Our dear friend and mentor, John Loxley, died on July 28, 2020.
His place in Winnipeg’s left cannot be overstated, and we are honoured to have shared some of his work with the world as his publisher. We already feel at a loss without him, and our hearts go out to his family. He was precious to many people on the progressive left, with whom he worked over a lifetime of commitment to social justice and equality. Those people are all over the world, and we take strength from knowing we are part of this community of those grieving John and struggling to accept that he is gone.
Twenty five years ago, John wrote the first review of the first book ARP ever published. A detailed, serious and sympathetic review by someone of John's international reputation helped bring much-needed attention to our press at a time when we needed it most.
ARP worked with him again on the participatory economics book Show Us the Money: The Politics and Process of Alternative Budgets (1998), for which he wrote the introduction. ARP was only two years old then. At the time, the Winnipeg-based social justice group Cho!ces was running popular education workshops for activists on government budgets across Canada. John taught hundreds of activists how to understand the politics of budgets, how to be able to refute the austerity logic of right-wing budgets, and how to use economic knowledge as a tool in the struggle for change. He believed that knowledge belonged to everyone, not just to elites. Although he was a brilliant and prolific scholar, he hated the idea of the ivory tower. A beloved teacher, he wore his learning lightly.
In 2002, a conference was held in John's honour. The conference papers became Globalization, Neo-Conservative Policies, and Democratic Alternatives: Essays in Honour of John Loxley. We had the chance to meet and get to know Haroon Akram-Lodhi, an old friend of John’s, who co-edited the volume with Robert Chernomas, John’s colleague at the University of Manitoba.
Later, John gave ARP a book of his collected essays to publish, Aboriginal, Northern, and Community Economic Development: Papers and Retrospectives (2010).
John was a builder of community. He insisted that we all treat each other with kindness, and never forget which side we were on. Loyalty and generosity shaped the political work we did together. John had a genius for friendship. He was deeply empathetic. He was the glue that held people together, especially during difficult times when political battles were lost every day, and there were few victories to be found. He celebrated with us when those victories came. He mourned with us when friends were lost. And now we must do the same for each other, without him.