Eighty one years ago last Wednesday, October 4th, 1936, Londoners stood up to the threat of Fascism in England at the Battle of Cable Street. This was about eight months after the release of Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. In Europe, the Fascists were in power in Germany under Hitler and in Italy under Mussolini. In Spain, Franco had begun receiving military support from Germany and Italy in his battle against the Popular Front. Londoners were familiar with nature of Fascism and its virulent anti-semitism.
In England, the British Union of Fascists led by Oswald Mosley were planning to lead a march of about 3,000 in their blackshirt uniforms through the East End of London, which at the time had a predominantly Jewish population. The government hesitated to ban the Fascists from marching and instead dispatched a contingent of about 6,000 Metropolitan Police in an attempt to protect the Fascists. The Young’uns’ Cable Street describes how citizens opposed to Fascism who understood the march to be an attack on the Jewish residents and on solidarity in general, responded. In two words: No pasarán!
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