Bob Gould on Marxists Internet Archive


A Bob Gould archive has been set up on Marxists Internet Archive and a start has been made on making Bob’s writing available there.

Ozleft will continue to host Bob’s writing, but MIA is a better organised site that will make it easier to browse his archive and find works.


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6 Responses to “Bob Gould on Marxists Internet Archive”

  1. Garry Hill Says:

    I knew Bob Gould well in the period between 1970 and 1974 and saw him around intermittently for three years after that. A great many tributes have poured in since his death and they are all pretty much the same, giving a picture of a jolly, generous, lovable bohemian who was a radical defender of civil liberties and the oppressed and a firey stalwart of socialism. That was his public persona. Now and then comments about him being extremely argumentative, irritating, irascible, stubborn, eccentric, making enemies by disrupting public meetings and “always having something to say” emerge, but do not go far enough. Nick Beams’s article is one of the few exceptions, but also does not go far enough.
    Now the hagiographers will have a field day with this website. Did any of them actually work as employees under Bob Gould and see his work practices or the abrupt and extreme change in manner when the customers were gone? Did any of them ever put great amounts of time, money and energy into public events which Gould with his extraordinarily loud, grating voice, domineering manner and personal abuse took over and smilingly centred on himself? This tactic alienated and drove many people out of radical politics – and radical politics frequently tried to drive Gould away: at least three organizations tried to get rid of him. In a 1973 conversation he clarified for me that his 1966 expulsion from the ALP was at branch level. Gould himself recently posted on his own website how when the American Trotskyist Barry Shepherd met Australian Trotskyists the first thing they agreed on was the need to get rid of Gould – and they did. His stubborn attempts to get his own way as usual and join the Healyite Socialist Labour League against their adamant wishes were eventually successful, but he did not last there either.
    Despite his communist politics and much professed working class background, his biggest success in life was as a businessman, for despite all the talk of him being a bookseller, an astute businessman who got his own way was what he was for over forty years. He would do whatever was needed to make money and knew how to cater for the radical market – even though what he said he thought of them was different to what they believed he thought. He may have been different before I first knew him, but he despised Bohemians, uni students and almost everybody alive in radical politics. His only constructive comments about radical personalities were for Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Jack Lang and his father, for those five there was nothing but admiration.
    Gould’s own statements raise questions. Where was he between leaving school in 1954 and Farmers Bookshop in 1964? Was he himself a failed uni student at this time? Was he in the Communist Party in the Stalin/Malenkov era? Did he ever actually work at a working class job in this period? I have heard anecdotal evidence that he lasted six weeks in the railways and swore never again. He always claimed to be the son of a railwayman, but other accounts have his father being a failed farmer who became a teacher in a Marist College and was an advisor to Jack Lang. In 1970 I was shown Gould’s personal childhood book collection; it was so massive it filled a room to the roof – odd for a working class boy.
    Oh well let the legend begin, like all legends there is an element of truth, he did fight the repulsive right and he sold good books.
    Garry Hill

  2. Ed Lewis Says:


    Bob gloried in controversy in his life, and he would no doubt be disappointed if he became uncontroversial after his death.

    The political issues you raise are well canvassed in public writings of Bob and others and of course there are differing opinions. Many of the writings on this site have pointers to opposing points of view.

    If he drove anyone out of politics, which I doubt, he introduced many more to political activity and the philosophical foundations to sustain such activity for the long term.

    Many of your comments don’t correspond with my own experience of Bob, and collaborating with him politically.

    He fought hard for his views and he can’t be condemned for that. Plenty of people disagreed with him, but he was always ready to make common cause with anyone who would fight for the rights of the working class, whatever they thought of other issues.

    Some of your comments on Bob’s life and family background are objectionable and ignorant. None of us are saints and Bob never claimed to be one.

    Incidentally, Garry, these are Bob Gould’s own words about his father’s occupation after World War I, after he lost an arm in a shell blast: “In due course my father was repatriated to Australia, gradually recovered, and, under the repatriation scheme, trained to become a school teacher at the old Blackfriars Teachers College in Chippendale. He became a one-armed school teacher, and later on a one-armed sportsmaster.

    “He learned how to do almost anything with one arm. In later life he became quite a famous one-armed golfer. He even managed to mix and lay concrete with one arm, and use a rotary hoe in our small market garden.”

    So whatever myths are circulating in the embittered sectarian circles frequented by yourself and Nick Beams, you’d do well to have a look at the man’s words before trying to spread slander.

  3. Garry Hill Says:

    He said different things to me and at public meetings, in front of witnesses, saying his father was a railway worker, what is slanderous about that? I actually steered clear of the more damaging things I know and what Gould said. As for Nick Beams, I heard him speak publicly once around 1976, and literally walked by him once in 1979 or 1980, and would do so again if our paths crossed, so much for my involvement with “embittered sectarian circles.” To say that I am involved with groups when I am not is also ignorant and objectionable. You sound like Gould, so goodbye.
    Garry Hill

  4. Garry Hill Says:

    If you initiate a legal case, I have a counter case for what you said about me and will have witnesses, statutory declarations and a court transcript as evidence for what I wrote. Personally I wish to drop the whole matter rather than waste money and more time on your website. Leave me off it. Garry Hill

  5. Ed Lewis Says:

    Garry, as a socialist I don’t consider the bosses’ courts a useful means of settling any matter, let alone a difference of opinion, so you can rest easy on that point.

    I have no objection to anyone disputing the political opinions of Bob Gould presented in his writings on this site, but I don’t think Bob’s personality or family are fair game.

    For what it’s worth, Stephen Gould’s enlistment papers for World War I give his occupation as labourer, and his next of kin his mother at Clybucca. Whether he was a labourer on the railways before the war I don’t know.

  6. Sam Says:

    A great man, could see it how it is without inventing excuses, could see past the petty arguments and acknowledge facts regardless of his own beliefs. Australians could learn a lot from this leader in Australian advancement. To many people are destroying this country though ignorance. Science is incomplete, it can only prove something wrong. Regardless of dates, timelines, numbers and so on there is a living history that show the effects of invasion, we need more sites like this, He has done more to raise the morals of a moral bankrupt society then a million QuadRANT tools could do in a million life times, This is RECENT history and the effects are on going, shame on the people who lie about history, the facts are there and the truth will be known, I guess the issue for most is will they be implicated for their ignorance by history, my guess is yes

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