Jim Larkin

Jim Larkin was born in Liverpool in January 1896 in the slums of Liverpool. He did not have proper education, and while growing up, he performed manual jobs to make some income.

In the process of such work, he was made a foreman at the docks of Liverpool and because he was a socialist, he always desired to see that workers have better working conditions and are paid well. He became a member of the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL).

His aggressiveness made him become a full trade unionist organizer in 1905. However, his no-nonsense leadership style was not welcomed by everyone and was transferred to Dublin in 1907 by the Union.

While in Dublin, he did not compromise his fight for the right of workers. He formed the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) to promote his cause. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia

His objective was to ensure that all Irish workers belong to one union regardless of whether they were skilled or non-skilled. This move was aimed at having a strong umbrella body that would effectively fight for the right of all workers across the board.

Larkin and his friend James Connolly again formed the labor party in 1992 to champion for the rights of workers. They organized several strikes, but the epitome of all these came in 1913 when they managed to organize the largest ever strike that came to be known as the Dublin Lockout.

This happened at a time when the most unskilled workers in Dublin had very limited rights. Over 100,000 workers participated in the strike for over seven months hence winning the fight for fair employment rights.

Larkin’s methods of strikes were very different. He never advocated for violent and always urged his fellow workers to boycott goods. All his methods were sympathetic. He never applied violent means during his strikes.

He noted that he would not be able to build a large and stronger union by allowing his followers to use guns as that kind of method would appear counterproductive. Although the Irish media and most employers were against Larkin, he had many supporters such as William Butler, Patrick Pearse, and Constance Markievicz.

Larkin went to America in 1914 where he gave lectures in various Universities in a bid to raise funds to fight the British. He was convicted of communism and anarchy but was later pardoned and deported back to Ireland in 1920.His Friend Connolly died in 1918.

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