Jeff Sparrow (born 1969) is an Australian left-wing 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]

Jeff Sparrow
Born1969 (age 50–51)
Alma materRMIT University (Ph.D.)
OccupationWriter, journalist
Notable work
Trigger Warnings: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right
Political partySocialist Alternative
Victorian Socialists

Political activismEdit

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 100 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]

No Way But This: In Search of Paul Robeson (Scribe, 2017)[15].

Trigger Warnings: Political Correctness and the Rise of the Right (Scribe, 2018) "draws lessons from contemporary debates and historical struggles to argue for an alternative to the seemingly oppositional binary of class or identity that dominates liberal discourse"[16].

Fascists Among Us: Online Hate and the Christchurch Massacre (Scribe, 2019) demonstrates "the importance of confronting the truth rather than retreating from its horrors"[17].

Later workEdit

After completing a PhD in Creative Media at RMIT University in 2007,[18] Sparrow became a Research Fellow at Victoria University[19] and the editor of the literary journal Overland.[1] His work has appeared in The Age,[20] The Sydney Morning Herald,[21] Overland, Arena, Meanjin and other print publications; he contributes regularly to Crikey,[1] ABC The Drum Unleashed[22] and other online outlets. In late 2009, he began co-hosting the Aural Text show on Melbourne radio station 3RRR with Alicia Sometimes.[23]


  1. ^ a b c Jeff Sparrow on Killing Archived 8 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine, The Book Show, 2 July 2009. Accessed: 5 December 2009.
  2. ^ Radical Melbourne: A Secret History Archived 28 July 2009 at the Wayback Machine,, 1 July 2009. Accessed: 5 December 2009.
  3. ^ a b Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  4. ^ Communism: A Love Story Archived 16 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine,, 1 July 2009. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  5. ^ Killing: Misadventures in Violence Archived 27 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine,, 1 July 2009. Accessed: 5 December 2009.
  6. ^ Raising Melbourne's red flag Archived 15 December 2009 at the Wayback Machine 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 Archived 24 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine 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. Archived from the original on 6 December 2018. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  10. ^ Radical Brisbane: An Unruly History Archived 4 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, 2005. Accessed: 12 January 2010.
  11. ^ Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within Archived 5 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine, The Australian Public Intellectual Network, August 2004. Accessed: 9 January 2010.
  12. ^ 2008 Colin Roderick Award Archived 6 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Matilda, 6 November 2008. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  13. ^ Melbourne Prize for Literature 2009 Archived 15 November 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Melbourne Prize Trust. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  14. ^ Money Shot Archived 10 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Scribe Publications, September 2012. Accessed: 14 November 2012.
  15. ^ No Way But This | Book | Scribe Publications. 20 February 2017. ISBN 978-1-925321-85-2.
  16. ^ Trigger Warnings | Book | Scribe Publications. 1 October 2018. ISBN 978-1-925713-18-3.
  17. ^ "FASCISTS AMONG US: online hate and the Christchurch massacre". Scribe Publications. 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  18. ^ A love story which must be read, RMIT News, 1 March 2007. Accessed: 8 January 2010.
  19. ^ School staff Archived 10 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine, Victoria University: Higher Ed and TAFE staff. Accessed: 9 January 2010.
  20. ^ Delivering convenient death shrinks all our souls Archived 17 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine The Age, 1 January 2007. Accessed: 11 January 2010.
  21. ^ Cruel and Unusual Punishment Archived 5 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine Sydney Morning Herald, 12 January 2008. Accessed: 10 January 2010.
  22. ^ Home grown hysteria Archived 1 July 2012 at ABC The Drum Unleashed, 8 January 2010. Accessed: 9 January 2010.
  23. ^ Aural Text Archived 26 February 2010 at the Wayback MachineTriple R Program Guide. . Accessed: 20 January 2010.