– The Need For A Working Society Essay, Research Paper
AN INSIGHT ON THE NEED OF WORKING SOCIETY
Flora Tristan was a woman brought up by her mother. Her father died when she was very young, and she was denied, due to her illegitimacy, her father s inheritance as a rich aristocrat. She gained strength living in poverty and as an adult fought for her place in her father s family. Although Flora did not succeed in receiving the inheritance she was welcomed within the family. After escaping from her brutal husband, Flora took her daughter and began a life of travels; learning about people, societies, and especially the lives of women. Flora Tristan s largest accomplishment was the development and teachings of the Workers Union, with the incorporation of equality for women with every step . I will focus on how Tristan linked the conditions of women and men workers, how her proposed Workers Union emancipated both men and women, and how she was received by workingwomen and workingmen.
Tristan s ability to link the conditions of women and men workers was incredible. Tristan saw and experienced the abuse of women in the home and on the job. She linked a woman s life as a servant to her husband, children, father, and brothers. Women lived life uneducated, unstimulated, and underutilized. Tristan continued, women were kept ignorant, brought up either to be gentle and patronizing dolls or slaves, destined to please and serve their masters. (Strumingher, 97) Tristan believed that it was in a man s own self-interest to work for the equality of women at work. For men would reap the benefits of gaining more household income and the betterment of their marriage and home life. Not only this, but men would not have to work as hard with the emancipation of women.
Tristan was appalled by the working conditions of the English workers , both men an women, they were unbearable. She visited many factories and could not believe the abuse and unsanitary conditions. She thought that England was indeed the most abusive place for the humanity of the workers. The toxic smells, the extreme contrasts between severe cold into the fiery hot burning coals they had to endure. The life expectancy was short, approximately thirty five for industrial men, and a bit higher for those not under such intense labor. The moral of these workers were low. Happiness was not an option these people worked twelve hours a day and by the time they go home they ate and slept to regain their strength for the next day, fun and enjoyment was not an choice. The end result of the extreme labor was said to be the increase of those going to the taverns and drinking into oblivion. This was the only way for the working class to get away from the miserable conditions of working life. In England, where the working class is much more ignorant and unhappy than in France, the workers, men and women, push this vice of drunkenness to the brink of insanity. (Beik, 118) Drunkenness had become an epidemic, the working class was desperate for a way to escape the mental and physical pain of daily life.
The fact that women earned one half the wages of men was one factor that Tristan fought. She became adamant about the equality of equal pay and equal work for both men and women. Tristan advocated that women worked much harder and faster in order to make more money just to survive, in the end the idea was that eventually men would be discarded and replaced by the cheaper labor of women. Through Tristan s travels she was able to see the inequality women suffered through first hand experience and she was able to visualize, create, and implement a societal change, a paradigm shift, that would impact the history forever. The creation of the Workers Union and the fight for human rights.
Tristan s proposed Workers Union did in fact lead to the emancipation of women and workers. The Workers Union was based on several ideas; equality, human rights, child labor laws, unification of classes, workers compensation, education prior to working, and generating capital to prevent poverty. Tristan fought for equality of men and women in the home, workplace, and in receiving an education. …But let us hasten to say that to enjoy equality and liberty in principle is to live in spirit, and if he who brought to the world the law of the spirit spoke wisely in saying that man does not live by bread alone, I believe that it is also wise to say that man does not live by spirit alone. (Beik, 108) Tristan captivated the idea of happiness and its true meaning, that no man or woman could be happy without complete emancipation for everyone.
With the idea of the Workers Union, Tristan s goal was to unite men and women despite their trades, associations, or classes. This unification would bond the groups together to be large enough to fight for justice as needed against those in power. The idea that small groups do not carry a voice and one large group carries strength and has one large voice to be heard. In sum Flora s Workers Union advocated a general union of men and women of all trades dedicated to two principles: the right to work for all workers, and equal pay for equal work. (Strumingher, 101) Tristan also proposed to have a place where children could go to receive food, hygiene and grooming instructions, exercise, crafts while earning money at the same time. They were in essence being paid to get a basic education and skills. This place was known as the Workers Palace .
Tristan succeeded with the emancipation of both men and women by presenting her research, teaching, and wining people over to the idea of the Workers Union and how this would help to support men and woman. By understanding the limitations of humans, by looking for a balance of work and time for pleasure, and by stressing the need for education for our children. Tristan met the hearts of people and captured the insanity of their current lifestyles. She was able to influence the naive and accept those who could not understand doing anything other than serving their husbands and children.
In general Tristan had a variance in how she was received by men and women. Some women did not accept her due to the hatred caused by ignorance, she was accused of misleading husbands. All in all Tristan was accepting of those who did not see her way and would move on to find people who would listen and follow. She didn t waste time on useless tactics, she used her time and influence wisely. As Tristan s plan was evolving, she began to meet with as many influential men as she could. Artisans who liked the idea but not the idea of being relegated to sharing her ideas. She moved on to many other artisans with no success until she read and corresponded with the works of two others, Adolphe Boyer, and Pierre Moreau. These two men worked to reform the compagnonnage and agreed with many of Tristan s ideas. Workers, we shouldn t help each other only because we re in the same trade, but because we are all workers, all in the same social category. ( Strumingher, 91)
Most men and women endorsed, at least a part of, Tristan s plan of the Worker s Union, at least pieces of it were accepted by most. She had many difficulties in publishing her work, unable to publish in the press and unable to find a publisher who would support her. She began a diary. Tristan took up a collection from her friends and with this money she was able to publish her first book.
Tristan had the chore of having to change the ideas of a society and a way of life. People tend to resist change and have a hard time visualizing the benefits, especially when asked to contribute money each year for this Union. In spite of these obstacles, Tristan had a tremendous following.
Women and workers were considered one in the same, both leading lives of unhappiness and slavery. Both were immersed in poverty and abuse, were suppressed, and suffered dehumanization. With the creation of the Workers Union, Tristan recognized the need to change the way the working class, and women were treated. She brought together different classes, sexes, and moved children out of the workforce and into education. She fought for equal rights for everyone. The Workers Union slowly changed history, slowly, to developing women and men and leading to their full emancipation. This was the beginning of a future of human rights and an educated society, regardless of sex or race. With these changes Tristan taught, wrote, and traveled to educate the people. She was embraced by many and also had many critics. Most people embraced pieces of Tristan s plans, which helped in the overall acceptance of the beginning of the Workers Union.