In October 1936, even before the International Brigades had been formed in Spain there were already anti-fascists from the East End of London fighting there. In fact, Nat Cohen and Sam Masters were the first to go from Britain and formed the Tom Mann Centuria.
It is hardly surprising then that the main slogan during the Battle of Cable Street, on 4 October 1936, was “They Shall Not Pass!” This was a translation of the Spanish Republican slogan ¡No Pasarán!
The YouTube video below is a reading of the Spanish Communist MP Dolores Ibarruri‘s – La Pasionaria – farewell speech to the International Brigaders.
Read in English by the actress Maxine Peake it is very moving.
Maxine was in the Young Communist League in the 1990s, when she moved down to London to attend the acting school RADA and I remember her well. It’s good to see that her success hasn’t led her to forget her political roots.