The Ghosts Of Cable Street tells the story of a battle that took place in that street in London on Sunday 4th October 1936 when a coalition of anti-fascists including communists, trades unionists, members of the Jewish community and others reacted to Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists legally marched with the aid of the Police through the East-End of London, where a large number of Jewish people lived.
The anti-fascist demonstrators, who numbered an estimated 300,000 decided to barricade the route and thus prevent the blackshirts from marching. The Police had other ideas and cleared the barricades which enraged the demonstrators who started throwing anything at hand at the police and a riot ensued. The march by Mosley and his scum was stopped, however at the cost of quite a few injuries amongst the protestors and police alike.
The ringleaders of the protest were found guilty of affray and sentenced to 3 months hard labour, however as a result of the riot the 1936 Public Order Act was passed which stated that political marches needed to be sanctioned by the police and that marchers could not wear political uniforms such as the black shirts did. It is thought that the passing of this act had a direct result on The British Union of Fascists decline.
It just goes to show that some laws do turn out to have the desired effect.
I was reminded of this song when listening to a BBC programme today Hate Against Hope. But also at the weekend I overheard some rascist comments by people who I thought knew better. It seems as though we still need people like Joe Jacobs and the others these days.
The Men They Couldn’t Hang – The Ghosts Of Cable Street.