Astra Taylor

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Astra Taylor on April 14, 2015 during an event of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Astra Taylor (born September 30, 1979)[1] is a Canadian-American documentary filmmaker, writer, activist and musician. She is a fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation, for her work on challenging predatory practices around debt.[2]


Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Taylor grew up in Athens, Georgia,[3] and was unschooled until age 13 when she enrolled in ninth grade.[4] At 16 she abandoned high school to attend classes at the University of Georgia, which she only stayed at for a year before heading to Brown University. She attended classes there for a year and dropped out when she realized that unschooling was a lifelong commitment.[5] Taylor has taught sociology at the University of Georgia and SUNY New Paltz. Her writings have appeared in numerous magazines, including Dissent,[6] n+1,[7] Adbusters,[8] The Baffler,[9] The Nation,[10] Salon,[11] and The London Review of Books.[12]

Taylor is the sister of painter and disability activist Sunny Taylor,[13] and is married to Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel.[14] She joined Neutral Milk Hotel onstage for a number of shows in 2013 and 2014, playing guitar and accordion.[15] She is a vegan.[16] She lives in New York.[17]


Taylor was active in the Occupy Movement and was the co-editor of Occupy!: An OWS-Inspired Gazette with Sarah Leonard of Dissent magazine and Keith Gessen of n+1.[18] The broadsheet covered Occupy Wall Street in five issues over the course of the first year of the occupation and was later anthologized by Verso Books.[19]




  • Examined Life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers (editor), The New Press, 2009, ISBN 9781595584472[22]
  • Occupy!: Scenes From Occupied America (co-editor), Verso, 2012, ISBN 9781844679409[23]
  • The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age, Henry Holt and Company, 2014, ISBN 9780007525591[24]
  • "The faux-bot revolution", in A Field Guide to The Future of Work, RSA Future Work Centre, 2018[25]
  • Democracy May Not Exist, but We'll Miss It When It's Gone, Metropolitan Books, 2019, ISBN 9781250179845
  • Can't Pay, Won't Pay: The Case for Economic Disobedience and Debt Abolition (forward), Haymarket Books, 2020, ISBN 9781642594003[26]



  1. ^ Tortorici, Dayna, ed. (2013), "Group three", No Regrets: Three Discussions, Brooklyn, New York, p. 71, retrieved December 30, 2014 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Astra Taylor". Retrieved May 23, 2018.
  3. ^ Archived January 3, 2018, at the Wayback Machine Astra Taylor's official bio, accessed February 8, 2009
  4. ^ Michelle Drew. "Interview with Unschooled Filmmaker, Astra Taylor". CitizenShift. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved October 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Unschooled Life: Astra Taylor's Story". PopularResistance.Org. January 16, 2014. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  6. ^ "Authors: Astra Taylor". Dissent Magazine. Retrieved February 14, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Astra Taylor - Authors". n+1. Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "Astra Taylor". Adbusters. Archived from the original on October 26, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ "Astra Taylor - The Baffler". The Baffler. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  10. ^ "Author Bios: Astra Taylor". The Nation. Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ "Astra Taylor". Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "Astra Taylor". The London Review of Books. Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Sunny Taylor", Free Williamsburg, accessed February 8, 2009.
  14. ^ Article from Glorious Noise, accessed February 8, 2009.
  15. ^ Jarnow, Jesse. "Neutral Milk Hotel's First Show in 15 Years Was Ragged, Glorious". Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "Jeff Mangum Benefit for WFAS". Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary. October 28, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  17. ^ Taylor, Astra (2014). The People's Platform. New York.
  18. ^ "Read Our New Gazette". n+1. Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  19. ^ "". Retrieved March 6, 2016.
  20. ^ Phillips, Charlie (June 11, 2018). "What Is Democracy? review searing analysis of who's really in control". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077.
  21. ^ Brown, Drew (September 11, 2018). "The Epic Conversation About Democracy We Need Right Now". Vice. Retrieved September 15, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ Dougherty, Sally (December 2009). "Book Review Examined Life: Excursions with Contemporary Thinkers edited by Astra Taylor". Theosophy Northwest. Theosophy Northwest. Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ "Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America". Retrieved October 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ Wu, Tim (July 18, 2014). "Content and Its Discontents". The New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2014. "The People's Platform" should be taken as a challenge by the new media that have long claimed to be improving on the old order. Can they prove they are capable of supporting a sustainable cultural ecosystem, in a way that goes beyond just hosting parties at the Sundance Film Festival? CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Field Guide to the Future of Work: Essay collection - RSA". January 9, 2019. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  26. ^ "Can't Pay, Won't Pay".

External links[edit]

External video
video icon "Utopian Potential of the Internet": Astra Taylor on How to Take Back Power & Culture in Digital Age, Democracy Now, April 25, 2014