We are incredibly saddened by the passing of John Logue. It's so hard to fathom that he's gone. This is a place where we can share some thoughts and memories about John Logue.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tribute from Eric Einhorn

Professor John A. Logue, 1947-2009

John Logue was truly a man for all seasons. He was an outstanding political scientist, a dedicated teacher, and skilled administrator, and a trusted colleague. He was never just a professional “contact,” but soon became a close friend, adviser, and confidant of those who knew him for any length of time. His family, friends, and colleagues know this, so I will not dwell at length. Let me try to put some perspective on John’s work and life beyond Kent.

I had the privilege of knowing John for just shy of 40 years. We met a reception for American Fulbright scholars in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1970. John had been awarded a prestigious George Marshall Fellowship for study and research in Denmark. Since I was also dedicated to Scandinavian studies with an emphasis on Denmark, it was natural that we shared many interests. Thus began four decades of friendship and joint research on many topics relating to European and Scandinavian studies and comparative politics and political economy.

We shared the insights of alternative ways of dealing with post-industrial societies but our particular common thread was democracy. If one had to sum up the motivation behind John Logue’s many professional achievements, one could do it with the word democracy. For John this concept started, of course, with a dedication to the politics of constitutional democracy, but it went far beyond. John understood that democracy had social, economic, and cultural dimensions that often were harder to attain than just competitive free elections. One of our first (of many) conversations, we discussed Rousseau’s quip that the English were only free on Election Day. Democracy requires much more. Typical was John’s frequent reference to the old slogan of the Scandinavian democratic left: the working class must move forward on two strong legs: the labor movement and the labor party.

At the time John did his graduate work and early writings, the “New Left” was a rising tide especially in Europe. Despite the horrors of Stalinism, the Soviet repression of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, young Europeans – and some Americans – believed that democratic socialism was not an oxymoron. John was one who believed that mass democracy required mass participation not only in politics but in the economy and in social change. His first major book, Socialism and Abundance, analyzes the rise and challenges facing democratic socialism in affluent societies during the last third of the 20th Century. It is still the standard work on the topic. John continued his interest in the Left in his research, teaching, and writing. He held visiting research positions in Sweden and Denmark and was for three years a Professor at Roskilde University in Denmark. Upon his return to Kent State, however, the next and most impressive phase of John’s career commenced, without any let up in his on-going research and writing in comparative and Scandinavian politics. There would follow seven other books and dozens of articles on an incredible range of topics.

Others can better summarize his immense work on behalf of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center. I must admit to occasional jealousy at John’s total dedication to the Center, but in truth it was yet another project that John propelled forward along with all the others. Our book Modern Welfare States finally appeared in 1989 and happily a revised and expanded edition was published in 2003. All of our work was so intensely collaborative that I rarely can remember which “chapters” were mine or his. This was not unique: John truly believed in collaboration and cooperation. Nearly all of his major projects brought together others with whom John gladly shared the work and achievements.

Yet let no one doubt that John was a “mighty oak” in the groves of academia and the world of economic reform and change. His energy, selflessness, and spirit carried all of us along. How much we will miss that soft Texan accent, those twinkling eyes and good humor. No less that dedication to a better university, community and world that was John Logue’s life goal. He can no longer lead us, but John can still inspire us to do more, to do better, and to do right. May that spirit never die.

Eric S. Einhorn
Professor Emeritus of Political Science
University of Massachusetts Amherst

13 December 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Kent State University's John Logue was pioneer in economic development

Plain-Dealer Op-ed
December 18, 2009, 3:00AM

By Karen Thomas

Kent -- Kent State Political Science Professor John Logue, who died earlier this month at age 62, two days after being diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer, was a pioneer of employee ownership as an economic development strategy for Ohio.

Starting in the 1980s, he worked with many others to pioneer a partnership-based model for cost-effective, sustainable economic development using employee ownership to avert the shutdown of otherwise viable firms and providing an ownership succession strategy in small business to retain good jobs for Ohio workers.

This strategy to promote employee ownership has had a positive impact on Ohio's economy and inspired others nationally and internationally.

Logue started the Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State University in 1987 to provide information, initial technical assistance to business owners and employee buyout groups, and assistance in improving the performance of existing employee-owned firms.

By unanimous vote of the Ohio legislature in 1988, the Ohio Employee Ownership Assistance Program was formally established as one tool in Ohio's economic development toolbox. These tools are designed to develop and provide information to promote the establishment and successful operation of employee-owned companies; to assist in the evaluation of employee buyouts determined to be feasible, including assistance in obtaining financing; and to provide assistance and counsel in the operation of employee-owned firms.

Ohio's employee ownership toolbox now includes the Small Business Succession Planning Program, launched in 1996; Ohio's Preliminary Feasibility Assessment Program, part of Ohio's Rapid Response unit which responds to federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Negotiation Act notices of facility closures with assistance in exploring whether a transition to employee ownership will keep the doors open and save jobs; and the Ohio Treasurer's Linked Deposit Program, which provides lending support to small businesses for stabilization and growth through employee ownership.

In 2005, the OEOC pioneered a new model for retiring owners selling small companies to their employees through a cooperative, allowing a tax deferral on the capital gains tax comparable to the tax break the seller would have obtained by a sale to employees through an employee stock ownership plan.

In 2008, the OEOC helped launch the Greater University Circle Initiative model, including the start-up of worker-owned cooperatives that employ low-income residents and provide goods and services to neighborhood hospitals and universities. The worker-owned Evergreen Cooperative Laundry and Ohio Cooperative Solar that Logue helped launch in October to employ inner-city residents were part of that initiative.

Kent State and the Ohio Employee Ownership Center have hosted international visitors and collaborated on international exchanges to further the work in employee ownership. In 1991, a technical exchange agreement was established between Kent State University and leaders of Russia's economic reform initiative to adapt the U.S. experience to their privatization efforts, which eventually supported business development centers at state universities in several regions of Russia.

With initial help from the Ford Foundation, the Ohio Employee Ownership Center helped launched the Capital Ownership Group, a global Web-based discussion center and electronic library, as one of the first international sources of information on employee ownership.

The OEOC has assisted groups in Vermont, New York and Indiana, among many other states seeking to develop employee ownership programs. A recent project, funded with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides help in using employee ownership in rural Ohio for business ownership succession.

Just last week, we received the news that the Australian Employee Buyout Centre in Sydney, which is modeled on and was mentored by John Logue and the OEOC team, was officially established the day after his death.

Thomas is coordinator at the Ohio Employee Ownership Center of a network of 80 employee-owned companies in the state.

© 2009 All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I feel shocked and saddened...

I feel shocked and saddened by John Logue’s untimely death. The sadness is mixed with a feeling of having been fortunate to know him and be inspired by his vision and his presence. Some of my colleagues and I here in Canada had the opportunity to work with, and get to know, John Logue over the past three years, and prior. He gave so much of himself, contributed far beyond the call of duty and shared his vision of a more just world in a concrete and highly effective way – by helping to build it. Through the Western Labour Worker Co-op Council, I and others were able to work with John on attempted buy-outs as well as drafting of guides and a research paper. Although we had to work at a distance from each other, he frequently spent significant time on the phone with me or the group, imparting his knowledge for the benefit of workers in our communities affected by impending job loss, and he also went out of his way to meet with some of our group in Montreal. Our Council would not exist in its current form without John’s influence. I can also carry with me the fact that I was able to meet him once, at the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy this past summer in Pittsburgh. John was with us far too briefly, but he leaves a legacy which will live on: in Ohio, in other parts of the US and also in Canada.

My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at OEOC.

Hazel Corcoran
Executive Director, Canadian Worker Co-op Federation"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

John Logue: The Fr. Arizmendi of the Rust Belt

John Logue was, and continues to be, the Fr. Arizmendi of Ohio and the Rust Belt. Fr. Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta was the priest who rallied the Basques from the ashes of Guernika to create Mondragon. He was a tireless teacher and a practical leader, although he never held any official position in any of the Mondragon companies.
I knew John from the beginning of his journey to create Mondragon in Ohio.

In 1984 he came to the first union conference on employee ownership in the US, held in Detroit, and asked to clone me to help him in Ohio. Of course John went way beyond any clone of me and the Michigan Employee Ownership Center. The employee owned network of companies with related loan funds and insurance pools is the closest example of Mondragon-like industrial business cooperation in the US.

John championed and helped create some of the first industrial worker cooperatives in the US when that form was not popular. He helped create legal tools to make them more viable.

The OEOC is leading the emerging Evergreen Cooperative group in inner-city Cleveland businesses. It is the first such effort in the US. Communities around the country are looking to it for inspiration.

In 1997, John took a chance on my vision to create a global network to promote broad ownership as a response to globalization. He found initial funding from KSU and worked with me to secure funding from the Ford and Sloan Foundations and the German Marshall Fund to create the Capital Ownership Group (COG). COG is global network, on-line think tank and conference center that operated for 10 years from OEOC. It enabled people from the developing and developed world to share best practices and create policy proposals to protect communities from global corporate overreaching.

It was a great joy working with John over the past 26 years and an incredible learning experience. John was a highly gifted teacher and leader. He did impeccable research, along with his long-time research partner, Jackie Yates. That research formed the base of the powerful and successful arguments he made to bring about major change in Ohio, which is a beacon throughout the Midwest and the world.

He wrote simply and powerfully, in a style anyone could understand. I remember hearing him at a meeting of workers who were deciding whether or not to pursue an employee buyout, and thinking he sounded just like a Texas preacher at a revival. He was able to communicate the practical benefits of employee ownership and cooperation to business, government, labor, academic and philanthropic leaders. He inspired people from all these communities to work together to build a resource center and employee owned business network that is the most vibrant and successful in America.

He built an incredible team of staff, advisors, friends, consultants, political and thought leaders.

The auto industry crisis has finally made south east Michigan seriously consider worker ownership as a redevelopment tool. I’ve been discussing strategy with John. He was more than willing to repay whatever help we provided OEOC 25 years ago. He made an inspiring and riveting speech at the first major conference of Detroit’s Center for Community-Based Enterprise in September. We will sorely miss his guidance and advice.
Most of all, John was a dear friend and colleague. He was imaginative, visionary, practical, a lot of fun to be with and loved his family. In the last few years, when Olga and Katherine traveled with him on all his trips, he beamed a new and beautiful sense of personal contentment.

He was not finished, but John lived a very good life.

Deborah Groban Olson, is an employee ownership attorney, Ex. Dir. of the Center for Community-Based Enterprise, Inc., collaborator with John since 1984 on many employee ownership projects, including the Capital Ownership Group.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Where to send your cards

If your are interested in sending a card. Here's Olga's address:

Olga Klepikova
133 N. Prospect
Kent OH 44240

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My first semester at Kent State . . .

My first semester at Kent State, I took Political Parties and Interest Groups with Dr. John Logue. One assignment was to volunteer for twenty hours for a candidate or issue campaign of our choice and write a paper about our experiences. On the sheet he handed out explaining the assignment, he included a few contacts for local races (on both sides of aisle of course). I called the number that connected me to Tim Ryan for Congress in 2002. With a nudge and a lot of encouragement, Dr. Logue started me a path that led to professional and personal successes. I am grateful and heartbroken I was able to tell him how much that class (and subsequent classes I took with him) meant to me and how thankful I am that I was in the right place at the right time to learn a little from his genius before he passed.

On the Tim Ryan campaign I fell in love with both campaigning as a career and Sean, who is now my husband of four and a half years. I am sure Dr. Logue saw the former as a possible outcome of the assignment, but showed little surprise at the latter either. In fact, over the years, Sean and I have constantly given him credit for finding each other - after all, if I hadn’t been in the class and Dr. Logue had written some other campaign contact information on the assignment sheet, things could have been very different for us. Dr. Logue always pushed away the credit we assigned him, saying “I’ll take credit if it goes well, but if it ends poorly, I’m not accepting the blame”. When I introduced Dr. Logue to my parents at an awards banquet dinner, I introduced him as the professor that gave me the assignment that led to Sean. Dr. Logue, looking slightly panicked at my father, said “Heidi! That might not be a good thing to your father, don’t blame me for that, I deny it”. I didn’t think about it at the time, but who would know better than Dr. Logue how fathers feel about their daughters and dating.

Dr. Logue, and his wife Olga, have always been there for us. This was amazing, because I’m sure many students came and went from his life yearly, so his patience and willingness to not only spend time us but also help us celebrate our successes is truly a testament to what kind of man he was. Dr. Logue and Olga took my husband and I out to dinner for my birthday one year, where they gave me a book called “Rivethead” by Ben Hamper. They were unable to attend our wedding because of prior commitments that had them out of the country, and he expressed his regret in a heart felt letter I will cherish forever, so they celebrated with us when they got back. We ate Indian food and got cross looks from the waitresses at the Saffron Patch because we had been there for hours and they wanted to close the restaurant for the night.

Also importantly, he set my feet on the career path that has been very kind to me. I have managed several campaigns and currently work for an elected official doing government and media relations. Dr. Logue was “that” teacher to my husband and me. I feel terrible sorrow that we will never get to hear another story, I will never get another special Dr. Logue forty-five minute lecture on the minutia of the dispute between the Greeks and the Turks on the Island of Cyprus, nor will we hear any more of his jokes, extremely witty, extremely dry and extremely unassuming. If you weren’t listening, you may not have caught half of how genuinely funny he was. So to celebrate his life, instead of feeling terrible sorrow for our loss, I will share my favorite Dr. Logue quotes:

“Well! If Pat Buchanan wrote a book about it…” (In response to a student, who, in defending his position, proclaimed “It’s true! Pat Buchanan wrote a book about it!”)

“We don’t discriminate against lawyers. But a law degree isn’t needed for this job.”

“Term limits may not work in the legislature, but they are useful in university departments.”

“You want to go to the Bliss Institute? You know they’re all Republicans there right?” (Said in jest, of course!)

“What you don't unpack within six weeks or so may as well go to the attic since you obviously don't need it.” (Dr. Logue’s advice when Sean and I bought our first house.)

Heidi Swindell

Scholarship fund established in John's memory

The “John Logue Memorial Employee Ownership Scholarship Fund” has been created. This endowed fund sets up an annual scholarship that will live on forever. We seek to raise $100,000. Olga Klepikova, John’s wife, asks that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the scholarship fund or to the Ohio Employee Ownership Center.

To contribute to the scholarship fund, please make your tax-deductible checks to “KSU Foundation” and write “Logue Memorial Employee Ownership Scholarship Fund” on the memo line. Checks should be sent to: Department of Political Science, 302 Bowman Hall, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, OH 44242-0001.