Fremantle Press extends its sympathies to the family and friends of John Rainford, who died on 14 January 2021.
John was a writer, a filmmaker and, above all, an activist and unionist committed to the communist, labour and socialist movements. He was born in the United Kingdom and was a merchant seaman before he came to Fremantle in 1969 at the age of 20. He worked in shipbuilding in Newcastle and Sydney before moving into trade unions, first as an organiser, then as a research officer, industrial advocate and journal editor.
John studied law and philosophy at Sydney University and at the University of Technology, Sydney, and his creative works include the books A Short History of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins to Neoliberal Theocracy, Love: Art, Ideas, Music, Politics and the film Radical Wollongong, which won the Filmmaker World Festival Platinum Award in Indonesia and two Canadian Labour International Film Festival awards. He also produced festivals for the Wollongong-based Love Collective and was involved in the film Women of Steel.
Fremantle Press had the pleasure of working with John on his book Consuming Pleasures: Australia and the International Drug Business. The book was a groundbreaking study of Australia’s licit and illicit drug trade and the racist origins of our drug laws. We remember John as a passionate author who shared his extensive knowledge with grace and wisdom.