A Future That Works

A Future That Works
NO2aTory/Liberal coalition - Vote with your feet for an alternative to a neo-liberal economy and neo-conservative state Yes2aLeftFront and a Red/Green Left Alliance

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Battle of Cable Street 75th Anniversary 2nd October 2011

‘‘Piratin was the East Ender whose organising abilities brought 100,000 Londoners on to the streets in the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 and stopped Mosley's Fascists from marching through Whitechapel.’’ (George Matthew 1995)


Communist Phil Piratin played a leading role in protecting Jewish people living in the area and in organizing the people who stopped Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists marching through the East End. Piratin was a leading figure in the Stepney Tenants Defence League and organization tenants living in bad houses in a fight to get repairs done and rents reduced.

‘‘Tens of thousands of working class men and women had organized themselves for common struggle. Committees were formed, and hundreds of people who had never been on a committee and had no experience of organization or politics learned those things, and learned them well. Outstanding were the women. Every feminist claim was proved right. They were more enthusiastic, and hence more reliable. It was the women who did most of the picketing.’’ (Phil Piratin)


  1. March and Rally Sunday 2 October 2011


  2. Assemble: 11.30am Aldgate East (junction of Braham Street and Leman Street)

    Rally: 1.00pm St George-in-the-East Gardens (off Cable Street)

    12 noon – 6pm Stalls along Graces Alley by campaigning groups, local organisations and supporters with street theatre and music by La Columna, The Lost Marbles, The Fairly Fresh Fish Co, Klezmania and The Cockney Awkestra.

    12 noon – 10pm Protest & Survive Exhibition with photography documenting the Battle, posters from the Spanish Civil War, images recording the past 25 years of protest against racial discrimination by Phil Maxwell and portraits of the diverse communities of the East End today by documentary photographers Kalin Coromina, Ned Dyke-Coomes, Zane Mellupe, Lydia Polzer, Ben Speck and Neil White.

    1pm Grand Union Youth Orchestra of East London
    Specially commissioned concert by 30 diverse talented young under the leadership of Tony Haynes, director of the Grand Union Orchestra.

    3pm Book launch and Reception Five Leaves is publishing five books to celebrate the anniversary. There will be readings and signings followed by a panel discussion. All the books will be on sale directly from the publisher: The Battle of Cable Street by Cable Street Group; October Day by Frank Griffin; Street of Tall People by Alan Gibbons; Battle for the East End by David Rosenberg; Everything Happens in Cable Street by Roger Mills.

    4pm rebels in the 1930s – working class writers Panel discussion with Andy Croft author of Red Letter Days, Ken Worpole author of Dockers and Detectives, Mary Joannou author of Ladies, Please Don’t Smash These Windows: Women’s Writing, Feminism and Social Change 1918-1938. Chaired by Ross Bradshaw of Five Leaves Publishing.

    5pm Song & Dance With Sandra Kerr, Leon Rosselson and Udichi Shilpi Gosthi.

    7pm Sunday Night at Wilton’s Music Hall ‘They Shall Not Pass’. Star spangled evening with poets, singers, choirs, comics and bands including Billy Bragg, Shappi Khorsandi, Mike Rosen, Ninia Benjamin, Raised Voices and The Men They Couldn’t Hang (acoustic).

  3. EDL supporters 1,000 anti-fascists 1,500 London’s East End

    Saturday 3 September 2011

    About 1,500 people assembled against the far-right English Defence League demonstration in the deprived inner city borough of Tower Hamlets east London. Clashes with the police broke out as Stephen Lennon founder of the EDL said ‘‘I'm meant to sign on at a police station on a Saturday, I'm not doing that’’ Lennon was convicted in July of leading a street brawl in August last year. The EDL had about 1,000 supporters, the Metropolitan Police had 3,000 officers and spokesman said ‘‘A robust and proportionate policing plan is in place to facilitate peaceful protest, prevent disorder and minimise disruption on the local communities’’. Scuffles broke out and bottles and firecrackers were thrown at police by EDL activists as officers tried to maintain control.


  4. ‘‘They shall not pass!’’


  5. On 4th October 1936, people in the East End of London stopped Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists marching through Cable Street, in Stepney, then a mainly Jewish area. A slogan from the Spanish Civil War, a popular anti-fascist cause of the time, was widely used: They Shall Not Pass - No Pasaran!

  6. There were angry confrontations with EDL members chanting ‘‘You're scum and you know you are’’ to foreign tourists, an Asian man shouted back ‘‘I'm as English as you are’’.

    Residents and anti-fascist campaigners converged on Whitechapel Road close to the East London Mosque, a target for members of the EDL. Muslims accuse the EDL of encouraging hate against them claims that a gradual ‘‘Islamisation’’ of Britain is taking place. EDL's founder, Stephen Lennon was led away by police and was held under court restrictions.

    Staff at King's Cross station closed the entrance to the tube, preventing EDL supporters gathered outside from travelling to the demonstration close to Aldgate tube for around half an hour. Eventually 1,000 EDL supporters assembled near East London tube station 10 minutes from the mosque at what was called a ‘‘static demonstration’’ to get around a 30-day ban on political marches imposed by the Home Secretary Theresa May.

    Along Whitechapel Road about 1,500 people anti-EDL protesters waved placards carrying the slogan ‘‘Different faces, same hatred’’. Many drew parallels with the Battle of Cable Street, where the local community railed in defiance of Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists 75 years ago, refusing to let them pass through the East End. The same chant, "They shall not pass," echoed down the streets this Saturday.

    Jamie Pitman who came from Oxford said ‘‘Cable Street showed that, in times of austerity and a poor economic climate, fascism and racism can flourish. We need to beat fascism by turning out in bigger numbers than them – not resorting to violence but providing a bigger show of strength’’.

    Reverend Alan Green of St John on Bethnal Green, who is one of the organisers of United East End, a coalition of groups opposed to the EDL entering Tower Hamlets, said ‘‘The vast majority of the population are very happy to live together in diversity. We need to show the extent of opposition to the EDL and how the things they say about the area, their rhetoric, is so wrong’’.

    Martin Smith of Unite Against Fascism was among those demanding that the EDL should not be allowed access to the borough, but be contained by the police at Aldgate on the eastern periphery of Tower Hamlets. Dave Wainwright, an organiser of the Unite Against Fascism wing in Leicester, said he had expected violence despite the ban. ‘‘In Leicester, the EDL were also banned from marching but that had little effect in terms of minimising their violence’’.

  7. Police now say a total of 60 people were arrested when violence flared during and after a protest by the English Defence League in east London.


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