Jim Larkin, a revolutionary socialist, dominated the Irish Trade Union movement. G. B. Shaw once described him as ‘the greatest Irishman since Parnell’.
Today a statue of “Big Jim” stands on O’Connell Street in Dublin. The inscription on the front of the monument is an extract in French, Irish and English from one of his famous speeches: Les grands ne sont grands que parce que nous sommes à genoux: Levons-nous. – Ní uasal aon uasal ach sinne bheith íseal: Éirímis. – The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise. The slogan appeared on the masthead of the Workers’ Republic, founded by James Connolly in Dublin in August, 1898. Originally the organ of the Irish Socialist Republican Party, this periodical later became the official organ of the Communist Party of Ireland, which was founded in 1921. The original slogan is usually attributed to Camille Desmoulins (1760-1794), the French revolutionary. On the west side of the base of the Larkin monument is a quotation from the poem Jim Larkin by Patrick Kavanagh:
And Tyranny trampled them in Dublin’s gutter
Until Jim Larkin came along and cried
The call of Freedom and the call of Pride
And Slavery crept to its hands and knees
And Nineteen Thirteen cheered from out the utter
Degradation of their miseries.
On the east side of the monument there is a quotation from Drums under the Windows by Sean O’Casey: …He talked to the workers, spoke as only Jim Larkin could speak, not for an assignation with peace, dark obedience, or placid resignation, but trumpet-tongued of resistance to wrong, discontent with leering poverty, and defiance of any power strutting out to stand in the way of their march onward.
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