Advocating For Workers – Jim Larking

As history keeps writing itself, people that contributed to some social change and betterment of the world live on. One of those people is James Larkin.

Born in 1876, he lived a part of his life in the 19th, and a part of his life in the 20th century. He made it his life purpose to help workers like him obtain some basic human rights. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/

Larkin was a socialist who was not stranger to work himself. He did numerous manual jobs in Liverpool docks, and his political views got him spotted fairly early in his career. As an advocate for an eight-hour work day, pensions for workers over 60 years of age, and provisions for the unemployed workers, he founded his own Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU). Read more: The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin

His union endeavors soon escalated to series of strikes which he led through his Irish Labour Party, formed between him and James Connolly. One of their most significant strikes dates back to 1913 and is known as the 1913 Dublin Lockout.

It was a long battle stretched over the course of seven months, and more than a 100,000 of workers took part in it. Ultimately, Larkin won this fight.

He was an opponent of the World War I, but he was a proponent of the United States where he travelled in the 1914. Strong-minded ideology eventually led him to prison on charges of criminal anarchy and communism. Although he was pardoned, Jim Larkin spent three years prior to getting deported back to Ireland.

Upon return, he established a union that was more inclusive to the Irishman. Named Workers’ Union of Ireland, he managed to gain recognition from the Communist International, a leading organization promoting world-wide communism.

He also became a member of the Socialist Party of America, and the Industrial Workers o he World.

When it comes to his personal life, James Larkin married Elizabeth Brown in 1903, with whom he had four sons. To this day, Larkin remains one of the few individuals from the past that advocated a social change for the benefit of all. He helped workers get their rights and enjoy fairness.

He established some basic principles for all, which are even applicable today, such as the 8-hour work day and a pension after a certain age. Larkin fought for his fellow workers and his passion enabled him to win many fights throughout his life.