The Story of Jim Larkin

September 24, 2018

Jim Larkin commonly referred to as Big Jim due to his big body stature, and he was born in England in the year 1876.

He grew up in poverty and to support his family, he went to school in the morning and spent his afternoons working different manual jobs. After his father’s death, he worked as a sailor at the Liverpool docks, and later on, he was selected as the foreman of the docks.

Roles Played

During his years as a docker, he joined an organization known as the National Union of Dock Labourers-NUDL, whose primary objective was to fight for better working rights for the dock laborers. Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin – Irish Examiner and James Larkin | Biography

In 1905, he organized a strike in the docks that resulted to him losing his position as the foreman. In 1907, the union moved him to Dublin where he organized another strike, which led to his expulsion from the union.

In 1908, he founded the Irish Transport and Generals Workers Union -ITGWU, with the aim of bringing together all the Irish industrial workers, both the skilled and unskilled ones. Some of the things he fought were: provision of pensions to workers aged 60 years and above, creation of jobs for the unemployed, and nationalization of all transport means.

The ITGWU led to the creation of the Irish Labor Party in 1912. Jim Larkin and James Connolly were the founders of this party. It was responsible for leading a lot of strikes, the most significant one being the Dublin Lockout in 1913.

The party members, who were about 100,000 in number, participated in the strike for 8 months continuously, and eventually, they succeeded in their quest for promoting the rights of the unskilled workers. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/ and http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm

He came up with the slogan to further his agenda in the fight for equal employment, which stated that fair payment should be made to each person who had a fair day of work.

In 1914, he relocated to the United States where he joined the Socialist Party of America-SPA and the Industrial Workers of the World union-IWW. He later started supporting the Soviet Union, which led to his expulsion from the Socialist party.

In 1920, Jim Larkin was arrested and imprisoned under the charges of attempting to overthrow the government. Three years later, he was cleared of all charges and deported to Ireland, where he formed the Workers Union of Ireland.