I wasn't able to make the march but I did manage to turn up to the Battle of Cable Street 75th Anniversary rally at St George in the East park, East London. Home of the famous mural. Former UNISON General Secretary Rodney Bickeerstaffe was speaking as I came in. He reminded the rally of the close connection of Cable Street with the International Brigade who fought in Spain against the fascists 1936-1939.
I was sorry to have missed Max Levitas, a 97 year old real life veteran of the Battle speak. I have heard Max a number of times over the years on many issues but never at this event. Max still lives in Tower Hamlets but he comes shopping to Stratford and has stopped off at our Labour Party stalls over the years to have a chat. He is still a convinced communist but is pleased to see the Labour Party out campaigning and is still very vocal about the dangers we all face from the splitters and wreakers.
The video is of Kosru Uddin, Tower Hamlets Labour Councillor, talking not as a polititian but as someone who had lived through racism and who stressed the importance of being united in order to defeat it.
I was pleased that my UNISON Housing Association branch banner was there – thanks to activists Tony and Mary. There was a number of UNISON folk about including my former Branch secretary Jean Geldart (daughter of another Cable Street veteran and former Red Stepney Communist MP Phil Piratin) and Head of UNISON Local Government Heather Wakefield.
There was some sectarian silliness by the usual suspects. But such ritualistic howling at the moon amidst grandiose claims of betrayal politics just adds to the colour of the occasion.
The final speaker was former BNP member turned Hope Not Hate activist Matthew Collins whose recent book “Hate – My life in the British Far Right” I have just ordered. Just saying you are going to Smash the BNP or the EDL is not enough. We will not let them pass - but we also need to fully understand our enemy in order to overcome them.