Wednesday, 5 October 2011

They shall not pass: the legacy of Cable Street

History says that World War 2 started on Sunday 3 September 1939. The truth is that the battle against fascism had started several years before as working class people stood up for dignity and solidarity.

This week we commemorate the 75th anniversary of  the "Battle of Cable Street". This broke out when the fascists tried to march through an area of Stepney in East London heavily populated by Jewish and Irish immigrants. The working class movement of London gathered under the Republican slogan from the Spanish Civil War No pasaran – “They shall not pass”. And they didn't.

In the 1960s I went with some veterans from that famous day and saw some of the sites. Cable Street by then was already changing and the area has changed more since as the City gradually encroaches on what is now valuable real estate.

However, fascism with the ugly twin sisters of anti-Semitism and Islamaphobia still lurks awaiting its chance to find a scapegoat for the continual crisis that is capitalism. We need to remember that when soft capitalism fails, such as the current coalition government, there is a mailed fist ready to hit the working class and defend the rich and powerful. They will find a scapegoat and a solution that suits them.

Good articles in today's Daily Mirror, the BBC website and a special perspective from the Community Security Trust.

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