Former staff members of the socialist magazine Current Affairs say they were summarily fired after tensions with their founder, socialist commentator Nathan J. Robinson, over whether he should share authority with his employees.
In an open letter, five former staff members wrote Wednesday:
Dear comrades, We, the former full and part-time staff, write to you with deep sadness and disappointment about recent events that have occurred at Current Affairs. On August 8th, editor-in-chief Nathan J. Robinson (author of Why You Should Be A Socialist) unilaterally fired most of the workforce to avoid an organizational restructuring that would limit his personal power. Yes, we were fired by the editor-in-chief of a socialist magazine for trying to start a worker co-op.
“Everyone’s stated goal, including Nathan’s, was to create a democratic workplace where all voices were equally valued. But when we finally got around to discussing organizational models during a Zoom meeting on August 7th, Nathan became agitated,” the letter continued. Robinson soon demanded removed employees’ computer credentials and made clear they no longer had jobs, the letter said.
The letter said that Robinson wrote in an email:
This organization has been heading slowly for some sort of reckoning where it was going to have to be made clear once and for all what kind of authority I wanted to have over it. And I was in denial about the fact that the answer is I think I should be on top of the org chart, with everyone else selected by me and reporting to me. I let Current Affairs build up into a sort of egalitarian community of friends while knowing in my heart that I still thought of it as my project over which I should have control.
The staff continued:
He has effectively fired us for organizing for better work conditions. We are sad, aghast, betrayed, and of course, angry to realize that this person we trusted has been lying to us for years. We, a small staff composed entirely of women and non-binary people, have faithfully worked to make Current Affairs the beautiful, engaging leftist magazine and podcast that it is.
The staff was fired without warning… We know that this news will devastate people who may be reeling from losses of faith, old and new. …
We are frankly devastated to lose our high esteem for Current Affairs. The left can be as lonely and vicious as anywhere else on this earth.
Robinson’s bio reads:
I hold a JD from Yale Law School and am presently a PhD student in Sociology and Social Policy at Harvard University, and the author or editor of ten books including “Why You Should Be A Socialist and Trump: Anatomy of a Monstrosity” as well as “Superpredator,” a “good primer on liberal duplicity.”
He addressed the situation on Facebook, saying that while he was “not a capitalist,” the socialist magazine had become “inefficient” as workers came and went as they pleased:
I’ve got a lot of work to do to rebuild trust, but I’m not sure if CA will survive, as subscribers rightly feel betrayed and we’re getting cancelations. I don’t blame people who cancel. …
Even though I screwed up, the truth is more complex than the ‘fired the staff for wanting democracy’ narrative. I’ve done many egalitarian things with Current Affairs. … Anyone can tell you I don’t order people about. Everyone works when they like. I’ve hardly ever exerted authority over it internally at all. Partly as a result, the organization developed a kind of messy structurelessness where it wasn’t clear who had power to do what and there was not much accountability for getting work done. The organization had become very inefficient.
Robinson did not return a request for comment from The Daily Wire.
But his most recent tweet, dated August 14, says “If you’re an active member of your DSA chapter & would be willing to be interviewed for some CA writing & academic research I am doing on how socialists organize, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Particularly interested in New Orleans & Chicago but welcome all respondents.”
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.