Larkin, James

Larkin, James,

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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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Larkin, James


Born 1876; died Jan. 30, 1947. A figure in the Irish workers’ movement.

In 1909, Larkin was one of the organizers of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union. This union, under Larkin, led a strike of port workers (1911) and the Dublin general strike of 1913. Larkin belonged to the left wing of the Irish Labor Party (founded in 1912). While opposing the opportunist leadership of the party, Larkin at the same time held anarcho-syndicalist views on many issues. From 1914 to 1923 he was in the USA, where in 1919 he was sentenced to five years inprison for taking part in the workers’ movement. In 1923 he was released and deported to Ireland. In 1924 he joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. However, in the late 1920’s he moved away from the revolutionary workers’ movement while continuing to participate in the activities of trade unions. From 1937 to 1947 he was a member of the Irish parliament.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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