James Connolly Bust on Marble
James Connolly, (born June 5, 1868, Edinburgh, Scot.—died May 12, 1916, Dublin, Ire.), Marxist union leader and revolutionary who was a leading participant in the Easter Rising (April 24–29, 1916) in Dublin against British rule.
In 1896, soon after his arrival in Dublin, Connolly helped found the Irish Socialist Republican Party. From 1903 to 1910 he lived in New York City. While in the United States, he helped to organize the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW; “Wobblies”). At Clonmel, County Tipperary, in 1912, he and James Larkin founded the Irish Labour Party. He was Larkin’s chief assistant in organizing the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU), which conducted sympathy strikes in support of other labour disputes. In 1913 Dublin industrialists instituted a lockout against members of the union, and the resulting labour demonstrations were brutally suppressed. Connolly became commander of an irregular Citizen Army set up as a workers’ defense force in November 1913. On the outbreak of World War I (August 1914), he replaced Larkin, who was in the United States, as head of the union. Asserting that peace could be secured only through the fall of the capitalist states, he committed the Irish labour movement to opposing the Allied war effort.