Jacobin Magazine is today the premier magazine of the “Bernie Left” and the Democratic Socialists of America.
Since 2017, they have come under attack for purging many of the original writers who captured the essence of left-wing populism — defending white working people, pushing back against identity politics — and trading them in for liberal interventionists, embrace of “antifa” and anarchist voices, open borders activists, and “sex worker” advocacy.
Research into the 990 forms of the Jacobin Foundation Ltd and some of the organizations giving them grants may provide clues explaining the abrupt change in Bhaskar Sunkara’s editorial line.
According to a 2017 990 form uncovered by National Justice, the Annenberg Foundation gave the Jacobin $100,000. The organization writes checks to numerous Jewish and Zionist causes, as well as a wide variety of pro-immigration and gay lobbies and legal groups. Walter Annenberg, the foundation’s namesake, was a Wall Street speculator turned media mogul. He used his money to aid Israel’s war effort during the ’67 conflict and was known for backing various ethnocentric endeavors. A six figure check from the Annenbergs to an ostensibly socialist, anti-Zionist publication raises eyebrows, to say the least.
Another significant Jacobin donor, the Jewish Communal Fund, cut the magazine a $70,000 check alongside an infinite list of pro-Israel causes..
While Jacobin reported a total revenue of $1.5 million in 2018 mostly from program services, these two organizations provided a substantial amount of their grants and contributions. The Annenberg Foundation provided almost half of Jacobin’s grant money in 2016 ($219,861), while in 2017 the JCF’s money provided almost 70% of the free cash in this column ($107,301). Not bad!
According to sources who spoke to National Justice on condition of anonymity, the editor’s promise to pay them $50 dollars for their articles never materialized.
Political magazines are rarely profitable and not all can afford to pay their writers, but the Jacobin does not appear to have money problems. According to their latest IRS filings, they have set aside $576,019 in bonds, equities, and ETFs so that they can play the stock market.
In the same year, Jacobin’s Sunkara had the money to purchase the British Tribune, which George Orwell once worked for as an editor. Sunkara immediately fired all of its loyal employees with a pitiful severance package that compensated them for only 70% of their wages.
The prestige-purchase is a mirror image of Will Chamberlain’s costly take over of Ronald Reagan’s favorite magazine Human Events, which Chamberlain then proceeded to turn into a crappy gamergate blog.
Sunkara’s latest venture is to employ The Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian and Majority Report’s Michael Brooks for a weekend podcast. It’s unlikely either of these two liberal figures are cheap. The description for the show sounds like more “liberals vs conservatives” partisanship interchangeable with the crap on MSNBC.
Bhaskar’s pivot from anti-capitalist advocacy to profitable liberalism is as obvious as the Soviet flag is red.