James ‘Jim’ Larkin was an Irish labor activist and folk hero who is most famous for founding the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union and co-founding the Irish Labour Party. Larkin was a Marxist who wanted “the land of Ireland for the people of Ireland”; to further these aims, he organized a number of strikes and fought for increased workers’ rights. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia
Jim Larkin was born on January 21st, 1876 in Liverpool. He first became politically active in Liverpool as a member of the National Union of Dock Labourers, a labour union with socialist leanings. In 1905, he became a trade union organizer at the age of twenty-nine. But when his provocative and at times violent strength methods alarmed the Union, and thus Larkin was moved to Dublin in 1907.
That same year, he founded the ITGWU in Dublin, which aimed to bring all Irish labourers both skilled and unskilled under the umbrella of a single union. The ITGWU fought for issues such as mandatory pensions for workers starting at age 60, an eight hour work day, and the nationalization of transportation.
James Larkin’s other major political achievement was the co-founding of the Irish Labour Party in 1912 alongside James Connolly. The next year, the Party staged the strike known as the Dublin Lockout with Larkin’s help, and over 100,000 workers striked for more than seven months. Ultimately, they won a variety of rights in the name of fair employment practices.
Larkin organized several anti-war protests that urged the Irish not to fight for Britain leading up to World War One. In 1914, he went to the United States for a time to lecture and to raise funds to fight the rule of the British. He eventually became involved in the American Socialist Party, but was deported back to Ireland in 1924, but only after being convicted of criminal anarchy and communism and then later pardoned.
That same year, he founded the Workers’ Union of Ireland. He remained in Dublin and fought for workers’ rights until he died on January 30th of 1947, and he has since become a major figure in Irish folk history.