When it comes to English history and notable English individuals, many researchers and enthusiasts focus on entirely on those are the great political significance and nobility. With such a focus on the royal family, many other notable people are left unnoticed.
One such case is James Larkin. Born January 21st, 1876 James Larkin middle name for himself by being a voice for the average worker. While in England he formed and operated the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union, eventually becoming the largest labor union in the area, serving over 100,000 members.
The goal of the Union was lofty; James Larkin’s vision was to organize all Irish industrial labor, both the skilled and well as the unskilled into one single organization.
He was able to achieve this goal in part by forming the Irish Labour Party, which went on to strike many times over the years. Most notably was a strike which lasted 8 months and involved over 100,000 workers. Distract ultimately won the right of Irish workers to fair employment.
He later attempted to replicate his success in the United States. He traveled to the USA in 1914, so he was unable to stay long enough to achieve his goals of further organizing labor here as well.
From here he focused his efforts on anti-war demonstrations and organizations in Dublin, Ireland. Interestingly enough, he returned to the United States in order to raise funds to combat the British forces, despite being British himself. 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/
While his efforts may be well-intentioned, not everyone felt the same way. In 1920 he faced a conviction of criminal anarchy as well as Communism, both highly egregious offenses in the United States at the time. He was later pardoned for these offenses and subsequently deported to Ireland.
Despite the setbacks, James Larkin remained steadfast in his ideas of worker equality and justice. Once in Ireland, he formed the Workers’ Union of Ireland, getting the recognition of Communist International in 1924 for his efforts.
The story of James Larkin is one of tenacity and consistency. A single success for workers was never enough. Even after establishing dominance in a country, he sought to bring the same success to other countries and other workers.
While he may not be royalty, he certainly forever impacted organized labor, as well as England as a whole in a major way.