Born in 1874, Jim Larkin grew up in the slums of Liverpool. His parents were menial laborers and made very little in income. Jim was able to acquire little formal education, which could not still secure him a good job to take care of his family. To supplement what they made, he took up menial jobs. Eventually, he became a foreman and started working at Liverpool docks.
Jim was a committed socialist whose heart was for fighting for the rights of workers and ensuring there was equality in the employment systems applied. Seeing that most workers were treated unfairly, he joined the several trade unions among them the National Union of Dock Laborers.
He worked as a full-time organizer at the union from 1905 and his pursuit was energized by the support he started to receive by other workers who thought they deserved a better pay and good working conditions.
Due to his militant strike methods, James Larking triggered the NUDL and they resolved to transfer him to Dublin in 1907, but this did not stop him from fighting on. While in Dublin, James established a workers union for transport and general workers. Its goal was to consolidate the effort of all industrial workers in Ireland to help in the fight against unfair employment practices.
Later, he established another union by the name Irish Labor Party, and through this one he championed a series of strikes across the country. One of the most notable strikes that were led by this union is the Dublin Lockout, which involved more than 100,000 workers and took nearly eight months.
At the end of the strike, their rights were granted, making this one of the biggest successes of James Larkin. They won rights for fair employment and better working conditions.
When the World War I began, James Larkin also took part in helping to quell the aggression of the British. He traveled to the U.S. where he raised money that would be used to fight the British.
The government arrested him in 1920 and he was convicted on grounds of pursuing criminal anarchy and communism. However, three years later the government pardoned him and he was deported to Ireland.
Again while in Ireland, he put together the Workers’ Union of Ireland that earned recognition from Communist International. His legacy remains treasured as he is the face of the fight for fair labor laws and a perfect system that treats all with dignity.