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.

Continue reading »

Sep 032012


Franco Me Hizo Terrorista. Memorias del anarquista que intentó matar al dictator Stuart Christie (Traducción y adaptación de General Franco Made Me A Terrorist por Jorge Barriuso con prólogo por Carlos Fonseca). ISBN 978-1-873976-60-9.

España ; France ; Germany ; Italy (€4,12); UK  (£3.25) ; US/Canada/India and RoW ($5.16)

De las calles de Glasgow a las cárceles de la España fascista, es éste el fascinante testimonio personal de un hombre que se enfrenta a los dilemas de una vida dedicada a la libertad. NOAM CHOMSKY

En el verano de 1964 y con dieciocho años recién cumplidos, el anarquista escocés Stuart Christie viajó a España con una carga de explosivos escondida bajo su ropa y con una misión: matar a Franco. Su temprana obsesión con el dictador había nacido algunos años antes, en los albores de su adolescencia, cuando sus familiares y su círculo de amigos adultos nutrían sus reuniones con anécdotas sobre la Guerra Civil y las Brigadas Internacionales, en las que muchos de ellos habían participado.

Pero quien más influyó en su vocación fue una figura mucho más fuerte y determinante en el ideario de Christie: su abuela. Siempre guiado por su curiosa musa inspiradora, Christie comenzaría a contactar con algunos exiliados de la España franquista, a quienes pronto les confesaría su más íntimo deseo: «Quiero hacer algo más que protestar y repartir panfletos», les dijo, y sus nuevas amistades no tardarían en complacerle. En agosto de 1964, cuando su mundo aún no se extendía más allá del sur de Inglaterra, Christie recibió instrucciones para cumplir con su primera misión internacional. Y así comenzó un viaje lleno de insólitas peripecias, que acabó de una manera ciertamente insospechada por su protagonista.

En estas extraordinarias memorias, Christie relata su experiencia, y dibuja un autorretrato digno de ser recordado en la memoria española como el de uno de los ultimo’s idealistas del convulso siglo XX.

Stuart Christie nació en Glasgow en 1946; anarquista convencido, viajó a España en 1964 cargado de explosivos como parte de una misión para matar a Franco, organizada por Defensa Interior, un ala radical de la CNT. Fue arrestado por la Brigada Político Social y sentenciado a una pena de veinte años de prisión en Carabanchel. En 1967 consiguió la libertad gracias a un indulto, pero tres años después fue arrestado y encarcelado en Londres como sospechoso de pertenecer al grupo terrorista Angry Brigade, cargo del que finalmente resultó absuelto.

Fue editor del Cienfuegos Press, donde ha publicado la Review of Anarchist Literature. Ha escrito numerosos libros, entre los que destacan The Floodgates of Anarchy (1970) (Anarquismo y Lucha de Clases – 2012), Stefano Delle Chiaíe: Portrait of a Black Terrorist (l984) y We, The Anarchists/ A Study of The Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937 (¡Nosotros Los Anarquistas! Un estudio de la Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) 1927-1937). Franco me hizo terrorista forma parte de sus memorias, una trilogía bajo el nombre de The Christie Files, compuesta por My Granny Made Me an Anarchist (2002), General Franco Made Me a Terrorist (2003) y Edward Heath Made Me Angry (2004).

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.

Continue reading »

Oct 032011

See ChristieBooks Films
Parts 1 and 2 of Spain at War, a 30-part documentary series produced by Spanish TV in 1986. The films contains many rare and difficult to find images
1) Decline of a regime 2) The Republic: reform and reaction

Mar 282011

The Mark of Cain (Russian – English subtitles), a feature-length documentary by Alix Lambert, is an exploration of life in The Zone, a term for the Stalinist Gulag, the Russian prison system, and chronicles the vanishing practice and language of Russian Criminal Tattoos. Filmed in some of Russia’s most notorious prisons, including the fabled White Swan, the documentary traces the animus of the flowers of this carnal art by way of the brutality of its origins – the penitentiary and the criminal environment. Through interviews with inmates, family members and prison officials, Lambert paints a grim picture. Life in any prison is tough, but the conditions recorded by Lambert are barely credible with cells  so overcrowded that inmates must agree on who will stand and who will sleep. Lambert does a great job of imparting to us the importance of The Thieves Tradition of the caste system, without which arbitrary clashes would surely take a toll. From the Downcasts to the Godfather-esque Thieves-in-the-Law, inmate skins boast markings that measure a man’s provenance – a second passport stamped with crimes committed and sentences served. The quality of the artwork is surprising, considering that the tattooing must be completed covertly with nothing more than a customized electric razor.The ageing generation of inmates offers observations that are cross-cultural. They frown upon the newer generation of inmates buying, rather than earning, the ink intended draw the required respect.The Mark of Cain stamps an honour and order to an otherwise caged chaos.

See also FILMS:  TATTOO (1976 — John Samson)

Mar 282011

Sex in Chains — Geschlecht in Fesseln (Silent w/English intertitles): ‘A young man is convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to a term in prison. There he forms a close relationship with his cellmate and upon his release his wife is concerned as to how prison has changed the man she married. Brimming with visual invention and breathless erotic angst, Sex in Chains uniquely combines gorgeous cinematic craftsmanship with bold subject matter. Made at the peak of the German silent era, Sex in Chains defines the Weimar era artistic freedom that would shortly fall prey to the Nazis. An astonishing mixture of love story, socially conscious exposé and lurid melodrama, Sex in Chains assuredly balances tender romance with candid erotica and uninhibited imagination with crisp realism.’ See FILMS

Mar 152011

Hispanist historian Professor Paul Preston talks about his forthcoming, long-awaited new book (September 2011): The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination during the Civil War and After (El holocausto español. Odio y exterminio en la Guerra Civil y después), a definitive account of the murders and massacres of civilians that took place during and after the Spanish Civil War, which remains a sensitive and controversial topic three-quarters of a century after the start of the war.

Continue reading »

Aug 312010

CARABANCHEL PRISON (Prisión Provincial de Madrid), one of the largest and most notorious prisons in Europe until its closure in 1998, was built between 1940 and 1944 by the slave labour of Franco’s political prisoners. Over the years untold numbers of Franco’s political prisoners were executed here, either by firing squad or by garrotte-vil. The layout followed the panopticon model devised by Liberal reformist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. During the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) and the subsequent ‘Bunker’ period (1975-1981) when Francoists continued to wield overt political power, the prison hosted a large community of political prisoners. Since then, until its closure, only common criminals  on remand and members of the Basque separatist group ETA and other paramilitary groups remained behind its walls. Although the documentary Franco’s Prison – or La Otra Orilla (see FILMS above) was made (by Adolfo Garijo) sometime in the 1990s, the place hadn’t changed much, structurally anyway, since the 1940s. The final TV news footage – Goodbye Carabanchel – shows the prison’s demolition in October 2008.


Aug 152010

JOHNNY RAMENSKY was an expert safeblower who kept getting caught, but whom no prison could hold; even so he spent more than 40 of his 67 years behind bars. In total, he was sentenced to 56 years in jail throughout his criminal career in courts across Britain. He also became a wartime legend after being dropped behind enemy lines as part of an elite commando unit to blow open the safes of Nazi Generals. Offered special commando training under the leadership of General ‘Lucky’ Lacey, Ramensky was dropped as part of a crack unit behind enemy lines to use his  expertise to blow open the safes of German leaders and secure important documents. During the fighting in Italy, he was among the first troops to enter Rome  where he blew open the safes in 14 foreign embassies in a single day. He also blew Goering’s safes, receiving the Military Medal for his efforts and a pardon when peace was finally declared in 1945. In November 1955, he was arrestedagain  and sentenced to 10 years ‘preventative detention’ in Scotland’s maximum security prison of Peterhead, from which he escaped five times in total — the first prisoner to do so. Ramensky died in Perth Prison, aged 67  in November 1972,  from a brain haemorrhage suffered while serving a 12-month sentence.  It was his dislike of violence that earned him his nickname ‘Gentleman Johnny’, but it was his daring wartime exploits and prolific criminal career which made his name. Ramensky never targeted people’s homes. His hit-list consisted of business premises from banks and shops to large offices.

Let Ramensky Go – sung here by Josh MacRae who also sings Sky High Joe, Baron James McPhait, Arkansas Rambler, The Day We Went To Rothesay, O, Champion At Keepin En RollinJohnny Cope and Kerrigrew’s Soiree

Jul 292010

JOHN BARKER reads from his prison memoir Bending the Bars at Brighton’s Cowley Club in 2010 (see Films page above). Born in Kilburn, London, in 1948, John was arrested in August 1971 in the so-called “Angry Brigade” case and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. It was the longest trial in English legal history. Released in 1978, John wrote his memoir of those seven years in the English penal system. His novel, Futures, has been published in French by Grasset, and in German by Dumont but has so far not appeared in English.