James Larkin, or Big Jim, was a socialist who led many different strikes and boycotts in Ireland and America. He had very little education, but he became a folk hero who represented the working man. He wanted to improve the conditions for the average worker.
He was born to in Liverpool, England to Irish parents on January 21, 1876. He and wife Elizabeth Brown had 4 sons. He was a foreman at the Liverpool docks, and in 1905, he joined the National Union of Dock Labourers.
He moved to Dublin in 1907, where he founded the General Workers’ Union and Irish Transport. He launched the Irish Worker paper in 1911. In 1912, he started the Labour Party in Ireland with James Connolly. He led the Dublin Lockout with over 100,000 workers going on strike for 7 months in 1913. He led anti-war demonstrations during World War 1 in Dublin. Read more: James Larkin | Ireland Calling and James Larkin | Biography
In 1914, he traveled to the US and joined the Industrial Workers of the World and the Socialist Party of America. In New York, he founded the James Connolly Socialist Club after his friend died in the Easter Rising.
He was convicted for being a communist in 1920, but was deported back to Ireland 3 years later. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml and http://www.historyireland.com/20th-century-contemporary-history/big-jim-larkin-hero-and-wrecker/
He organized the Workers’ Union of Ireland in 1924. He became Labour TD for North East Dublin in 1943. In 1945, he became a member of the Irish Labour Party. He fell through a floor of the WUI’s Thomas Ashe Hall in 1946. On January 30, 1947, he died in the Meath Hospital.