Activists of disorder. Women and Communists in Tunis (1921-1922)

By Élise Abassade

Women joined the Tunisian Federation of the French Section of the Communist International (SFIC), in Tunis, in the first year of its existence. By tracing the backgrounds of these first communist women in Tunisia, this paper investigates what the colonial police archives (the main source available to document the early days of the communist group) reveal about their deeds and words and record about social ties at that time. In so doing, it analyses how these women activists occupied the political militant space opened up by this party that called for Tunisian independence and gender equality. While the Federation was a conducive venue for their presence, its difficulties understanding Soviet demands regarding women, as well as the language used in police records, indicate that their activist engagement was transgressive.

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