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.