James Larkin’s Struggles to Protect All Workers

On January 21, 1876, James Larkin was born in Liverpool, to Irish parents. His family was poor and lived in the slums of Liverpool; therefore, he had little education. Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin

To survive, James did various manual jobs. After some time, he became the supervisor at the Liverpool docks. James, who was a socialist, dedicated to getting fairer working conditions for the employees. Eventually, he joined the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL).

In 1907, James Larkin was moved to Dublin because the NUDL did not support his strike action plan. Later in Dublin, he founded Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU). James had envisioned a union that would work for the welfare of all Irish industrial workers.

In 1912, James Larkin together with James Connolly formed the Irish Labor party. The party held a series of worker strikes, the most famous one being the Dublin Lockout of 1913.

During the Dublin lockout, James led over 100000 workers on strike for over seven months. The result of this strike was that they were given the right to fair employment.

James Larkin had decided to use sympathetic strikes and boycotting of goods instead of violence against the firms to get his point across. James wanted to build a mass trade union, and he knew that he would not be able to achieve his goal if he went about destroying his member’s firms.

This strategic method was able to get Larkin Support from many people including Patrick Pearse, William Butler Yeats, and Constance Markievicz just to name but a few.

At the onset of the First World War, James called out to his Irish brethren not to participate in the war. In 1914, Larkin went to America for a lecture tour and to seek funds that would help in his fight against the British. He joined the Socialist Party of America.

The Easter Rising took place in Ireland from 1916 when Larkin was in America. James Connolly who had helped form the Irish Labor Party died during the Easter Rising in 1918. As a sign of respect to his friend, Larkin founded the James Connolly Socialist Club in New York. This, later on, became the base of all left-wing operations.

James was convicted for criminal anarchy in 1920 and was deported back to Ireland in 1924. He continued to fight for all workers’ rights until he died on 30th January 1947.

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