James Larkin was a distinguished labor activist and organizer who devoted himself to ensuring that the rights of Ireland workers were respected. He is also recognized for founding the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU), which later became Ireland’s largest labor union.
Jim Larkin led the organization from its inception in 1907 to 1914 when he went to seek greener pastures in the United States. He was a famous Marxist who took any necessary action to ensure that all workers got fair treatment.
Larkin was born to disadvantaged parents, and therefore, he grew up in the shanty settlements of Liverpool, England. He did not have an opportunity to get a decent education since his family could not afford to pay for his school. Jim was forced to work as a casual laborer so that he could earn money to support his family.
He kicked off his career as a labor activist when working as a foreman in the Liverpool dock. As a devoted socialist, Larkin believed that the employers were mistreating workers, and therefore, decided to fight for their rights. He later became a member of the National Union of Dock Labors (NUDL) and was acknowledged as the most vocal trade unionists by 1905.
Larkin spent a couple of years serving as a NUDL member and used militant tactics in organizing industrial actions. The methods were not popular, and in 1907, he was transferred to work in Dublin. The trade unionist established the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union when he was living in the city.
The goal of the organization was to ensure that there was unity between the unskilled employees who were working in Irish industries. A couple of years later, Jim started the Irish Labor Party, which is an organization that made history by organizing nationwide strikes.
The labor activist was in charge of a massive industrial action that was known as the 1913 Lockout. The strike involved more than 100,000 dock workers who failed to report to work for over eight months. This forced the employer to improve the working conditions.
Jim is also recognized for mobilizing people to take part in the major ant-war protests in Dublin during the inception of World War I. He believed that the country’s economy could be affected by the war. Larkin was also involved in sourcing funds for various Ireland unions.
He flew to the United States and became a Socialist Party of America member. The activist also served the Industrial Workers of the World and showed great support for the Soviet Union.
The U.S government found him guilty of criminal anarchy and jailed him in 1920. In 1923, he was pardoned and sent back to Ireland. After living in the country for a short while, the Jim formed the Workers Union of Ireland.
He was a determined to advocate for the workers’ rights, and the Communist International acknowledged his efforts in 1924.
The trade unionist moved to the Labor Party in 1941 after the Ireland government approved a law that led to the restructuring small trade unions. Jim Larkin fought for Ireland workers until his death in 1947.
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