Toward a New Journal

TOWARD A NEW JOURNAL

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FROM COUP AT CATALYST TO A NEW JOURNAL

 

October 29, 2018

    

We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with contributors to Catalyst protesting the arbitrary coup carried out by the journal’s publisher Bhaskar Sunkara and its co-editor Vivek Chibber in order to give Chibber monopoly control over the journal by removing journal founder Robert Brenner from his position as co-editor. 

 

We had hoped Catalyst would offer an arena where the complex strategic and theoretical issues arising from the strange new world of 21st century capitalism could be debated at length. The journal took important steps in this direction, yet still needed to expand its circle of editors and writers in order to involve a wider variety of anti-capitalist theoretical and political currents, as a well as a more diverse array of voices. Instead, it moved in the opposite direction, making it necessary to envision an alternative project.

 

Chibber forced the issue by explicitly refusing to work with Brenner unless he was granted full editorial authority over Catalyst’s direction and content. He has now created an editorial board of five to give the appearance of dispersing authority.  But in view of the fact that three of the new members are his former students and one a close friend, it is evident that his purpose was only to tighten his stranglehold. We have been left with no choice but to see to the creation of a new publication ourselves.         

 

Catalyst is produced by Jacobin, which has established itself as one of the left’s more important institutions. We want to make it clear that this statement is not an attack on Jacobin, which we have no desire to harm in any way. Our political aims require a diverse and flourishing ecology of left journals and websites.

 

Left journals today have extraordinary opportunities but also face formidable obstacles. On the one hand, it has become increasingly obvious to an ever-broader public that capitalism is incapable of meeting people’s needs. But on the other hand, capitalism has itself changed in ways that require us to find new approaches to old questions and to pose novel questions appropriate to broadly new conditions. Only in this way can we hope to develop the theories and strategies that the left needs to go forward. Here are some of the critical questions that impose themselves today and require extensive analysis and discussion:

 

  • How the globalization of production has set one section of the world’s working class against another, fueling the rise of reactionary populisms around the globe, characterized by xenophobia, racism, patriarchy, and protectionism. 

  • How the transformation of the working class over the last half century – in particular, the contraction of the industrial working class in some places and its expansion in others, as well as the rise of job insecurity and new forms of precarity everywhere – has affected both the location and forms of working class struggle in the U.S. and worldwide.

  • How to build working class movements that struggle against capitalism, but also against racism, patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, and other forms of oppression without falling into the traps of class reductionism or reductive identity politics. 

  • How to understand the reorganization of the working class at a time when the old battalions of industrial labor can no longer constitute themselves as the leading force, but the nascent centers of working class militancy and power, like teachers, nurses, and logistics workers, are only just beginning to find their way.

  • How to understand and nurture the new forms of social movements that have continually disrupted the political order since the global crisis of 2008 but found it difficult to maintain their influence or sustain themselves (e.g. the movements of the squares, the French strike movements, Standing Rock, the Brazilian general strike, the post-Marikana strike wave in South Africa, and the student movement in India).

  • How and whether movements can engage in electoral politics in ways that amplify (rather than weaken) working class power built in workplaces and the streets, and that avoid falling back into social democratic and other reformist frameworks, which have, under various guises, been complicit in administering austerity worldwide for decades.

  • How to integrate an anti-war, anti-militarist, anti-imperialist program into a broader working class agenda at a time when inter-imperialist rivalry appears to be on the rise.

  • How to understand, and combat, the unbridled march toward ecological catastrophe and the destruction of the natural world.

  • How to develop a strategy for social transformation that begins to reconstruct social relations in the here and now, in everyday movement practices, while at the same time building the power necessary to dismantle the capitalist system. 

 

To confront these questions (and many more), a degree of modesty is essential. We must acknowledge that we do not have the answers, but instead must seek them through rigorous exploration and openness to unexpected and uncomfortable conclusions. This is why any serious left journal requires an editorial board that will prioritize debates, especially those without pre-determined outcomes. 

 

The signers of this statement look forward to the launching of a new journal committed to openness, experimentation, and a spirit of wide-ranging debate that can seriously take up the questions of the transformed character of capitalism, as well as class power and strategy. It should go without saying that these must include vibrant debates about gender, race, and sexuality as distinctive features of capitalist class relations. Just such a project is currently in the works.

 

Aijaz Ahmad
Comparative Literature, UC Irvine

Magally Miranda Alcazar
Editor at Viewpoint

Kevin B Anderson
Sociology, UC Santa Barbara

Joel Andreas
Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

Alex Anievas
Political Science, University of Connecticut

Amanda Armstrong-Price
History, Fordham University 

Sam Ashman
Economics, University of Johannesburg

Bob Arnot
Editor at Critique; Program Manager, Justice for All Nigeria

David Baker
Philadelphia DSA (LILAC)

Kyle Bailey
Politics, York University

Chris Bambery
Author of A Peoples History of Scotland and The Second World War: A Marxist Analysis

Jairus Banaji
Developmental Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

Colin Barker
Manchester Metropolitan University 

Crystal Bartolovich
English, Syracuse University; president, Syracuse AAUP

Shannon Bell
Politics, York University

Aaron Benanav
Editor at Endnotes

Jasper Bernes
Editor at Commune

Tithi Bhattacharya
History, Purdue University

Alexander Billet
Editor at Red Wedge

Patrick Bond
Political Economy, University of the Witswatersrand School of Governance

Ruy Braga
Sociology, University of São Paulo

Tim Brennan
Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota

Robert Brenner
History, UCLA

Ed Broadbent
Chair, Broadbent Institute; leader (1975-89), New Democratic Party of Canada

Peter Brogan
Organizer at NUHW; Sacramento DSA

Alfie Brown
Literature, Hang Seng Management College, Hong Kong

Daniel Buck
Geography and Asian Studies, University of Oregon

Bob Buzzanco
History, University of Houston

David Camfield
Independent socialist

Sharad Chari
Geography, UC Berkeley; editor of Antipode

George Ciccariello-Maher
Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, NYU

Dan Clawson
Sociology, UMass Amherst

Joshua Clover
Editor at Commune; English, UC Davis

George Comninel
Politics, York University

Chris Connery
Literature and East Asian Studies, UC Santa Cruz

Mick Cox
Editor at Critique; International Relations, LSE

Cui Zhiyuan 
Public Policy and Management, Tsingua University

Jordy Cummings
Editor at Red Wedge

Paisley Currah
Political Science, Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center

Gareth Dale
Social and Political Science, Brunel University

Neil Davidson
Sociology, University of Glasgow

Mike Davis
Writing, UC Riverside

Roisin Davis
Literary agent, writer, and editor

Alexander Day
History, Occidental College

Cedric De Leon
Labor Center Director, UMass Amherst

Jeff Diamanti
Literary and Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam

Bob Edelman
History, UC San Diego

Steve Edwards
History, Birbeck University; editor at Historical Materialism book series

Barry Eidlin
Sociology, McGill University

Hester Eisenstein
Sociology, Queens College

Geoff Eley
History, University of Michigan

Jessica Evans
Sociology, Ryerson University

Sam Farber
Political Science, Brooklyn College 

Neil Faulkner
Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Bristol

Susan Ferguson
Digital Media and Journalism, Wilfrid Laurier University

Meleiza Figueroa
Geography, UC Berkeley

Donald Filtzer
Social Sciences, University of East London

Matthew Flisfeder
Rhetoric and Communications, University of Winnipeg

Katy Fox-Hodess
Work, Employment, People, and Organizations, Sheffield University

Peter Frase
Editor at Jacobin, Vice Chair, Hudson Valley DSA

Eli Friedman
Department of International and Comparative Labor, Cornell University

Ellen David Friedman
United Caucuses of Rank and File Educators (UCORE)

Bill Gallegos
Executive Director Emeritus, Communities for a Better Environment

Keya Ganguly
Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature, University of Minnesota

Jeremiah Gaster
Politics, York University

Jack Gerson
Education activist, Oakland, California

Adolfo Gilly
Political and Social Sciences, UNAM

Jules Gleeson
Institute of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, University of Vienna

Mike Goldfield
Political Science, Wayne State University

Loren Goldner
Editor at Insurgent Notes

Rodrigo Gonsalves
Philosophy, Art, and Critical Theory, European Graduate School

Maya Gonzalez
Editor at Viewpoint

Todd Gordon
Toronto New Socialists

Marcus E. Green
Political Science, Oterbein University; Secretary, International Gramsci Society

Kate Doyle Griffiths
Anthropology, CUNY; Red Bloom Communist Collective

Emanuel Guay
Sociology, University of Quebec Montreal; Great Transition Collective 

Daniel Gutiérrez
John F. Kennedy Institute, Free University Berlin; Solidarity City Berlin

Asad Haider
Editor at Viewpoint

Katie Halper
Host of the Katie Halper Show, Podcast and radio show

Kevan Harris
Sociology, UCLA

Jack Heyman
Former Business Agent, ILWU; editor of Maritime Worker Monitor

Katsuya Hirano
History, UCLA

Michael Hirsch
Editor at New Politics; DSA Labor Branch

Tim Horras
Philadelphia Socialists 

Matthieu Hughes
International Relations, University of Erfurt

Forrest Hylton
Human Sciences and Economics, National University of Colombia (UNAL)

Johanna Isaacson
Editor at Blind Field

Chris Isett
History, University of Minnesota

Aaron Jaffe
Philosophy and Liberal Arts, Juilliard; Red Bloom Communist Collective

William Johnson
Movement of Radical Educators, UFT; Red Bloom Communist Collective

Joel Jordan
United Teachers of LA Former Director of Special Projects; currently coordinating a multi-local teacher union project in California 

Angela Joya
International Relations, University of Oregon

Don Kalb
Anthropology, University of Bergen and University of Utrecht; founding editor of Focaal

Tom Keefer
Smoke Signals Media

Liam Kelly
UNC Chapel Hill Young Democratic Socialists of America

Larry King
Economics, UMass Amherst

Zbigniew Marcin Kowalewski
Instytut Wydawniczy „Książka i Prasa”, Warsaw

James Lafferty
Institute for the Humanities, University of Southern California; Executive Director Emeritus, National Lawyers Guild L.A. Chapter

Xavier Lafrance
Quebec Solidaire and Reseau Ecosocialiste, Montreal

Madeline Lane-McKinley
Editor at Blind Field

Neil Larsen
Comparative Literature, UC Davis 

Neil Lazarus
English and Comparative Literary Studies Program, University of Warwick

Nicole Leach
Politics, York University

Ching-Kwan Lee
Sociology, UCLA

Zachary Levenson
Sociology, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Sophie Lewis
Editor at Blind Field

Evan Loker
English, Johns Hopkins University

Isidro Lopez
MP, Regional Parliament of Madrid; Member, Instituto Democracia y Municpalismo

John Marot
History, Keimyung University

Luiz Renato Martins
Visual Arts, University of São Paulo

Sarah Mason
Sociology, UC Santa Cruz

Yassamine Mather
Editor at Critique

Savas Michael Matsas
Editor at Critique; Radiologist-Oncologist; Philosophy, Athens University

Mike McCarthy
Sociology, Marquette University

Jamie McCallum
Sociology, Middlebury College

Annie McClanahan
English, UC Irvine

David McNally
History, University of Houston

Mladen Medved
Central European University

Ayan Meer
Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

Dave Mesing
Editor at Viewpoint

Stephen Miller
History, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Alan Minsky
Executive Director, Progressive Democrats of America

Colin Moers
Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University

Kim Moody
University of Westminister

Jason Moore
Sociology, SUNY Binghamton 

Joshua Moufawad-Paul
Philosophy, York University

Bill Mullen
American Studies, Purdue University

Felipe Ziotti Narita
Applied Social Sciences, São Paulo State University and University of São Paulo

Michelle O’Brien
Sociology, NYU

Einde O'Callaghan
Marxists Internet Archive

Vicky Osterweil
Editor at The New Inquiry

Benita Parry
Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick

Jaime Pastor
Izquierda Anticapitalista, Madrid

Josh Pechthalt
President, California Federation of Teachersx

Simon Pirani
Historian and writer on energy

Charles Post
Sociology, Borough of Manhattan Community College and CUNY Graduate Center

Carlos Prieto del Campo
Editor, Madrid

Scott Prudham
Geography and Planning, University of Toronto

Tom Reifer
Sociology, University of San Diego; Fellow, Transnational Institute

Sébastien Rioux
Geography, University of Montreal

Emmanuel Rodriguez
Editor at Traficantes de Suenos,  Madrid; Member, Instituto Democracia y Municpalismo

Emir Sader
Political Science, University of São Paolo; director, Latin American Social Science Research Council (CLACSO)

Shemon Salam
Social Thought and Political Economy, UMass Amherst

Alain Savard
Politics, York University 

Erica Schoenberger
Geography and Environmental Engineering, Johns Hopkins University

Stuart Schrader
Sociology, Johns Hopkins University

Alan Sears
Sociology, Ryerson University

Mike Seltzer
Anthropology, Oslo Metropolitan University

Benjamin Selwyn
International Relations and International Development, University of Sussex

William Sewell
History, University of Chicago; editor of Critical Historical Studies

Stephen Shapiro
English and Comparative Literary Studies Program, University of Warwick

Eric Sheppard
Geography, UCLA

Andrew Smith
Sociology, University of Glasgow

Jason E. Smith
Editor at Endnotes 

Richard Smith
SystemChangeNotClimateChange.org; DSA Ecosocialist Working Group

Ian Steinman
Editor at New Militant

William K. Tabb
Economics, Queens College; Economics, Political Science, and Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center

Christopher Taylor
English, University of Chicago 

Benno Teschke
International Relations, University of Sussex

Hillel Ticktin
Editor at Critique; Marxist Studies, University of Glasgow

Cassandra Troyan
Department of Design, Linnaeus University

Cihan Tuğal
Sociology, UC Berkeley

Marcel Van der Linden
International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam

Satnam Virdee
Sociology, University of Glasgow 

Lise Vogel
Sociology, Rider University 

Kit Wainer
United Federation of Teachers 

Kip Waldo
Speak Out Now/RWG; Anthropology, Chabot College

Dick Walker
Geography, UC Berkeley

Derek Wall 
Author of The Rise of the Green Left; former Principal International Coordinator of Green Party, UK 

Wang Hui
Chinese Language and Literature, Tsinghua University

Martabel Wasserman
Independent curator

Chloe Watlington
Editor at Commune

Michael Watts
Geography, UC Berkeley

Jeff Webber
Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London

Suzi Weissman
Jacobin Radio; Editor at Critique; Politics, Saint Mary’s College of California

Bjorn Westergard
Tech Workers Coalition

Jon Wiener
Contributing editor at The Nation and host of the magazine’s weekly podcast “Stop Making Sense; History, UC Irvine

Charles Williams
Editor at Against the Current

Thom Workman
Political Science, University of New Brunswick

Michael Yates
Editor, writer, labor educator; University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Pedro Paulo Zahluth-Bastos
Economics, University of Campinas

Michael Andrew Žmolek
History and International Studies, University of Iowa