James Larkin was born of Irish immigrants in Liverpool. Just like many immigrants, his family faced many social and economic problems. Larkin thus failed to attain formal education and engaged in casual labor at a tender age. His contribution to the civil movements and trade unions thus stem from the experience he attained as a casual laborer. Read more: James Larkin | Wikipedia and The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin – Irish Examiner
He viewed both socialism and communism as revolutionary approaches that could empower the underprivileged individuals. However, he was opposed to capitalism and the exploitation of workers. His skills as a leader and unionist saw him being appointed as the organizer of the National Union of Dock Laborers. The union represented skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers.
Skills and Strategies used by James Larkin
During his early years, James Larkin served as a laborer at the docks and also lived in Liverpool slums. The experiences placed him in an ideal position to understand the problems facing Irish laborers. While working at the docks, he led many strikes and was later appointed as the organizer of the National Union of Dock Laborers.
However, his radical approaches prompted the officials to send him to Dublin. Larkin felt betrayed and embarked on creating a new union. The UGTWU received extensive coverage in Dublin and rallied both skilled and unskilled workers. In 1914, Larkin embarked on an extensive tour to the USA and other countries with the hope of securing the finances for running the union.
In the USA, he was inclined to the left wing and the socialist party of America. He was equally opposed to the idea of the First World War. However, he was later found guilty on charges of promoting communism and criminal anarchy. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison and http://ireland-calling.com/james-larkin/
The events led to his deportation to Ireland. Although he never attained the past glory, he joined the Irish Labor Party and helped in the formation of labor laws and policies. His demise was in 1947 after falling from a floor where supervising the renovation of WUI’s offices.
While some people label him as a troublemaker, it is undoubted that he created the basis of civil movements in Ireland and laid the foundation for other regions as well.