J. T. Murphy
(Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Central Hackney)

Workers’ Challenge in London

Source: Workers’ Life, March 2, 1928
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

THE L.L.C. Elections have an importance this year more than at any time hitherto. On the one hand the Labour Party is intent on securing a majority, and on the other hand there arises, for the first time in the history of these elections, a new army of candidates raising the banner of working-class politics against all Parties.

This bold challenge of the forces forming a united front with the Communist Party is the outstanding feature of the elections, and is likely to be in all elections for some time to come.

These candidates united in the disaffiliated Labour Parties on a common programme of action are playing a great rôle. The more sharply they advance the class issue the more revealing becomes the conduct of the other Parties, and especially the Labour Party.

The Tory Party and the Liberal Party have never hidden the fact that they stand for Capitalism against Socialism. The Labour Party has professed to stand for Socialism. The action of the disaffiliated Parties and our Party is now proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that the “Socialism” of the Labour Party is a smoke attack, under cover of which it uses the workers to rebuild Capitalism.

The whole campaign of the Labour Party candidates in the L.C.C. elections aims at convincing the electors—workers especially—that they can run the L.C.C. on more efficient Capitalist lines than the Capitalist Parties.

Disclaiming all idea of being workers’ candidates, they proclaim the Labour Party a Peoples’ Party, capable of looking after the interests of all classes.


Against this the Communists and Left Wing workers proclaims that there can be no Socialism without a working-class attack upon the “rights,” “ privilege,” and powers of the capitalists and landlords.

This underlying and dominating principle governs all the programmes of the workers’ candidates.

Hence whilst the Labour Party speaks of the necessity for building cheap houses, it says not a word about the thousands of empty houses simply held to ransom by landlords to secure high rents. The Left Wing and Communist workers seek not only to build new houses by direct Labour and directly produced materials, but demand the immediate confiscation of all empty houses and the proper rationing of the room space thus made available to the vast number of workers seeking away out of the congested areas.

This, however, is only one aspect of the fight illustrating the different lines of approach to the immediate questions of the day.

Still more importance attaches to the position of the transport workers, the ’bus men, tramway men, etc., who are coming under, the pressure of the rationalising schemes, both of the L.C.C. and of the combines.

The dismissals of tram cleaners, due to the introduction of cleaning machinery, is only a prelude to the further dismissals which will inevitably follow in the track of the centralisation of traffic. Unless there are fighter in the L.C.C. who make the basic principle of their conduct the defence of the workers against the bosses, whether the bosses be the L.C.C. or the private companies, then they will be absolutely without support in the Council.


The attitude of the Labour Party to Rationalisation is well known. The rôle of the Labour representatives in the Abertillerv Council, where they are taking a leading part in the dismissal of 143 school teachers on the plea of economy is only a sample of what is to be expected from the Labour Party in the L.C.C. when the same pressure is made.

To think for a single moment that the London workers will have the Labour Party bureaucracy to defend their interests in this Rationalisation fight is a tremendous mistake. The Labour Party is completely committed to the policy of helping the employers, the railway companies and the transport companies to effect economies, to centralise their forces, and “Rationalise” them.

The fight of the Communists and the disaffiliated Parties is therefore the fight, to secure representatives in the L.C.C. who are pledged to defend the workers against all comers.

The defeat of the scab candidates is as important as the defeat of the Tories and Liberals. The measure of the victories secured by the Communist and Left Wing candidates of the disaffiliated Parties is the measure of the advance of working-class politics with the L.C.C.