How James Larkin Became a Legendary Labor Activist

James Larkin was an individual who made history due to his commitment as a labor activist and organizer. The Ireland national strived to protect the rights of all workers across the country.

He was the founder of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU), which grew into the region’s largest labor union. Larking participated in the leadership of the foundation between 1907 and 1914. He was a Marxist who believed that workers deserved to be treated fairly.

Jim Larkin was born to low-income parents who lived in Liverpool, England. He never got a chance to have the best education since his family’s financial status forced him to start working at a young age. He joined labor activism while working as a dock foreman in Liverpool. Read more: James Larkin | Biography

As a socialist, James felt like employers were not offering dock workers what they deserved. This motivated him to become a member of the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL).

He participated in many undertakings of the organization and was one of the leading trade unionists by 1905.

NUDL offered James a job in Dublin in 1907. While in the city, the activist decided to establish Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union to serve as a platform that brought unskilled and skilled employees of Irish industries together.

Larkin was also the founder of the Irish Labor Party, which was responsible for organizing the 1913 Dublin Lockout. The eight months’ strike involved more than 100,000 dock workers.

Another major accomplishment of the labor activist was leading a massive anti-war demonstration in Dublin. He wanted World War I to stop since it would slow the economy of the country. James Larkin relocated to the United States on 1914 to seek greener pastures.

During his time in the U.S, he was a member of the Socialist Party of America and later became a great supporter of the Soviet Union. Larkin was convicted in 1920 for criminal anarchy and communism. He stayed in prison until 1923 when he was pardoned and deported.

James founded the Workers Union of Ireland a few months after entering Ireland. The organization protested a bill that had been passed by the government to restructure small trade unions in the country. The law was later approved, and he had to move to the Labor Party.

The trade unionist dedicated himself to protecting workers in Ireland until 1947 when he passed on at the Meath Hospital. He is still recognized as one of the greatest Trade Unionists in the country.