James Larkin – Labor Activist and Important Historical Figure

James “Jim” Larkin lived from 1876 until 1947. He was an Irish activist who lived his life in a way that made him a folklore hero. James Larkin was the founder of the Irish Transport Union as well as the General Workers’ Union. He was a labor organizer.

James Larkin was born in January 1876 in Liverpool, England. He had very little formal education as he had to start working from a very young age in order to help the family survive. James Larkin had many jobs one of which was a foreman at the docks of Liverpool. James Larkin became committed to the cause and started directing his efforts towards helping workers receive better treatment.

James Larkin ended up becoming a part of the National Union of Dock Labourers, or NUDL for short. In 1905, James Larkin became a trade union organizer and dedicated all of his efforts to the position and his new responsibilities. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm

In 1907, James Larkin was transferred to the city of Dublin. That became the home of his establishment – Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. The organization had the goal of combining all of the industrial workers into one regardless of their skill or experience, everyone was accepted.

A few years later, James Larkin led a number of strikes as he created the Irish Labor Party. The most consequential of these risings took place in Dublin in the year of 1913. More than a hundred thousand workers went on strike for about eight months.

It went down in history as the 1913 Dublin Lockout. The event ended in favor of the workers as they won the right to receive fair employment. That changed the way labor was organized in Ireland.

James Larkin initiated some activist events when the World War I broke out. He staged a number of anti – war demonstrations of significant proportions in the city of Dublin. In 1914, James Larkin emigrated to the United States of America.

The reason for that being that his Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union broke apart the 1913 Dublin Lockout. Eventually, James Larkin was deported back to Dublin, Ireland. That did not stop James Larkin.

As an avid Marxist, his activism continued, and he fought for his beliefs until the 1940s. He traveled to the United States of America trying to raise some money in order to continue to fight against the British. One of the most difficult times in his fight was in the 1930s.

James was arrested in 1920. He was convicted of communism as well as criminal anarchy. After three years in prison, James Larkin was pardoned and deported back to Dublin, Ireland. A year later, James Larkin formed the Workers’ Union of Ireland. That secured the recognition of the Communist International, and he received his praise in 1924.

James Larkin led a somewhat of a turbulent life. However, James Larkin managed to create a family in 1903. He married Elizabeth Brown, and the couple had four sons. The family lived in Dublin, Ireland. On January 1946, James Larkin took his last breath in the family home in Dublin