The Life of James Larkin as an Activist

James Larkin was a well-known trade unionist. He was the one who first used the phrase ‘a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay.’ Mr. Larkin was born to Irish parents on January 21, the year 1876. He was brought up in Liverpool, England and only had little education. One thing that stood out about James Larkin was his hard work.

Despite having little education, he did different manual jobs, at one time he was the foreman at the Liverpool docks. He was committed to ensuring that workers had conducive environment to carry on their ventures and that all conditions were fair to them.

It is his passion that led him to join the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL). In the year 1905, he became a trade union organizer on a full-time basis, after being part of this organization for some time. His aggressiveness in organizing strikes did not augur well with the NUDL which opted to move him to Dublin, barely two years after becoming a trade union organizer.

On landing in Dublin, James Larkin created the Irish Transport and General Workers Union (ITGWU).ITGWU was formed with the sole aim of bringing all Irish workers be they skilled or unskilled in one union that will work with their interest at heart.

Together with his counterpart James Connolly, Mr. Larkin formed the Irish Labor Party in the year 1912. The party organized series of strikes with the most significant being the 1913 Dublin Lockout. It lasted for at least seven months but bore fruits. At least 100,000 workers won the rights to fair employment. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/ and http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html

When the World War II broke, Mr. Larkin organized for a demonstration in Dublin urging the Irishmen to stay away from the war. In 1914, he went to the USA with the intention of raising funds to fight the British.

He joined the Social Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World. While in America, he was convicted of communism and was deported to Ireland. In Ireland, he formed the Workers’ Union of Ireland. He worked here until his death in 1947.