View Full Version : The Angry Brigade

Magda Hassan
02-10-2012, 01:28 AM

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 organization 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 organization—or an idea?

This documentary, produced by Gordon Carr for the BBC (and first shown in January 1973, shortly after the trial), 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. Produced after extensive research—among both the libertarian opposition and the police—it remains the essential study of Britain's first urban guerilla group.
More info: http://www.pmpress.org/content/article.php?story=GordonCarr

Magda Hassan
02-10-2012, 01:38 AM
HistoryDuring the summer of 1968 there were a number of demonstrations in London against the American involvement in the Vietnam War, centred on the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grosvenor_Square). One of the organisers of these demonstrations was the well known radical left wing LSE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_School_of_Economics) student Tariq Ali (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tariq_Ali). He recalls being approached by someone representing the Angry Brigade who wished to bomb the embassy, he told them it was a terrible idea and no bombing took place.[/URL]
The group were strongly influenced by anarchism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Brigade#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHorspool2009385-0) and the Situationists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situationist_International), and decided to launch a bombing campaign with small bombs to maximise media exposure to their demands while keeping collateral damage to a minimum. The campaign started in August 1970 and was sustained for a year until arrests were made the following summer.
Their targets included banks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Brigade#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHorspool2009385.2C386-1), embassies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassy), the Miss World (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_World_1970) event in 1970 (or rather a BBC Outside Broadcast vehicle to be used in the corporation's coverage) and the homes of Conservative (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Party_%28UK%29) MPs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Member_of_Parliament). In total, 25 bombings were attributed to them by the police. The damage done by the bombings was mostly limited to property damage (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Property_damage) although one person was slightly injured.
Although the group purported to represent "the autonomous working class", (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Brigade#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHorspool2009385.2C386-1) when the police arrested nine suspected members of the group, only one, (Jake Prescott, who was arrested in Notting Hill) came from the working class; the other eight, four men and four women (arrested together in Stoke Newington (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stoke_Newington)) were middle class student drop-outs from the universities of Cambridge and Essex.

AftermathJake Prescott, a Scottish petty criminal, was arrested and tried in 1971 and given 15 years imprisonment, mostly spent in maximum security jails. Later he said he realised then that he 'was the one who was angry and the people [he] met were more like the Slightly Cross Brigade'.The other members of the group from North East London, the 'Stoke Newington Eight' were prosecuted for carrying out bombings as the Angry Brigade in one of the longest criminal trials (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Brigade#cite_note-FOOTNOTEHorspool2009385-0) of English (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/England) history (it lasted from 30 May to 6 December 1972). As a result of the trial, John Barker (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Barker_%28writer%29&action=edit&redlink=1), Jim Greenfield, Hilary Creek and Anna Mendleson (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anna_Mendelssohn) received prison sentences (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prison_sentence) of 10 years. A number of other defendants were found not guilty, including Stuart Christie (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuart_Christie), who had previously been imprisoned in Spain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spain) for carrying explosives with the intent to assassinate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassinate) the dictator Francisco Franco (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Franco), and Angela Mason (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angela_Mason) who became a director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lesbian,_gay,_bisexual_and_transgender) rights group Stonewall and was awarded an OBE (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OBE) for services to homosexual rights.
In March 2009, British family care activist and a best-selling novelist Erin Pizzey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erin_Pizzey) reportedly declined to comment on the temporary withdrawal by its publishers of the book Andrew Marr's History of Modern Britain (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Marr%27s_History_of_Modern_Britain) following her complaint it had falsely linked her to The Angry Brigade.[URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Brigade#cite_note-6"] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angry_Brigade#cite_note-5)
Cultural influenceThe group is parodied in Doris Lessing (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doris_Lessing)'s The Good Terrorist (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Good_Terrorist) (1985), in which a group of naive, young, communist squatters splits over whether or not to join the IRA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Republican_Army).The group and trial feature in Jake Arnott (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jake_Arnott)'s 2006 novel Johnny Come Home (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Come_Home).Howard Brenton's 1973 play Magnificence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnificence), about a group of far-left revolutionaries in a London squat, is partly inspired by the Angry Brigade.

External links

A personal memory of Anna in 1968 (http://www.gardenvisit.com/blog/2011/03/22/the-passing-of-a-friend-anna-mendelson-of-the-angry-brigade:)
Libertarian community and organising resource (http://libcom.org/). Libertarian communism and anarchism in the UK
Angry Brigade: Documents and Chronology, 1967-1984 (http://recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/AngryBrigade/)
John Barker's review of Tom Vague's Anarchy in the UK: the Angry Brigade (http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/anarchyuk.htm)
Look back in anger (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/life/story/0,6903,643923,00.html) (An article by The Observer on the 30th Anniversary of their trial)
Interview with Stuart Christie (http://www.3ammagazine.com/politica/2004/apr/interview_stuart_christie.html) (3:AM Magazine)
Interview with John Barker (http://www.3ammagazine.com/3am/resistance-as-its-own-reward/) (3:AM Magazine)
British minister's home bombed (http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/january/12/newsid_2523000/2523465.stm) (BBC 'On This Day' article)
Timeline of actions (http://www.spunk.org/texts/groups/agb/sp000540.txt) (spunk.org)
Obituary of Anna Mendleson (http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9w0wq9)
1973 article on the Stoke Newington Eight trial (http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/9ghz1v)
John Barker's personal page on Through Europe (http://th-rough.eu/writers/john-barker)

Magda Hassan
02-10-2012, 01:40 AM

(http://recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/AngryBrigade/)Table of Contents:

Introduction (http://recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/AngryBrigade/Introduction.html)
Communiques (http://recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/AngryBrigade/Communiques.html)
Chronology (http://recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/AngryBrigade/Chronology.html)
The Struggle Continues... (http://recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/AngryBrigade/Struggle_Continues.html)
Bibliographical Information (http://recollectionbooks.com/siml/library/AngryBrigade/Bibliography.html)