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.
‘You 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.
See ChristieBooks Films
An ‘anniversary’ account of the ‘Stoke Newington Eight’ (‘Angry Brigade’) trial with some interesting and insightful interviews with Gordon Carr, Ian MacDonald QC and Scotland Yard Special Branch Sergeant Roy Cremer. There are also a few interviews that are most definitely not . . . It is interesting to note that in both the ‘Angry Brigade’ (1970-71) and the later ‘Persons Unkown’ (1978-80) cases it was the recruitment/ involvement of politicised petty criminals that led, initially, to the police finding both the leads and evidence they needed to pursue successful prosecutions. It’s an old, old story . . .
JOHN BARKER reads from his prison memoir Bending the Bars at Brighton’s Cowley Club in 2010 (see Films page above). Born in Kilburn, London, in 1948, John was arrested in August 1971 in the so-called “Angry Brigade” case and sentenced to ten years imprisonment. It was the longest trial in English legal history. Released in 1978, John wrote his memoir of those seven years in the English penal system. His novel, Futures, has been published in French by Grasset, and in German by Dumont but has so far not appeared in English.