General thread about Jacobin Mag + American railroads discussion

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Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Joined: 29-04-08
Mar 10 2018 21:43
Mike Harman wrote:
Do you mean in print or online or both? I'd like this site to do that online, but it requires both the redesign (so it's easier to actually read things, especially on a phone) and a significant uptick in news articles and blog posts to get to a point where it's in some way keeping up with events. We've tried to broaden out the range of contributors with a degree of success but could do a lot more.

Well, I'm speaking in comparison to Jacobin and you can't separate print from digital with them. I don't think libcom is in a good position to be a further left version of Jacobin. It has a different history, purpose, editorial standards, time for original content efforts, etc. I don't really see anyone in a good position for this, but the IWW is in a better position, because it has a print publication which it subsidizes, along with an editor who is paid (not very much, though). If they wanted to, they could create a nonprofit just for the publication, come up with a new editorial line, actually have a web presence, prioritize original content, better design etc. Once upon a time I was planning to eventually throw my hat in the ring to be the editor and my plan for the IW would have been something like that. The major things preventing moves like that is that the IWW as a cultural establishment is very much attached to the status quo of what exists for them, and it is very difficult to change things when they've been around in the same way for years and years.

sherbu-kteer
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Joined: 19-08-17
Mar 20 2018 03:21

I think there's a bunch of factors that explain why Jacobin and the DSA have grown so much in the past few years.

1. They're kind of an off-shoot of left-wing academia, the DSA itself seems to be mostly based around university campuses, and the majority of Jacobin contributors are grad students. Anarchists don't have a whole lot of penetration within academia so I think an anarchist competitor mag would struggle to find a lot of skilled writers that could contribute, at least in the same middlebrow, 'watered down cultural studies' manner.

2. They oppose Trump without being mainstream Democrat style liberals. They're probably the most visible non-Liberal anti-Trump force so they pick up a lot of people who hate the Republicans but are also dissatisfied with the Democrats. Sanders diehards, for instance, and twitter leftists.

3. They write about leftist ideas without delving into the clunky gibberish style of writing that charactarises a lot of left-academia. They've been openly critical of typical ideas of the academic left like post-colonialism, at least as it's normally understood. This appeals to people who like left ideas but are turned off by what they perceive as the left's rhetorical excesses. They buck the sadly all-too-common stereotype that the right wing promotes, of leftists being irrational people with blue hair that scream at strangers and are offended by everything.

There is a lot of potential for an anarchist or non-statist revolutionary magazine to come through, if it has the same kind of accessible tone. But it would be a struggle. Juan I think you're on the right track but I think the IWW's internal culture would be the least of your problems in editing such a magazine.