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Larkin, James

Larkin, James (1876–1947). Larkin was the nearest thing to a revolutionary leader that the modern trade union movement has thrown up. He wished, on syndicalist lines, to use trade union power not merely to obtain concessions but as a battering ram to destroy capitalism. Born in Liverpool of Irish parents, he became involved in union activity and went to Ireland to organize the dock workers. His first task was to persuade protestants and catholics to work together. In 1908 he founded the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, supporting it from 1911 in the Irish Worker. In the autumn of 1913 a strike on the Dublin trams led to a long confrontation with the employers and gave Larkin his finest hour. Threatened with arrest, he whipped off a false beard on the balcony of the Imperial hotel, O'Connell Street, to encourage his men. But he alienated British trade union support and the rest was anticlimax. The strike dribbled away with little gained and there were other matters to preoccupy Ireland. Larkin spent the war years in America, where he was gaoled and then deported, and returned a convinced Marxist with an admiration for Bolshevik Russia. His militancy led to expulsion from the union he had founded. Elected to the Dáil in 1927 he was unseated as a bankrupt, but elected again in 1937. A large man, with a powerful voice and powerful emotions, Larkin has been called ‘lion-hearted and erratic’. The Times' obituary remarked that ‘of late he had not been much in the public eye’.

J. A. Cannon

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"Larkin, James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Larkin, James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/larkin-james

"Larkin, James." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/larkin-james

Larkin, James

James Larkin, 1876–1947, Irish labor leader. The Irish Transport and General Workers' Union, which he organized and of which he was secretary, had as its goal the combining of all Irish industrial workers, skilled and unskilled, into one organization. After his activity in the general strike of 1913 he was tried by the British for sedition and jailed briefly. When World War I began, Larkin traveled to the United States to raise funds for the Irish to fight the British. His radical socialist manifestos and close association with the founders of the American Communist party resulted in a conviction (1920) for criminal anarchy. Pardoned in 1923 by the governor of New York, Alfred E. Smith, Larkin was deported to Ireland. There he organized (1924) the Workers' Union of Ireland and served in the Dáil Éireann (1937–38, 1943–44), on the Dublin Trades Council, and on the Dublin Corporation.

See biographies by R. M. Fox (1957) and E. J. Larkin (1965).

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"Larkin, James." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Larkin, James." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/larkin-james

"Larkin, James." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/larkin-james