Where angels fear to tread

September 21st, 2006

Reading about John Reid’s visit to Waltham Forest, and it’s ‘critical reception’ I couldn’t help but think of other authoritarian scum, ahem, political figures who have gone to ‘immigrant areas’ in East London.

The Battle of Cable Street or Cable Street Riot took place on Sunday October 4, 1936 in Cable Street in the East End of London. It was a clash between the police, overseeing a lawful march by the British Union of Fascists, on one side and anti-fascists including local Jewish, socialist, and communist groups on the other. The majority of both marchers and counter-protesters travelled into the area for this purpose.

In spite of the East End at that time having a large Jewish population, and the anti-Semitic nature of the B.U.F., the government refused to ban the march.

The anti-fascist groups erected roadblocks in an attempt to prevent the march from taking place. Although the police attempted to clear the road to permit the march to proceed, after a series of running battles between the police and anti-fascist demonstrators, the march did not take place, and the B.U.F. marchers were dispersed towards Hyde Park instead.


Some memories:

Solley Kaye


The fascists had their strongholds in places like Bethnal Green, Shoreditch, South Hackney, parts of Poplar, all of which were on the edge of Stepney where the large Jewish population lived. So that they could involve people on the basis of envy fear, or whatever, by saying “OVER THERE the Jews, they’ve got your houses, OVER THERE the Jews, they’ve got your jobs.” Even though we were living in bloody poverty with bugs crawling all over us in the night.


Charlie Goodman

Charlie Goodman’s arrest on 4 October 1936 was notable for two things – the sheer brutality of the police and the guts of this 16 year-old kid who faced up to them.

At one point in the battle at Gardiner’s Corner, when after literally hours of police charges the crowd retreated a bit, Charlie climbed up a lamp post and shouted at the top of his voice: “Don’t be yellow bellies, forward, we are winning”. The police eventually caught up with him in Commercial Road and he was clubbed, punched and kicked all the way to Leman Street police station. (Things have not changed much. How many Asians have suffered similarly at that police station in the last 15 years?)


“The names change, the streets are the Same, and so are the problems. The glorious struggle of 1936 must be remembered today.”

There will be the 70th anniversary events on the 8th October. What would be an appropriate way to remember it?

One Response to “Where angels fear to tread”

  1. irdial Says:

    An appropriate way to commemorate it would be to NOT demonstrate. This will show that we have learned the lessons of Cable Street and all the other marches, demonstrations, sit ins, love ins, and every other 20th century action that has failed to produce the goods.

    If anyone marches or commemorates this event by gathering in any way, such an action would show that they have not learned the lessons of the past and that they are nothing more than sheep walkikng upright on their hind legs.

    As the new Fascism of Bliar and Borwn engulfs the UK, with their ID cards, total surveillance, international adventurism murder games and absolutely racist stop and search, to demonstrate only to commemorate a past ‘victory’ over the first gen fascists would be more than pathetic….it would be inexcusable, and an insult to the people who were killed and who got their heads bashed in so that we can live in this quickly souring dream world.

    If you want to commemorate this event, spread the word about how you will NEVER sign up for an ID card. Make some copies of Terrorstorm and give them away, or send people you know who are comuter literate to the Terrorstorm link on Google Video. Whatever you do, make sure that it is REAL. Make sure that it helps in some small way to rout the fascists that are creeping to power in the here and now.

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