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A summary of some of the events and people that have helped to shape the Glasgow of today, a glimpse at a history that is sometimes difficult to find. My hope is that anyone who reads these few pages will be prompted to dig a little bit deeper and discover a rich heritage of which we can be very proud and perhaps try to contribute to that struggle and carry the heritage forward. The information contained in these pages has been gleaned from countless conversations, stories told, articles, pamphlets and books read over more years than I care to remember. My thanks goes to those friends, acquaintances and total strangers who over the years passed on some of these stories. — John Couzin
SOCIALISM & PARLIAMENT by Guy Aldred.
In this 1923 work, Glasgow-based anarchist Guy A. Aldred argues for libertarian, extra-parliamentary socialism instead of Labourist or statist socialism. “The advent of a Labour opposition in the House of Commons, the near possibility of that opposition becoming His Majesty’s Government, have revived interest in the question of parliamentary action. Bitter plaints at the historic failure of Parliamentary methods are tempered with a faint hope that something may be achieved by parliamentarism. It is forgotten that reform activity means constant trotting round the fool’s parade, continuous movement in a vicious circle. Something must be done for expectant mothers, for homeless couples wishing to housekeep, for rent-resisters, something to reform here or there, regardless of the fact that capitalism is a hydra-headed monster, that the reforms needed are as innumerable as the abuses begotten of the capitalist system, and such abuses increase with every modification of capitalist administration, the better to perpetuate the system. Under these circumstances it is necessary to restate the arguments against parliamentary activity, to explain and to prove that parliament was never intended to emancipate the working class from the evils of capitalism, that it never can and never will achieve this result.”
‘This volume picks up where the last one ended, namely his leaving Britain to take part in an anarchist plan to assassinate Franco. Christie, however, was arrested by Franco’s secret police long before he completed his mission to give the explosives he smuggled into Spain to those who were planning the assassination. Christie recounts his experiences being arrested and his time in various Spanish prisons with assurance, humanity and wit. He is not afraid to talk about the failures and cock-ups, the bickering and the surreal along with the bravery and dedication. As such, it is a real treat to read, giving the human side which history books never really manage to do. His account of the characters he met and the life of political prisoners in Franco’s regime is engrossing. Flag Blackened
“This fascinating personal account offers a remarkable picture of the late-20th century, seen through sensitive eyes and interpreted by a compassionate, searching soul.” Noam Chomsky
“Stuart Christie’s granny might well disagree, given the chance, but her qualities of honesty and self-respect in a hard life were part of his development from flash Glaswegian teenager — the haircut at 15 is terrific — to the 18-year old who sets off to Spain at the end of the book as part of a plan to assassinate the Spanish dictator Franco. In the meanwhile we get a vivid picture of 1950s and early 1960s Glasgow, its cinemas, coffee bars and dance halls as well as the politics of the city, a politics informed by a whole tradition of Scottish radicalism. Not just Glasgow, because Stuart was all over Scotland living with different parts of his family, and in these chapters of the book there is a lyrical tone to the writing amplified by a sense of history of each different place. When we reach the 1960s we get a flavour of that explosion of working class creativity and talent that marked the time, as well as the real fear of nuclear war and the bold tactics used against nuclear weapons bases. It is through this period of cultural shake-up that Stuart clambers through the obstructive wreckage of labour and Bolshevik politics, and finds a still extant politics of libertarian communism that better fitted the mood of those times. Now, in 2002,it is Stuart who finds himself quoted in an Earth First pamphlet as the new generation of activists for Global Justice by-pass the dead hand of Trotskyist parties and renew the libertarian tradition.” John Barker