Jim Larkin: An advocate for workers’ rights

Jim was born on 21st January 1876. He resided in the slums of Liverpool, England. Jim had a quite difficult childhood. He worked to supplement the income of his family. Later, Larkin became a foreman at the Liverpool docks. In 1905, he joined the National Union of Dock Labourers. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/

Afterwards, Larkin worked in that organization as a trade union organizer. Initially, he worked as an Irish labor organizer and activist. Moreover, he had founded the Irish Transport and General Workers Union; which marked the birth of moderate Irish movement.

Larkin was very committed to socialism and advocating against mistreatment of workers. His aim of founding the ITGWU (Irish Transport and General Workers Union) was to merge all industrial workers into one organization. These workers include both skilled and unskilled. Afterwards, he formed the Irish Labour Party.

This was in partnership with James Connolly. The Party is remembered for a series of strikes such as the 1913 Dublin Lockout. More than 10,000 workers went on strike for almost eight months. Their pleas were heard and granted a right to fair employment. During the World War 1, Jim started large anti-war demos in Dublin. Larkin was convicted of criminal anarchy and communism. Then he was deported to Ireland.

Interestingly, Larkin never demonstrated violence during the strikes. He mainly believed in sympathetic strikes and boycotting of goods as effective ways of achieving the cause. It is after he realized that there was no use destroying firms whereby his workers worked. Jim Larkin’s activities and principles attracted both criticism and admiration.

The Irish press was one of those who criticized his initiatives. Equally, he had many supporters such as Patrick Pearse, Constance Markievicz, and William Butler Yeats.

When he was in America, he joined various parties. These include the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World. His friend, James Connolly died during the Easter Rising in 1916. Jim decided to form James Connolly Socialist Club. This club became the center of left-wing activities.

Jim left his wife and four sons when he died on January 1947. There are a lot of qualities you can learn from Jim. Such as his aggressiveness in every task he did. Jim Larkin’s legacy continues to inspire the quest for rights for workers around the globe.

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