Some historians who take a dim view of James “Big Jim” Larkin like to emphasize the fact that he was a committed Communist who maintained close ties to the Soviet Union, and that he often actively worked to undermine the government of his own Irish homeland. Read more: James Larkin | Biography
But the broader view of Jim Larkin is that he was a man of the people. His overwhelming concern was for the working poor of Ireland and their dismal plight at the hands of the wealthy elites of the day.
Jim Larkin was born into poverty in Liverpool in 1876 to Irish parents who had immigrated to England to find work and escape the even deeper poverty of Ireland. Larkin was able to attend grammar school only part time as a child while he also worked as a child laborer to help his family survive. Larkin’s father died when he was 14, leaving his family destitute. Learn more about Jim Larkin: http://spartacus-educational.com/IRElarkin.htm and http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/artsfilmtv/books/the-definitive-biography-of-big-jim-larkin-372254.html
Jim Larkin eventually became a full-time dock worker, but his upbringing of hard labor and low pay made him a natural to take up the cause of class warfare – that which pitted poor workers against wealthy business owners. He became an avid union organizer and activist.
It was natural that Larkin became enamored with Marxism and the Socialist Revolution that erupted in Russia in 1917. He saw this as a natural reaction to the exploitation of poor people at the hands of a wealthy few at the top of society.
Larkin’s subsequent lifetime work as a union organizer was always informed by his personal experience with poverty and that of his fellow workers and Irishmen and women. Today he is largely viewed as a folk hero in Ireland, and his memory is honored as that of a man who cared deeply about the plight of his fellow citizens.