New Australian Bulletin can officially pull the curtain back on the man who calls himself Slackbastard. Legal documentation viewed by the NAB team reveals without a doubt that Professor Rob Sparrow of Monash University is “Andy Fleming”, or the man (or one of those) operating the SB publishing franchise (sic).
While we have good information that SB had started out as a group effort, and not all web assets are maintained by Rob himself, such as SB’s Twitter account, the buck now officially stops with Rob.
Unfortunately, while special considerations prevent us from publishing the documentation at present, we can assure our readers it is real enough and will be shared as circumstances permit. Moreover, we understand Rob’s status is almost certain to be legally tested. We have it on good authority that his involvement in anarchism will lead to him being asked to provide evidence in an ongoing legal matter.
Unsurprisingly, Rob himself is offering up an insecure mix of denials and non-denial-denials to NAB. When approached by us two weeks ago with the allegation that he is Slackbastard he responded by writing, “To anyone who knows anything about the contemporary university, it should be entirely obvious that I am not Slackbastard. I am a full-time professor teaching several units and publishing in applied ethics, with a busy international travel schedule. I simply don’t have the time to blog obsessively about the alt-right in Australia, even if I wanted to.”
Today, in a flurry of emails back-and-forth upon being apprised of the imminent publication of this story, he attempted to argue that he cannot be SB based purely on his geographical location at the present time. Of course, this is piffle. But before we get into that, let’s recap the search for SB and his general bio.
Slackbastard’s blog first emerged from the sulphur in June 2004. Its style was somewhat different to what it eventually became, lending credibility to the theory that Rob was not its originator. Jim Saleam, President of the Australia First Party, has long maintained the first Andy was the unnamed brother of Jamie Hutchings, a former Anarchist leader from Sydney, who moved to Melbourne. Jamie may also have served as part of the Slackbastard collective. He argues that the forensic change in the blog’s style indicated a switchover to someone notably more ‘intellectual’ than the page’s forerunner and its mode became manifestly metapolitical. This perhaps indicated a culture change, or at least a ‘clique’ inheriting anarchism: a klatch which included Dave Fregon, the anarchist webmaster.
This is not a bad insight with recent revelations made about Anarchist leaders in Melbourne and those with whom their loci connect.
A read through the blog’s archives shows those early years of Slackbastard were less than dynamic. The blog was published infrequently and did not reflect the more literary fashion it would assume. It was also a couple of years before the esoteric theorising intersected with Mathew “Darp” Henderson’s defunct Fight dem Back blog as a blunt-as-lead doxing platform. About the time it became such, the style change of which Dr Saleam speaks is easily appreciable to the reader.
At this time, the Melbourne Anarchist Club was the centre of anarchy Australia-wide. Australia First Party has already revealed findings made about a prominent anarchist who led that organisation. His tenure was also marked by controversy among other anarchists who were leery of his “ruling class” roots and lumped him in with the “basic informants” disordering the group. One of his associates, as we can attest, is Professor Rob Sparrow.
Despite Rob’s not-so-convincing demurrals to us, he has not replied to any of our questions regarding these affiliations. He keeps protesting that he cannot be Andy because he’s not in the country, as ludicrous as that argument is. He even uploaded an image of the room in which he claims he is attending a conference at this present time. Yet, Rob also has little to say about all the circumstantial evidence that pinpoints him as to being Andy, or at least, one of what is in all probability a collective contributing to SB.
Take for instance his authoring of a widely-circulated paper titled Anarchist Politics & Direct Action, in which he advocates for the use of violence against the state. It can be found by clicking here at the Anarchist Library. Then there is his well-heeled family. His brother Jeff is an old Trotskyite, now a journalist, who contributes to The Guardian. Jeff and his sister Jill helped to found Socialist Alternative. He and Jill, aside from both being editors of Overland, co-wrote the book Radical Melbourne: A Secret History. Both were arrested in 1992 along with three others in dawn raids following a National Union of Students demonstration in Melbourne. This was as a reaction to the Keating government’s proposal to scrap Austudy in favour of a student grant. During the protests, a police van was surrounded and demonstrators subsequently released by police fearing the mob. The ensuing dawn arrests of the five main activists came to be known as the Austudy Five. All were members of the so-called International Socialist Organisation (ISO).
The following quote is taken from an article by The Age, from August 2002, titled ‘Raising Melbourne’s Red Flag’: “Their [Jill and Rob’s] older brother Robert is an anarchist and a philosophy lecturer at the University of Melbourne. While Jeff says radicalism is obviously “genetic” in his family, the Sparrows grew up in the decidedly unradical suburb of Brighton. While the family talked politics around the table and put Vote Labor signs in their front yard during elections, neither Jeff nor Jill became radicalised until they left St Leonard’s College and went to Melbourne University. The late 1980s and early ‘90s were a busy time for student activists, with the HECS demonstrations and Gulf War protests, and George Bush visits”.
Rob has been an ‘Andy Fleming’ suspect for nearly five years. He was first outed in December 2015 by the Whitelaw Towers blog after a whistle-blower sent the writers a couple of links comparing a radio interview given by ‘Andy Fleming’ with the voice of Rob Sparrow. The similarities of the voices couldn’t be ignored.
This did not stop the Slackbastard blog immediately posting denials, and brother Rob Tweeting his abjurations. Yet, while most began to think that they’d again followed a false lead, others didn’t.
Now, of course, the Melbourne anarchist scene is in tatters following the division over the sale of the club. It seems those ruling class infiltrators the ‘working class’ anarchists had expressed qualms about had succeeded in destroying their movement. And that’s the notable thing about the prominent anarchists whose exposed identities have also unearthed the strong possibility about long-term involvement with the state apparatus, they’re all professionals. None of them has any links to the street or the struggle. They are as bourgeois as high tea at the Queen Victoria Building.
Any further denials on the Slackbastard blog will be a waste of energy, as the circumstances that have led to this piece of evidence being revealed are growing more severe. They are part of a drastic scheme that should never have been embarked on and is about to finally lay to rest anarchy in Australia for good and all.
The keyword to the whole thing is “hubris”. This has been their undoing.