James Larkin, often referred to a “Big Jim”, was a passionate Marxist born in Liverpool, England on January 21, 1876. With little formal schooling, he began working a multitude of manual jobs during his youth, eventually obtaining a foreman position in Liverpool.
It was at this time that James was first introduced to the workings of a union, joining the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL). He would eventually move on to become a full-time union organizer in 1905.
As he became more involved with the NUDL, the organization began to distance themselves from him due to conflicting ideals and James was eventually transferred to Dublin, Ireland.
During his time here, he became the founding member of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU), joining together all Irish industrial workers into the largest organization in the region.
He later went on to be the founding member of the Irish Labour Party and began leading a series of labor strikes, the most famous being the 1913 Dublin Lockout. He orchestrated an eight-month strike of more than 100,000 workers, which ended in great success and yielded workers the right to fair employment. Read more: Jim Larkin | Biography and Jim Larkin | Wikipedia
Post Dublin Lockout, the ITGWU disbanded and James traveled to the United States to raise money to fight the British.
In 1920, he was accused and convicted of communism and criminal anarchy but eventually was pardoned and subsequently deported back to Ireland. He then went on to form the Workers Union of Ireland, securing recognition from the Communist International in 1924.
James continued his work in labor relations well into the 1940s, eventually passing away on January 30, 1947, in Dublin, Ireland.
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