Cable Street march remembered 75 years on

By Jessica Elgot, October 4, 2011
Sir Oswald Mosley reviews his 'troops' before the Cable Street stand-off

Sir Oswald Mosley reviews his 'troops' before the Cable Street stand-off

More than 1,000 people joined a march from Aldgate to the Cable Street mural last week to mark 75 years since the famous march against the fascists in the East End.

Members of Jewish, Socialist and Bengali groups took part in the march and rally last weekend, including the Jewish Socialist Group and the Jewish Labour movement. Speakers at the rally included members of the TUC, anti-racism group Searchlight, Labour councillors and original Cable Street participants.

One was 96 year old Max Levitas, who was directly involved in the fight against Oswald Mosley's fascists, who tried to march through the East End, protected by the police. They were eventually forced out of the area. He recalled how, in October 1936, every entrance to the East End was blockaded, while Irish dockers and Jewish tailors built three barricades across Cable Street to prevent an invasion by 3,000 uniformed fascists.

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

Writer David Rosenberg, of the Jewish Socialists' Group, was part of the Cable Street 75 organising committee, and is the author of a book on Jewish responses to fascism in the 1930s. "It was a fantastic day, the atmosphere was great and the attendance really exceeded our expectations."

After the march, a celebration was held at Wilton's Music Hall, included a book launch, talks and an exhibition. A cabaret show included performances from comedian Ivor Dembina and musician Billy Bragg.

Other celebrations of the anniversary 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, which also marks to the formation of the International Brigades in Spain, commemorating the fight against fascism at home and abroad in the Spanish Civil War. The events will include panel discussions, theatre performance, films and historical walks through east London.

Last updated: 4:37pm, October 4 2011