James Larkin, a renowned progressive, made valiant efforts to institute much-needed change during the turn of the century. An activist through and through, Larkin stopped at nothing to deliver on his promises and bring his aspirations to fruition. As an attempt to understand why Larkin felt so strongly about sparking a revolution, it’s essential to analyze Larkin’s upbringing. Read more: James Larkin | Biography and James Larkin | Wikipedia
At a young age, Larkin was enlisted to help support his family as they were anything but well-off. Larkin promptly got a job at the Liverpool docks where he worked as a foreman. The working conditions were so poor that Larkin felt compelled to defile “the man” by going rogue.
Larkin’s first course of action was to join labor unions. Larkin experienced his first taste of progressivism in 1905 when he joined the National Union of Dock Labourers. Unfortunately, Larkin’s initiatives created distress and were far too disturbing for the NUDL.
After proposing a rather alarming militant strike method, the NUDL transferred Larkin to Dublin. This setback was only a minor stumbling block in Larkin’s reprisal scheme, with Larkin creating one of the most successful unions, the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, only a year after being deported.
Larkin’s hope was to safeguard Irish workers of all skill sets against the long arms of the law. Larkin and his keen advocates banded together with dreams of eventually establishing fair employment. In 1913, the ITGWU made history after going on strike for eight months.
Their efforts ushered in a new era of employment, with equality finally being a focal point of labor conditions. As a man who was willing to go against the grain, Larkin won both supporters and naysayers. Fortunately, the latter paled in comparison to the former. Larkin took his last breath on January 30, 1947, but his legacy lives on forever.
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