Jeff Sparrow

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Jeff Sparrow (born 1969) is an Australian leftwing writer, editor and former socialist activist based in Melbourne, Victoria.[1] He is the co-author of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History[2] and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within[3] (both with sister, Jill Sparrow). He is also the author of Communism: A Love Story[4] and Killing: Misadventures in Violence.[5]

Political activism[edit]

As a student activist and member of the Trotskyist group, the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), Sparrow was one of the Austudy Five, controversially arrested after a protest in 1992.[6] He was expelled from the ISO in 1995[7] and helped found the splinter organisation, Socialist Alternative (SA).[8] After leaving SA, he was involved for some years in the group Civil Rights Defence. In 2018 he endorsed Stephen Jolly and the Victorian Socialists.[9]


Radical Melbourne (Vulgar Press, 2001) presents a guide through the first one hundred years of political radicalism in Melbourne, focusing on the structures, streets and public places that remain today, and illustrated by rarely seen images from the archives of the State Library of Victoria. Journalist and author John Pilger called Radical Melbourne "a brilliantly original, long overdue unveiling of a great city's true past".[3] The book inspired Radical Brisbane, a similar project about the Queensland capital, by Raymond Evans and Carole Ferrier.[10]

The sequel, Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within (Vulgar Press, 2004), was described by reviewer Ian Morrison as "sparkl[ing] with furious wit ... the Sparrows are devastatingly funny."[11]

Communism: A Love Story (Melbourne University Press, 2007) is a biography of the radical intellectual Guido Baracchi, a founder of the Communist Party of Australia. The book traces Baracchi's political career from his support for the Industrial Workers of the World to his association with the Trotskyist Fourth International; it also examines his turbulent personal life and his relationships with writers such as Katharine Susannah Prichard, Lesbia Harford and Betty Roland. It was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award.[12]

Killing: Misadventures in Violence (Melbourne University Press, 2009) is a study of the social and psychological consequences of executions, combat and animal slaughter. It was a finalist in the Melbourne Prize for Literature Best Writing Award 2009.[13]

Left Turn: Political Essays for the New Left (Melbourne University Press, 2012) was co-edited by Sparrow and Antony Loewenstein.

Money Shot: A Journey into Porn and Censorship (Scribe, 2012) "probes the contradictions of our relationship to sex and censure, excess and folly, erotica and vice."[14]

Trigger Warnings: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right (Scribe, 2018)

Later work[edit]

After completing a PhD in Creative Media at RMIT University in 2007,[15] Sparrow became a Research Fellow at Victoria University[16] and the editor of the literary journal Overland.[1] His work has appeared in The Age,[17] The Sydney Morning Herald,[18] Overland, Arena, Meanjin and other print publications; he contributes regularly to Crikey,[1] ABC The Drum Unleashed[19] and other online outlets. In late 2009, he began co-hosting the Aural Text show on Melbourne radio station 3RRR with Alicia Sometimes.[20]


  1. ^ a b c Jeff Sparrow on Killing, The Book Show, 2 July 2009. Accessed: 5 December 2009.
  2. ^ Radical Melbourne: A Secret History,, 1 July 2009. Accessed: 5 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  4. ^ Communism: A Love Story,, 1 July 2009. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  5. ^ Killing: Misadventures in Violence,, 1 July 2009. Accessed: 5 December 2009.
  6. ^ Raising Melbourne's red flag The Age, 23 August 2002. Accessed: 13 July 2009.
  7. ^ ISO purges opposition Archived 6 September 2012 at Green Left Weekly, Issue 197, 9 August 1995. Accessed: 9 January 2010.
  8. ^ "I" is for internationalism Socialist Alternative, Edition 49, March 2001. Accessed: 27 December 2009.
  9. ^ Sparrow, Jeff (23 October 2018). "Is socialism the answer to the climate catastrophe? | Jeff Sparrow". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  10. ^ Radical Brisbane: An Unruly History, 2005. Accessed: 12 January 2010.
  11. ^ Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, The Australian Public Intellectual Network, August 2004. Accessed: 9 January 2010.
  12. ^ 2008 Colin Roderick Award, Matilda, 6 November 2008. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  13. ^ Melbourne Prize for Literature 2009, Melbourne Prize Trust. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  14. ^ Money Shot, Scribe Publications, September 2012. Accessed: 14 November 2012.
  15. ^ A love story which must be read, RMIT News, 1 March 2007. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  16. ^ School staff, Victoria University: Higher Ed and TAFE staff. Accessed: 9 January 2010.
  17. ^ Delivering convenient death shrinks all our souls The Age, 1 January 2007. Accessed: 11 January 2010.
  18. ^ Cruel and Unusual Punishment Sydney Morning Herald, 12 January 2008. Accessed: 10 January 2010.
  19. ^ Home grown hysteria ABC The Drum Unleashed, 8 January 2010. Accessed: 9 January 2010.
  20. ^ Aural TextTriple R Program Guide. . Accessed: 20 January 2010.