Jim Larkin

James Larkin or Jim Larkin was a trade union leader based in Dublin Ireland who also coupled up as a socialist activist. Jim was born in Liverpool on January 21st, 1876 to Irish parents. As a way of avoiding poverty and getting the right education, Jim and his family moved to Burren in the southern part of County Down.

From the year 1983, Larkin developed an undying interest in socialism. His desire to fight for equal rights and equal favorable employment opportunities for workers led him to join the Independent Labour Party. In 1905, as a foreman at Liverpool docks, he took part in the Liverpool docks strike and eventually lost his foreman job.

However, his desire to promote better working conditions for employees landed him a job as a temporary organizer at the National Union of Dock Labourers.

In 1907, Larkin relocated to Belfast where he founded the Irish Labour Party, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU), and the Workers’ Union of Ireland. Unlike the other organizations, the ITGWU brought together skilled, unskilled, and all Irish industrial workers into one rigid body.

On the other hand, the Irish Labour Party took part in a series of strikes across Dublin, with the most significant one being the 1913 Dublin Lockout which saw more than 100,000 workers go on a strike.

Murphy, who was the chairman of Dublin United Tramway Company, as well as the owner of three local newspapers portrayed Larkin as a villain. The strike eventually bore fruits with the recognition of equal employment opportunities.

After the 1913 Dublin Lookout, the ITGWU fell apart, and Larkin traveled to the United States to take a rest after the seven-month strike as well get enough funds to support his union. While in the US, he joined the Socialist Party of America. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison and http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/

However, his support for the Soviet Union did not go well with the leaders of the socialist party who expelled him from the party in 1919. A year later, he was convicted of communism and criminal anarchy but pardoned three years later and eventually got deported to Ireland.

Upon returning to Ireland in 1923, he toured the country and urged the cessation of the Civil war. His absence and immediate return did not sit well with the current leadership of ITGWU, the Trade Union Congress, and the Irish Labour Party which were now under the leadership of William X. O’Brien. Read more: Jim Larkin – Biography

Though Larkin was still the general secretary of ITGWU, his colleagues who had taken part with him in the Lockout sued him for malicious attacks and false accusations in order for him to take back the leadership of the union.

In the mid-1920’s to 1930’s, Larkin joined politics. He was elected to the surprise of many, but due to the libel case awarded to William O’Brien, he could not take up the seat.

He continued his Marxism role in the 1940’s. He succumbed to ill health in 1947 in Dublin, and his body was laid to rest in Glasnevin Cemetery.