Friends, gang-buddies. It's part of a slang Anthony Burgess created for A Clockwork Orange. Take a look at a scene from the movie version where Alex feels a need to discipline his troops:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v90KPJ6n4Ew

Very, ahem, distinctive costumes, wouldn't you say? They showed up again, about 40 years later, in Caprica.