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June 2023: 180 years since Flora Tristán Workers’ Union


In June 1843, the “Workers’ Union” pamphlet was published. It is an indispensable work for the advancement of the feminist and working class struggle. Its author, Flora Tristán, proclaimed the need for a united, organized working class, with women in leading roles “to defend their interests and claim their rights”.

Her historic manifesto arose as a result of the injustices that marked her life. Flora was born in Paris on April 7, 1803 into a privileged family, but after the death of her father when she was only four years old, the state denied her mother’s rights to inherit property and a pension, leaving her family in poverty.

Flora had no choice but to work from a very young age and at the age of 17 she got married. It was a miserable relationship because her husband was violent, so one day she ran away with her children and began an odyssey of survival. 

For 12 years, Flora had to fight against her husband and an unfair judicial system to secure custody of her children. All this while her husband harassed her and even tried to murder her. She, on the other hand, went ahead and worked as a maid to make a living.

From these experiences, Flora became an activist for women’s and working-class rights and dedicated herself to promoting organized struggle. In “Workers’ Union” she wrote:

“Workers, your condition in today’s society is miserable, painful: in good health, you have no right to work; sick, crippled, injured, old, you also have no right to medical care; poor, lacking everything, you have no right to alms, because begging is forbidden by law.”

She also emphasized the particular situation of women, who “have been thrown out of the Church, out of the law, out of society” and pointed out that the emancipation of women must be a fundamental part of the struggle for the liberation of the working class from exploitation.

Flora Tristán died on November 21, 1844 after a life of tireless struggle. Her legacy remains as relevant as ever.

Click here to download the printable version of the calendar and hang it on your wall.

Text: Andreína ChávezArtwork: Metmarfil.


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