A concise study of the origins and development of the revolutionary anarchist movement in Europe 1945-73, with particular reference to the First of May Group. Formed in 1966 by the post-war generation of (largely Spanish) anarchist militants this group took up arms against Franco and US imperialism was the best known anarchist activist group of the period, representing a continuation of the work of Francisco Sabaté (el Quico) and the immediate post-war Spanish urban and rural guerrilla resistance, and a bridgehead into the next period when revolutionary activism in many countries (Germany, USA, Italy, and South America) consisted of many strands, some of which were authoritarian Marxist—usually Maoist, sometimes Council-Communist, occasionally Trotskyist, others Anarchist. Includes background, a chronology, and documents from The First of May Group, (search for El Grupo Primero de Mayo) the International Revolutionary Solidarity Movement and the Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias. LOOK INSIDE
— 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.
Agustín García Calvo (Zamora, Spain, Oct. 15, 1926 — Zamora, Spain, 1 Nov. 2012)
Philologist, philosopher, writer, lifelong rebel, revolutionary and comrade, Agustín García Calvo was expelled by the Francoist authorities from his chair of Classical Languages at Madrid University for his support of the nascent student anti-Francoist movement in 1964-1965. In 1967 he was, perhaps, the leading light in the formation of the ‘Acratas’, an important Spanish anarchist student grouping that was part of the Europe-wide radical and revolutionary movement of the time. Nor did Garcia Calvo confine himself to the role of thinker, speaker and writer — he was also an activist prepared to put himself on the line. In the early 1970s he was an important liaison between the ‘Angry Brigade’, the ‘First of May Group’ (Grupo Primero de Mayo) and other European anti-Francoist/anti-capitalist action groups operating at the time and in this role was investigated as a ‘revolutionary facilitator’ by both the Metropolitan Police Special Branch (as it then was) and the French Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST). In 1971 our imprint ‘Simian’ published his reflections and speculations on the nature of the 1960s/’70s’ student revolt under the title ‘On How The Student Movement Is Re-Absorbed’ (original title ‘De los modos de integración del pronunciamento estudantil’). (A fuller appreciation by Octavio Alberola follows)
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 . . .
Granada TV’s ‘World in Action’ 25-minute autopsy of the ‘Stoke Newington Eight’ trial, broadcast in the immediate aftermath of the acquittals and convictions in December 1972 . . .
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.
20 November 1970: Following that morning’s ‘Angry Brigade’ bombing of the BBC’s outside broadcast lorry at the Royal Albert Hall in West London, North American compere Bob Hope, who was due to crown ‘Miss World’, was performing when a protest started inside the hall. As the flour bag missiles began raining down on him he tried to flee the stage, but was prevented from doing so by Julia Morley, the wife of the organiser, who grabbed him by the ankle. The police, who had been prepared for the demonstration, soon restored order and Hope was persuaded to get back on stage where, for once, not reading from idiot boards, he said:
‘These things can’t go on much longer. They’re going to have to get paid off sooner or later. Someone upstairs will see to that. Anybody who wants to interrupt something as beautiful as this must be on some kind of dope’.
The Mail described the demonstrators as ‘Yelling Harpies’…
Stoke Newington Eight Trial (No. 1 Court, Old Bailey 30 May – 7 Dec 1972)
Click here to listen
Produced by Peter Kavanagh (Broadcast August 9, 2002). The Angry Brigade. Britain’s own urban guerillas. Libertarian socialists. Genteel by comparison with Italy’s Red Brigades and West Germany’s Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Group). Active in the late 60s/early 70s. Made symbolic attacks on property (not people) – embassies of repressive regimes, boutiques (including Biba), police stations, army barracks, government departments, and the homes of Cabinet ministers, the Attorney General & the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. It’s not publicly known how many attacks they made – for a while their activities were concealed. Research implies that there were about 200. They took direct action because – in their view – the old left had failed to bring change. But this view was transformed when the 1974 strikes brought down Heath’s government. In light of what happened under Thatcher, they were mistaken. But one thing’s for certain though, their analysis of the growing damage consumerism was doing – would continue to do – to society and the planet was spot on. Eight people were selected for trial from two branches of a much larger ‘community’. Four were acquitted. The others each got ten years. Their trial was the longest in British criminal history. And it still looked like a fit-up. This is a reconstruction of the trial combined with other background information. Cast Includes Kenneth Cranham, Juliette Stevenson Mark Strong