Vale Max Bound, 1924 — 2012

Max Bound grew up during the Great Depression, and his view of the world was shaped in part by such experiences as seeing classmates being sent home from school because they were too hungry to stay conscious. He left school at the age of thirteen and as a teenager he started reading socialist theory. His experience working in a coalmine, as a cleaner, a tram conductor and as a builder's labourer gave him a thorough education in how the world worked.

At the age of seventeen he set up the Cobbers Club, a youth club in Devonport, Tasmania. The Communist Party recognised his organisational skills and appointed him as an unpaid organiser. It was as early as 1947 that his education took another important step when he had the first of his disagreements with party bureaucrats and learned about how arrogant and unreasonable they could be.

Wherever he worked he was always active in occupational health and safety campaigns, and he was also always looking for ways of improving democratic processes within the unions themselves.

He never, however, confined himself to narrow issues to the extent of losing sight of the bigger picture. He was a key member of a small group of delegates to the Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council who opposed the building of the Franklin Dam, knowing that it would have been not only environmentally but also economically disastrous. There is a more recent parallel here with the proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill, which he also actively opposed on similar grounds.

Max was active in the struggle against conscription and Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. Not only did he work tirelessly to raise awareness of the issues, but he did so in an inclusive way, without regard to sectarian differences. By the same token, he never failed to analyse the situation incisively from the perspective of an overall understanding of how things work within the capitalist system and how the structures of our society are interlinked in a way that makes such horrors as the Vietnam War inevitable.

It was at about this time that Max completed a Bachelor of Environmental Design course at the Tasmanian College of Advanced Education. Through this he was able to see that his native intelligence had a value that was formally acknowledged by society.

Max was instrumental in setting up the Trade Union Community Research Centre and the Social Economic Ecological and Cultural Alliance. He was a founding member of the SEARCH (Social and Educational Research Concerning Humanity) Foundation and of its Now We the People project in Tasmania.

He was the author, at the age of 87, of Greed or Survival?, a book on political economy which drew on the multitude of papers he had written over the years, and on his keen observations of what was happening right here in Tasmania, especially in the forestry industry. On his deathbed he was explaining Marxism to the palliative care workers.

Max is survived by his four children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.