Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Is Martin Smith (Comrade Delta) Back as Milo Samuels in Unite Against Fascism?

with 10 comments

Most of you will know why this is significant, but just in case here goes. Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is a front organisation for the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), and is mostly funded by trade union affiliations. I’ve covered it here and elsewhere.

One of its most prominent figures was Martin Smith, who was also national secretary of the SWP. (Others include vice-chair Azad Ali, also spokesperson of the far right Islamic Forum of Europe, and Weyman Bennett.) Smith was at the heart of the “Comrade Delta” controversy in the SWP, in which serious allegations of rape were covered up by the party, causing most of its members to leave. (For details on that see, e.g., Dave RentonAndrew CoatesTony GreensteinPham Bin or more from Jim Jepps.)

During his time at the forefront of the SWP’s alleged fight against fascism, he kept up a good friendship with fellow jazz musician Gilad Atzmon, who he helped get a political platform to spout his increasingly antisemitic views, as I’ve documented here. Former party member Dave Renton summarises:

In his capacity as head of LMHR [Love Music Hate Racism] 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.

After Smith was finally forced to step out of the SWP leadership, for embarrassing the party rather than because of anything he was actually alleged to have done to female party members, he also stepped down from his UAF position.

Unsurprisingly, Atzmon defended Smith, although probably not in a way Smith would have liked to be defended:

“Between 2005-10 I worked closely with Martin and the SWP. At the time I was the SWP’s official Kletzmer. I toured with Martin, performed and spoke in quite a few of those Red gatherings. I met some very nice people in the SWP, but I also came across their many Jewish gate-keepers and tribal operators. But the one thing I never detected in any of those political gathering was a trace of libidinal enthusiasm let alone sexual desire. I assumed at the time that these militant young Marxists had decided to postpone having sex until after the revolution.

However, it didn’t take long to realise that Martin Smith was not being pursued because he is a ‘sex offender’ – he surely isn’t – no, our so-called ‘progressive’ tribals chase Smith because he is a Jazz lover and an enthusiastic fan of my music. They harass him because he gave me a platform in spite of the Jewish demand to ban me. They want to bring Martin Smith down simply because he didn’t obey his tribal masters. So If anything, it is Martin who is the rape victim in this saga – he is punished because he refused to bow down to the tribal junta.”

Presumably, Smith’s move out of full-time SWP/UAF work left him in need of income, so luckily for him a professor at Liverpool Hope University, Michael Lavalette (who happens to be a leading SWP member) got him a paid PhD studentship in, believe it or not, a Social Work department. He also started a blog called Dream Deferred which the SWP have promoted.

UAF have been less prominent since the Comrade Delta debacle, but they were the main component of the Newcastle Unites counterdemonstration against Pegida UK last month and are a major component of the forthcoming Stand Up to Racism and Fascism demo this coming Saturday. (George Galloway, another ally of Gilad Atzmon, a speaker at both events – a bit ironic for a supposedly anti-racist organisation.)

More recently, UAF has secured funding from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) political levy to publish a magazine called Unity. Someone with no other web presence named “Milo Samuels” has been appearing in it, billed as “a Love Music Hate Racism activist”.

For instance, in the most recent (Autumn 2014) issue, he interviews rock band Kasabian. (Kasabian played the Love Music Hate Racism festival in Stoke in 2004 – which Martin Smith organised.)

In the previous (Summer 2014) issue, he has an article on Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”. (Coincidentally, Martin Smith used to show a documentary about the song at SWP meetings.)

More essential reading on Bob’s site.

 

 Martin Smith – under his own name –  has certainly not gone away.

This (on his site A Dream Deferred) is what he said about the Charlie Hebdo massacre (he wrote this on the 7th of January, just as the atrocity had taken place)

while we share revulsion at the killings, we disagree sharply with those who have responded by reproducing Charlie Hebdo covers “in solidarity” with the magazine or supporting its politics.”

Charlie Hebdo has a long record of producing deliberately offensive anti-Muslim cartoons and other material, loaded with racist stereotypes. ”

“Charlie Hebdo has gleefully helped to stoke this Islamophobia in France, attacking a vulnerable, discriminated-against minority under the guise of “free speech”.”

“At Dream Deferred, we did not support Charlie Hebdo’s nasty racism before the attack, and we do not support it now.”

“The brutality of the killings should not allow anyone to get swept into the idea that publishing offensive racist cartoons is positive or progressive. It is not.”

After having spat on the still warm bodies of our martyrs Smiffy also sagely noted  – regarding the big Je Suis Charlie demos – this,

Some dangers with the ‘Je suis Charlie’ movement

 “Sadly large sections of the French left do not have a good track record on opposing Islamophobia and support uncritically the concept of laïcité – the separation of church and state.”

We would certainly welcome clarification on the identity of Milo Samuels.

But Martin Smith seems perfectly capable of ploughing his own reactionary furrow – along with the SWP, Tariq Ali and other haters of democratic secular freedom.

10 Responses

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  1. Uh, isn’t the the separation of church and state a basic foundation of the left? What is going on here?

    The Spanish Prisoner

    March 15, 2015 at 12:36 pm

  2. What is going on here is that the SWP thinks it’s ‘bourgeois’ democracy, like er, freedom of speech.

    Or, as Jara pointed out from Pierre Rousset’s article, these are the reasons behind their lying approach. (http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article34512)

    “The British SWP pushed things particularly far in this area. The Central Committee statement released following the Charlie Hebdo massacre is written from start to finish in such a way as to minimize the responsibility of the assassins, even if the attack is described as ‘wrong and completely unacceptable’ and the killings as ‘horrific’. Alongside imperialism, Charlie Hebdo comes off as a major guilty party due to its ‘provocative and racist attacks on Islam,’ adding for good measure that while ‘that does not justify the killings, but it is essential background.’ The only task of the hour is therefore to ‘unite against racism and Islamophobia’. [12] It’s easy to understand why the SWP would react in this way, given that it has to erase its tracks and blind readers to its own responsibilities. It was one of the main organizations of the radical Left to describe the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as the expression of a new anti-imperialism. And when women in Britain itself called on progressive forces to support them against the fundamentalist threat, the SWP made it nearly impossible for them to get a hearing on the Left.”

    Andrew Coates

    March 15, 2015 at 12:43 pm

  3. Reblogged this on oogenhand and commented:
    In the Netherlands, SWP is called Internationale Socialisten.

    oogenhand

    March 15, 2015 at 3:17 pm

  4. Martin Smith is guilty of a few things – putting on a fake cockney accent is the worst of them.
    but no court in the land has found him guilty and neither has he been charged. It is not for us to be judge, jury, and executioner.

    there are only rumours.
    but there are rumours in all left wing groups. i mean, i’ve come across anarchist squats in which some people practice ‘polyamory’. what this means in practice may seem somewhat gross, ie some old crusty getting off with youngish women. but none of this is illegal, and if there was something akin to rape, the culture around Anarchist squats will not allow the reporting of potential crimes to the state.

    the accusors should go ahead and charge Martin Smith. if they can’t or don’t, it does kind of show that there is not much to their allegations. legal authorities are the only competent ones to judge – not rival left wing groups who are pretty much the same.

    ( my Trotskyist friend had his flat robbed several years ago. what is he going to do? there was no other choice but to call the police… he may hate the police in theory, but in practice, it is needed.)

    furthermore, as Galloway said regarding Assange, charges of ‘rape’ are quite subjective in some cases. it needs a court of law to decide guilt, not blogsites.

    there was a scurrillous piece of gossip put out by Shiraz Socialist a while back, on a ‘fuck circuit’ in the SWP. probably he’s just jealous though at the thought of John Rees getting more than him.

    kimchee

    March 15, 2015 at 3:52 pm

  5. i dont think Martin Smith is completely innocent, however, his fake cockney accent and way of talking give me the impression he’s not really entirely honest. but that’s just my impression, and i’m not competent to judge.

    the UAF anti UKIP think is pants.

    it is rather sad that the swp/uaf can find nobody else to do what the unremarkable Martin Smith did.
    i dont believe that Martin Smith allegations were politically motivated at all, because Martin Smith is a nobody. Weyman Bennett is also less than remarkable. the internal political culture of the swp/uaf etc is what i find more worrying. the lack of democracy in supposed alternatives to the undemocratic political mainstream.

    kimchee

    March 15, 2015 at 4:07 pm

  6. He interviewed Kasabian? That’s more than enough reason to damn and isolate him from all decent politics …

    (But depressingly typical of large swathes of the British Left who love to do nothing more than to separate the “right” and “wrong” kinds of working class, of course.)

    februarycallendar

    March 15, 2015 at 7:38 pm

  7. […] Source: Is Martin Smith (Comrade Delta) Back as Milo Samuels in Unite Against Fascism? […]

  8. Martin Smith was forced out and hounded because he dared to support Gilad Atzmon.

    jackson

    March 16, 2015 at 12:57 am

  9. Jacko and self-hating Sax-boy: antisemitic nutters both (assuming that they *are* different people).

    Jim Denham

    March 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

  10. On the crucial issue of Charlie Hebdo, Smith – writing only hours after the murders – spoke foul and venomous words.

    They were – not coincidentally? – very similar to the line of the SWP and ‘Unite’ Against Fascism’s.

    That alone is enough to damn him.

    Andrew Coates

    March 16, 2015 at 5:39 pm


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