John Drysdale Playford was born on 28 March 1935 in the Norton Summit district and was a member of the South Australian political family of Sir Thomas Playford, In 1963 Playford completed his PhD thesis at the Australian National University on the doctrinal and strategic problems of the Communist Party of Australia, after which he lectured in the Faculty of Economics and Politics at Monash University from 1964 and the Politics Department, University of Adelaide from 1972. He was engaged in the Vietnam Moratorium Movement and for many years Playford contributed to Marxist publications. He editor of the Journal of the Historical Society of South Australia, established in 1974, for sixteen years. His publications on Australian politics include Apolitical Politics: a critique of behaviouralism (co-edited with Charles McCoy, 1967), Neo-capitalism in Australia (1969) and Australian Capitalism: towards a socialist critique (with Douglas Kirsner, 1972). Playford died on 23 April 2003.