The Angry Brigade

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Lazlo_Woodbine
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Aug 28 2005 15:40
revol68 wrote:
yes but they took it on there own behest to take action for those people directly involved int he struggle. This kind of upping the ante without any form of consultation with the people actually involved in such disputes is the kind of shit one would expect from Maoists or Leninists at worst.

Would you say the same about Berkman and Goldman's shooting of Frick?

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Steven.
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Aug 30 2005 07:22
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
revol68 wrote:
yes but they took it on there own behest to take action for those people directly involved int he struggle. This kind of upping the ante without any form of consultation with the people actually involved in such disputes is the kind of shit one would expect from Maoists or Leninists at worst.

Would you say the same about Berkman and Goldman's shooting of Frick?

That was just about the lamest thing ever, especially as the Homestead strike was so cool

http://libcom.org/history/articles/homestead-strike-1892 red n black star

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Aug 30 2005 12:21

lol, so at least that's consistent. In that case, since Goldman and Berkely went on to do good stuff, we shouldn't write off AB people just because they also did some lame-o adventures as well.

knightrose
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Aug 30 2005 18:29

you should never write people off. They change. So does their politics and what they do.

You can still write off what they did as the AB, though.

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chimp23
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Sep 9 2005 05:36

Easy now!

I've only scanned the thread, it is 6.30am!, but some of the critique seems a bit harsh, with the actions of AB seemingly taken slightly out of historical context.

The AB were quintissentially of their time: - that is to say they formed part of a discourse that was largely leftist which emerged throughout the West in response to the ongoing and ongrowing imperialism and proxy wars of the States in the then 'Third World'. The Cold War and the ideological dichotomy which it enforced on a geo-political level informed several groups on the left and not so left - RAF, BMG, Weather Underground, Actione Direct etc, some of whom were blatantly elitist, yes, but not all. Lets not let our hindsight turn into revisionism though! The AB made mistakes, yes - lets face it, with the profile that the IRA enjoyed at the time it would have been pretty amazing if they had got away with it.

I think today that perhaps most people would not advocate armed struggle in the stylee of the 70's, but as someone noted previously the tactics of the ALF/ELF nowadays are not so different. In fact the main one seems to be a reliance on the use of incendiary devices rather than explosive devices- the same chemical process, only one is faster than the other.

If people decide that the only way that they can personally respond to the Totality on an individual level (sorry about tautology) is to go out and burn the fucker down, then fair fukkin play to them. To say that they can't or shouldn't because their actions do not represent the consensus of some arbitrarily defined social and economic class could be classed as elitist in itself-who said that you could dish out the roles?, not to mention smacking of utilitarianism (pantechnicon anybody??)

peace

chimp23

MalFunction
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Sep 9 2005 09:04

greets

couple of points - do read stuart christie's autobiography if you want to get a better idea of the context of the AB (and no i'm not saying he knew anythng about it all.)

also there were a lot other actions that were claimed by the AB (petrol bombing army recruiting offices etc) which weren't so spectacular but part of on-going struggles.

i'd agree about criticisms about "substitutionism" and the recuperation of such actions ("guerrilla war struggle is the new entertainment" and all that. but at the time they did one's spirits a tad.)

on a more serious point - can someone tell us when the governments law on gloryfying / justfying terrorism (ie the use of violence by non-state sanctioned forces) comes into force ? i can see it being used to shut down websites such as this.

mal

knightrose
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Sep 14 2005 19:26

OK, if response to the criticism of my harshness about the AB, I'll moderate my line. They were in fact simply completely and utterly irrelevant to the enormous wave of real class struggle going on at the time. A fair assessment, I think.

WorkersDreadnought
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Dec 19 2009 16:59

this has been an interesting debate. I think the most important thing to know would be what the working class thought of the AB, especially the thoughts of those striking workers that the AB tied to support (im not judging here-the point is that the AB believed their actions were supportive) through bombing the management offices etc

Also, is there already a thread anywhere where people have been discussing at what point during the class struggle that they believe armed insurrection should arise? Personally, at the moment, i think that those of us that are aiming for revolution have to be aware and mature enough not to engage in premature armed action, and dedicate ourselves to building a mass movement that is fundamentally anti-state and pro-federated self management. When the mass movement has reached that point of confidence to finally want to defend itself and hit back against the state, then this is the time for insurrection.

So obviously everything will go smoothly then tongue

Samotnaf
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Jan 19 2010 00:40

A mildly funny story from the committal proceedings of the Stoke Newington 8 at Elephant & Castle: the prosecutor was reading out the AB's communique no.1: "Fascism & oppression will be smashed, Embassies (Spanish Embassy machine gunned Thursday), High Pigs, Spectacles, Judges, Property" (you can imagine what that sounded like read out in his best posh BBC accent) and when he mentioned the word "spectacles", he deliberately took off his glasses and started to polish them - the clear implication being that these mad bombers were about to go around smashing people's glasses. Incidentally, I think this communique no.1 was one of the reasons they got caught. Sergeant Cremer, the main Special Branch cop reponsible for looking into them, was very curious when he read the word "spectacles", and started to look into the situ-influenced milieu. He was known for having gone to Agit-Prop bookshop (later 'Rising Free') and asking the guy looking after it "But why have you put the "situationist" texts on the same shelf as the Solidarity ones?"

Samotnaf
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Jan 19 2010 12:47

Just realise that the above is not really appropriate for this thread, but should have probably gone in the thread on the ABs in the history section. Obviously not important, particularly as this thread has only been revived from its 4 year sleep, I suspect surreptitiously fishing for something for his dissertation .

Quote:
is there already a thread anywhere where people have been discussing at what point during the class struggle that they believe armed insurrection should arise?

Well, as far as I know, there wasn't when you asked it, but there is now - my one on Greece discusses this a bit:

http://libcom.org/forums/news/greece-reflections-some-contradictions-movement-there-10012010

imposs1904
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Sep 8 2017 17:58

Just posted on the net for the first time, a snotty - but well written - article on the Angry Brigade from the January 1973 issue of the Socialist Standard:

Link: What We Say About The Angry Brigade Trial

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Steven.
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Sep 9 2017 20:06
imposs1904 wrote:
Just posted on the net for the first time, a snotty - but well written - article on the Angry Brigade from the January 1973 issue of the Socialist Standard:

Link: What We Say About The Angry Brigade Trial

I'm not a supporter of the tactics of the Angry Brigade but that article is absolutely awful, and seems like the author was a complete arsehole. Stuff like that is the reason so many people have issues with the SPGB

Battlescarred
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Sep 9 2017 20:24

I totally agree. Now is the time for genuine radicals in the SPGB to think very profoundly about their involvement in this organisation.

imposs1904
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Sep 9 2017 21:06

If I remember reading rightly the author spent the sixties in anarchist circles, so maybe he was carrying some baggage but I don't think he was an arsehole.

Battlescarred
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Sep 9 2017 22:00

Sorry, no excuses for Bob Barlltop's shite.

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Steven.
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Sep 9 2017 22:38
Battlescarred wrote:
I totally agree. Now is the time for genuine radicals in the SPGB to think very profoundly about their involvement in this organisation.

well, I wouldn't say that exactly. Maybe 1973 would have been a better time! Think the article is appalling but the don't think it necessarily reflects poorly upon current members, with the exception of the person who just reposted it with favourable commentary…

imposs1904
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Sep 9 2017 23:27

"with the exception of the person who just reposted it with favourable commentary…"

I'm suitably crushed.

imposs1904
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Sep 9 2017 23:29

Only his friends were allowed to call him Bob.

petey
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Sep 10 2017 03:25
imposs1904 wrote:
"with the exception of the person who just reposted it with favourable commentary…"

I'm suitably crushed.

imposs1904
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Sep 10 2017 08:23

Save it for Urban75, Petey.

Battlescarred
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Sep 10 2017 09:06

Barltrop did indeed move in anarchist circles in the 1960s and I attended a meeting given by him in Brighton. Hardly any excuse for that abysmal article though.

freemind
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Sep 10 2017 12:45

While being sceptical on Armed guerilla tactics I found the Angry Brigade inspiring and there agitprop eloquent and succinct.They could have killed agents of the State and Ministers but were careful not to and the participants and their coaccused were excellent militants such as Jake Prescott,John Barker,Vince Stevenson etc.
That said there is no substitute for mass participation and strong community activism but they deserve respect and credit nevertheless.

petey
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Sep 10 2017 15:32
imposs1904 wrote:
Save it for Urban75, Petey.

I'm suitably chastened.
as to the merits, we never had a group like this in the states and i agree with freemind's position.