Brigadier Frank Kitson?

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Joined: 23-01-04
Jul 24 2004 17:33
Brigadier Frank Kitson?

Has anyone taken the time to read Low Intensity Operations? The manual written by brigadier kitson regarding the repression of subversive organistaions in britain and abroad.

The somewhat foolish and spurious Angry Brigades used the manual as defence against the courts when they were being prosecuted for symbolic acts of terrorism. The book states quite honestly that the law should be used as a tool in the governments arsenal in order to dispose of 'unwanted members of society'.

pingtiao's picture
Joined: 9-10-03
Jul 24 2004 23:04

I haven't seen any in-depth discussions on the Angry Brigade here.

What are people's views on their relevence at the time, their status as vanguardist by some sections of the anarchist movement, their impact etc..?

Were they anything interesting, or just part of the spectacle?

I don't know enough about them to comment really. I'm interested in finding out more about them.


Good thread, by the way. I haven't read the you know of anywhere on the net that has it transcribed? Were there any tactics used for infiltration and subvertion that you feelwe should guard against, and ideas how?

Joined: 23-01-04
Jul 26 2004 17:15

I havent managed to find the entire document on the net, the passage used in Gordon Carr's book on the angry brigade goes as folows

the Law 'should be used as just another weapon in the government's arsenal, and in this case it becomes little more than a propaganda cover for the disposal of unwanted members of the public. For this to happen efficiently, the activities of the legal service have to be tied into the war effort in as discreet a way as possible'

As the the Angry Brigade, from what i understand of them, they were what the situationists would have comtemptibly described as 'pro-situs', a number of their communiques to the public, particularly the latter ones made reference to the spectacle. They wrote how people had been turned into 'functions of a production process' and talked about the ways in which the dominant system 'defined our possibilities'.

They understood recuperation as a political tool and as a result i think they realised the impotence of modern unions and leftist parties, however as you say by avoiding involvement in the spectacle of formal politics they inadvertently fell into the spectacle of terrorism. They became the cliched 'mad anarchists', theyre perspective was confused and disjointed and their actions played into the hands of power by providing a justification for their repression. They were vangaurdists and had little or no contact with the workers, they also seemed to be very good at alienating themselves from workers and the general public.

However, before their flirt with terrorism a number of the group founded the claimants union which organised ways in which benefit claimants could get the most from the welfare state while protecting their rights to claim benefit, which seemed to have more profound results than any of their symbolic acts of terrorism.

PaulMarsh's picture
Joined: 26-09-03
Jul 27 2004 06:39

The Angry Brigade and Frank Kitson are two entirely different issues, deserving of different threads.

What is a good about Kitson's work is the effect - it is a rare case of the left/Anarchist movement taking seriously the writings of a member of the establishment, and actually debating their effects and implementation.

I have read three of his books - Low Intensity Operations, Warfare as a Whole and Bunch of Five. Each give you an insight into counter-revolutionary warfare and the tactics they do use against us. Activists should remember that after J18 the Met Commissioner promised a "War of Attrition" against activists - that's what we got!

What should also be remembered is that Kitson wrote his books in a different era, when the left was seen as winning, or that the collapse of the old order was in some way inevitable.

With the collapse of the USSR, the rise of Islamic terrorism, ethnic tensions and (the lowest threat of all) the anti-globalisation movements, a new Brigadier Kitson is no doubt writing manuals as we speak.

Steve Booth
Joined: 10-05-04
Jul 28 2004 22:11

Frank Kitson should be required reading. These sort of techniques were developed in the dirty war against the Mau Mau in Kenya and against the Communists in Malaya. They were used in Northern Ireland.

People should also study the FBI 'Cointelpro' dirty tricks campaigns against eg the Black Panthers in America.

Magazines which take these techniques seriously and report on examples of their current use are Lobster, produced by Robin Ramsay and Notes From the Borderland edited by Larry O' Hara.