Jeremy Corbyn joined thousands of people as they marched through East London yesterday, in remembrance of the 80th Anniversary of the infamous Battle of Cable Street.
The event honoured those from the mainly Irish and Jewish communities who resisted Oswell Mosley and the British Union of Fascists‘ attempt to march through the multicultural East End in 1936, helping to curb the swell of fascism in the UK.
The parade started in Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel, before congressing to Cable Street for the main rally and speeches.
Jeremy Corbyn and Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs were just some of the speakers who attended the rally to pay their respects to the heroes of Cable Street.
The Labour leader thanked the crowd for their support, and stressed the importance of what happened on Cable Street 80 years ago:
“London has always been, and I hope always will be, a melting-pot for people from all over the world to make it their home and make it their contribution.
“Our rally today is about a celebration of a multicultural multi-faith society. So today, as we do every year, we take absolutely head-on those who fan the flames of racism and xenophobia and try to divide us by hate.
“Those that stood there in Cable Street, all those years ago, did so as an act of defiance and an act of principal, and we walk in their shadow. Post-[Brexit] in June, there’s been a disgusting and disgraceful rise in xenophobia and hate-crime across this country. The only answer to it is communities coming together to support each other; not allow it to go on.
“There is no future in racism; there is no future in xenephobia; there is no future in division within our society. Those who think that, post-[Brexit], they can divide all of us on the basis of attacking minorities or the growth of racism; let them have another think.”
Corbyn’s solidarity with the Jewish community comes at a difficult time for the Labour party, after allegations of antisemitism within the party prompted Corbyn to launch an inquiry in June.
Sarah Sackman, part of the Jewish Labour Movement, stressed the importance of fighting antisemitism and xenophobia wherever it is found: “including in our own ranks.”
John Biggs, Tower Hamlets mayor, also voiced his support for fighting xenophobia and racism in his borough, also stressing his support for “my mate Jeremy Corbyn”, in an attempt to quash frequent reports in the media of division within the Labour Party.
“In case people writing lazy newspaper articles want to suggest that we’re different groups of people; we’re a single party fighting for a single objective which is justice, solidarity and progress in our country.
“I think we’re here for two reasons; to remember and pay respect to those who fought [in 1936], but also to make sure the next generation never forget that this sort of thing can happen again – not in the same way, it can be more subtle.
“We’ve had, in my recent past, we’ve had the National Front, the BNP, the EDL, Britain First; all a little bit different but always the same message of division and hatred.
“The message of East London and of our country, is that we are, by-and-large, a united country. We achieve that by working together, by not being divided and by resisting those – whether they are in mainstream political parties or elsewhere – who use opportunistic arguments to tear us apart.”
Of particular poignancy was the speech from Max Levitas, a former member of the Communist Worker’s Party and one of the few who were present at Cable Street all those years ago. He called for solidarity and for an end to the Tory government:
“Whether you are in the Communist party, whether you are in the Labour Party, whatever party, we must all come together.
“You are the leaders and we as a people must unite so we do not allow another Tory government.”