Biba’s Was Bombed: The Angry Brigade Communique 8 (May 1st 1971)

"Sit in the drugstore, look distant, empty, bored, drinking some tasteless coffee? Or perhaps BLOW IT UP OR BURN IT DOWN" - The Angry Brigade

International Times, The Angry Brigade had bombed the Biba boutique in Kensington High Street, west London, on May Day, 1971.

 

By the time this appeared in International Times, The Angry Brigade had bombed the Biba boutique in Kensington High Street, west London, on May Day, 1971.

Mercifully no-one was seriously hurt. The stock room was damaged and around 500 people were evacuated from the store.

If you’re not busy being born you’re busy buying.
All the sales girls in the flash boutiques are made to dress the same and have the same make-up, representing the 1940’s. In fashion as in everything else, capitalism can only go backwards — they’ve nowhere to go — they’re dead.
The future is ours.
Life is so boring there is nothing to do except spend all our wages on the latest skirt or shirt.
Brothers and Sisters, what are your real desires?
Sit in the drugstore, look distant, empty, bored, drinking some tasteless coffee? Or perhaps BLOW IT UP OR BURN IT DOWN. The only thing you can do with modern slave-houses — called boutiques — IS WRECK THEM. You can’t reform profit capitalism and inhumanity. Just kick it till it breaks.
Revolution,
Communique 8
The Angry Brigade

 

Bullet Holes In The Door Of The American Embassy In Upper Grosvenor Street. 21 Aug 1967

Bullet Holes In The Door Of The American Embassy In Upper Grosvenor Street. 21 Aug 1967

Bomb Damage In The Ford Motor Company Office In Gants Hill. The Angry Brigade Launched A String Of Bombing Attacks Against The Heart Of The British Establishment In The Seventies. 19 Mar 1971

Bomb Damage In The Ford Motor Company Office In Gants Hill. The Angry Brigade Launched A String Of Bombing Attacks Against The Heart Of The British Establishment In The Seventies. 19 Mar 1971

Hilary Creek (arrowed) Followed By Anna Mendelson Two Of The Four Women Defendants In The Angry Brigade Trial Are Met By Friends As They Leave Holloway Jail On Bail Today. August 7 1972

Hilary Creek (arrowed) Followed By Anna Mendelson Two Of The Four Women Defendants In The Angry Brigade Trial Are Met By Friends As They Leave Holloway Jail On Bail Today. August 7 1972

The Angry Brigade

2 July 1971
359 Amhurst Road, Hackney, London: Mr and Mrs. George Buchanan walked into the first floor flat they had rented from Mr. Lewis the estate agent. They were school teachers, so they said, and were looking for a place to share with their friend, Miss Nancy Pye. Little over a month later, the property was raided by police. They found 33 sticks of explosive Gelignite, guns and ammunition, and four young, well-educated individuals. They were members of “the first urban guerrilla group”, otherwise known as the Angry Brigade. Their names were John Barker, Jim Greenfield, Anna Mendelssohn and Hilary Creek, and they were charged with Conspiracy to Cause Explosion. Via

The Angry Brigade

 

The Angry Brigade poster trial

On 30 May 1972, they pleaded “not guilty” as they stood in the dock of the Old Bailey’s number one court. What followed was the 20th century’s longest political trial (however fervently the authorities attempted to deny the adjective). A blanket “conspiracy” charge – active participation was irrelevant, explained the judge; mere knowledge, even “by a wink or a nod”, was sufficient proof of guilt – in effect made any direct defence unsustainable.
On 6 December that year, the trial ended with convictions for Barker (who defended himself with great sophistication), Creek, Greenfield and Mendelson, and acquittals for the rest. The jury’s appeal for clemency ensured that the four got ten-year sentences, rather than the possible 15 years. The women served less than five; the men were out in seven. Via: The New Statesman

 

The savagery of the language underscores the volatility of the period; between 1968 and 1971, 125 political targets were subjected to bombing on the British mainland, the majority of which are still unattributed.

The Angry Brigade were responsible for 25 of these “infernal devices” as well as other violent attacks, 14 of which were accompanied by “communiques”. Unlike this, many were restricted to a brief sentence or two.