Author: Jeff Sparrow

  • AUSTRALIA

    Latham and Hanson's marriage of convenience

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 08 November 2018
    3 Comments

    If we say the man's lost his mind, we must, in fairness, acknowledge that he possessed a mind to lose. Bizarre as the notion now sounds, Latham brought consider intellectual firepower to the Labor leadership. His deep commitment to free market policies meant his hostility to Hanson always came as much from the right as the left.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    It's always Happy Death Day in Canberra now

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 30 October 2017
    6 Comments

    Turnbull's response to the eligibility crisis showcased the mixture of bluster and incompetence that's become characteristic of this government. Like Michaela Cash's attempts to link Shorten with union corruption, his declaration that the court would rule in favour of Joyce saw strategy and common sense give way to short term manoeuvring.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Lessons for ALP in UK Labour fightback

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 09 June 2017
    17 Comments

    When Corbyn invoked the many against the few, he did so while advocating free education, the renationalisation of utilities and a break from the US alliance. By contrast, Blair coined the phrase in a speech where he urged listeners to put behind them 'the bitter political struggles of left and right that have torn our country apart for too many decades. Many of these conflicts have no relevance whatsoever to the modern world - public versus private, bosses versus workers, middle class versus working class.' We all know which version sits closer to Shorten's heart.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Fall of Aleppo caps off wretched 2016

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 16 December 2016
    12 Comments

    Assad's victory epitomises, in a sense, the reactionary tide prevailing just about everywhere in this, the Year of the Donald. The hopes raised during the Arab Spring have, it seems, been crushed, with the Syrian regime consolidating its grip over a nation it has oppressed for so long. Yet Aleppo also illustrates how little the Right's victories have actually settled. The Right's biggest asset is often the Left, with progressives seemingly determined to validate all the smears levelled against them.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Where's Australia's Trump and Sanders?

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 30 June 2016
    8 Comments

    Last week Sam Newman said he'd been approached to run for mayor in Melbourne on a 'Donald Trump-like anti-political correctness platform'. The announcement raised an interesting question: where's the Trump, or Sanders for that matter, in the Australian election? Richard Di Natale has articulated a vision of the Greens as 'the natural home of progressive mainstream Australian voters', yet we might equally say that he embraced politics-as-usual just as politics-as-unusual began to manifest everywhere.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    'Elitist' democracy not the answer to Trumpism

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 08 June 2016
    9 Comments

    Will Clinton defeat Trump? Perhaps - but the polls already show him doing far better than anyone expected. More importantly, an electoral loss might mean the end of Donald Trump but it won't destroy Trumpism. The constituency into which the Donald has tapped will almost certainly grow under the administration of a corporate Democrat like Clinton, even if it manifests in a different form. And what then? How much larger and heftier will the barriers against the popular will have to become?

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  • ENVIRONMENT

    We need a grassroots revival to save the reef

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 27 May 2016
    12 Comments

    Many people have hoped that when global warming manifested itself as a concrete threat, politicians would be forced into action. Yet it's becoming horrifyingly clear that the political class is quite willing to let the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world, slowly die. If we want to save the reef, we're going to have to do it ourselves. The Franklin dam blockade of 1982-1983 transformed the political climate and preserved an iconic river. We need to recapture that energy.

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  • MEDIA

    Battered broadcaster's Bolt delusion

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 27 January 2016
    13 Comments

    Josh Bornstein compared the ABC to the victim in an abusive relationship, desperately trying to ward off the next blow by anticipating the criticism of its enemies. Certainly, enlisting Andrew Bolt to participate in a documentary on Indigenous constitutional recognition seems like a pre-emptive defensive move against the accusations of bias that are routinely levelled against the national broadcaster. For Bolt the arrangement is win-win; for the ABC it's yet another example of self-sabotage.

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  • MEDIA

    2015 in review: The roots of troll culture

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 12 January 2016

    The common perception of internet trolls is that they are outsiders descending on a particular platform in order to wreck it. But there is a close relationship between trolls and the culture in which they operate. If you're a publisher seeking virality, you need to foster the strong emotions in which social media trades. Getting people to love your content is great, but outrage, incredulity and even hatred also work.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Naming and renaming uni's racist monuments

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 02 December 2015
    7 Comments

    For many years, historian Gary Foley has drawn attention to the racist past inscribed throughout the infrastructure of Melbourne University. Now, some staff and students are campaigning to rename facilities linked to particularly egregious individuals, such as the Richard Berry building, named after a leading eugenicist who stole the corpses of Indigenous people for research designed to prove the racial superiority of whites. While some accuse the campaigners of politically correct censorship, in fact the past has already been censored, and the campaigners are dragging it back into the light.

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  • MEDIA

    A fascist by any other name

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 17 November 2015
    15 Comments

    In journalism, 'he said, she said' often functions as an evasion. Reporters' loyalty should be to accuracy, which isn't about compromise between extremes. When denialists and climate scientists take diametrically opposed stances, the truth doesn't lie somewhere in the middle. Sometimes, one side's right and the other's just wrong. The same can be said of reporting about the rightwing United Patriots Front. While they deny being fascists, that's what they are, and that's what we should call them.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Modern Islamophobia echoes murderous anti-Semitism

    • Jeff Sparrow
    • 30 October 2015
    7 Comments

    Invoking Joseph Conrad's story about seagoing doppelgangers, 'The Secret Sharer', Edward Said identified Islamophobia as anti-Semitism's respectable twin. Indeed Israeli PM Netanyahu's description of the Mufti urging Hitler onto greater evil contains an echo of the old anti-Semitic canard of Jews as shadowy manipulators. This trope is central to the infamous Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, was a key element in Goebbels' propaganda campaigns, and is now central to contemporary Islamophobia.

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