In Memoriam: Stuart Christie, 10 July 1946-15 August 2020

It is always painful saying goodbye for good to any valued human being who faced his end with courage.

In Stuart Christie’s case I think what we all remember of him is that he grew up in Britain at a time when libertarian ideas could be muddled up with a lukewarm liberalism very close to the powers-that-be (Bertrand Russell), within which a few, deep down, made do with embracing a cautious and mild reformism.

Stuart with some other comrades came along and broke through the apparent calm by getting involved in the anti-Francoist movement, serving time in Spanish jails and being released thanks to multi-faceted pressures being brought to bear. It was an example of antifascist activism that was not taken in by dubious shows of sympathy from the powers-that-be. Quite the opposite. British counter-espionage targeted Stuart for his denunciations of and publications dealing with international fascist activity.

Stuart was undeterred and carried on with his activities, publishing his own serious examination of the FAI. The Christiebooks collection published many works on Iberian anarchism like Paul Sharkey’s and Chris Ealham’s very fine translation and annotation of the three-volume The CNT in the Spanish Revolution [by José Peirats]. He launched the website www.katesharpleylibrary.net [Stuart’s website is https://christiebooks.co.uk/, KSL] which offers a wide range of English-language materials on the life of the libertarian movement. 

Stuart has left us at a point when, his homeland, and the capitalist system in general (whether private capitalism, statist, marxist-leninist or religious) is in the throes of a crisis; so the continuity and gravitas and determination that were the mainstays of Stuart’s life continue to make a sound contribution to activists, current and future. His is an honest and active legacy, mirroring his sensibilities which were always linked to reality and to a rejection of social exploitation in every sphere of life.

May the earth sit lightly on you, Stuart.

Frank Mintz. http://fondation-besnard.org/spip.php?article3559

Translated by: Paul Sharkey.