James (Jim) Larkin was a major figure in the Irish independence movement in the early Twentieth Century. He is most well known as the founder of several organizations that were instrumental in the fight for an Independent Ireland including the Irish Transport and General Workers Union and the Irish Labour Party. Read more: James Larkin – Wikipedia and James Larkin | Ireland Calling
Jim Larkin originally hailed from Liverpool in England, the son of Irish parents. He grew up with a strong working-class ethic and eventually rose to become a foreman at the busy docks in Liverpool.
Jim Larkin became a member of the National Union of Dock Labourers and became an organizer within the Union by 1905. Jim’s methods or strike organization eventually led him to run afoul of the top members of the union and he was relocated to Dublin in 1907 in order to get him out of the way.
Once he made it to Dublin, Jim continued on in his aggressive organizing of workers. His continued actions eventually prompted the NUDL to expel him.
Jim Larkin then on in 1907 to found the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU) that would go on to have a major impact on affairs in Ireland.
The union advocated for a number of conditions including the advent of pensions for workers once they reached the age of sixty, an eight hour work day and nationalization of railways and canals among other goals.
Jim Larkin also promoted his activism through a newspaper that he established called The Irish Worker and People’s Advocate. This publication was a labour movement response to the conservative press outlets of the time. The paper was highly successful due largely to Jim’s clear ability as an editor.
The other accomplishment that Jim Larkin is most renowned for was his co-founding of the Irish Labour Party along with fellow Irish independence figure James Connolly. The party was formed in 1912 and 1913 saw it lead the famous Dublin Lockout. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/ and http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml
This lockout saw over one-hundred thousand workers strike for seven months. The lockout resulted in greatly expanded rights for Irish workers. In the aftermath of the Dublin Lockout of 1913, Jim Larkin went to the United States on a fundraising mission for the union. While in the United States he became a member of the Socialist Party of America and became involved in the Industrial Workers of the World Union.
When Jim Larkin returned to Ireland in 1923 he was greeted as a returning hero and started campaigning for an end to the Irish Civil War.
He later founded the Irish Worker League that same year after experiencing some significant philosophical differences with other prominent members of the Irish Labour Party. He did return to the party by 1941. Upon his 1947 death, Jim Larkin’s funeral was attended by thousands who lined the streets of Dublin in celebration of his life.