|Andy Brooks with London, Italian and Greek comrades by the mural|
by New Worker correspondent
Hundreds of thousands of anti-fascists took to the streets of London’s East End on Sunday 4th October, 1936 to stop Sir Oswald Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts marching through a predominantly Jewish part of London. Communists played a major part in the mobilisation along with members of the Independent Labour Party and the Jewish Ex-Servicemen’s Association, and their efforts were recalled by British, Italian and Greek communists at a ceremony in London’s historic East End last weekend.
London communists joined comrades from Greece and Italy at the Cable Street mural on Saturday to remember the Cable Street fighters and all the anti-fascists who fought in the Second World War for a better world.
NCP leader Andy Brooks and Alfredo Maira from the Communist Party of Italy’s Pietro Secchia (UK) branch paid tribute to the East Enders’ heroic stand against fascism that stopped the Blackshirts in their tracks in 1936.
On the eve of the Mosley march the Daily Worker warned that: “The fascists are pouring out unimaginable filth against the Jews. The attack on the Jews has been the well-known device of every bloodthirsty, reactionary, unpopular regime for centuries.” The issue was “not merely a question of elementary human rights…the attack on the Jews is the beginning of the attack to wipe out the socialist movement, trade unionism and democracy in Britain.”
On the day some 3,000 Blackshirts and thousands of police were met by a hostile crowd who had erected barricades to stop the fascists marching. After hours of clashes with the police and many arrests the police told Mosley that the march would have to be abandoned.
The massive mural, painted by a number of local artists, was started in 1979 and finally completed in 1983. The work has been vandalised by fascists several times but it was substantially restored in 2011.
The design was based on original photographs of the battle and the buildings of the day. Some of the people who took part in the battle are depicted in the mural along with others who symbolise the people of the East End today.