Irwin Silber (born October 17, 1925) is an American journalist, editor, publisher, and political activist. The co-founder, and former long-time editor of Sing Out! magazine from 1951 to 1967, Silber was perhaps best known for his writing on American folk music and musicians until he left Sing Out! and began writing for the Guardian (US). His creation of Oak Publications was responsible for a large portion of the folk music material available in print during the growth of the revival.
After leaving Sing Out! in 1968, Silber became cultural editor of the independent radical newsweekly, the Guardian (US) and also its film critic. He began to write on more directly political subjects, specializing in analysis of both national and international developments and developing a broad and appreciative readership. He became the Guardian's executive editor in 1972 and led it into the milieu of the New Communist Movement. Factional disagreements led to a split within the Guardian staff, and Silber left the newspaper in 1979, moving to California to join the leadership of a current within US Marxism known as the "rectification movement." 
Silber and blues/folk singer/fellow activist Barbara Dane became a couple in 1964. Among other collaborations, they established an independent recording company called Paredon as a way to distribute and document the incredible variety of musical expression being created by the liberation movements of the 1970s. Dane produced nearly 50 lps and Silber handled the promotion and distribution. They donated the label to the Smithsonian Folkways archives in the mid '80s to insure the availability of the material to the public in perpetuity.
Among Silber's most important political writing is Socialism; What Went Wrong, an examination of the theoretical and practical events in the USSR leading up to its collapse. His only non-political book in the last 20 years is A Patient's Guide to Hip and Knee Replacement based on his own experience with these operations. Silber's most recent book, Press Box Red, tells the story of sports editor Lester Rodney, whose decade-long campaign in the pages of the Daily Worker helped pave the way for the racial integration of major league baseball.
In the December 24, 2007 issue of Newsweek magazine Garrison Keillor of "Prairie Home Companion" fame was asked to name his five most important books. His #2 choice (after the Acts of the Apostles) is The Folksinger's Wordbook by Irwin Silber, a huge collection of "hymns, blues, murder ballads, miner's laments-the whole culture."
In the November 1964 edition of Sing Out!, Silber wrote an article called "Open Letter To Bob Dylan".
Dylan did not like being told how to perform or how to write, and he didn't really like any criticism much either. He replied by telling his manager Albert Grossman that his songs were no longer available for publication in Sing Out!. In the September 1965 edition, Ewan MacColl asked for Dylan to return to singing "... our traditional songs and ballads" because they were "the creations of extraordinarily talented artists, working inside a discipline." MacColl even wrote that Dylan was "a youth of mediocre talent". Also, Tom Paxton wrote an article in Sing Out! in autumn of 1965 entitled "Folk Rot", which criticized the emerging folk rock scene at the time by basically describing the scene as putting style over substance, and he criticized the general popular shift to this trend.
Eventually, in 1968, Silber retracted his criticism in the Guardian (US):
The words quoted above are from page 314 of "No Direction Home: the Life and Music of Bob Dylan" by Robert Shelton.
In "Chronicles Volume One" (2004), Bob Dylan commented: