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John Simkin
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Several Conservative Party members of the House of Commons from East London, including Major William Evans-Gordon (Stepney), Samuel Forde Ridley (Bethnal Green South West), Claude Hay (Hoxton), Walter Guthrie (Bow and Bromley), Spencer Charrington (Mile End) and Thomas Dewar (Tower Hamlets, St George) launched an anti-alien campaign in 1901. Two Jewish MPs, Harry Samuel (Limehouse) and Benjamin Cohen (Islington East) also called for restrictions on immigration. Evans-Gordon argued against "the settlement of large aggregations of Hebrews in a Christian land". In another article he argued that "east of Aldgate one walks into a foreign town" and the development of a separate community, "a solid and permanently distinct block - a race apart, as it were, in an enduring island of extraneous thought and custom".

According to his biographer, Marc Brodie, Evans-Gordon "was instrumental in the establishment of" the British Brothers' League (BBL), "a purportedly working-class anti-immigration body". Evans-Gordon and other Tory MPs in the area galvanised the poorer local populace into angry street marches calling for an end to Jewish immigration. It was stated that the government "would not have this country made the dumping ground for the scum of Europe" and complained that England should be "the heart of the Empire not the dustbin of Austria and Russia".

In 1905 the Tory government passed the Alien Act. It was the first time the government introduced immigration controls and registration, and gave the Home Secretary overall responsibility for immigration and nationality matters. The government argued that the act was designed to prevent paupers or criminals from entering the country and set up a mechanism to deport those who slipped through. Alfred Eckhard Zimmern, was one of many who opposed the legislation as being anti-Semitic, commented: "It is true that it does not specify Jews by name and that it is claimed that others besides Jews will be affected by the Act, but that is only a pretence."

In the 1906 General Election Tory MPs attempted to use the subject of immigration to win them votes. David Hope Kyd, the prospective MP for Whitechapel, told the electorate that Stuart Samuel, the sitting member, was pro-alien and it was "no good sending to Parliament a man who stands up... for the foreign Jews" and what was needed was "someone who could speak for the English in Whitechapel." (27) He was not the only Tory to mount a racist campaign as they appealed to "the British working man" to vote against "Pro-Alien Radical Jews" and "push back this intolerable invasion". (28)

The passing of the Alien Act did not help the Conservative Party in the 1906 General Election. The Liberal Party won 397 seats (48.9%) compared to the Conservative Party's 156 seats (43.4%). The Labour Party, led by Keir Hardie did well, increasing their seats from 2 to 29. In the landslide victory, the prime minister, Arthur Balfour, also lost his seat. Others who failed to get elected included supporters of the British Brothers League such as Samuel Forde Ridley (Bethnal Green South West), Walter Guthrie (Bow and Bromley), Thomas Dewar (Tower Hamlets, St George), Claude Hay (Hoxton), Harry Samuel (Limehouse), Benjamin Cohen (Islington East) and Mancherjee Bhownagree (Bethnal Green North-East). In Whitechapel, its Jewish MP, Stuart Samuel, who campaigned against the legislation, increased his majority over his racist opponent, David Hope Kyd.

http://spartacus-educational.com/British_Brothers_League.htm
British Brothers' League
British Brothers' League
spartacus-educational.com

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When the Alien Bill was introduced Arthur Balfour claimed that the measure would save money for the country. "Why should we admit into this country people likely to become a public charge? Many countries which exclude immigrants have no Poor Laws they have not those great charities of which we justly boast. The immigrant comes in at his own peril and perishes if he cannot find a living. That is not the case here. From the famous statute of Elizabeth we have taken on ourselves the obligation of supporting every man, woman, and child in this country and saving them from starvation. Is the statute of Elizabeth to have European extension? Are we to be bound to support every man, woman, and child incapable of supporting themselves who choose to come to our shores? That argument seems to me to be preposterous. When it is remembered that some of these persons are a most undesirable element in the population, and are not likely to produce the healthy children... but are afflicted with disease either of mind or of body, which makes them intrinsically undesirable citizens, surely the fact that they are likely to become a public charge is a double reason for keeping them out of the country."

Stuart Samuel, the Liberal Party MP for Whitechapel, accused the government of proposing legislation that would stop Jews who were suffering from religious persecution from entering the country. "The Prime Minister... had laid it down that we were bound by out historical past to refuse admission to the victims of religious persecution upon the ground that to admit them would cost this country a certain sum of money. That sordid and unworthy argument he believed the people of this country would not approve of.... If the right hon. Gentleman thought that he represented the opinions of the people of this country, why did he not appeal to them in that case? The right hon. Gentleman knew perfectly well that up and down the country the people were in favour of religious freedom.... said that if they refused asylum in this country to the victims of religious persecution and threw them back into the country where they were religiously persecuted, they were participating in the wrong."

Balfour claimed that this legislation would help to protect the working-class from immigrants willing to accept lower-wages. This idea was completely rejected by Kier Hardie, the leader of the Labour Party: "The right hon. Gentleman (Arthur Balfour) replied that the Bill proposed to give protection to underpaid British labour against the competition of foreigners. At the present time the workman knew he had no such protection, but if this Bill became law he would relatively be worse off than he was now, because he would have a nominal protection. He would be more liable to competition under the Bill than he was now. Under the Bill no poor workman could come in unless he brought a contract of employment with him, and therefore the whole machinery would be set up for importing foreign workmen under a contract of employment, and it would be easier for the employers who wanted to obtain a gang of foreign workmen to obtain them. Consequently a British workman who was being threatened with a strike or a lock-out would find his position worse under the Bill than he did at present. The Government, had no right to so legislate as to give the employer an unfair advantage over his workman during a trade dispute."

Although the word "Jew" was absent from the legislation, Jews formed the vast bulk of the "aliens" category. Speaking during the committee stage of the Alien Bill, Balfour argued that Jews should be prevented from arriving in Britain because they were not "to the advantage of the civilisation of this country... that there should be an immense body of persons who, however patriotic, able and industrious, however much they threw themselves into the national life, they are a people apart and not only had a religion differing from the vast majority of their fellow countrymen but only intermarry amongst themselves."

http://spartacus-educational.com/Aliens_Act.htm
1905 Aliens Act
1905 Aliens Act
spartacus-educational.com

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In an attempt to increase support for their campaign, the British Union of Fascists announced its attention of marching through the East End on 4th October 1936, wearing their Blackshirt uniforms. The Jewish People's Council Against Fascism and Anti-Semitism produced a petition that stated: "We the undersigned citizens of East London, view with grave concern the proposed march of the British Union of Fascists upon East London. The avowed object of the Fascist movement in Great Britain is the incitement of malice and hatred against sections of the population. It aims to further ends which seek to destroy the harmony and goodwill which has existed for centuries among the East London population, irrespective of differences in race and creed. We consider racial incitement, by a movement which employs flagrant distortions of the truth and degrading calumny and vilification, as a direct and deliberate provocation to attack. We therefore make an appeal to His Majesty's Secretary of State for Home Affairs to prohibit such matters and thus retain peaceable and amicable relations between all sections of East London's population."

Within 48 hours over 100,000 people signed the petition and it was presented to 2nd October deputation was headed by James Hall, the Labour Party M.P. for Whitechapel, and Alfred M. Wall (Secretary of the London Trades Council). George Lansbury, the M.P. for Bow & Bromley, also wrote to John Simon, the Home Secretary, and asked for the march to be diverted. Simon refused and told a deputation of local mayors that he would not interfere as he did not wish to infringe freedom of speech. Instead he sent a large police escort in an attempt to prevent anti-fascist protesters from disrupting the march.

The Independent Labour Party responded by issuing a leaflet calling on East London workers to take part in the counter demonstration which assembles at Aldgate at 2.p.m. As a result the anti-fascists, adopting the slogan of the Spanish Republicans defending Madrid "They Shall Not Pass" and developed a plan to block Mosley's route. One of the key organizers was Phil Piratin, a leading figure in the Stepney Tenants Defence League. Denis Nowell Pritt and other members of the Labour Party also took part in the campaign against the march.

The Jewish Chronicle told its readers not to take part in the demonstration: "Urgent Warning. It is understood that a large Blackshirt demonstration will be held in East London on Sunday afternoon. Jews are urgently warned to keep away from the route of the Blackshirt march from their meetings. Jews who, however innocently, became involved in any possible disorders will be actively helping anti-Semitism and Jew-baiting. Unless you want to help the Jew-baiters - Keep Away."

The Daily Herald reported that by "1.30 p.m.... anti-Fascists had massed in tens of thousands. They formed a solid block at the junction of Commercial Street, Whitechapel Road and Aldgate. It was through this area that Mosley would have to reach his goal, Victoria Park, Stepney and the Socialists, Jews and Communists of the East End were determined that 'Mosley should not pass!' At the time every available policeman - about 10,000 in all - was converging on Whitechapel from all parts of London. Mounted police rode into the huge throng and forced the demonstrators back into the streets. Cordons were then flung across to keep a clear space for the marchers."

By 2.00 p.m. 50,000, people had gathered to prevent the entry of the march into the East End, and something between 100,000 and 300,000 additional protesters waited on the route. Barricades were erected across Cable Street and the police endeavoured to clear a route by making repeated baton charges. One of the demonstrators said that he could see "Mosley - black-shirted himself - marching in front of about 3,000 Blackshirts and a sea of Union Jacks. It was as though he were the commander-in-chief of the army, with the Blackshirts in columns and a mass of police to protect them."

Eventually at 3.40 p.m. Sir Philip Game, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police in London, had to accept defeat and told Mosley that he had to abandon their march and the fascists were escorted out of the area. Max Levitas, one of the leaders of the Jewish community in Stepney later pointed out: "It was the solidarity between the Labour Party, the Communist Party and the trade union movement that stopped Mosley's fascists, supported by the police, from marching through Cable Street." William J. Fishman said: "I was moved to tears to see bearded Jews and Irish Catholic dockers standing up to stop Mosley. I shall never forget that as long as I live, how working-class people could get together to oppose the evil of fascism."

The Manchester Guardian supported the Home Secretary's decision to allow the BUF's march as it demonstrated that the Fascists had the right to hold a procession, but correctly banned it, when it showed signs of getting out of control. (64) The Times condemned the actions of the anti-fascists and concluded, "that this sort of hooliganism must clearly be ended, even if it involves a special and sustained effort from the police authorities." The Daily Telegraph praised the Police Commissioner Hugh Trenchard "as he was on the side of free speech, and those who assembled to resist the march threatened it."

A total of 79 anti-fascists were arrested at during the Battle of Cable Street. Several of these men received a custodial sentence. This included the 21 year-old, Charlie Goodman. One of his prison experiences highlighted the conflict between the conservative Jewish establishment and left-wing Jews: "I was visited by a Mr Prince from the Jewish Discharged Prisoners Aid Society... an arm of the Board of Deputies who called all the Jewish prisoners together." He asked them what crimes they had committed. The first five or six prisoners admitted to crimes such as robbery and he replied, "Don't worry, we'll look after you." When he asked Goodman he replied, "fighting fascism". This provoked Prince into saying: "You are the kind of Jew who gives us a bad name... It is people like you that are causing all the aggravation to the Jewish people."

http://spartacus-educational.com/Cable_Street.htm
Cable_Street.htm
Cable_Street.htm
spartacus-educational.com

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Influenced by his own business experiences, Jorian Jenks became a "critic of this modern economy". Jenks was regulator contributor to Action under the pseudonym "Vergillius" and was the agricultural advisor to the party. He organised garden parties to raise funds for the BUF, a fairly common technique amongst the party's more affluent and rural supporters.

Chris Hare argues: "Jorian Jenks was attracted to fascism because of its policy of self-sufficiency - the 'autarky' of the German Nazis. He saw industrialization and urbanization as corrosive developments that were alienating people from a natural way of living and their true inheritance - the land... Unfortunately, he also pointed the figure of blame at 'Jewish financiers' and increasingly, as the 30s progressed, aligned himself with the anti-Jewish policies of Nazi Germany."

Jenks led the attack on Walter Elliott, the Minister for Agriculture. Each week a specific grievance was highlighted in Jenks' "Farmer's Diary". This included imports of lamb, bacon and fruit. He also attacked Elliott for continuing to give subsidies on imported beef. The Potato Marketing Board was also criticized for advising farmers to be cautious over planting, even though potatoes were still being imported.

Jenks and the BUF also condemned those chain stores that were under foreign ownership and were responsible for huge imports of goods produced by cheap foreign labour. As Martin Pugh points out this included: "Marks & Spencer and Montagu Burton as Jewish, Woolworths as American, Unilever as Jewish-Dutch, and the Vesty Meat Trust for dealing in Argentine beef, not to mention Sainsbury, Liptons, Boots and Timothy Whites... All these combines were condemned for crushing small shopkeepers by means of bulk purchases, price-cutting, and bullying the producers into giving large discounts."

Jenks, along with Commander C. E. Hudson of Bognor Regis, became the most important figures in Sussex. An MI5 report stated: "Throughout the country the movement was well organised, led by enthusiastic persons and persistently active until the time the principal members were arrested... The Chief Constable estimated the number of adherents in Bognor as about 300.... Worthing membership was estimated to be about 60...As to the amount of activity, we know that the area was of sufficient importance of Mosley himself to speak at four meetings in recent times."

Jenks and Oswald Mosley joined forces to speak at Worthing Town Hall in March, 1937. At the meeting Jenks was announced as the BUF candidate for Horsham and Worthing at the next election. The Worthing Journal accused Mosley of "bellowing", and thought Jenks was a poor speaker. However, he did not doubt he was "a very nice fellow", who should be thanked for giving permission for a part of his land to be excavated by archaeologists looking for the remains of the Angmering Roman villa.

In December, 1938, John Becket and Gerard Wallop, 9th Earl of Portsmouth, launched the Fascist and anti-Semitic journal, New Pioneer. Jorian Jenks began one of the magazines main writers and wrote several articles on organic husbandry. Others who contributed to the journal included Major General John Fuller, A. K. Chesterton, Edmund Blunden, Arthur Bryant, H. J. Massingham, Rolf Gardiner, Reginald Dorman-Smith and Anthony Ludovici.

Jenks published Spring Comes Again in 1939. In the book he argued "for sustainable production, organic farming and small localised economies. He believed that artificial fertilisers were causing cancers and killing wildlife and the international trade in food, far from being a way of providing cheaper products, was a trap, impoverishing producers and depriving customers of real choice."

http://spartacus-educational.com/Jorian_Jenks.htm

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In December, 1931, Harold Harmsworth, 1st Lord Rothermere, the press baron, approached Oswald Mosley and told him that he was prepared to put the Harmsworth press at his disposal if he succeeded in organising a disciplined Fascist movement from the remnants of the New Party. It was very important to Rothermere that this new party would target working-class voters in order that it would help the fortunes of the Conservative Party. Harold Nicolson recorded in his diary that "Cimmie (Cynthia Mosley), who is profoundly working-class at heart, does not at all like this Harmsworth connection" and warned her husband that she would put a notice in The Times "to the effect that she disassociates herself from his fascist tendencies."

You can find out a detailed account of this story here:

http://spartacus-educational.com/Pfascists.htm
British Union of Fascists
British Union of Fascists
spartacus-educational.com

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At an election meeting in Broadwater, Worthing, on 16th October 1933, Charles Bentinck Budd revealed he had recently met Sir Oswald Mosley and had been convinced by his political arguments and was now a member of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). Budd added that if he was elected to the local council "you will probably see me walking about in a black shirt".

Budd won the contest and the national press reported that Worthing was the first town in the country to elect a Fascist councillor. Worthing was now described as the "Munich of the South". A few days later Mosley announced that Budd was the BUF Administration Officer for Sussex. Budd also caused uproar by wearing his black shirt to council meetings.

On 4th January, 1934, Budd reported that over 150 people in Worthing had joined the British Union of Fascists. Some of the new members were former communists but the greatest intake had come from increasingly disaffected Conservatives. The Weekly Fascist News described the growth in membership as "phenomenal" as a few months ago members could be counted on one's fingers, and now "hundreds of young men and women -.together with the many leading citizens of the town - now participated in its activities".

A Worthing Anti-Fascist Committee was established in the town. John Robert Peryer became one of the leaders of the group. Peryer had support from the monthly Worthing Journal. In March 1935, it reported with pleasure the resignation of Superintendent Clement Bristow. It was seen by many as a consequence of his apparent sympathy for the fascist cause, for in court he had described fascists in the town as "very nice Worthing people". A few months later it reported: "Fascism has come to Worthing, but Worthing has shown through its accredited representatives that it is not yet ready to submit to a Dictatorship."

http://spartacus-educational.com/John_Robert_Peryer.htm

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"We are in a strange period of history in which a revolutionary has to be a patriot and a patriot has to be a revolutionary." (George Orwell, The Tribune, 20th December 1940)

http://spartacus-educational.com/Jorwell.htm

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Cynthia Mosley was selected to be the Labour Party candidate for Stoke-on-Trent. The Liberal Party candidate, John Ward, had held the seat since 1918 and in the 1924 General Election he had a 4,546 majority over his Labour opponent. During the general election of 1929 she was mocked for her "Hyde Park sentiments delivered in a Park Lane accent"

The newspapers spread false stories about Cynthia. It was claimed that she had a penniless brother in America whom the heartless family allowed to live in a workhouse and that she and her husband owned a factory where they paid their workers eighteen shillings a week. Despite these attacks she got a 7,850 majority over Ward - his majority at the last election had been 4,500. She doubled the Labour vote from 13,000 to 26,000. (25) It was "the largest swing to Labour of the election and one of the largest majorities of any inter-war woman MP."

In her maiden speech in the House of Commons she explained the merits of socialism and attacked the Conservative charge that unemployment insurance would "demoralize" recipients. "All my life I have got something for nothing… Some people might say I showed remarkable intelligence in the choice of my parents but I put it all down to luck… A great many people on the opposite side of the House are also in that same position… Are we demoralised? I stoutly deny that I am demoralised."

http://spartacus-educational.com/Cynthia_Mosley.htm
Cynthia Mosley
Cynthia Mosley
spartacus-educational.com

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Charles Bertram Barber was born in 1884. At the age of fourteen he joined the Worthing Post Office. The day after the outbreak of the First World War Barber enlisted in the British Army. He served in the Signalling Corps on the Western Front until April 1919.

Barber was also a leading figure in the Labour Party. Local elections in Worthing were very much under the control of the Conservative Party and seats were not contested. However, in 1919 the the Labour Party contested all seven wards in the elections to Worthing Borough Council for that year. None of the candidates were elected but in Broadwater ward the margin of defeat was only 92 votes. In 1922 Charles Barber won Broadwater with a majority of 47 over the Conservative candidate, H. R. Carter.

Barber was re-elected in his ward in 1925 where he was joined by Thomas Cramp (Victoria). Barber was elected for Offington ward in 1928. Joseph Mason was elected to the council for Clifton (1930-1945). He always stood as an independent, although he was a member of the Labour Party. According to Chris Hare, the author of Worthing: A History (2008), Barber and other Labour councillors "impressed even die-hard Tories by their eloquence and their moderation. In 1931 he was unopposed in the election.

http://spartacus-educational.com/Charles_Barber.htm

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