrink from nothing to cling on to power in the face of ‘the onward march of communism’ — was made flesh. This class did not baulk at leaving a trail of corpses in its wake in order to prevent its leadership being called into question. The Piazza Fontana massacre is not some ‘obscure episode’ in Italy’s history — ‘the nightfall of the republic’. It is a clearly defined chapter whose narrative is that dead bodies are preferable to political change and over the years that followed many more would perish — mainly at the hands of the right, but also some at the hands of the left. It was a perverted game. The right had attacked, therefore the left had a duty to retaliate, thereby cranking up the ‘index of conflict’.

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Sep 142011
 

Crates (1970 – Alfredo Joskowicz) from Stuart Christie on Vimeo.

The story of a twentieth-century Mexican who, following the example of Crates of Thebes*, a disciple of Diogenes, renounces all his worldly goods and goes off with his partner to live in a cave — according to nature and without artificial rules and conventions— in search of freedom.

*Crates (Κράτης; c. 365-c. 285 BC) was a Cynic philosopher who gave away his money to live a life of poverty on the streets of Athens. His wife, Hipparchia of Maroneia, lived in the same austere manner. Respected by the people of Athens, he is remembered for being the teacher of Zeno of Citium the founder of Stoicism. Some fragments of Crates’ teachings survive, including his description of the ideal Cynic state. Cynics believed that the purpose of  life was to live virtuously in harmony with Nature. This meant rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, health and celebrity and by living a simple life free from all possessions. As reasoning creatures, people could gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way that was natural for humans. They believed that the world belonged equally to everyone, and that suffering was caused by false judgments of what was valuable and by the worthless customs and conventions that pervaded society.

Jul 042011
 

Debtocracy, a Greek documentary film with English sub titles which looks at the ‘real’ causes of Greece’s current debt crises, and offers genuine alternatives which government and MSM refuse even to consider. Preferring to force the ordinary people to pick up the tab via benefit cuts and the loss of jobs in the public sector. That the very bankers and politicians whose negligence, greed and criminality caused the crises, are liable to benefit from these cuts is not even considered by the country’s mainstream media.

Aug 112010
 

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Stefano Delle Chiaie. Portrait of a ‘Black Terrorist’ by Stuart Christie. First published 1984. Kindle Edition published by ChristieBooks, PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1ZS (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE £2.71  READ INSIDE!

UK : £2.71 ; USA : $4.13 ; Germany : €3,15 ; France €3,15 ; Spain €3,15 ; Italy :  €3,15 ; Japan : ¥ 398 ; Canada : CDN$ 4.11 ; Brazil : R$ 8,04

On 2 August 1980 a bomb hidden in a suitcase exploded at Bologna railway station in Italy, claiming the lives of 85 innocent people and injuring over 200. The outrage at Bologna was just one more episode in what has become known as the ‘Strategy of Tension’ – a campaign of terror, infiltration, provocation murder (including that of anarchist Giuseppe Pinelli) that stretches back to the beginning of the 1960s and has its roots in the Cold War. But what exactly are the aims of this seemingly senseless campaign, and who are the people behind it?

Of the five people named as suspects by the Italian judge investigating the outrage at Bologna, one stands out from all the rest: Stefano Delle Chiaie. Master organiser of neo-fascist terror, or someone who has been deliberately set up as such by other more shadowy figures, the name of Delle Chiaie is inextricably linked with just about every major right-wing scandal and terrorist outrage to have rocked Italy during the past two decades. The history of Delle Chiaie is the history of Nazism in our world today. Through it we see neo-fascist terrorist organisations in their true role: that of “plausibly deniable” agents of an inner oligarchic power sphere which sets itself above all law and morality.

SEE ALSO L’ORCHESTRE NOIR and GLADIO 1, 2 and 3 (FILMS)