serious

Listen to the sounds of marching feet

The BBC has an article on the Battle of Cable Street, today being the 70th anniversary. I was also reminded yesterday that it was the 39th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's death. He (and Pete Seeger) were my Dad's heroes back then, and many more people's besides.

The BBC article wonders how much difference it made. In practical terms, probably not much, but my understanding has always been that it destroyed the British Union's mystique - they prided themselves on being an unstoppable political army, so being publicly forced to run away with their tail between their legs was probably quite a blow.

In related news, the Grauniad has an article today on Redwatch, a website run by BNP sympathisers which posts home addresses and photos of their political opponents, who have later had attacks ranging from beatings to stabbings to firebombings.
  • Current Music: The Men they Couldn't Hang - The ghosts of Cable Street
From the links posted by communicator it seems that the mythology of Cable Street has long been more important than the reality. In fact the British Union gained members after it but it did symbolise the growing resistance to Moseley even if a lot of it was people opposed to his power lust rather than his anti-semitism.
Thank you, yes. I think it was largely symbolic, but symbols are very important sometimes.
Redwatch, of course, is run by the terminally thick Kevin Watmough of Bradford and the deranged Simon Sheppard of Hull, and Google is indeed your friend on such matters. Had they been around in the days of Cable Street, it's a knocking bet they'd have run like hell as soon as the anti-fascists came to fight.

Anyway with a team like these two, accuracy is not Redwatch's strong point any more than tact is, and needless to say their entries for "Bradford Reds" are miles out (there's at least one Conservative on that hit list, and another of those named there died a few months back).
The Guardian (my fingers tried to type a bastard hybrid of Grauniad and Guardian and it came out looking a bit like Guano) should have published the addresses of the website's authors so we could all send them little notes with "I say, old chap, that's a bit off, wouldn't you rather have some tea?".
I had a look at Redwatch and recognised someone in the Scottish section. Joy.
AFA used to publicise the address of the BNP member in Norwich - all one of him...
well 70 years after Cable Street the MP who covers that area has split off rom the Labour party and seems to like sucking up to dictators very like Moseley.

Actually it probably made a difference because unlike in Germaqny and italy the Facists had a set back. They had the idea of being unstoppable super humans, once the illusion was shattered it could not be brought back. Wether the UK was going to fall to the balck shirts was debatable, but then people said Hitler would not take Germany... certainyl after th Munich putsch it did not likely.

There are many views on what happened, but the hting was Mosely could not bully his way down Cable Street and he was made to look a coward.

Woody Guthrie is one of my heros too
But then I'm probably your dad's generation. I used to have his songbook and bigoraphy, Bound for Glory, but it walked. I have another songbook now and am practising some of the songs with my new guitar - Grand Coolie Dam, Hard Travellin', My Daddy Flies that Ship in the Sky and Goodnight Little Arlo. I used to sing some of those to the kids when they were small.
Re: Woody Guthrie is one of my heros too
That sounds good. I should borrow some of my dad's records, really.
I suppose there will always be dabate about historical events since there are always two sides (at least). It doesn't alter the fact that the Nazis were and are nasty people with a simplistic view of the world. The Redwatch site shows they are not a serious political party with sound reasoning about issues. Just serious thugs.

Did you catch Folk Britannia on the BBC recently? It covered the politicisation of the folk movement in both the UK and US during the 60s. Guthrie and Seeger featured highly, of course, as well as Ewan MacColl and others.
From the Guardian's report published the day after Cable Street: In Cable Street a crowd seized materials from a builder's yard and began to construct a barricade. They used corrugated iron, barrels, coal, and glass to construct a barrier, even pulling up paving-stones. When the police intervened they were greeted with a shower of stones, and reinforcements had to be sent and a charge made before order could be restored and the barricade removed.

So let me get this straight: a mob stole building materials, vandalised the highway, and attacked the police in the course of their duty (which is to impartially uphold the law) — in other words they used violence to prevent free speech. How is this a good or laudable thing? I condemn the mob violence that stopped the Birmingham Repertory's production of Behzti in 2004, and so I cannot possibly condone the violence used at Cable Street, even though it was used in opposition to racists. It is often said that violence is what people resort to when they've run out of decent arguments; it was therefore IMO unwise for the anti-fascists to act violently as such violence could be interpreted as them being unable to justify their stance in the face of fascist criticism.
The law was impartially trying to uphold the right of the fascists to run several simultaneous marches through an area which at the time was home to 40% of Britain's Jewish community. By the standards of the laws which were passed to govern political marches in the wake of this, it was a blatant provocation of a sort which would not be allowed.

The idea that the marches would have been peaceful, incidentally, doesn't hold water. This happened after the Olympia rally at which the BUF was clearly seen by many witnesses to endorse and encourage thuggish behaviour towards their opponents, and brutal attacks by fascists on Jews and other non-sympathisers were common.. The absence of a mechanism at the time to make the BUF take their march to somewhere it wouldn't cause violence was a weakness in the law that was remedied soon after by the laws which have covered political marches, overall quite sensibly, from 1937 until recently.