A major figure in Latin American struggles for women's rights and social justice, Magda Portal (1900-1989) co-founded the revolutionary nationalist APRA Party of Peru and was the principal women's leader of that party. In her Chilean exile Portal discovered the nineteenth century writer and social reformer, Flora Tristan. In 1944 Portal offered her first lecture on Tristan (1803-1844)—a brilliant diarist and journalist as well as a seminal social theorist, labor organizer, champion of women's rights, and a significant precursor—arguably co-founder—of socialist internationalism. Expanding and revising her initial account, Portal continued into her later years to lecture on Tristan, whom she revered as an exemplary social fighter. The introduction by Weaver, author of Peruvian Rebel, The World of Magda Portal, situates the lecture in the context of Portal's own life and her evolving views on the role of women in a developing country, noting parallels between Portal's life and that of Tristan. Portal's admiring narrative starts with Tristan's beginnings as the daughter of an aristocratic Peruvian landowner living in Spain and France, proceeding through the father's death, the family's impoverishment, and Tristan's awakening to the social misery occasioned by rapid industrialization. Portal traces Tristan's journey to Peru to present herself as a hopeful but unrecognized heir to her late father's lands. The publication of Tristan's Peruvian diaries is mentioned: an acerbic critique of a decadent colonial upper class. Portal also treats Tristan's travels in industrial London; her attempts to organize workers throughout the industrial zones of France; her involvement with the Chartists, the Utopians, and the proto-socialist circles that included Marx and Engels; as well as her attempts to escape a homicidal husband when divorce in France was outlawed. Portal's bibliography and notes are supplemented by translator's notes and bibliographical references.
"Flora Tristan, Precursor Lecture by Magda Portal,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 20:
6, Article 2.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol20/iss6/2