Author Archive

History of Ozleft

November 27, 2017

Ozleft was set up by Steve Painter who wrote here under the pseudonym Ed Lewis. Steve died at the age of 68 in December 2016.

Steve collaborated very closely  for about a decade with an old sparring partner and friend, Bob Gould, to publish Bob’s writings here, as well as some of his own. They spoke often daily for several hours about the posts and then jointly wrote them on line, though the impetus for each article usually was Bob as were many of the ideas. However, Steve and Bob, though members of different political parties, were both Marxists, and held a lot in common politically in these years.

During the years of Ozleft, Steve worked as a sub-editor on The Australian for its computer, business and sports sections. He was a Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance house delegate there. At the time of his collaboration with Bob, he was a member of the NSW Greens. Prior to that, Steve was a leading member of the Australian Socialist Workers Party/Democratic Socialist Workers Party for 22 years and an editor of its newspaper.



The people smuggler: A review

December 29, 2012


By Jenny Haines

This is an important book in the debate about refugees, asylum seekers and people smugglers. It should be read by all members of federal parliament, some of whom stood weeping in parliament during the debate on asylum seekers in 2012, and then allowed the reopening of the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres to add to the misery they claimed to be so concerned about.


Margaret Thatcher’s memories of power

January 10, 2012

The Iron Lady

Directed by Phyllida Lloyd

Starring Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent

Reviewed by Jenny Haines

The curse of our lives is that as we get older all we are left with, as children leave home and the next generation moves in to our workplaces, is our memories. The Iron Lady, a movie written by Abi Morgan, portrays an aged Margaret Thatcher living with her memories in the confusion of old age, not sure any more what is real and what is not.


Refugees and offshore processing: a reply to Robert Manne

January 3, 2012

By Jenny Haines

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald’s National Times section on December 22, Robert Manne, stated his opinion that the left got it wrong on boat people.

Manne notes the current stalemate between the political parties in parliament and does not resile from his opposition to John Howard’s Pacific Solution cruelties, but he criticises the left for not recognising the efficiency of the Pacific Solution in reducing the numbers of refugees arriving by boat.


Why Greens do not welcome Obama

November 15, 2011

By Ed Lewis

A few days ago, Bob Brown said he was looking forward to joining the welcome for US President Barack Obama on his visit to Australia. He said Obama’s visit was “a much happier prospect” than the visit of George W Bush on the eve of the second Iraq war, and he would like to meet Obama.

Bob Brown said Obama would get a great welcome from Australians “and that will include Greens”. Brown should speak for himself on this, as there are plenty of Greens who will not be welcoming Obama. I have worked for the Greens on many election campaigns and in other activities, but I have been politically active for much longer opposing great-power aggression against small nations.


Alex Mitchell and Peter Fryer. A tale of two journalists

November 13, 2011

Come the Revolution, a Memoir
Alex Mitchell
New South Press, 2011
Reviewed by Ed Lewis

Alex Mitchell’s memoir covers a big chunk of history, from the late 1950s up to a few months ago. Mitchell is a skilled and entertaining writer and the book is worthwhile alone for its vignettes of the 1961 Mount Isa strike, the early stages of the Vietnam antiwar movement in Australia and London, the Canberra press gallery, Rupert Murdoch as a rising young mogul challenging entrenched media interests in Australia, Mitchell’s training in tabloid journalism on Murdoch’s afternoon Sydney daily, The Mirror, his later experience in investigative reporting with the Insight team on London’s Sunday Times, his traumatic few days as a reporter in Biafra, his reporting from Idi Amin’s Uganda, in Ireland during “the troubles” and much more.

But Mitchell makes it clear the passion of his life was left politics, and the high point of his involvement in the left was his time in Gerry Healy’s Workers Revolutionary Party, for a few years probably the most successful Trotskyist organisation in Britain, with a daily newspaper, an extensive publishing program, numerous real estate assets, an active membership of probably several hundred and a constellation of celebrities surrounding it, including Vanessa and Corin Redgrave.


An open letter to members of the Socialist Labour League and other Marxists

November 13, 2011

Peter Fryer

November 14, 1959

Dear Comrades,

The explanation given in The Newsletter for my resignation as editor was true as far as it went. But it did not say what had made me ill. Nor did it tell the members about the quite improper pressure that was put on me, through persons close to me, to try to compel me to return to a post that it had become impossible for me to fill. The methods used by the general secretary both before and after I left The Newsletter have nothing in common with Marxism, with socialist principles, or with the relationships that should prevail among comrades inside a revolutionary working-class organization.


Bob Gould on Marxists Internet Archive

August 31, 2011

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.

Tribute to Bob in federal parliament

June 2, 2011


Bob Gould, House of Representatives, 30 May 2011

I rise to pay tribute to Newtown bookseller Bob Gould, who passed away on 22 May 2011 aged 74. Bob was part of the progressive left in Australia for the better part of the post-war era. From the Vietnam War to asylum seekers, he has marched and argued for what he believed in. As former New South Wales MLC Meredith Burgmann noted, “He was involved in most of the great political protest movements of the time.”


Trotskyist never gave up quest for socialist society

June 2, 2011

Obituary to Bob Gould, 1937-2011

Hall Greenland.  June 2, 2011 , Sydney Morning Herald

Founder of the anti-Vietnam War movement in Australia. Lifelong member of the Labor Party and Trotskyist. Bookseller. Bibliophile. Historian. Union agitator. Anti-censorship battler. Bohemian. Irish Catholic. Polemicist.


Prophet and enabler of the 1960s

May 28, 2011

Bob Gould, 1966Eulogy for Bob Gould

By Hall Greenland

Bob Gould was my old comrade and sparring partner. My relationship with him fell into three periods … the 60s which I will return to in a moment … but then in the 70s and 80s we went our separate ways looking for paths to or beyond what Bob liked to call the socialist project to which he devoted his life … and then there was a growing reconciliation in the late 90s when Bob’s wisdom flowered and his historical writing took off and I once again learned to listen and take on board the words of a master.


A book trade salute

May 28, 2011

Bugden's Bookshop, Kings CrossBugden’s Bookshop in King’s Cross marks the passing of Bob Gould.

Farewell Bob, my old friend

May 28, 2011

(This is the speech delivered by John Percy, national secretary of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, and editor of its paper Direct Action, to the funeral of Bob Gould in Sydney, May 26, 2011. Other speakers were: Mairi Petersen; Janet Bonser; Hall Greenland; Jenny Haines; Nick Martin; Meredith Burgmann; Ian Rintoul; Phil Sandford; Natalie Gould. The service finished with the singing of the International, led by an Alistair Hulett recording.)


TRIBUTE TO BOB by Jenny Haines

May 28, 2011

Bob GouldBOB’S FUNERAL – 26.5.11

Thank you all for coming today. Bob would have been really pleased to see friends and foes, Labor, Green and Far Left supporters all in the same room and he would have been trying to figure in his head how it could all be turned in to a political force and not just a gathering at his funeral. One thing he wanted to see in his lifetime was a resurgence of the Left and he could only see it ever happening through supporters of all the parties and groups putting aside their differences and working on the commonalities.


Tribute to Robert (Bob) Gould

May 28, 2011

John RobertsonOn May 27, John Robertson, parliamentary leader of the NSW Labor Party, paid tribute to Bob Gould in state parliament. The Hansard record follows.