Trotskyist councillor caught up in far left turmoil: rape allegations against comrade

Poster displayed by militant feminists at Liverpool Hope University. H&D does not know and cannot verify the truth or falsehood of these allegations, but reports the ongoing dispute as a matter of public interest.

Britain’s most successful far left organisation – the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) – is falling apart because of rape allegations against one of its leaders, who had also been the key organiser of the ‘anti-racist’ campaigns Unite Against Fascism and Love Music Hate Racism.

Internal SWP reports refer to the accused party official only as Comrade Delta, but he has been widely identified by fellow leftists as Martin Smith, long serving national secretary of the party who was convicted in September 2010 of assaulting a police officer at an ‘anti-fascist’ demonstration against BNP leader Nick Griffin’s appearance on the BBC’s Question Time.  Detailed rape allegations dating back four or five years were made against Smith by a female SWP member.  She was 17 at the time: Smith was almost 50.

Smith’s colleagues on the party’s central committee held an enquiry chaired by the Manchester trade union activist Karen Reissman.  They voted 6-1 to dismiss the allegations, but the party membership was more evenly split, voting 231-209 in his facour.  Most importantly, many prominent activists were so disgusted by the SWP’s handling of the affair that they quit, and in some cases leaked important documents about the case to rival leftist factions.

A few months ago Smith bowed to the inevitable and resigned his party positions, though retaining the support of his cronies at the top of the SWP.  The latest twist in the case is that Smith has been awarded what (in today’s much cut back educational world) is a rare funded place to study for a doctorate at Liverpool Hope University.

Feminists and anti-rape campaigners in Liverpool are outraged, and have directed their anger not only at Smith but at his fellow SWP activist Michael Lavalette, who heads the social work department at the university.  Several left-wing blogs have alleged that Lavalette was involved in arranging his comrade’s placement at Liverpool Hope (formerly known as the Liverpool Institute of Higher Education).

Obviously we have no way of knowing the truth of these charges, but here at H&D we have encountered Lavalette many times.  He is a councillor on Preston City Council, one of the very few Trotskyists ever to enjoy electoral success, having defeated Labour three times in the heavily Asian ward known as Town Centre.

Who will win this titanic battle between Trotskyists and Feminists?  How will Cllr Lavalette’s many Muslim voters react, as they probably have little sympathy with either of these Western bourgeois ideologies?  Will Comrade Delta become Doctor Delta and win back his position in the vanguard of the revolution?

Only one thing remains certain: the SWP and its myriad far left rivals will continue to offer no hope for the betrayed workers of 21st century Britain.

Michael Lavalette (centre) in happier days after winning re-election to Preston City Council in 2012.

Martin Smith speaking at an ‘anti-fascist’ demonstration in Amsterdam in 2010.

Warrington bombing linked to Red Action group

Tonight at 7.30 pm BBC North West broadcast a documentary film about the Warrington bombing twenty years ago, which killed 3-year-old Johnathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry.

Inside Out suggested that mainland operatives of the “anti-fascist” group Red Action might have been behind the atrocity.  Red Action and Anti-Fascist Action organiser Patrick Hayes had carried out the Harrods bombing in London in January 1993.  The Warrington attack used a similar modus operandi, and was carried out eighteen days after the arrest of Hayes and his fellow terrorist Jan Taylor.

The programme is not yet on the BBC website but can now be viewed below:

Coincidentally a discussion of this very topic (using one of the same photographs of Red Action / IRA terrorist Patrick Hayes as appeared in the programme) is in the just published edition of Heritage and Destiny magazine, in a review of Physical Resistance: A Hundred Years of Anti-Fascism.  Click here for details.

Martin McGuinness – the IRA godfather who is now Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland – is due to visit the scene of the crime on 18th September, when he delivers a lecture at the Warrington Peace Centre founded in memory of Johnathan Ball and Tim Parry.

Will McGuinness or any of his cronies have the decency to admit precisely who carried out the Warrington bombing?

 

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