James Larkin was an activist and an Irish labor organizer who formed the Irish Transport and General Workers’ union. James Larkin was born on 21st January 1876 in Liverpool England and established ITGWU-Irish transport that later became one of the region’s biggest union. After the Dublin Lockout, the ITGWU fell apart, and James Larkin traveled all the way to the U.S in 1914, where he would get deported. Larkin was a fervent Marxist who went on with his labor organizing up to the 1940s. He passed on 30th January 1947 at Dublin in Ireland.
James Larkin had a very little formal education while growing up Liverpool slums. So that he could supplement the income of the family, Larkin worked in some jobs in his youth, and eventually, he became a foreman at the docks in Liverpool.
A staunch socialist who had the belief that workers were unfairly treated, Larkin became a member of NUDL-National Union of Dock Laborers and later became a full-time organizer in the trade union in 1905.
The NUDL was alarmed by James Larkin’s strike methods which made him be transferred in 1907 to Dublin where he established the ITGWU whose primary goal was to bring together all industrial workers in Irish both unskilled and skilled into a single organization.
Jim later formed a party known as the Irish Labor Party that had the mandate of leading some strikes. The most important was the Dublin Lockout that occurred in 1913 where over 100,000 workers were involved in a strike for almost eight months, finally winning the fair employment right.
During the World War I outbreak, Mr. James Larkin staged huge anti-war demonstrations that took place in Dublin. Larkin also traveled all the way to the United States of America so that he could raise money to fight the British.
He was then convicted of communism and criminal anarchy, and three years later he was pardoned and deported to Ireland. In Ireland, he was involved in organizing the Ireland’s workers union which made him secure recognition in 1924 from Communist International.
James has been featured in poems by Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Beham, DonaghMacDough, Frank O’Connor and Lola Ridge. Mr. Larkin has also been memorialized by a band known as New York Irish band in the song titled ‘The day the set Larkin free’. Also, there is a big statue of “Big jim” that is in Dublin. Those are some of the incredible ways in which James Larkin is remembered.
Jim Larkin – Biography