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The Political Trajectory of J. T. Murphy$
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Ralph Darlington

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780853237334

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846313813

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The Shop Stewards' Movement, 1917–1919

The Shop Stewards' Movement, 1917–1919

(p.30) Chapter Two The Shop Stewards' Movement, 1917–1919
The Political Trajectory of J. T. Murphy
Liverpool University Press

The wartime shop stewards in Britain were more concerned with industrial tactics than class struggle. Even J. T. Murphy did not, at least during the war years, progress beyond tactical thinking. Murphy's The Workers' Committee and other writings set out the practice of the shop stewards' movement and its theory of rank-and-file organisation. At first, Murphy attempted to clarify the revolutionary attitude towards the trade unions, arguing that the growing level of class struggle and the dynamic changes of the war period meant unions were increasingly becoming a transitory form of labour organisation. This chapter examines Murphy's theoretical contribution to the Shop Stewards' and Workers Committee Movement. It first looks at his pioneering wartime attempt to advance revolutionary tactics on the shopfloor and within the unions before turning to his political development. It also considers his anti-political stance in relation to World War I.

Keywords:   J. T. Murphy, shop stewards, Britain, class struggle, shop stewards' movement, trade unions, Shop Stewards' and Workers Committee Movement, World War I, shopfloor, revolutionary tactics

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