A demonstrator is taken away under arrest by police officers after a mounted baton charge, in East London, on Oct. 4, 1936, to stop fighting between anti-fascists and Sir Oswald Mosley's blackshirts.

A demonstrator is taken away under arrest by police officers after a mounted baton charge, in East London, on Oct. 4, 1936, to stop fighting between anti-fascists and Sir Oswald Mosley’s blackshirts.

Preparations are underway for a series of commemorations for the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street in London’s East End, when Jewish and Irish residents engaged in fierce fighting with black-shirted fascists led by Oswald Mosley.

London Jewish Forum will take the lead on a event in the area while an alliance of trade unions and political campaigners will come together under the banner ‘Cable Street 80’ to remember 4 October 1936, when 100,000 people turned out to stop police from clearing the way for Mosley’s British Union of Fascists.

Jewish families – then mostly based in Whitechapel – erected barricades along Cable Street together with members of London’s Irish community, to block Mosley’s route, a move which later led to bloodshed around Gardiners’ Corner’ in Aldgate.

“The Battle of Cable Street is an important part of the history of the Jewish community in London,” said LJF’s Adrian Cohen. “It has to be understood in the wider context of the rampant anti-Semitism across Europe in the 1930s and the consequences that followed. We are liaising with all of the other interested parties to coordinate our activities.” 

‘Cable Street 80’ has announced a march and rally for Sunday 9 October, as well as a day of cultural events. Secretary and local historian David Rosenberg said it would “send a powerful message of unity and emphasise that lessons must be learnt for the way we tackle racism and the far-right today”.

He added: “People came together not only to resist anti-Semitism, but also to challenge the slum landlords and campaign against the scourge of mass unemployment.” Details were unveiled at a meeting of Unite, the country’s largest trade union.