He started out as a simple dock worker, but went on to become one of the most celebrated names in the Irish labor movement. Jim Larkin, a.k.a “Big Jim,” was born in Liverpool, England in 1876.
Because his family was so poor, Larkin began working at the age of seven. In later years, he took a job on the docks, and worked his way up to foreman at age 27. Read more:
A devout socialist, Larkin sided with the workers during the Liverpool dock strike of 1905. The leaders of the National Union of Dock Labourers were so impressed with his efforts they made him an organizer, and sent him to Glasgow and Preston to form unions in those cities.
In 1907, Larkin went to Dublin, where he formed the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. He went a step further when he became a founding member of the Irish Labour Party.
One of his biggest accomplishments as a labor organizer was leading the Dublin Lockout of 1913, where 100,000 workers across the city went on strike to demand better pay and working conditions. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html and http://www.rte.ie/centuryireland/index.php/articles/jim-larkin-released-from-prison
When World War I broke out, Larkin helped organize anti-war protests. He later went to the United States, where he gave many speeches in favor of Communism and the Soviet Union. This resulted in his arrest in 1920 on charges of criminal anarchy. Larkin was deported back to Ireland in 1923.
He continued promoting worker rights and communism until his death in 1947. Larkin continues to be honored by Ireland to this day, including a statue of him erected on O’Connell Street in Dublin.