Sep 022014

Edward Heath Made Me Angry: The Christie File: Part 3, 1967-1975. (The later memoirs of a West of Scotland ‘baby-boomer’) Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBook titles — £3.10  READ INSIDE!

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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.

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Jan 072014

JuicioContraFrancoJuicio Contra Franco by Victor García (in Spanish). First published in 1963 by ‘Ruta’, Venezuela. This eBook (Kindle edition) is published by ChristieBooks in conjunction with the Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne and Acracia Publications —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.26/€1.51/$2.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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On 29 and 30 June 1962 three bombs exploded in Barcelona, one at the local Falange headquarters, another at the Monterols College — linked in those years to the far-right Opus Dei movement — the third in the National Insurance Institute. There were no casualties and damage was minimal.

On 19 September 1962 three young libertarian members of the local anti-fascist resistance were arrested and charged with carrying out these attacks: Jorge Conill, a chemistry student at the University of Barcelona; Marcelino Jiménez and Antonio Mur Peirón Cubas, both workers. On 22 September, the three youths were tried by a court martial on charges of terrorism and banditry and one of whom, Conill, was sentenced to death. In Milan, the Libertarian Youth Group attempted to prevent his execution by kidnapping Spain’s vice consul in the city.


Three of the accused anarchists in the Varese kidnap trial

The subject of this booklet is the 1962 trial, in Varese, Italy, of these libertarian activists and several supporters involved in the kidnapping— a trial that ended in a resounding condemnation of the Franco regime. The so-called democracies ignored the protest and continued supporting Franco’s clerico-fascist regime in Spain. And why not? After all, it provided them with a good, cheap, tourist destination, cheaper labour and, to complete the picture, all the military bases they so desperately needed to maintain the East-West balance of power in Europe.

Meanwhile, to save itself from impending economic collapse, Francoism saw only one possible salvation, entry into the European Common Market.
For this reason the regime turned all its diplomats, its influence and propaganda efforts to reinventing Francoism in a feverish PR exercise to convince democratic countries of the EC that the regime was changing and had had democratic aspirations.

Hence the easing of restrictions on the press, the election of trade union officials within the fascist syndicates (unions), the introduction into the Spanish political scene of an unusual vice-president of the Council — and the anticipation of the regency and the coronation of a Bourbon king.

Hence, too, the tiresome mantra spread by many deluded and some paid-for agents that “In Spain there are no political prisoners”.

The most dramatic rejection of this slogan was pronounced in the small Italian town of Varese during the trial of the young libertarians accused of kidnapping the vice-consul in Milan.

As witnesses and accused appeared in the Varese courtroom, it became clear that the principal accused was not among the defendants in the dock: Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain by the Grace of God.

On 16 November La Stampa’s Turin correspondent Gigi Ghirotti wrote: “Behind the accused in the dock looms the shadow of a dictatorship that subjects defendants of all political beliefs to closed trials without lawyers, sentences that are not subject to appeal, and courts that lack the courage to announce their verdicts to the condemned…”

In the world of today, any defiance of political oppression, any mass resistance to economic madness, any direct action to defend or regain living standards is all too often met with assault by the boss class’s lickspittle legal machine. This book provides a useful and heartening account of how the full force of the law was challenged and derailed in court to provide an exemplary victory for natural justice, with the defendants triumphantly acquitted outright of any wrongdoing, while instead the mask of innocence was torn away from the ultimate oppressors, who were themselves indicted with many of the grossest of crimes.

Dec 142013

Los Manoscover2LOS MAÑOS: ANATOMY OF AN ACTION GROUP by Freddy Gómez with Mariano Aguayo Morán — interviewed in September 1976 and translated by Paul Sharkey. Appendix: Mariano Aguayo Morán — interviewed on 18 February 1992 by Antonio Téllez about the formation of the Los Maños group; also translated by Paul Sharkey. ISBN 978-1-873976-67-8. Published in 2013 by ChristieBooks —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.88/€2.26/$3.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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In 1945 Mariano Aguayo Morán (1922 -1994) who had been active in a small group of anarchists and socialists, took up the armed struggle against Franco. Imprisoned for a few months in 1948, he moved to Barcelona in February 1949 and joined the Los Maños anarchist action group (maño being a slang term for natives of Aragon) led by Wenceslao Giménez Orive “Wences” and “Jimeno”, Simón Gracia Fleringan, Plácido Ortiz, Salgado, D. G. M., “Rodolfo”, César Saborit Carrelero and the traitor Aniceto Pardillo Manzanero. On March 2 1949, in Barcelona, Wences, José López Penedo, Carlos Vidal Pasanau together with Francisco and José Sabaté Llopart, ambushed what they believed to be the car of Eduardo Quintela, head of the Francoist secret police (Brigada Politico Social – BPS) in Catalonia; they killed, instead, the secretary of the Falangist Youth Front, Manuel Piñol and his driver. Subsequently the group carried out a string of armed robberies in Madrid, Malaga, Seville and in France in order to fund an attempt on the life of Franco as he drove to his residence at the royal palace on Mount Pardo. A few months later they made a second, equally unsuccessful, attempt to blow up Franco’s convoy as it made its way up the steep winding road at La Cuesta de la Muela between Zaragoza and Madrid. Following their return to Barcelona on 2 January 1950 the group was betrayed by a disaffected member, Aniceto Pardillo Manzanero (The Kid), and most were arrested on 9 January, shortly after Wences took poison and killed himself when he was shot and wounded in a police trap. Simón Gracia Fleringan was executed in Barcelona by firing squad on December 24 1950 together with  Victoriano Muñoz Tresserras and Plácido Ortiz Gratal. Their bodies were thrown into a common, unmarked, grave. Mariano Aguayo was fortunate to have been in Paris when the group was betrayed in Barcelona.

Mariano Aguayo 1

Mariano Aguayo Morán

This interview with Mariano Aguayo Morán, in September 1976, provided an opportunity to get to grips with the history of the libertarian anti-Franco resistance in the crucial years after the war (1946-1950), the Second World War having inspired high but ultimately disappointed hopes at a time when, after the Nazi and Italian fascist regimes had been defeated, the Franco regime looked likely to be next in line to fall. The ‘Los Maños’ group, which grew out of the close friendship between two young men from the working class El Arrabal district of Zaragoza, was soon wedded to the cause of anarchist activism and drawn into the nebulous libertarian resistance of which Quico Sabaté (1915-1960) and José Luis Facerias (1920-1957) were then the two emblematic representatives.

The main purpose behind this interview is not to extoll the praises of the shadow warriors from those times, but to learn from the story of the ‘Los Maños’ group, as told by one of its protagonists, of the difficult circumstances in which such resistance occurred, and understand the problems with which it had to grapple. There, to our way of thinking, is where its morsel of human truth resides.

Freddy Gómez

Oct 292013

AlbertPressAlCoverTHE ALBERT MEMORIAL. The Anarchist Life and Times of Albert Meltzer (7 January 1920 — 7 May 1996). An Appreciation by Phil Ruff, with a postscript by ‘Acrata’. ChristieBooks 2013  ISBN 978-1-901172-10-2 Published in 2013 by ChristieBooks, Hastings, East Sussex UK —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.08/€1.27/$1.70  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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Albert Meltzer was one of the most notable and influential figures in the British anarchist movement of the second half of the 20th century. This commemorative appreciation of Albert’s life and work by his close friend and comrade, ‘Black Flag’ cartoonist Phil Ruff, also includes contributions from his European activist contemporaries and a response to the calumnies propagated by those who attempted for several decades to revile or belittle his indefatigable efforts in the cause of human liberation. Funeral of Albert Meltzer ; I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels

Oct 242013

LucioBookCoveraFORGED IN REBELLION: LUCIO URTUBIA — The anarchist who fucked CitiBank by Lucio Urtubia (Translated by Paul Sharkey) ChristieBooks 2013 ISBN 978-1-873976-66-1 Published in 2013 by ChristieBooks, Hastings, East Sussex UK —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £3.18/€3,76/$5.13  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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“The banks are the real crooks,” says Lucio Urtubia decisively. “They exploit you, take your money and cause all the wars.” Lucio had no moral scruples about forging Citybank travellers’ cheques. His motivation was not his own gain, but to dent confidence in this powerful financial institution. He was arrested for this and ended up in prison, but soon got back on his feet. ‘Forged in Rebellion’ is an engaging portrait of the anarchist Lucio Urtubia, born in Northern Spain in 1931, and who deserted from the Francoist army, working as a tiler in Paris, where he immersed himself in the world of the Spanish exiles. It was a meeting with the legendary Quico Sabaté (1915-1960) that put Lucio on the anarchist path, whereby his talents as a forger of identity papers and currency came in particularly useful. His anarchist nature is revealed in this highly particular, free-flowing memoir, a lively ‘cops and robbers’ story in which — according to the best traditions — the true scale of Lucio’s role is never completely revealed. It is also the impassioned inside story of an unequal war waged by a genuine modern day Robin Hood from the Sherwood Forest of Lucio’s thousand safehouses and hideouts around Paris as he robs the rich and helps the needy: in the latter case the story comes to an exemplary conclusion, with a solemn peace treaty, the sort signed between great powers. But above all else, what must be seen in these pages is a living document that turns the historical spotlight on to a specific time and place and recounts a singular life story which is at the same time — as all human lives are — the story of many lives. Interview: ‘The Life and Crimes of Anarchist Bricklayer, Lucio Urtubia

Aug 072013

IRSM coversmallA concise study of the origins and development of the revolutionary anarchist movement in Europe 1945-73, with particular reference to the First of May Group. Formed in 1966 by the post-war generation of (largely Spanish) anarchist militants this group took up arms against Franco and US imperialism was the best known anarchist activist group of the period, representing a continuation of the work of Francisco Sabaté (el Quico) and the immediate post-war Spanish urban and rural guerrilla resistance, and a bridgehead into the next period when revolutionary activism in many countries (Germany, USA, Italy, and South America) consisted of many strands, some of which were authoritarian Marxist—usually Maoist, sometimes Council-Communist, occasionally Trotskyist, others Anarchist. Includes background, a chronology, and documents from The First of May Group, (search for El Grupo Primero de Mayo) the International Revolutionary Solidarity Movement and the Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias.   LOOK INSIDE

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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

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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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Mar 272013

Pistoleros3-resized1-197x300Hastings Online Times 27/3/2013

The third volume in the Pistoleros! trilogy by the anonymous Hastings-based author finds our hero Farquhar McHarg still in revolutionary Barcelona, now in the early years of the 1920s, as he continues the struggle, alongside fellow workers and anarchist comrades, against the forces of right-wing repression.

We know he survived these murderous times because interspersed with that first-person narrative is the third-person account of his latter years as a political exile in France. In volume one his close comrade Laureano Cerrada was gunned down in the streets of Paris, and Farquhar knows he is next on the list.

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Feb 172013

jpg_HomenatgeJoanCatala_baixaQualitatJoan Català Balañà (1913-2012) One of the finest people-smugglers (‘passeurs’) who helped dozens flee the Nazis via Andorra and elsewhere in the Pyrenees during the Second World War. His life story is the stuff of movies. Born on 21 February 1913 in Llavorsí (Lérida province, Catalonia). During the Spanish Civil War he fought with the anarchist Durruti Column (26th Division)  and later, in 1937 operated as a guide and spy in the Alt Urgell area, working for the SIEP (Servicio de Información Especial Periférica/special services unit) with the Aragonese Francisco Ponzán. In March 1939, following the Francoist victory, he crossed into France where he was held in the Le Vernet concentration camp (Ariège department) but soon escaped to Andorra.

JOAN_CATALACatalá worked as a smuggler, but he soon met up again with  Ponzán and began working for the Allied secret services. Captured in Cadiz in 1940 he was jailed in Madrid’s El Cisne prison from which he escaped to Andorra, subsequently embarking on intense activity as a smuggler of foreign refugees, escapers and evaders. A great hill-walker, Catalá’s preference was for courier work. In 1941 he was recaptured in Barcelona’s Estación de Francia escorting two US airmen, but he escaped on his way to trial and returned safely to Andorra. Not that any of this interfered with his regular trips carrying papers and documents for the CNT.

His umpteenth escape came in December 1942 after he was captured while rendezvousing with an unsuspected Francoist informer. He was recaptured a few days later but a clerical error allowed him to slip out of Lerida prison. At the request of the British Consul he returned to smuggling people out of France via the town of Oceja. His preferred stop-over prior to embarking on a crossing of the Sierra del Cadí near Manresa was the  Jaume d’Alp hotel. On other occasions, Catalá crossed the border via the Alt Emporda district.

As WWII drew to an end Catalá still possessed the maverick nature that was so perfectly captured by the title of his autobiography El eterno descontento (Forever Restless). In 1944 he had been arrested in Adrall and sentenced to 12-years prison sentence in 1946 – of which he served less than one, breaking out of Carabanchel prison in March 1947 and escaping to France where he was arrested yet again for having no papers, although he was subsequently released, mainly due to his wartime record.

His irregular circumstances in post-war France meant meant he had a thin time of it. In 1951 he and a number of Spanish anarchist comrades were arrested, accused of involvement in a post office van robbery in Lyon in which a guard was killed. He served 15 years in French prisons after which he settled in Andorra — eventually, in Seu d’Urgell. On 11 April 2010 Joan Catalá Balaña received a warm tribute in recognition of a life-time of libertarian activism. He passed away on 14 October 2012 aged 98.

-       The Colectivo a les trinxeres / cnt (Madrid) No 394, November 2012

Dec 302012

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ABCoverYou can’t reform profit capitalism and inhumanity. Just kick it till it breaks.’

Angry Brigade, communiqué 8.

Between 1970 and 1972 the Angry Brigade used guns and bombs in a series of symbolic attacks against property. A series of communiqués accompanied the actions, explaining the choice of targets and the Angry Brigade philosophy: autonomous organisation and attacks on property alongside other forms of militant working class action. Targets included the embassies of repressive regimes, police stations and army barracks, boutiques and factories, government departments and the homes of Cabinet ministers, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

These attacks on the homes of senior political figures increased the pressure for results and brought an avalanche of police raids. From the start the police were faced with the difficulty of getting to grips with a section of society they found totally alien. And were they facing an organisation — or an idea?

This book covers the roots of the Angry Brigade in the revolutionary ferment of the 1960s, and follows their campaign and the police investigation to its culmination in the ‘Stoke Newington 8′ conspiracy trial at the Old Bailey — the longest criminal trial in British legal history.

Gordon Carr produced the BBC documentary on the Angry Brigade and followed it up with this book. Written after extensive research — among both the libertarian opposition and the police — it remains the essential study of Britain’s first urban guerrilla group. This expanded edition contains a comprehensive chronology of the ‘Angry Decade’, extra illustrations and a police view of the Angry Brigade. Introductions by Stuart Christie and John Barker (two of the ‘Stoke Newington 8′ defendants) discuss the Angry Brigade in the political and social context of its times — and its longer-term significance.