Ed Miliband campaigning in a shopping centre in Edinburgh on 16 September. ‘Labour’s annual conference is as unreal a place as anywhere in the pantomime of modern British politics.’ Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters
A slogan should gnaw at the conscience of every delegate of the…
On This Day in Anti-Fascism: October 4th 1936: The Battle of Cable Street!
In 1936, fascism was gaining ground across Europe. In Britain, Sir Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirted British Union of Fascists (BUF) portrayed Jewish people as the cause of the country’s problems. East London had the largest Jewish population in Britain and the announcement that Mosley and his Blackshirts planned a provocative march through the area on October the 4th was greeted with anger and a determination that it should be stopped. A petition was signed and local politicians tried to have the march called off - but to no avail.
On the day, up to 250,000 people gathered to defend the East End. There was a fierce battle with the police when they attempted to clear a path for the march and a barricade was erected and defended in Cable Street. People in their houses threw eggs, milk bottles and the contents of chamber pots from upstairs’ windows, whilst at ground level, marbles were rolled under police horses’ hooves. The march could not proceed and Mosley was ordered to abandon his plans. It was a blow against fascism and that night there was dancing in the streets.