The Life and Growth of the Irish Labor Leader, James Larkin

He’s a renowned Irish labor leader and social activist, a leader who has passed through history and left his mark in the lives of many workers in Ireland. James Larkin has transformed the people of Ireland and England as well.

James Larkin was born and raised in the unpleasant slums of Liverpool, England on January 21, 1876. His beginnings played a role in what he became in the future.

He barely had a formal education but rather took on various jobs to help out in generating more income for the family. It was while at the Liverpool dock as a foreman that he became a full-time activist by becoming a member of the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL) in 1905. Read more: Jim Larkin | Wikipedia and James Larkin | Biography

Jim Larkin was definitely the right man to represent the labor and workers who were suffering from the intensity of the working hours and working conditions of their generation. The infrastructure for those who worked in industries and had overwhelming work habits was almost non-existant, and their reality was that, every day, they were pushed to their limit.

In 1907, James was transferred to Dublin because his military methods of strike action surprised many at the NUDL. He launched the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union with the goal of bringing together all of the Irish industrial workers to form one organization. This union organization was the biggest in the region at that time. And in December of 1908, he announced the political program of the union organization.

The program basically advocated for the provision of welfare for workers and the much-needed infrastructure for the people of Ireland. After that, he went on to the Irish Labor Party in 1945 – the party led so many series of strike actions.

The most prominent strike action was the 1913 Dublin Lockout. What makes this strike significant is the large number of workers – 100,000 workers – that joined the strike action for close to 8 months; the strike eventually won them the right to fair employment.

The Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union was a big victory for Jim Larkin and the labor of his country, even if it was held with a strong criticism from the conservative opposition. The workers’ union was a big step towards the right direction, but it was still going to put the leader of the labor, James Larkin, in trouble.

However, in 1920, James Larkin got into some trouble for his strongly held opinions, in the United States. He was accused of criminal anarchy and communism and was convicted of those offenses. He was released after about three years and deported back to Ireland.

Another union was established by James Larkin in 1924 called the Workers’ Union of Ireland. Communist International recognized this workers union in 1924. The recognition happened after the first World War, where Larkin made anti-war demonstrations to raise awareness of how every country was fighting against each other without thinking about the victims of the warfare and all the innocent families affected by it.

In 1903, the man got married to Elizabeth Brown, the woman who would give him a total of four children, and with whom he would live the rest of his life.

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