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.
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 seems that rather than have an educational ‘break’ funded directly by the SWP, Martin Smith has been awarded a funded PhD in the Social Work, Youth and Justice Department of Liverpool Hope University, which happens to be headed by fellow SWP member and Preston Councillor Michael Lavalette.
If Smith were searching for sympathetic academics to shelter him, Callinicos may have been a too obvious choice, while Lavalette might just have been expected to slip under the radar of ‘creeping feminism’.
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, as head of department, bears responsibility for bringing 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@gmail.com