No more physical attacks

A Left Alternative member appeals to his comrades for solidarity

Jackie Turner, Chair
Left Alternative
Tower Hamlets

Dear Jackie

As you are aware, I was physically assaulted by Socialist Workers Party national organiser Martin Smith at last year’s Marxism. Although there were no immediate witnesses to the incident - apart from one anonymous comrade who appeared after five minutes and supported Martin Smith’s actions - many contradictory statements were made attempting to blame me, the victim, rather than the perpetrator.

This assault followed my expulsion from the SWP after three years’ membership - I was informed that expelled members are barred from attending Marxism. I was attacked just for being at the venue - I had simply wanted to listen to the debates and had no intention of causing any kind of confrontation. Why is this a problem?

It was Martin Smith himself who had expelled me (by telephone) for, in his words, “bringing the party into disrepute”. I apparently did this by making mild criticisms of leading SWPers at a Tower Hamlets Respect meeting and questioning Chris Nineham at an SWP meeting as to why the party was against open borders being included in Respect’s programme, although it appears in Socialist Worker’s ‘What we stand for’ column.

At last year’s Respect conference you opposed my motion condemning comrade Smith’s attack on me. You said that conference was not the place to raise this question. I contend that, as both comrade Smith and myself were members of Respect, and now of Left Alternative, the organisation should take a stance when one of its members assaults another. As I am no longer an SWP member, I do not see how else Smith can be held to account for his action.

I would very much like to attend this year’s Marxism and, like last year, have no intention of doing anything other than participate in the sessions. Can I count on your support in this and your opposition to any physical attack by one Left Alternative member against another?