A Long View From the Left by Max Ogden
A Long View From the Left is not only a fascinating and personal record of contemporary cultural and political ideas, but a revealing and valuable contribution to our social history.
During his long career Max rose from a metalwork apprentice to shop steward and then a Trade Unions Industrial Officer, where he worked with and alongside the greats of the Australian union and ALP movements such as Laurie Carmichael, Bob Hawke and Bill Kelty.
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‘In the finish it is ideas which drive change … However, we should never let history, no matter how significant, prevent us from operating more effectively in the interests of workers and the wider society.’
A Long View From the Left is a memoir by Max Odgen, a longtime Australian Communist Party member, unionist and ALP member. Tracing Max’s 60 years as a union and political activist, it offers many rich lessons for everyone involved in the workforce.
During his long career Max rose from a metalwork apprentice to shop steward and then a Trade Unions Industrial Officer, where he worked with and alongside the greats of the Australian union and ALP movements such as Laurie Carmichael, Bob Hawke and Bill Kelty. Using his unique combination of persistence, persuasion and wit, he was instrumental in setting up the AMUW education program (in partnership with Laurie Carmichael and Bob Richardson), and his work was crucial to transforming the standards and work practices of many national industries.
Max was also witness to and involved with numerous campaigns that shaped Australian society – anti-Vietnam protests, the South African anti-apartheid movement, advocating for a shorter working week and universal health care, as well supporting the role of women in the workforce. As always, his main loyalty was to members of the Australian workforce. His desire for them to be treated with fairness, dignity and pride drove him relentlessly.
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