Thousands of people gathered at the Altab Ali Park, situated in the White Chapel High Street area of East London (E1), on Sunday the 9th
This extraordinary man became first the Communist MP in the British Parliament by default – crossing the floor from the Liberals to represent the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) in 1920.
Tom Wintringham returned to the UK after the Spanish Civil War and worked as a journalist. He used his experience of fighting fascism in Spain to call for the establishment of a ‘Home Guard’ in the UK made-up of ordinary people defending the area within which they lived from the threat of armed invasion. He wrote a number of progressive books on modern warfare which emphasized guerrilla fighting but were also critical of the class-based system of the UK military. This Communistic thinking immediately made him unpopular with the rightwing Winston Churchill and the middle class officer corps.
Despite the sacrifice of thousands of these selfless people – the war was eventually lost – but it set the stage for WWII and the ultimate crushing of Nazism. Prominent speakers at the commemoration talked today of the upsurge in far-right activity in Eastern Europe – referring to the UK and USA-backed neo-Nazi regime in Eastern Ukraine and elsewhere. In these tainted countries – memorials to the International Brigades are being destroyed, and monuments to Nazi war criminals raised in their place. This is the ‘new’ fascism that all like minded people must come together and oppose.
Attention was drawn to the government’s policy of demonising people with disabilities, cutting or stopping their already meagre benefits, and instituting a policy of the dehumanising policy of making them disabled benefit claimants ‘compete’ for non-existing jobs, in an employment market that routinely discriminates against the employment of those with disabilities. Many others pointed-out the plight of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers, who are treated as ‘non-human’ interlopers in the UK and often imprisoned without trial before being deported back to impoverished countries, many with a less than impressive human rights record, or controlled by extremist or highly unreliable governments. The hated Bedroom Tax was raised alongside the issue of the loss of social housing. The environmental damage inflicted by the method of ‘fracking’ was also a popular cause of discontent.