Sylvie’s Bio

Sylvie Kashdan

I grew up in a low-income multicultural neighborhood in New York City, participated in the civil rights movement as a teenager, and became involved in the anti-Vietnam War and student movements in the mid-1960s. Like many others, I was repelled by the authoritarian groups of the time, and actively sought out anti-authoritarians.

I was pleased to find the Libertarian Book Club and fairly regularly attended the Libertarian Forum meetings from the late 1960s through the late 1970s. I got to know some of the older anarchists there, learned about the anarchist traditions in North America and elsewhere in the world, and was persuaded to present a few talks myself, including ones on anarchists and the women’s movement, the relationship between anarchists in the university and struggles for decent pay and working conditions for maintenance workers, library workers, and part-time faculty.

In the 1970s, I also joined the Industrial Workers Of The World and participated in some of their activities, including general branch events, fundraising, solidarity campaigns, and a Wobbly street Chorus that sang outdoors for a year or so.

My partner Robby and I made contact with anarchists at the Solidarity Bookshop in Chicago, Illinois, as well as with anti-authoritarians in Michigan.

When we learned that an anti-authoritarian group had taken over the Fifth Estate newspaper in Detroit in 1975, we both became subscribers and have remained so ever since. I have written both articles and letters to the editor over the years, under various names.

In the 1970s I also participated in an alternative learning project in New York City called the Free Association, where I attended workshops and acted as facilitator for some of them, including one series focusing on learning about anarchist and anti-authoritarian movements in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

I have also collaborated on various other anarchist/anti-authoritarian projects over the years, including Charlatan Stew (a publishing project), and after moving to Seattle at the beginning of the 1980s, Left Bank Books, L@s Quixotes Radical Lending Library and Infoshop, and The Wildcat social space.

In 2013, I began helping with building up the Fifth Estate archives on the website, and I also began participating in editing issues of the publication.