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.
Tower blocks, older terraced housing and flats under construction. A speaker denounces the rent increases of the Greater London Council (GLC) as benefiting only the council’s moneylenders. He warns Horace Cutler, head of the Council’s Housing Department, that the tenants will not pay any rent increase. Posters in the windows of council houses protest against the increase.
The speaker argues that the rent increase is wanted by the council to pay for future building and that this should not be funded by current tenants. The Centrepoint building and Tottenham Court Road. He calls on the council to occupy the building and convert it into flats. Slogans supporting a rent strike and calling for unity. A target appears over a drawing of Cutler and is shot at.
Protesting tenants in Trafalgar Square and under Charing Cross Bridge. Some describe the effect of the increasing rents. Speakers at a tenants’ meeting announce the numbers from various estates of those who are withholding the rent increase. They contrast these figures with the low numbers given incorrectly in the press. The first speaker strongly criticises the press and characterises the campaign as one of working class solidarity. A bonfire on Guy Fawkes Night. Tenants chant a protest song and burn an effigy of Cutler.
An organiser of the Transport and General Workers Union for Smithfield and Billingsgate markets describes the union’s response to resolutions supporting the tenants’ campaign. Delegates are being sent to petition the council alongside tenants’ representatives and, if eviction is threatened against union members, industrial action could be taken. A large night time march by tenants’ associations and union members. Speakers encourage the tenants in their direct action and propose representation by tenants to protect their own interests