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Sylvia Pankhurst

(Estelle) Sylvia Pankhurst (May 5, 1882 - September 27, 1960) was a campaigner in the suffragette movement.

She was born in Manchester, England, a daughter of Dr. Richard Pankhurst and Emmeline Pankhurst.

In 1906 she started to work full-time with the Women's Social and Political Union with her sister Christabel and her mother Emmeline.

In 1912 she broke with the WSPU, over the group's promotion of arson attacks. Sylvia set up the East London Federation of Suffragettes (ELFS), which over the years evolved politically and changed its name accordingly, first to Womens Suffrage Federation and then to the Workers' Socialist Federation. The group briefly adopted the name Communist Party, British Section of the Third International, but dropped that title in favour of uniting with other communist groups to form the CPGB. Sylvia by this time adhered to left or council communism and was eventually expelled from the organisation. Sylvia was an important figure in the communist movement at the time and attended meetings of the international in Russia and Amsterdam and also meetings of the Italian Socialist Party. She argued with Lenin and was supportive of left communists such as Amadeo Bordiga and Anton Pannekoek.

Expelled from the CPGB she launched the Workers Communist Party but its existence was emphemeral.

In the mid twenties she drifted away from communist politics into anti-fascism and anti-colonialism. She became a supporter of Haile Selassie and died in Ethiopia in 1960..


She wrote the book DELPHOS: The future of International Language, (1935, London).

She founded the newspapers Womens' Dreadnought in 1914 (it later changed its name to Workers' Dreadnought), The New Times, and Ethiopia News in 1936.

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