Jim Larkin Is A Hero

The Irish labor movement would mark its birth as ITGWU. This was a time when not even 10% of the Irish workers were the part of any union. Besides, all these were British unions. This is when the activists in Dublin felt neglected. Hence they asked for an Irish movement.

Jim Larkin was an NUDL official at that time. He said that labor needs to be international and launched the ITGWU. This was when nationalism came to the forefront. This was when the union came to be identified strongly with Irish movement. Another big idea at this time was to have one union that would include all workers. This showed that Jim Larkin was interested in syndicalism too.

But Jim Larkin was feeling insecure too. He showed empathy and modesty while dealing with union people. But he was insecure about his rivals. He was worried about money too. This was not for his personal expense but his schemes as well as dreams. He did not wish to spend money in expensive strikes.

Rather, he wanted to make the ITGWU headquarters a powerhouse of social and cultural events. This is why he launched a crusading paper in 1911. This was called the Irish Worker. It was successful immediately. This indicated that Jim Larkin was an able editor. During the labor conflict, the ITGWU was also involved.

This was when Jim Larkin responded to this challenge. The strength of the union moved from 5,000 to 15,000 members. In 1912, Congress agreed to establish Labour Party. This was due to ITGWU. Jim Larkin was at the peak of his power and popularity now. But this also made him more insecure. He opted to become a workaholic at the expense of his health. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/easterrising/profiles/po08.shtml

Jim Larkin was a socialist. During the 1913 Lockout, he had to reduce the number of casual workers in ITGWU. He had to push into streams that offered steady employment. These included sectors such as Dublin trams. William Martin Murphy was the boss of Dublin Trams, and he did not support the thinking of Jim Larkin. He did not accept any form of trade unions. This led to a war between 404 employers and nearly 20,000 workers. It made Jim Larkin more popular in Dublin. He attained international renown as he became a labor champion. But it severely affected his health too. Read more: Jim Larkin – Biography and The Definite Biography of Big Jim Larkin

It was in 1914 that Jim Larkin moved to the United States. Even then he retained his title of being the general secretary of ITGWU. He was moving to a new career of being a freelance public speaker who would be moving around the entire world.

But Jim was not a strategic planner. This is why he could not manage his American sojourn properly. He faced several issues there which made him difficult for him to earn a living. He decided to join the Socialist Party. He put in all efforts into turn this Socialist Party into a communist party. He made his flat in the Greenwich Village as the hub of this project. But in 1919, he was arrested on charges of ‘criminal anarchy’ and put in Sing Sing.

Jim Larkin wanted to return to Ireland. In 1918, he tried several times to get a passport and go back to Ireland. Even at this time, the Irish labor believed in him.