In the slums of Liverpool in Ireland, James Larkin was born in 21st January 1896. He never had the privilege of advancing his education and so with his limited education; he started doing various manual jobs. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Ireland Calling
It was during this time while doing his casual jobs that he was made the foreman of Livestock docks. As a socialist, James Larkin was very committed and determined to provide fair conditions for the casual workers. In 1905, he joined the National Union of Dock Laborers (NUDL), and later became a full-time organizer of the trade union.
However, his strike action methods were never appreciated by National Union of Dock Laborers and hence in 1907, they moved him to Dublin. Here in Dublin, Larkin founded another movement called the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU).
The main objective was to make sure Irish industrial workers, both unskilled and skilled, belonged to a common workers’ union that would work for their common welfare.
In December, 1907, Jim Larkin clearly outlined the political programme of Irish Transport and General Workers. This programme stipulated the following: adult suffrage, provision of work for all unemployed, a legal eight hours’ day, and pension for all workers, skilled and unskilled upon attainment of 60 years of age.
It also recommended Compulsory Arbitration Courts, nationalization of railways, canals and all other means of transport. It generally meant the land of Ireland to remain wholly for all the people of Ireland.
In 1912, James Larkin joined hands with James Connolly to form the prominent Irish Labor Party. During this period, Larkin led a lot of strikes, with the most remarkable being the Dublin Lockout of 1913. More than 100,000 casual workers who had very few rights went on strike for more than seven months; this saw them obtain the right to fair employment, which they had never experienced for centuries.
In 1914, Larkin flew to the USA to raise funds to lead the fight against the British and also for a lecture tour. While there in the United States, he joined the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and also the Socialist Party of America.
Later in 1924, Lacey and Larkin was convicted of communism and criminal anarchy, an offense that saw him detained for three years. He was then pardoned but immediately deported to Ireland. In Ireland, he formed the Workers’ Union of Ireland (WUI) and became an Irish Labor Party’s member in 1945. He later died on January 30, 1947, while still serving the party for the benefits of Ireland’s workers.