By John Miller
Wednesday the 8th of November, 2017
In 1936, as civil war was waged between the Spanish Fascists and the Spanish Communists, the British Union of Fascists organised a march on London’s Jewish East End. It was met by a counter-demonstration of almost 100,000. Local residents were backed by a broad coalition of anti-fascists and anti-racists. Many Jews, many Irish Catholics, and I guess as many atheists as existed locally between the wars turned out for their local communities.
Perhaps the greatest ally of the Jewish community, who were the focus of the fascists ire, were the Irish of London. They turned out in great numbers, and were in the forefront of the brutal melees.
The leader of the fascists was Oswald Mosely, an embarrassment to Conservative politics and a traitor to his country. He was not an insignificant political figure though. The police did their best to keep the peace and public order, but they were hopelessly outnumbered.
On Cable Street the fascists were chanting: “The Yids, the Yids, we are going to get rid of the Yids”.
My own tenuous connection to these events is an English grandmother, who passed on to me a love of Tottenham Hotspur, a soccer team with a long and proud connection to London’s Jewish community. We are all Yids, in solidarity with what was once a very large contingent of Jewish support at Spurs.
There was a famous match between England and Nazi Germany played at White Hart Lane (our football ground) the year before Cable Street. Here is an iconic photo of idiots who supported England throwing up a salute for Nazi Germany, something they would only usually get away with in the away end.
When I joined an expatriate supporters group for Spurs (as Tottenham are known) in Australia, I had the privilege to meet with some old boys whose families had fought the fascists on Cable Street. Apparently a good sized group of young Jewish men got there from Bethnal Green, and may have gotten a few good licks in.
I abhor violence, but if your community is under attack, and you are not safe, I can see a reasonable justification for it. Self-defence is a lawful form of violence. It may even be said that these men were patriots, because they were truly fighting for democracy against the party of Hitler.
What are we to make of the modern Antifa though, which attempts to shut down all dissent, and appropriate the legacy of cable street as if every person there were a Bolshevik?
I’m not denying that there would have been a few good Communists there, as detestable as I find the doctrine of Communism itself.
Those like Stalin who try force conformance with a brutal system of atheism are little better than butchering thugs, but under certain circumstances, and for the greater good, sometimes you find yourself fighting alongside the unlikeliest of allies.
Not much chance of that these days. All the Christians and Zionists have been erased from the version of the Cable Street story which Antifa bandies about as propaganda.
The young Commie of today spews out a litany of hate towards Israel. These tankies are often indistinguishable from the lunatic Far Right, and operate under a wide array of misapprehensions about the history and lives of the Jews. Such as I understand it.
I can hardly claim to speak for world Jewry, given that all my folk were Protestants and Catholics as far back as the pagan era, when they probably danced around some abominable idol.
I speak only as a general well-wisher, with some first-hand knowledge passed on over a few pints before and after Spurs played. I hardly remember the match, although I think it was back when I still had a Berbatov shirt and Jermaine Defoe was still a Yiddo.
Those intimately acquainted with the battle of Cable Street thrilled me with the telling of the battle, such as it was fought by Yids from the Manor of Stepney and Hackney (excuse my London geography if I got it wrong, the story was told to me several years ago), alongside many hard-Irish brawlers.
The makeshift gates of furniture and household bric-a-brac to which the entire local neighbourhood contributed, with the Jews and Irish united against the fascist onslaught. The apprehension, the few course words that went back and forth, and then the fists starting to fly.
So, no I don’t rely have a problem with punching a Nazi, if he comes asking for it. Blindsiding Spencer I’m less sure about, although retrospectively he certainly deserved it for Charlottesville.
I have read that somebody threw gunpowder, but this wasn’t mentioned in the tales that my friends from London told me. Gunpowder plots are more of a Catholic thing, I guess.
I don’t want to dwell too much on the beatings that were doled out, but needless to say, the Nazis were run off, and the Jews and Irish left to go back about their lawful business, and clean up the mess.
My reason for writing this though is to make the casual anti-Semites who are in Antifa that are a little bit thoughtful just stop and think. Your movement participated in this one good thing, but it was never a violent anarchist thing, it was an uprising of downtrodden Jews and Irish.
Please don’t disgrace the legacy of Cable street by attacking Zionist organisations and Israel. And please reconsider your violent ways against Christians too. We may have little tolerance for degeneracy, and may even say things that you will dispute.
But I think that you will find that every time there was real progress made in this world, the Churches, and the Synagogues, have had a large hand in it.
Most Christians and most Jews are like that. We take our responsibilities to the communities that we are a part of very seriously, and are always happy to lend a hand.
Full disclosure: John Miller’s IRL name is Frank Faulkner. I currently live in Australia and I write about things that concern me as a Christian, or as a cranky guy. These days I spend all my spare time defending the best (and only worthy) President of the United States since Reagan. Totally worth it. Bring back that 80s prosperity and the Moral Majority, Mr President. Christians4Trump. MAGA.