Advocacy for human rights is a complex process that requires experimentation and a great deal of collaboration to be successful. One individual who understood this fact well is Jim Larkin.
Jim Larkin or Big Jim was a trade unionist, activist and labor organizer. He passionately advocated for the rights of both skilled and unskilled Irish workers. In addition, he championed for road reforms and played a major role in fighting against the British in World War 1.
Jim Larkin ‘s Early Life
In his teenage years, Big Jim worked as a foreman at some Docks in Liverpool. It is here that Larkin came face to face with the injustice that workers faced while working at the docks. He then made it his life mission to always advocate for the rights of laborers at their places of work. Read more: Jim Larkin | Wikipedia and James Larkin | Biography
By the early 90s, Larkin started an active life as an activist by joining the National Union of Dork laborers. He never resorted to violence or wanton destruction as a form of protests. He knew he needed the constant support of his fellow laborers; therefore, he needed them at their places of work.
Rise of ITGWU
Larkin resorted to using tactics like boycotting of goods and peaceful strikes. However, the National Union of Dock Workers saw his methods as too aggressive and made the decision to transfer Big Jim to Dublin. This was around 1907 when Jim Larkin decided to form his own trade union known as the Irish Transport and General Workers Union or ITGWU.
ITGWU succeeded in a number of ways. It managed to mobilize all Irish workers in Dublin under their umbrella. The union also birthed its left-wing, the Labor Party, which was behind the famous Dublin Lockout of 1913. The Labor Party managed to convince Irish workers to boycott work for 8 months until their grievances were addressed.
World War 1
In the wake of World War 1, Jim Larkin was instrumental in leading anti-war demos all over Dublin. He also travelled to America to garner support against the British troops. He managed to raise fund to support his own course and also joined the Social Party of America.
Jim Larkin was always on the front line to fighting for the plight of workers. He was also instrumental in fighting against World War 1, though his antics also led to his deportation back to Dublin. To date, Larkin remains one of the famous Irish to speak up against the face of oppression.