Jim Larkin Unites The Irish Working Class

The activist and trade union leader, “Big” Jim Larkin built a reputation as one of the most influential and important members of the trade union movement in Ireland when he was effectively banished to the Dublin docks by English trade union leaders.

Born in 1874, Larkin had little formal education making his way to the docks in his home city of Liverpool to find employment; by 1905, the socialist views and activism of James Larkin had seen him become a trade union organizer for the National Dock Laborers Union.

The first foray into trade unionism of Jim Larkin was not one which ended in spectacular fashion but was instead a difficult transition with the majority of his time spent in a battle with local trade union leaders who disapproved of his actions. Read more: James Larkin | Ireland Calling and Jim Larkin | Biography

By 1907, the relationship between Larkin and NDLU leaders had broken down to such an extent that Larkin was sent to build the trade union movement in Ireland which was, at that point, still a part of the U.K.

Jim Larkin is remembered for his impressive work in Ireland where he became the face of the trade union movement from 1907 to 1914 and for his role in establishing the Irish Labour Party.

Always known for his socialist views, Larkin was born to Irish parents and felt a strong affiliation to the nation of his forebears which led to him becoming one of the strongest backers of an Irish republic free from the yoke of British rule.

By the time of the powerful push for Irish independence, “Big” Jim Larkin had found his role in the major strike of 1913 known as the Dublin Lockout had made his life in Ireland too difficult to handle.

Larkin led many anti-war rallies before finally making his way to the U.S. to begin an aborted public speaking tour which he began around the time of the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland which led to the independence movement gaining traction; Larkin’s colleague, James Connelly died at the hands of a British firing squad and has since been remembered in a more powerful way than “Big” Jim Larkin.

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