Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

The Return of Martin Smith (SWP’s ‘Comrade Delta’).

with 10 comments

Martin Smith (Comrade Delta) is back!

Hat-Tip Howie’s Corner.

Apparently with the support from some people  based in France.

By an obvious oversight, and no doubt mindful of some ‘other’ controversies involving members of political parties, Smith does not mention his most celebrated achievement.

But this is what he and his new mate say,

“Over the past 30 years both of us have been involved in one way or another with the struggle against racism and fascism.

On this blog we will carry news, discussion and debate on the rise of the far right and fascism — and the movements that are developing to challenge this threat both in Britain and Europe.

But our interests are many and varied. We will also write about other political and cultural matters.

If you don’t like football, you should look away from posts about West Ham or Spurs!

Please feel free to join the debate by posting comments.

We welcome serious comments and discussion — whether you agree or disagree.

We hope you enjoy the site.

Martin Smith and Tash Shifrin”

Dream deferred logo

The site posts this  poem.

A Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore — And then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over — like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Langston Hughes

No sores on Delta then!

Our old comrade Tony Greenstein offered in 2013 the best summary of (what most people thought) lay behind Smith’s career-ending débâcle ,

SWP Crisis Over Cover-up of Rape & Sexual Harassment Allegations against former National Secretary Martin Smith

The catalyst for the crisis in the SWP were the allegations of rape by one member of the SWP and the sexual harassment of another member by Martin Smith, former SWP National Secretary.  It is of course impossible to know whether there is any foundation to the rumours, although it is unlikely that there is no smoke without fire, but how they were dealt with by the SWP leadership speaks volumes about the mentality of the leadership clique led by Alex Callinicos and Charlie Kimber and their attitude to ordinary members.  It also speaks volumes about their commitment to socialism since it is difficult to imagine a more serious and vile act than rape by a senior member of the leadership of a political group against a young comrade.

Martin Smith is, regardless of the truth of these allegations, a particularly unpleasant individual, both politically and personally. Weekly Worker of 12 July 2007 Stop thuggery in workers` movement  described how Simon Wells, who was expelled from the SWP, was attacked without provocation by Smith, at Marxism 2007, when he refused to hand over the ticket he had paid for when queuing to go into a session:  “The SWP`s national organiser angrily demanded comrade Simon`s ticket to the Marxism event and, when he refused, Smith instantly attacked him. Wrestled to the floor, comrade Simon sustained bruising, abrasions and back strain.” 

It was also Smith who was primarily responsible for the SWP hosting and politically defending Gilad Atzmon against accusations of anti-Semitism.  From 2005 to 2009 the SWP was content to make use of Atzmon’s status as a leading jazz musician, regardless of his racist views.  Martin Smith, a devotee of John Coltrane and jazz, was content to ignore Atzmon’s views as taking secondary priority to his musical affections.

We believe Smith is no longer a member of the SWP.

But we were wrong about the end of his ambitions.

There are many articles about this whole affair.

This is one particularly worth looking at: Martin Smith: a retrospective.

In his capacity as head of LMHR Smith also embarrassed the party by forging a relationship between our organisation and the jazz musician Gilad Atzmon. Smith invited him to speak at Marxism in 2004, when Atzmon began spouting some of the anti-Semitic rubbish he now specialises in. Despite SWP members challenging Atzmon from the floor, Smith continued inviting him to SWP events, and to perform with him at concerts as late as 2007.

Update: Two British leftists (originally linked to the SWP), France based, SWP influenced,  and members of Ensemble, Colin Falconer (Gauche anticapitaliste, one of the components of Ensemble), see: Le Nouveau Poireau Rouge) and John Mullen (also in Ensemble, see :John Mullen à Montreuil -Blog anticapitaliste)   participate in Martin Smith’s enterprise (as can be seen, publicly named by a Mullen article, Guest post from France: the need for a united fight against the fascists on it).

Anybody reading their attacks on the French secular left should remember who this pair are prepared to work with.

One wonders if other members of Ensemble are aware of their comrades’ British connections.


Written by Andrew Coates

July 8, 2014 at 11:18 am

10 Responses

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  1. Rape is for the police to investigate. until Smith is in the dock I will assume his innocence and regard any insinuation as merely politically motivated, i.e. the attempt to use something as serious as rape to score political capital. This isn’t that far removed from rape as something abhorrent. You can see how the witch hunts started.

    BTW I have never been a member of the SWP and have only ever been to London to visit IBM offices as part of my job, so I have never met this guy Smith, who seems to upset quite a wide range of people.

    I can only thank heavens that my left wing politics has never led me to the world of the left sect.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    July 8, 2014 at 4:26 pm

  2. Poor old Martin has the distinct disadvantage of having been found innocent by a kangaroo court. Nobody, except the party faithful, takes the internal party hearing of the Smith case seriously. So, if circumstances demand that Smith needs really to clear his name, he will have to call for a proper investigation into the case, and this will mean disavowing the party process and indeed the party leadership itself.

    Such a move is unlikely — indeed, it is unnecessary — if he remains in the position of expecting that he’ll be quietly taken back on board in the SWP when the whole business is seen to have all blown over. Those members who objected to his solicitous treatment have largely left the party. But what if he falls out with the SWP and wishes to work with other people? He may well be forced into having to deal with the matter and therefore be forced into reconsidering the party’s process. That will only make things worse for him, as he will no doubt be asked as to why he accepted the findings of a decidedly dodgy investigation.

    If Smith is actually innocent of the charges made against him, or if the matter is not as clear-cut as was presented by his accusers, he can’t convincingly defend himself without incriminating himself through his acceptance of the findings of a dubious investigation.

    Dr Paul

    July 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

  3. One thing nobody denies is Smith’s role in promoting Gilad Atzmon.

    Here is what Hope not Hate‘s David Williams, has said about Atzmon,

    We began work on this project about eighteen months ago but it was
    given added impetus over the controversy surround Gilad Atzmon’s
    performance in Bradford last year. Atzmon is a well-known and talented
    jazz musician but he is also a strong critic of Israel, Jews in general and a
    Holocaust revisionist. Despite being Jewish himself, Atzmon has promoted
    Holocaust deniers and claims that the established history of the Holocaust
    is misleading. He attacks Jewish identity in a way that would clearly be
    recognised as racist if it were about any other minority identity and claims
    that people might think that Hitler was right about the Jews because of their
    behaviour today. He tells crude antisemitic jokes and mocks any concerns
    about antisemitism.

    I asked the event organisers to withdraw his invitation. Not only was
    this request rebuffed but I came under a barrage of personal attacks on the
    internet. As I wrote at the time: “In all the years of writing this blog I don’t
    think I have received as many abusive and angry emails as I have over this 10 Rewriting history: Holocaust Revisionism Today
    issue, though it must be stressed that many of the emails are from the same
    two or three people.”

    One of my central arguments was that if a British National Party (BNP)
    member had produced this then people would be up in outrage, so why the
    silence when it comes to Atzmon? I guess I should not have been surprised
    by Atzmon’s vitriolic outbursts but what was more disconcerting was the
    reaction of others, including people who I felt should have known better.
    Some were bought into the line that by attacking Atzmon I was somehow
    trying to silence critics of Israel. Others, including people I had worked
    closely with in fighting the far right, simply wanted to stay out of the fray
    and so remained silent. they privately accepted that Atzmon’s views were
    unacceptable but they were worried that by speaking out they too would
    come under attack. But then there were others, very critical of Israel, who
    both understand that Atzmon’s views were unacceptable and also that they
    were politically damaging to the wider Palestinian cause.”


    Is it a coincidence that today Martin Smith has published a post attacking Holocaust denial?


    Andrew Coates

    July 9, 2014 at 11:21 am

  4. “One thing nobody denies is Smith’s role in promoting Gilad Atzmon”

    This is a minor thing when compared to the steadfast and loyal support the drone supporting left give Israel, surely? I mean, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye as the old saying goes.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    July 10, 2014 at 10:01 am

  5. ‘Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of they brother’s eye.’ Matthew 7:5. Not an ‘old saying’ but a Biblical proverb.

    Sue R

    July 10, 2014 at 8:57 pm

  6. Ah! Someone who’s willing to defend Atzmon, even now that the SWP have dropped him. “Left” antisemites do tend to rally round each other when their racism is exposed.

    Jim Denham

    July 11, 2014 at 8:21 am

  7. They do indeed.

    Andrew Coates

    July 11, 2014 at 10:49 am

  8. Only in the Orwellian world that Denham constructs around himself and others could anyone interpret what I said as defending Atzmon.

    But Israeli apologists like Denham are far far worse than Martin Smith, politically speaking. Though I think Denham causes the same reaction among people as Smith seems to do. So I don’t hold out much hope for his personality either!

    A typical method of Zionists like Denham is to cry anti Semitism at everyone who opposes the racist state of Israel. The drone supporting left do it to so many people that when it does actually arise it is very difficult to take it seriously when coming from them. Why get into a game of condemnation with people who support he colonial settlement, ethnic cleansing and racist laws which form the core of the State of Israel’s existence?

    The thing about Denham and co is that they don’t actually focus on the anti Semitism of Atzmon but the anti Zionism, so Denham decried Atzmon for wanting to “destroy his own country”

    We all know that to the drone supporting left anti Zionism = anti Semitism. It is an attempt to prevent any serious criticism of the State of Israel. It is also antisemitic in itself since it essentialises Jews as zionists.

    Socialism In One Bedroom

    July 13, 2014 at 7:13 pm

  9. […] by the party, causing most of its members to leave. (For details on that see, e.g., Dave Renton, Andrew Coates, Tony Greenstein, Pham Bin or more from Jim […]

  10. Reblogged this on oogenhand.


    April 30, 2015 at 9:07 pm

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