(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 members of the Independent labour party much concerned with wmens rights.
In 1906 she started to work full-time with the Women's Social and Political Union with her sister Christabel and her mother Emmeline. But in contrast to them retained her interest in the labour movement.
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 newspaper of the WSF changing its name similarly from the Womens Dreadnaught to the Workers Dreadnaught.
The group continued to move leftwards and briefly adopted the name Communist Party, British Section of the Third International although in fact it was nothing of the sort. The CP(BSTI) was opposed to parliamentarism in contrast to the views of the newly founded Communist Party. However such was theimportance ttached to being within the same movement as the Bolsheviks the CP(BSTI) dissolved itself into the Communist Party.
This unity was to be short lived and when the leadership of the CPGB proposed that Sylvia hand over the Workers Dreadnaught to the party rather than retain it as a personal organ she revolted. As a result she was expelled from the CPGB and moved to found the short lived Communist Workers Party.
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.
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 founded the newspapers Womens' Dreadnought in 1914 (it later changed its name to Workers' Dreadnought), The New Times, and Ethiopia News in 1936.