|FESTIVAL THIS WEEKEND: Film of a past to be proud of.|
"Their heads seemed to be held higher and their shoulders were squarer - each one was a 'hero.'" This weekend a long-lost film about the Battle of Cable Street, involving key protagonists such as Phil Piratin, will be shown for the first time in 35 years. If you are interested come to the Festival of 21st Century Marxism.
So said Phil Piratin about the Eastenders who stopped the Blackshirts from marching through Cable Street on October 4, 1936.
It was a famous victory when a hundred thousand anti-fascists turned out on the streets of Whitechapel and Stepney to battle the police who tried in vain to clear the way for Sir Oswald Mosley and his paramilitary thugs.
Piratin and his team commanded operations on that day from his house in New Road. The Communist Party, the Independent Labour Party and bodies representing the local Jewish population, the unemployed and the trade union movement also organised loudspeaker vans, first aid stations, motorbikes, bicycles and runners to help make the mobilisation a success.
It is also known that an anti-fascist activist infiltrated Mosley's own medical team and passed vital information about police and Blackshirt plans on the day. The informant heard that Britain's self-styled "fuhrer" and Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Phillip Game had decided to change the route of the march to go south and east through Cable Street.
He made his excuses and found a telephone from which to phone the New Road anti-fascist headquarters. This enabled Piratin and his comrades to send out the call: "All down to Cable Street."
For many years the name of that informant was either unknown or identified incorrectly.
Yet since 1975 a little known television documentary featured an extensive interview with the man concerned - Hugh Faulkner, a medical student who went on to be chair of the Medical Practitioners Union. He tells the whole dramatic story, reminisces about the battle of Cable Street arguing and joking with his old friend Phil Piratin.
This extraordinary film with a wealth of archive footage will be shown for the first time in 35 years at next weekend's 21st Century Marxism festival at the Bishopsgate Institute in central London.
It will be introduced by former Searchlight editor Steve Silver and Cable Street veteran Max Levitas. The latter went on to become one of 12 communist councillors elected in Stepney. He will share some memories of Piratin who became the Communist Party MP for Mile End in 1945.
The other film to be shown will be the long-awaited final cut of Ninety Years Of Struggle - an hour-long documentary about the history of Britain's Communist Party.
Founded in 1920 the party has been at the forefront of mass movements and campaigns for colonial freedom, trade union rights, working class advance, peace and socialism and against racism, fascism, mass unemployment and imperialist war.
Platform Films have had unprecedented access to historical archives to make this testament to the lives and struggles of many thousands of communists and their allies.
Among those captured by the camera are ex-general secretary Harry Pollitt, former communist MP for West Fife Willie Gallacher, tenants' leader Rose Kerrigan, legendary dockers' militant Jack Dash and organiser of the hunger marches, Wal Hannington.
The film will be introduced by the party's general secretary Robert Griffiths. DVD copies will be available at the weekend event, among the literature and merchandise stalls from a range of organisations including the Morning Star.
Marxism - an introduction
Marxism inspires millions to struggle for a better world. The Communist Manifesto is the starting point in understanding working class politics. It was written in 1847 and published the following year. The CP reprinted the Manifesto in 2005 as part of it's Classics of Communism series, read it here.
Revolting Europe is a political blog with an internationalist flavour. Edited by radical left writer Tom Gill, it is great source of information about events in the political cauldron currently called 'European Union'
21st Century Manifesto is a daily blog of politics - home and abroad, economics and culture. It regularly features in the top 150 political blogs in Britain. Manifesto has a worldwide following and speaks with authority on international issues.
Country Standard newspaper was launched by the Communist Party in 1935. It has long championed the rights and welfare of workers in the food and farming sector. Today the journal is run by an editorial collective of CP and Labour members, environmentalists and trade unionists. It is available in print and online.