Jim Larkin is an English folk hero who helped establish Irish transportation and a General Workers’ Union after witnessing the deplorable conditions experienced by those individuals who were unlucky enough to function under the thumb of less than compassionate corporations. He was born in January of 1876, in Liverpool.
Little did anyone know, he would become a major historical figure in the history of unionism and activism. He would earn a reputation as a charismatic speaker, persuasive business opportunists, and compelling negotiator. His work continues to inspire people to rise up against the normalcy of their lives and question the status quo.
One of the things that went against Jim Larkin is that he did not receive any type of formal education. He was born to a very poor family and grew up in the slums of Liverpool, exposing him to the depths of despair that poverty can bring at a very young age. He saw many men working hard all day to only bring home very minimal pay. Because he grew up in such a poor family, he had to get a job very early on.
He eventually found himself as foreman of a crew on the Liverpool docks, this only deepened his frustration with the way that labor was organized in England. This was when he decided to form the Irish Labour Party and proceed to deliver a series of strikes against an unyielding establishment.
One of the most notable demonstrations was an event dubbed the Dublin Lockout. During this event, more than 100,000 workers stood on their principles and went on strike. The strike lasted almost 8 months, but workers won big in the end. Read more: James Larkin | Ireland Calling and James Larkin | Biography
They were able to secure an the assurance of fair employment at the end of the lockout. Jim Larkin road on this success and sought to become a public speaker in the United States.
While in the United States, his luck turned and he was convicted of criminal anarchy and communism because of the funding behind some of his public speaking. He was eventually pardoned and allowed to return to Britain, then being deported to Ireland.
In his later years, he went on to found neither union party, the Workers’ Union of Ireland. It seems that throughout much of Jim Larkin’s history, he was interested in securing the rights of everyday workers and ensuring that they were receiving a fair pay for a fair day’s work.