Last month we put out a call to raise funds for a project which aims to create a memorial archive for the late Scottish anarchist, Stuart Christie. Thanks to everyone’s incredible support we have gone some distance beyond our initial target of £10k, and we are now able to realise the project we set out to do.
Stuart’s life (10th July 1946-15 August 2020) spanned several revolutions, a three-year stint in a Francoist jail, exile, conspiracy, and one of the longest criminal trials in English history. He was an agitator, a pamphleteer, a historian, a novelist, a translator, a letterpress printer, an archivist, and a publisher. Often he was several of these things at once. The scope of the Stuart Christie Memorial Archive (SCMA) will of course reflect this rich and diverse biography. In the process of initiating the call for support, we have received several emails soliciting new archival entries; including letters Stuart wrote when he was imprisoned in Spain and photographs of protests organised by the ‘Christie-Carballo Defence Committee’. We know that many of the supporters of the Mayday Rooms had their own interesting connections to Stuart – if you have any material lying around which you think might be of interest, then please email our part-time researcher and archivist Jess Thorne: Jessica.Thorne.firstname.lastname@example.org
Stuart acted as a link in many chains, but his specificity in the history of post-war British anarchism was his connection to Spain, bridging the echoes of revolutionary anarchism in Iberia to the post-1968 countercultural milieus in the UK. Print and the written word was of central importance in sustaining these disparate movements. Along with personal correspondence and photos, the archive will include print-runs of Cienfuegos Press (the anarchist publishing house Stuart Christie set up with Albert Meltzer), ephemera and pamphlets produced by the exiled anarchist anti-Francoist movement, as well as his newspaper, The Free Winged Eagle, which he produced during his own period of exile in Orkney. The SCMA has also been offered CNT-FAI bulletins in English that date from 1936-1937.
We are currently in the process of preserving Stuart’s expansive anarchist film archive, which will be hosted on the Mayday Room’s server and available for all to use.
To keep up to date with the development of the archive you can follow the SCMA on twitter (@ArchiveStuart) or by searching The Stuart Christie Memorial Archive on facebook.
You can also listen to this recent episode of ’12 Rules for What’, where we discuss the life of Stuart, his legacy, and the value of past struggles informing our politics today.