“They shall not pass” – Battle of Cable Street anniversary

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Last week saw the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, 4th October 1936, when thousands of Londoners prevented the march of Oswald Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts down Cable Street in the East End.

The rise of fascism across Europe in the early 1930s was of great concern to the TUC and the trade union movement, and they campaigned actively against it.

The cartoon below featured in an issue of the journal of the General and Municipal Workers Union in the 1930s. A blackshirt is showing a trade unionist the “unity” of the fascist cause, and the unionist replies “I seem to remember it isn’t reeds you tie up, but trade unionists..”.

Anti-fascist cartoon from the GMWU journal, October 1933.

In 1933 a series of marches and demonstrations had been organised by the TUC and unemployed workers organisations to highlight the issue of unemployment and the relationship between economic hardship and the rise of fascist sympathies. The poster below was produced by the Joint Council (TUC and the Labour Party) for the February 1933 National Unemployment Demonstration.

The National Unemployed Workers Movement produced a number of pamphlets on the relationship between unemployment and facsism, such as the one below entitled “Fascist Danger and the Unemployed”.

The TUC Library is in the process of relocating to a new building quite close to Cable Street in Tower Hamlets. Our collections will soon be moved to a London Metropolitan University building on Old Castle Street, between Aldgate and Aldgate East tube stations. Please refer back to the TUC Library webpages for updates about the progress of the relocation.

For more information about the items featured in this post, or any other TUC Library material, get in touch at tuclib@londonmet.ac.uk or phone 020 7320 3516.

 

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