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Friday, 18 October 2013

Me at Brick Lane 1993


I discovered this photo last night. It's the poster for a documentary, co-directed (apparently last year) by Phil Maxwell and Hazuan Hashim, about the anti-fascist movement in London's East End.  

In 1936 Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts, including their Galway born Deputy Leader, William Joyce, tried to march through the predominantly Jewish Cable Street. They were stopped

In September 1993, following the election the previous Thursday of a British National Party (BNP) Councillor for the Isle of Dogs ward in a by-election, the fascists were prevented from selling their newspapers or distributing their leaflets at Brick Lane the following Sunday. The combined forces of the Left and members of the local Asian community turned up early that morning and occupied the BNP paper sellers' usual pitch. The fascists turned up later and stood across the road. Pretty soon though, action was taken to physically remove them. 

If you look closely, you can see me in the crowd, if not fighting fascism in the literal sense, then at least watching others put a few of its most fanatical and violent British supporters on the pavement. It was a great day.
I realise that some liberals will be offended by my nostalgia for the way the fascists were dealt with that Sunday. To them I offer no apologies at all, but these closing lines from my poem The Eternal Peace Activist:

                 When a four foot boy clad in black
                 bomber jacket shoved a lit kerosene rag,
                 through my neighbour’s letterbox,
                 I didn’t take the easy way out
                 and familiarize his cranium
                 with the pavement.


                 Now, he’s six foot eight
                 and has a gang who go around with him
.