Let’s not kid ourselves: 2017 was a weird year. Since Inauguration Day, things have been kind of a blur at your neighborhood socialist magazine.
As the first year of the Trump presidency, 2017 brought an endless onslaught of awful delivered from on high. But it also brought a groundswell of popular resistance, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a long time. And no, we’re not talking about the tuxedoed cadre of #TheResistance, bunkered at their year-end office parties, giddily recapping twelve months of subtweets and talk-show zingers.
We’re talking about the thousands of ordinary people who stood up to Trump and his noxious coalition this year. We’re talking about those who flooded airports in defense of Muslim travelers, who braved alt-right violence in Charlottesville and Boston, who put their careers on the line to expose sexual violence in American workplaces. And, yes, we’re talking about whatever hero of socialist labor sent a box of rank shit to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s new Washington digs, just in time for Christmas.
For our part in 2017, we think we did a pretty good job. We published something like a thousand articles, released scores of podcasts, and, as promised, delivered four issues of full-color socialism to you and 36,000 of your comrades. We launched Catalyst, a new print journal edited by Robert Brenner and Vivek Chibber, and released three full issues of accessible, scholarly work. Oh, and we held events — lots of events, with hundreds of people, in some of the most storied venues in the country.
We covered a lot of ground this year. (We even saw your dad at Whole Foods.) Our team of editors, designers, writers, and organizers did some of its best work yet, in deeply disorienting conditions. What better way to celebrate that work than with a hastily assembled compilation post?
We kicked the year off with the Anti-Inauguration, a night of socialist agitation timed to coincide with Trump’s swearing-in, featuring Jacobin contributors Naomi Klein, Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Owen Jones, Jeremy Scahill, and Anand Gopal. Even the Huffington Post was into it: “It had the vibe of a call-and-response church revival or a sold-out rock concert.” Later, we published the whole thing as a free e-book.
Our winter issue, “Journey to the Dark Side,” dissected Trump and the GOP, showing that the president was a monstrosity of the Republicans’ own making. In it, we speculated about what Trump means for neoliberalism, made fun of Nate Silver, and investigated the alt-right’s porn preferences.
The 2010s are just like the 1910s — the masses dig radio. We launched Jacobin Radio at the beginning of the year with podcasts from Suzi Weissman and Doug Henwood — and, of course, Daniel Denvir’s The Dig.
What the hell is the Left to do with the European Union…? A group of authors from across the continent offered ten proposals.
We also followed up on our 2016 book The ABCs of Socialism (the perfect gift for the budding socialist in your life…) with a series of talks on its key themes. Watch as Jacobin answers the burning questions: Why do socialists talk about workers so much? Is socialism is a Eurocentric concept? Why does your shitty uncle keep saying “it works on paper, but …”?
This was also the month when some liberals started to lionize George W. Bush.
In Catalyst’s inaugural issue, Mike Davis dissected Trump’s base, Vivek Chibber made the case for rescuing class from the cultural turn, and Cedric Johnson wondered if nostalgia for the Black Power movement is really the way forward in 2017.
Remember France? They actually elected their Hillary Clinton. (Well, at least they defeated their Trump.) But for a moment, there was a radiant red spot on the French horizon — leftist presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. We spoke with one of his closest collaborators just before the election.
Like Mr. Mao always said, when spring arrives, let a thousand flowers bloom — and release a new issue of Jacobin (or something like that). In our spring issue, “By Taking Power,” we turned our attention to the Pink Tide — a recent wave of left-wing electoral victories in Latin America, now falling victim to crisis, degeneration, and defeat.
Meanwhile, while #TheResistance was fist-pumping over John McCain’s reluctant vote against Trumpcare, a grassroots movement for single-payer health care spread from coast to coast. Matt Bruenig crunched some numbers for us: “single-payer is a no-brainer.” Here’s how we could do it.
We remembered the Baltimore Uprising — and called for further struggle.
Remember when Theresa May wanted to “strengthen her hand” with a snap election, and instead handed thirty seats over to the absolute boy? Man, that was a good day. Here’s our founding editor Bhaskar Sunkara, getting excited about it: “The Tories may still be in power, but Jeremy Corbyn won.”
We’re no fun to hang out with on the Fourth of July. But on Bastille Day, we party like it’s 1789 (or 1889). Here’s Sean Larson on the rise and fall of the Second International.
(These recaps are getting shorter and shorter, because it’s the weekend and this is annoying af to compile.)
White supremacists marched on Charlottesville. We responded: “the most important struggle in the US today is stopping the growth of the racist right wing.”
We released our summer issue, “Earth, Wind, & Fire,” about climate change. Daniel Aldana Cohen warned of the dangers of eco-apartheid and called for a Green New Deal. Alyssa Battistoni dreamed of revitalized working-class movements for the age of eco-catastrophe. And Connor Kilpatrick pointed out that the greatest environmentalist in American history wasn’t a professor or a wonk — he worked in a chemical plant.
It’s good — plus it has three covers.
Hurricane season hit with a vengeance this year. In Puerto Rico, September’s Hurricane Maria was a not-so-natural disaster, a crisis of capitalist exploitation and colonial neglect as much as ecological ruin. Nearby, ecologist Andres Malm surveyed the damage on Dominica and wondered if Maria was the island’s final conquest.
Oh, and we finally capitulated to liberalism and starting selling tote bags.
October saw an incredible groundswell of women taking risks to say that harassment and abuse is everybody’s problem. Actor Morgan Spector wondered how the Screen Actors Guild could have failed its members so badly, and assistant editor Alex Press offered some strategic clarity for confronting abusive bosses even under threat of retaliation.
An independence referendum in Catalonia led to repression in the streets and much debate within the international left. Jacobin hosted contributions from members of Spanish left-wing party Podemos and of the Catalan anticapitalist party CUP — sometimes in the same interview.
We also interviewed the leader of Iceland’s Left-Greens, just weeks before that party won one of its biggest victories to date, becoming the second most powerful member of Iceland’s governing coalition.
The Left in the United States had a good election day in November — we fucked around and got a triple-double.
We recalled a time when social democracy was vibrant with the story of the prewar German SPD, once the largest socialist party in the world — big enough for choirs, gymnastics clubs, and a theater troupe.
The people over at Reason, your worst nephew’s favorite website, agreed to explain why they like capitalism so much. We invited all our friends — thing is, our friends are a rowdy bunch, and sometimes we can’t stop them from laughing. The business press took note: “One of the hottest tickets in New York City this weekend,” reported Bloomberg, “was a discussion on whether to overthrow capitalism.”
We interviewed two of the most prominent figures on the European left. Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias discussed Catalonia, the Spanish right’s attempt to “rupture the territorial fabric” of Spain’s plurinational republic, and the way forward for an embattled Spanish left. Li Anderson of Finland’s Left Alliance told us how to save the welfare state by taxing the robots and establishing a universal basic income.
Our full year of Russian Revolution coverage culminated in a blockbuster winter issue, “The First Red Century.” Bhaskar Sunkara celebrated the revolution, but discussed whether its ultimate fate could have been avoided in “The Few Who Won.” Megan Erickson celebrated early-Soviet schooling in “Red Diaper Babies.” Georgi Derluguian remembered writing a dissertation on southern African liberation movements during Gorbachev’s thaw — a Kafka-esque ordeal he called “Straying from the Party Line.”
And then on December 31, we wrote this charming round-up before we started drinking bubbly.
Things might get even more tumultuous. But Jacobin is the rare publication that is both invested in opposing the outrages of today and that believes profoundly in the horizon of socialism: a world built on human need, not corporate profits.
You do that and we’ll do our part: we’re planning to put out 1,500 essays in 2018, a host of new paperback books, and an even better print magazine. Thanks again for your support and happy New Year!