Kevin Ovenden

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Kevin Ovenden (born 1968) is a British, left-wing, political activist who was a member of the Respect Party's leadership.[1] He is an organiser of Viva Palestina.[citation needed]


Ovenden was for many years a leading member of the Socialist Workers Party.[2]

He was expelled during the split between the leadership of the SWP and the activists organized around George Galloway. He worked in the Westminster and Bethnal Green offices of then MP, George Galloway. It was arranged for him to speak at Socialism 2010, Chicago, 17 June 2010.[3] He lives in Newham.

Gaza flotilla[edit]

Ovenden was on board the MV Mavi Marmara, part of the 2010 Gaza flotilla.[4] He gave the following report of his experiences:

At 4.25am the attack began. The warship had neared and commandoes were lowering themselves onto the deck from helicopters. There were two motorised dinghies, carrying 14-20 commandoes, on either side of the boat.

It was clear they were armed – it was the equivalent to an SAS raid. They were all wearing paramilitary style balaclavas. The first soldiers landed on the roof of the ship, people responded instinctively with their bare hands and things you would find on a ship – pieces of wood and piping and so on. No sharp objects were used. Two soldiers were overpowered and pushed below deck. They were disarmed to prevent further injury or death. The attack opened with percussion grenades. These don’t just make a noise but send shockwaves of heavy vibration. They were trying to create terror and panic. They also used rubber coated bullets in the earlier stage. But very quickly they turned to live rounds and we were taking heavy casualties.
Nikki Enchmarch was on the top deck standing next to a Turkish man who was holding a camera. An Israeli soldier shot him in the middle of the forehead. It blew off the back of his skull and he died.

I was on the second deck. A man standing a metre in front of me was shot in the leg, the man to the right of me in the abdomen. There was pandemonium and terror.[5][6]

He was detained by Israeli forces and subsequently deported to Istanbul.[7]


  • Malcolm X: Socialism and Black Nationalism (Bookmarks, London, 1992)
  • Education: Why our children deserve better than New Labour (with Chanie Rosenberg) (1999)
  • "An Act Of State Terrorism", Counter Currents, Lee Sustar & Kevin Ovenden, 7 June 2010
  • Syriza: Inside the Labyrinth (with Paul Mason) (September 2015)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "SWP: central committee justifies expulsions". David Osler. 2007-11-17. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Gaza activist Kevin Ovenden safe in Istanbul", East London Advertiser, 3 June 2010

External links[edit]