W*I*T*C*H: We Intend To Create Havoc, 1971
W*I*T*C*H: We Intend To Create Havoc (London: New English Library, 1971) is by “Jane Harman” aka Terry Harknett, who used his wife’s maiden name for this 126-page exploitation novel.
The rear cover copy reads:
Hordes of bare-breasted, shaven-headed girls on motorcycles roar into Southend—Bank Holiday style! Cities everywhere are saturated with stripclubs for girls—where titillating males peel off their drag! Havoc—pure havoc. Created by leather-clad, hate-filled, WITCHES.
1. We intend to gain equality.
2. We intend to shed our chains.
3. We intend to fight for right.
4. We intend to unite women in a common cause.
5. We intend to lose our man-created image.
6. We intend to change the law.
7. We intend to reveal our power.
8. We intend to win.
9. WE INTEND TO CREATE HAVOC.
Hordes of bare-breasted, shaven-headed girls on motorcycles roar into Southend—Bank Holiday style!
Cities everywhere are saturated with stripclubs for girls—where titillating males peel off their drag!
Havoc—pure havoc. Created by leather-clad, hate-filled, WITCHES.
There seems to be a certain tension between principles 5 and 7 (or even 9) in the writing of this book (to say nothing of the cover-art!). The opening paragraphs, for instance, read:
Susan wasn’t wearing a bra. As she took off her coat and swayed across the room Gerald could see that her breasts were unfettered by anything except the white wool of the sweater. A thin covering that adhered to every line of her upper body, clinging to the gentle swell [three more lines on breasts] …. Of course, she wore trousers [five lines describing hips etc] …. Susan had hinted, but Gerald had never taken any steps to find out, that on some days she wore no panties.
(Actually, the first five words are a paragraph to themselves because the author wants you to know that THE BARE-BREASTS START RIGHT HERE!)
Anyway, it is possible that Susan is revealing her power (principle 7) by not wearing a bra, or even creating havoc (principle 9), since the magnetic appeal of Susan’s breasts is truly astonishing: at the end of three paragraphs the narrator still hasn’t drawn his eyes from Susan’s chest (perhaps she needs one of those tshirts that read “My Face Is Up Here”). But if Susan knows this and is revealing her power and creating havoc I do not think she has lost her “man-created image” in the process. But to continue …
Harknett was among “the first and most successful” of “the small group of writers whose noses were [kept] firmly to the grindstone at New English Library’s genre workhouse” according to Steve Holland (see The Man Who Was George G. Gilman, first printed in PBO no. 8 (Winter 1997/98)). Holland goes on to explain:
The novel was actually a fill-in: “They had commissioned the book, that was to be called WAM (Women Against Men) and the guy who wrote it thought that it was so good he deserved more money for it; NEL said No, we’re not going to give you more money, and promptly got on to me and said can you do us with a quick story and I think they came up with the title W*I*T*C*H and took it from there. I couldn’t swear to it but I think Sphere published WAM.”
It is worth mentioning that Peter Haining, the master of all things witchy and occultish, was a senior editor at NEL in the early 70s, and that he “singled Terry out as, historically, one of the instigators of the paperbook boom”: perhaps it was Haining who suggested the title.
As many of you will know, there were real feminist groups called “W.I.T.C.H” active in the late 60s, the most famous being the Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (more info and photos here). The group (and its manifesto) in Harknett’s book has more than a passing resemblance to the real “W*I*T*C*H” groups, suggesting, what we already know, that this is an exploitation novel. I wonder what the feminists (and witches) of the time thought of this book?
As Glenn (the Administrator on the “GGG and the Piccadilly Cowboys” forum) mused in 2004:
Is it a work of subversive underground literature, pulpily reflecting the rising feminist movement and prophesying the coming of Girl Power, Riot Grrrls, and Third Wave Feminism …? Well, probably not. Sure, the story features an anarchic group of women, seeking sexual as well as political power (not a dungaree in sight—the WITCH uniform is tight t-shirts and leather trousers…) However, the resolution of the story involves the WITCHes being overthrown—not by the police, who come across as nasty pieces of work, but by an alliance of ‘proper’ women:
“It started with a few lady committee members on a back lawn,” he said … ”I knew men would never stop Ophelia … I told Susan about it and she telephoned every decent, law-abiding woman she knew. They called others and it kind of snowballed.” 
So society is saved! Some of the characters literally walk off to get married, after the memorable lines:
“What about some lunch?” Daphne said.
“Shush Daphne,” Susan warned. “That’s all behind us. The gentlemen are supposed to ask the ladies.”