Robby’s Bio

Robby Barnes

I grew up in a New York City suburb, and moved into the big city as an adult in the early 1960s.

The civil rights, anti-war and student movements played large parts in the social-historical development of the decade and I became involved in them, more and more as time went on. In the mid-sixties I was a volunteer producer at New York’s listener-sponsored radio station, WBAI, where I recorded the first anti-Vietnam war teach-in in 1965. I was a student at Columbia University in 1968 and was active in the massive occupation and strike that was part of that year’s worldwide rebellions.

In the 1970s I became active in the Industrial Workers of the World (I.U. 450, Printers and the New York General Branch). Working with others I helped translate publications for Charlatan Stew. Together with my partner Sylvie Kashdan I did research on anti-authoritarian movements in Africa, Asia and Latin America, from which we facilitated workshops at the Free Association, an alternative learning center in NYC during the 1970s. I also regularly attended talks given at the Libertarian Forum and got to know many of the older anarchists there.

In the 1980s my partner and I moved to Seattle, where I volunteered at Left Bank Books, a worker-run bookshop. I also volunteered at Workshop Printers, another worker-run project.

At the end of the decade I began teaching English as a new language, first as a volunteer and later professionally in various educational settings.

In 2009 I cooperated with other anarchists to put on the first Seattle anarchist book fair. Some of us were then inspired to start an anarchist free lending library and infoshop, which later became L@s Quixotes Radical Lending Library.

Since 2013 I have been working as an editor and occasional writer for Fifth Estate magazine and managing the publication’s website.