Jim Larkin was an Irish trade unionist, socialist activist and legendary folk hero. He is credited with the establishment of the Irish Workers’ Union. The workers union is the precursor to the current labor movement in Ireland. It also laid the groundwork for Irish industrial unionism. He believed all workers should be members of one big union. He is also associated with the Irish Labour Party.
Jim Larkin traces his roots back to England in 1874 where he was born. Jim Larkin grew up on the other side of the tracks in Liverpool. He dropped out of school when he was eleven years old. He depended on menial jobs and ended up as a foreman on the docks. Having a full time job made him more responsible. He started dabbling with literature and discovered charity as well as politics.
He lost his job at the docks in 1905 when he was let go for participating in a workers strike. Thereafter, he became a member of the National Union of Dock Labourers and quickly became a staunch labor activist.
He was posted to the Belfast branch of the labor union in 1907. He launched a labor activist publication titled “Irish Worker” in 1911.
He used the journal to showcase his editing skills to great success. Around the same time, British workers went on strike. He used the conflict to rapidly grow the membership of the workers union.
In 1913, he was at the forefront of one of the biggest industrial actions dubbed the Dublin Lockout. The protest pitted over four hundred employers against more than twenty thousand workers. The workers prevailed. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison
His activism strategy involved mobilizing large groups of workers to strike against the employers. He also organized anti-war protests in Dublin at the onset of World War I. He migrated to the US shortly thereafter. However, his hardline socialist stance landed him in trouble in the US. Learn more about Jim Larkin: https://www.biography.com/people/james-larkin-215214
He continued to promote his socialist ideologies through freelance activities and as a public speaker. He was an eloquent speaker with a natural talent in leadership.
He was forced to move back to Ireland in 1924. He continued his labor activism. He was instrumental in opposing the Trade Union Act of 1941. He used the labor movement as a lifeline to gain back his earlier popularity.
The efforts paid off in 1943 when he gained entry back to the labor party leadership. He remained the most prominent symbol of solidarity in the labor movement. He died in 1947 in Dublin, Ireland.