Jim Larkin Made History As An Organizational Leader

Who Was Jim Larkin?

James Larkin lived from January 21, 1876 – January 30, 1947. James was born in Liverpool England. He died in Dublin, Ireland. He started the ITandGWU. He Constantly involved himself in labor organizing into the 1940s.

When the Dublin Lockout happened in 1913 and the ITandGWU broke down, James relocated to the United States where he was eventually caught and sent back. James grew up in the poor parts of Liverpool. In 1903 James married his wife Elizabeth Brown and they had four children. He had little formal education and kept up a bunch of jobs to help support his family.

The Start of Organizing

Once James became a foreman at Liverpool Docks he didn’t like the way workers were treated so he joined the Natl Union of DL and eventually focused his entire time on trade union organizing in 1905. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Ireland Calling

His strike methods proved to be too much for the Natl Union of DL and they transferred him to Dublin in 1907. The next step for James was to create the ITGWU. The point of the union was to mix all Irish plant workers regardless of skill, into one organization. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml and http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/

James would fight for the employed and unemployed, asking for an eight-hour provision for those unemployed as well as a pension for workers at 60 years old. James later created the ILP and got back to his strike methods.

The most impactful of his strikes was the one in 1913 that created the Dublin Lookout. In this strike, over 100,000 workers went on strike for about three quarters of the year.

They finally gained justice for employment rights. When World War I began, James organized anti-war demonstrators in Dublin. He also went to the United States to gain funds to defend against the British.

James was later convicted for anarchy and communism and pardoned and sent back to Ireland three years later. Back to the basics, he started the Workers’ Union in Ireland in 1924 and received recognition from Communist International.

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