Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Socialist Workers Party Thuggery Returns.

with 14 comments

“SWP stewards overturned the AWL stall, stole leaflets and threatened violence while we were leafleting at Marxism, for our meeting on the left and Brexit.”

Today (Saturday 7 July), a group of Workers’ Liberty supporters went along to the SWP’s annual Marxism festival. We wanted to talk to attendees and challenge some of the SWP’s politics, and especially their support for “Lexit” during the European referendum.

We were leafleting for a fringe meeting hosted by ourselves – The Left Should Oppose Brexit. One of the guest speakers was from Another Europe is Possible/Left Against Brexit.

The result of this activity? The SWP first overturning and breaking our stall while it was set up outside the Institute of Education. The material overturned from the stall was picked up by SWP organisers and put on the floor on the footpath. One of the organisers stole a chunk of the Brexit event leaflets. Some of the material was torn up.

Later, when standing outside Student Central (Malet Street) SWP members stood round our leafleters making petty comments and obstructing them for over an hour.

Behaving like police enforcers against picketers or demonstrators we were continually asked to move one or two metres in order to stand on the pavement. One SWPer challenged one of our members to a fight.

The image shows the result of a gang of them coming to remove us from IoE: the stall on it’s side, broken with a pile of material in the gutter, including some which has been ripped up.

The SWP have form here. At Marxism 1993 two of our comrades were physically assaulted by SWP thugs (see what we published about it here). At the time the AWL launched a campaign against violence in the labour movement. We said then and we repeat it now: the left has disagreements but these should always be resolved by discussion and debate.

It should be completely taken for granted that the left should interact without resorting to physical obstruction, removal from venues, destroying literature and threatening physical fights.

Workers’ Liberty.

The SWP has promoted a call for ” a united mass movement” against the rise in racist far-right street protests and this,

Unity protest against Tommy Robinson, Trump and the far-right.

Some on the left (Socialist Resistance) have already noted that,

Stand Up To Racism (SUTR) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) mobilised about 300 people against them. Both these groups are front organisations of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and receive their political direction from its leadership. They are sometimes able to get Diane Abbott or Jeremy Corbyn to speak at their events but they have no relationship with Labour Party members and many on the left are unwilling to work with them because of their leaderships’ role in dealing with an allegation of sexual assault. Whatever one’s political judgement on that view, it’s a fact which won’t go away.

What kind of unity can we have with the burly SWP toughs who act in this way against political critics on the left?

Having been to the Chartist AGM yesterday where one of the main speakers in the morning was the same as the one addressing the later in the day meeting the AWL were advertising (see above), Alena Ivanova (Another Europe Is Possible), perhaps the SWP should had come to Toynbee Hall and beaten us up as well.

Some History:

This year’s Marxism was marred by a disgraceful physical assault by SWP national organiser Martin Smith. Mark Fischer demands the setting up of a workers’ commission to investigate

On July 7, the second full day of Marxism, Socialist Workers Party national organiser Martin Smith physically assaulted comrade Simon, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the Tower Hamlets branch of Respect.

Weekly Worker 11.7.2007.

Martin Smith is better known as Comrade ‘Delta’.

In 2010 a man called Martin Smith (“Comrade Delta”) was the National Secretary of the SWP, its day to day leader, the person who employs the other party workers. In July of that year, a 19 year old woman (“Comrade W”) complained that he had mistreated her. She didn’t use the word “rape”, but the people who met her and heard her knew what she was talking about.

More here.



Written by Andrew Coates

July 8, 2018 at 11:18 am

14 Responses

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  1. […] Andrew Coates reports: “SWP stewards overturned the AWL stall, stole leaflets and threatened violence while we were leafleting at Marxism, for our meeting on the left and Brexit.” […]

  2. I’m sorry that this happened to you at a Marxism meeting and it’s totally unacceptable behaviour from the SWP. I don’t think they will investigate it, as look what happened with comrade Delta. Disgraceful behaviour and if it has happened to the AWL before, then the simple answer is don’t go again. Why put yourself in that position?

    Although I can accept that the AWL did not start this fight or took part in it. It is odd that two organisations, who claim to be socialist, end up fighting over which direction British capitalism should take.

    Steven Johnston

    July 9, 2018 at 11:34 am

  3. If the issue in the referendum had been, for example, a vote on an EU economic treaty, we would probably have advocated abstention. It is not our job to choose between different methods of exploiting workers.

    But the issue now is about strengthening borders and hostile attitudes towards other peoples; pulling the UK out of the EU will do both. It runs in the opposite direction to the creation of a federal Europe, which we favour.

    The European bourgeoisies have pulled Europe together, substantially integrating Europe economically and politically. By doing so — in their own way, in their own interests — they have also expanded the possibilities for Europe-wide workers’ unity. We could add many qualifications — the expansion of bureaucracy, the capitalist nature of the process of integration — nevertheless European integration is historically progressive.

    To try to break up the process of integration is as regressive as trying to turn the internet off because it is run by capitalist companies, or attempting to abolish parliament without bothering to see that bourgeois democracy is replaced with something better.

    Jim Denham

    July 9, 2018 at 11:46 am

  4. Jim, you are behind the times! The biggest voices calling for immigration controls are to be found within the EU!

    Ideas do no exist in isolation, so the Marxist dialectic would say, that if people are calling for stronger immigration controls and leaving the EU there must be something behind that. The idea that somehow membership of EU has failed to solve the problems that we face the UK and the UK is better off outside the EU. Now, voters are not wrong to come to that conclusion. As the solution, Brexit, is not the answer. But this could be a progressive thing as once the workers realise that, they may turn to socialism, seeing that leaving the EU solved nothing.

    A federal Europe is nothing to do with socialism so I can’t understand why you are in favour of it. Isolated or integrated in Europe workers will still be exploited, why not tell the truth about that?

    But there is some good news for you, David Davies has resigned, saying May has given away too much to the EU.

    Steven Johnston

    July 9, 2018 at 11:56 am

  5. Amnesty accused both the European Union and Australia of adopting an “outright callous” approach to the global refugee crisis. The group said refugees were not being treated as human beings but instead as “problems to be deflected.”

    Remainers, comment please!

    Steven Johnston

    July 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm

  6. “The biggest voices calling for immigration controls are to be found within the EU!”: no they’re not! Even within the EU, the anti-immigration forces are those who wish to undermine and reverse federalism (Italy, Poland, Hungary) In Britain they are quite obviously to be found amongst anti-EU forces. The pro-Leave campaign was (entirely predictably) dominated by hostility to immigration. The only thing you’ve got right, Steven is to say “Ideas do no exist in isolation”: on that basis, Brexit is clearly regressive and the opposite of everything that principled internationalists stand for.

    Jim Denham

    July 9, 2018 at 2:44 pm

  7. Oh well, Amnesty must have got it all wrong then!
    Glad you’ve cleared that up.
    I would not call federalism progressive. I also don’t know what a principled internationalist is, but it’s a safe bet it’s just another work for a radical.
    As for my point about ideas not existing in isolation, you still don’t get it. Even if it regressive, so what? It is what the working class have voted for. They erroneously believe that by leaving the EU it will solve the problems we face in this country. Why do they believe that? As membership of the EU has failed so solve them. What part of that is difficult to understand? If your principles mean you want the working class to be exploited within the EU then what on earth is progressive about that? Even the CBI wanted Britain to remain in the EU!

    Steven Johnston

    July 9, 2018 at 4:20 pm

  8. “What part of that is difficult to understand?” The bit that says we should passively go along with a mistaken, regressive policy that we know to be wrong. Those of us who believe that the working class must lead the struggle for international socialism, must not hesitate to tell workers when they’re wrong. Anything less is patronising, middle class workerist posturing.

    Jim Denham

    July 9, 2018 at 7:22 pm

  9. “What part of that is difficult to understand?” The part that suggests socialists should go along with mistaken, reactionary and regressive policies, just because a (very slim) majority has voted in favour. Those of us who believe the working class must lead the struggle for socialism have a special responsibility to tell workers when they’ve got it wrong, and to explain what the alternative is. Anything else is petty bourgeois workerist posturing and thoroughly irresponsible.

    Jim Denham

    July 10, 2018 at 8:45 am

  10. If membership of the EU is progressive then why, every year since 1973 have the left issued stern warnings about staying vigilant to the rise of racism and the far right? Why was Thatcher elected in 1979? Why did we witness the rise of the EDL and UKIP whilst being a member of the EU? Surely the “progressive nature” of the EU would have prevented all of this from happening?

    Steven Johnston

    July 10, 2018 at 9:05 am

  11. Those of us who believe the working class must lead the struggle for socialism have a special responsibility to tell workers when they’ve got it wrong, and to explain what the alternative is.

    What do you think I’ve been doing ever since and before the EU referendum vote?
    I told them that either way they vote will not solve the problems created by capitalism and the only alternative is socialism.
    But the majority voted to leave and we have to respect that decision.

    Steven Johnston

    July 10, 2018 at 10:08 am

  12. Jim, it’s wrong for socialists to take sides in disputes over how best to run capitalism.
    If you are selling a nice way to run capitalism then fine. But please don’t tell me that is socialism. At least be honest and tell the working classes that they will still be exploited.

    Steven Johnston

    July 10, 2018 at 10:13 am

  13. “At least be honest and tell the working classes (sic) that they will still be exploited”: bloody hell, Steven, I never realised that workers are exploited under capitalism!

    I wish I’d had your sophisticated Marxist education!

    Jim Denham

    July 12, 2018 at 4:11 pm

  14. Jim, I wish that you had mine too. As all you are selling are bankrupt and failed ideas.

    Steven Johnston

    July 12, 2018 at 10:29 pm

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