Some consider Jim Larkin to be a hero while others are not willing to go that far. Regardless, he is part of Irish history, and a statue of him is located in Dublin. His story is unique, and he lived his life trying to make life better for others.
Larkin was born in Liverpool, however, is parents were Irish. His family was poor, and he was unable to receive a proper education. Instead, Larkin had to go to work to help support his family. By the time he was in his early twenties, he was a well-established dock worker. Read more: James Larkin | Wikipedia and The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin – Irish Examiner
Due to his own upbringing, he could identify with the underprivileged class. It was this identification that caused him to want to bring down capitalism and became committed to revolutionary socialism. He was a prominent player in the 1905 dock strike.
It was because of this that in 1906, he was asked to lead the National Union of Dock Labourers. The union sent Larkin to Belfast to organize their unskilled labor force.
Larkin did start a union branch, however, employers were not happy, and they started an employee lockout. This was met by a dispute that the National Union of Dock Labourers stepped in to solve. Larkin did not appreciate this action.
Next, Larking was sent to help Dublin’s port workers. However, feeling betrayed by his union, he started his own. Larkin’s Irish Transport General Workers Union quickly became Ireland’s largest union. Larkin continued to support the working class.
However, the confrontation with the Dublin United Tramway Company during the 1913 Lockout left Larkin’s union in pieces.
In October of the following year, Larkin took a trip to the United States. He wanted to rebuild his union and needed money. While in the U.S., he got involved in the politics. He was against the United States entering WWI and was for the Russian Revolution.
He found himself in jail for his beliefs. He was eventually deported. Though he never had the power he once did, he stayed active until his death.
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