On Mimicking the Accomplishments of JacobinMag
If Austro Libertarian Magazine, or ALMag, is going to be a success, if it is going to be profitable and have the impact that it should, it needs to be the most premium and world class quality possible. This is not something that is possible without time and money– so we start slow, and learn from those around us.
The more I read and study Jacobin, the more I realize the extent to which I must practice the phrase “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Jacobin has mastered three things, that I want to adopt:
First, they offer deeply thought out, rich content that gets to the heart of things even libertarians care about (although we have the opposite formulation for it all, centered on the foundation of private property.): Central Banking, booms and busts, the debt-based financialization of government budgets. They even have a multi-page graphic overviewing the mergers and acquisitions and transformations of the major financial institutions in the west since the 18th century. In a word, their brand is not AOC’s cheap and anti-intellectual hashtaggery.
Second, they leverage the powerful tool of nostalgia in employing the vocabulary and frameworks of ages past, and apply them in fresh ways to modern problems. They speak as good socialists should: in terms of the capitalist class, in terms of exploitation theory, in terms profit as theft, in terms of blaming Keynesianism for being a tool by which the wealth of the world is redistributed from the late receivers of money to the early receivers of money (something the Austrian school also understands, though of course our judgement of Keynesianism is it’s anti-capitalism, not its fulfillment of capitalism).
Compare this employment of actual historical socialist themes with the “socialism” (which is actually left-interventionism, not socialism) of people like Bernie and Warren, wherein the latter speak about making the capitalist system work for the poor, about raising taxes on the rich, about healthcare provided by the Federal government. Orthodox marxists aren’t supposed to talk this way. This is what has been denounced as reformism: using the system to make it more palatable for the working class. No, Jacobin wants revolution. They are smart about their presentation of it, they are wrong, but they know what they are doing. This makes them dangerous.
Third, for them, the experience of the magazine is everything. We have great blogs and websites out there– with the finest content in the world; but Jacobin recognizes that there is a major market appeal to the experience of the presentation. Thus, their minimalist design, their subtle reference to the socialist themes of old, their graphical aspects that wonderfully complement their writing, all this is quiet enviable. And it is something I will work to incorporate as we raise more funds.
Besides these major areas, here are some things that really stand out about the magazine:
- It has a “journal” feel to it: it is 120 pages, glue bound, glossy pages, thick enough to have the title on the spine.
- They have their regular staff writers and columnists that write under recurring column headings in accordance with whatever theme the specific issue is pushing that quarter (their most recent one is global finance)
- They also have four “featured” essays, with content provided (and likely paid handsomely for) by key professors, socialist financiers, and their main editor.
- They have a featured, in depth interview.
- They have an emphasis on the two pillars of every self-conscious movement: theory and strategy (they understand that their readers need to know the ideal, and also partake in considerations as to how to fulfill the ideal).
- They have recurring columns on: the struggle against the capitalist class, complaints against the rich, educational content needed as intellectual armor for the budding socialist, profiles on victims of capitalism, history, theory, real world commentary, reflections on their heroes, strategy sessions.
Simple | Elegant | Minimal
While the specific headings are subject to change, I have tried to create a brand range of recurring columns as well. Here is an example (Important: below are the section/column titles. The actual article titles are not listed and will change every issue, obviously).
01. The World Around Us
Column Title 1: The Circus
Note: Refers to LRC’s Political Circus blog
Column Title 2: Cultural Tides
Note: Henry Hazlitt had his Business Tides articles
Column Title 3: The Battle of Ideas
Note: Mises– “Only ideas can overcome ideas and it is only the ideas of Capitalism and of [Classical] Liberalism that can overcome Socialism. Only by a battle of ideas can a decision be reached.”
Column Title 4: FedWatch
02. From Whence We Came
Column Title 1: Left and Right
Note: Rothbard had a publication called Left and Right
Column Title 2: Grand Narratives
Note: articles relating to “macro” views of history
Column Title 3: The Development of Doctrine
Notes: Moments of improvement made by and within proto-Austrian and libertarian camps over the centuries
03. Theory: Ideas and Ideals
(Actual and exclusive contributions and applications to AustroLibertarian theory)
Column Title 1: Austrian Economics
Column Title 2: Libertarian Theory
Column Title 3: Theory, Applied
Note: How libertarian or Austrian theory would be applied specifically to a single trending issue, such as school shootings
Column Title 4: Our Enemy the State
Note: a reflection on the damage that the state has done to family, businesses, culture, etc.
04. Our Beloved Movement
Column Title 1: Featured Interview
Note: Long form, in depth, key component to every quarterly
Column Title 2: Archives
Note: Hoping to get permission to publish older, issue-relevant content from decades ago.
Column Title 3: The Shoulders We Stand On
Note: Reflections on the people and icons that made our movement possible
Column Title 4: Book Review
05. Dissent! Our Path Forward
Column Title 1: Dominant Social Themes
Note: A list and short dissent from key topics being hustled at us in the media (global warming, gun crises, etc)
Column Title 2: Mises Caucus Updates
Note: Hoping to rope Michael Heise into doing regular update.
Column Title 3: Depolitization
06. Rothbard’s Cackle
Column Title 1: Some Sort of Activity
Column Title 2: Crossword
Column Title 3: Satirical Piece
Column Title 4: Movie Review
I’m pouring my life into this and I really hope it comes to fruition. We have planned an initial trial digital-only release for the end of January. None of this would be possible without the funds we have raised via our PayPal pool, early subscribers, and the Liberty Classroom kickbacks associated with funding this project. If you would like to see this all happen, please consider subscribing or helping with funding in some other way.
In the meantime, here are some resources for learning more:
- How to get a free subscription by signing up for Liberty Classroom
- The Magazine Page itself (subscription information on that page)
- A sample layout of the Magazine (article titles completely made up)
- Instructions for contributing (we are paying for magazine content)
- Questions/comment/feedback appreciated!!