torsdag 11. november 2010

They Shall Not Pass!

Sunday, October 4th, 1936, The British Union of Fascists (BUF) had called a march through the East End of London, at that time home to the largest Jewish population in England. It was a blatant declaration of BUF's virulent anti-semitism.

In the battle of Cable Street, a rather nondescript street i Whitechapel, protesters clashed with police. The result was many injured, 150 arrested and that BUF had to move their march elsewhere. It is considered one of the highlights of British anti fascist history.

It is estimated that at least a quarter of a million people took to the streets to protest the march. "They Shall Not Pass!" they chanted, quoting Spanish anti-fascists. And the blackshirts did not.

What was it good for? To quote Wikipedia: "The Battle of Cable Street was a major factor leading to the passage of the Public Order Act 1936, which required police consent for political marches and forbade the wearing of political uniforms in public. This is widely considered to be a significant factor in the BUF's political decline prior to World War II."

The video above is one of my favourite bands, The Men They Couldn't Hang, hailing the battle fifty years later, in a song from their second record, How Green Is The Valley. Here is some of the footage with contemporary comments:

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