Recalling victory at Cable Street

By Jessica Elgot, October 6, 2011
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Members of many communities celebrated the defeat of Mosley’s fascists

Members of many communities celebrated the defeat of Mosley’s fascists

More than 1,000 people joined a parade from Aldgate to the Cable Street mural, marking 75 years since the famous defeat of fascist marchers in the East End.

The Jewish Socialists' Group and the Jewish Labour Movement were among the organisations represented at the march and rally and participants included 106-year-old Hetty Bower, a veteran of the 1936 battle. Other veterans addressed the rally and there were also speakers from the TUC, anti-racist group Searchlight and Labour councillors.

Ninety-six-year-old Max Levitas recalled the fight against Oswald Mosley's fascists, who tried to march through the East End, protected by police, but were eventually forced out of the area.

Every entrance to the East End was blockaded, he said, and Irish dockers and Jewish tailors built three barricades across Cable Street to thwart the 3,000 black-shirted fascists.

Mosley left a legacy ‘that still haunts Britain’

RMT union leader Bob Crow told the crowd: "People have asked me why I am not at the Conservative conference, but today is more important."

Writer and Jewish Socialists' Group member David Rosenberg was on the Cable Street 75 organising committee. He reported a great atmosphere and an attendance that "really exceeded our expectations".

Singer Billy Bragg and comedian Ivor Dembina were among the performers at a post-rally cabaret.

Other anniversary events included a screening of a new documentary, From Cable Street to Brick Lane, at Wilton's Music Hall and a party hosted by alternative Jewish collective Jewdas. The Jewish Museum is hosting a programme of Cable Street-themed events over the next few weeks.

Edie Friedman of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality and Rabbi Lee Wax spoke at a commemoration at Tower Hamlets Town Hall, which is in Cable Street. Dr Friedman said Mosley and his ilk "created divisions and left a legacy that still haunts Britain today. But unwittingly you have also created another legacy so that Cable Street is a universal symbol of justice and the proud tradition of Jewish social activism."

Last updated: 2:38pm, October 6 2011