It has come to our attention that Martin Smith – who resigned from the Socialist Workers Party following rape and sexual harassment allegations – is now based in the Social Work department at Liverpool Hope University. Trigger warning: rape, sexual harassment.
The accusations against Smith were covered up by an internal investigation from the party’s disputes committee.
This was set up by the central committee - a body largely consisting of Smith’s friends – who at this point were referring to him as “Comrade Delta“. The specifics of the case and the handling of the case can be read here, here and here.
However, to summarise, not only were the survivors disbelieved and their cases not heard, but party leader and academic Alex Callinicos claimed that the party – and the wider movements of the working class generally - were being damaged by what he termed “creeping feminism“.
A faction was formed in opposition to the central committee, which led to the expulsion and resignation of dissenting members.
Martin Smith resigned from the party in July, after spending several weeks in Greece ‘researching’ for the party’s front campaign Unite Against Fascism.
Over the summer, there were rumours online that the children of party founder Tony Cliff were asking SWP members to donate to a fund for Martin Smith to study an MA.
It now transpires that rather than fund an educational ‘break’ directly, the preferred tactic was to get a party member with a position in a university to abuse their academic authority, and sort him with a funded PhD.
Whilst Callinicos might have been too obvious, the lesser known SWP academic and Preston councillor Michael Lavalette does not have the same profile. Lavalette is head of the Social Work, Youth and Justice Department at Hope University, and clearly thought he could help this ‘poor victim of creeping feminism’ out with little to no consequence.
Though the levels of student activism at Hope are depressingly low, the same is not true for feminist activism in the wider city. We have also been made aware of a poster campaign which took place at Hope last night, with the aim of informing female students of the danger on campus.
This is a danger which Professor Lavalette took the decision to bring to Hope, in a department which is supposed to have welfare as its primary concern.
The university have chosen to take on Martin Smith, despite the coverage of the case in the national press. This is arguably a significant breach of their duty of care, and will massively harm the university’s image. We call up on feminist activists nationwide to ensure that this man is unable to remain either at Hope or in in activist circles.
If anyone would like to get involved in building a campaign, please contact Delta.Removals2013[a]gmail.com
This is a repost from the Angry Women Of Liverpool blog.
Michael Lavalette Discovers
Michael Lavalette Discovers That Women Are Upset He Gave Martin Smith A PhD Place
Not wanting to reignite the
Not wanting to reignite the Trigger War(ning) but the most explicit reference to "triggering" material comes BEFORE the warning. There is barely a shred of reference to such material in the body of the article.
Whatever Martin Smith may or
Whatever Martin Smith may or may not have done. I can see no reason on earth why, after all this claim and counter claim, the person(s) who accused him have not gone to the police. For anyone who thinks rape should be taken seriously they are sending a terrible message to women who are raped by saying this should not be taken to the police if the woman "chooses not to". And lots of people seem to think the case should be decided by the court of either an SWP disciplinary committee, or the court of internet opinion. Bullshit! What if a muslim woman is raped. Is that to be left to a muslim court? If a school girl is raped. Should that be decided by a school investigation? If an anarchist is raped by a consensus hand wave?
Go to the police if you have a claim against this person!
I am not in the SWP and never have been.
But to have this as the main debate in the left for a year is crap.
What possible reason is there not to go to the police?
If you saw a rape on the street, would you not call the police?
Or would you first ask the woman? I would call the police.
So why are all these lefties so keen to debate this online but not one of them, who "know Smith is a rapist" reports the matter to the police... in a year?
I think this is really about lefties posturing on rape and sexism, but sadly this has nothing to do with women's rights, rape and sexism.
The whole saga is an utter disgrace. And this latest idea of a campaign at Smith's university is more crap. Before you reply to this....make that call to the police...
"What possible reason is
"What possible reason is there not to go to the police?" ..... Is that a serious question?
I cannot comment from personal experience but perhaps the reasons could be - fear of not being believed, fear of the rapist not being found guilty, fear of the process of being cross examined as if you are the accused, fear of your personal life/business being played out in the media, fear of reprisals from the rapist, and fear of stigma...
Just a few thoughts
Not to mention that we should
Not to mention that we should have nothing whatsoever to do with the police.
Avoiding using the police
Avoiding using the police under capitalism is a bit like opting out of work under capitalism. Just an act of individual rebellion, probably a self-defeating one in most cases.
So does that mean all those
So does that mean all those people who "downed" NottheSWP's post think in fact a "disputes committee" is the proper body to investigate this? Or in the case of a schoolgirl, a school committee.
I can certainly tell you that allowing a "disputes committee" to develop evidence, conduct an investigation into these matters, regardless of the guilt or innocence of the accused party is a sure ticket to destruction for the party, regardless, equally of the outcome of that committee's "investigation."
First and foremost, rape is felonious sexual assault. It is a crime. Any investigation a party committee undertakes is evidence that the state can claim, and which it can use as a wedge to pry open a whole lot of other documents, notes, transcripts etc. .
Given that fact, whether the accused party is innocent or not, the only thing he can say is "It never happened. Address all other inquiries to my lawyer." You have to be a moron to say anything else. And you have to be a moronic organization to allow your disputes committee to get involved in this.
The only thing a revolutionary party can do is what it must do: immediately sever all ties to the accused person, and advise the parties to seek independent, and outside, legal counsel.
Although most rape crisis
Although most rape crisis advisors recommend that a victim should be free to choose what they do, in the SWP case it is clear that the entire issue has been publicly discussed so much that even a high profile criminal case would not have had this much publicity.
The problem of being believed is a universal problem here, not one specific to this case and one that exists regardless of where or when the issue is raised. The fact is the issue was taken to various entities and debated and discussed there without the procedural experience and sanctions that the criminal justice system provides.
The idea of having nothing to do with the police is stupid.
There are crimes that anarchists and socialists don't think are crimes, i.e. are justified or justifiable crimes against property that we may not think are appropriate to involve the capitalist state in. But there are also crimes against people for which specialised agencies are far better suited to deal with than any other possible organisation i.e., they can gather evidence better, process it better, investigate it better, and they have socially recognised capacity to impose sanctions and punishment on behalf of society.
Pikel wrote: Avoiding using
Tell that to the Black Panthers
"But there are also crimes
"But there are also crimes against people for which specialised agencies are far better suited to deal with than any other possible organisation i.e., they can gather evidence better, process it better, investigate it better, and they have socially recognised capacity to impose sanctions and punishment on behalf of society."
So when were anarchists, let alone socialists, in favour of punishment??
Investigate it better? Tell that to the women whose cases were recently highlighted who were dissuaded by the police to discontinue rape allegations so as to boost "positive" crime figures.
The above troll is posting on
The above troll is posting on Angry women of Liverpool as "Concerned Onlooker" repeating again that he/she has nothing to do with the SWP.
As one of my comrades there said:
"To anybody concerned about the legitimacy of rape claims not made to the police, or not being tried in a court of law: Do you know what, I wrote a lengthy response to this but it comes down to get yourself a clue. If you don’t know what’s problematic about expecting survivors to go to the police or shut up, you are not ready for this conversation."
Well if you are not in favour
Well if you are not in favour of punishment then why report or investigate any crime? Indeed, how can define a crime if there is no sanction to be taken against someone who commits it?
Or does one beat the person to death in street justice? In modern times how can you have justice without DNA tests, forensic science, investigation of witnesses, cross examination?
Is there some Socialist/Anarchist supreme bible of justice that determines guilt? And why my comments are considered to be Trolling I have no idea. I simply disagree with you and am giving my grounds with rational argument, if that is trolling I doubt your ability to engage with real people.
An no I have not posted on this subject anywhere else since the story broke more than a year ago. I just think the latest campaign is like lynch mob-witch-hunt justice and is taking the left to a new low.
Not the SWP - Any response to
Not the SWP - Any response to what I wrote re why people may not want to go to the police?
"An no I have not posted on
"An no I have not posted on this subject anywhere else since the story broke more than a year ago. I just think the latest campaign is like lynch mob-witch-hunt justice and is taking the left to a new low."
Hmm, Concerned Onlooker's comments at Angry women of Liverpool seem remarkably similar to your own, right down to the assertion that they are not a member of the SWP and never have been. Strange that we get these peoplwe turning up simultaneously over the last day here and at AWOL
Quote: Before you reply to
And say what?
"Hi, there's this guy and he's a rapist, but I don't know who his victim is or where and when the crime took place, can you arrest him please?"
Edit for clarity: Merits of reporting to the police aside, there's simply no way, without knowing details that none of us in Liverpool have access to, to force the police to act. I have no power over whether or not Smith gets prosecuted officially, but I won't ignore the fact that vulnerable students are potentially being put at risk by being exposed to this cunt. Making students at Hope aware of the allegations against Smith is an end in itself.
100% behind whoever initiated this poster campaign.
I have banned "nottheSWP" for
I have banned "nottheSWP" for breaching our posting guidelines for deigning to tell sexual violence survivors, who are predominantly female, what they should or shouldn't do - which is none of his/her business. So this derail can end now.