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Thomas Gallatin / August 23, 2021

The Not-So-Socialist Publisher

A socialism-advocating magazine owner fires his staff for daring to organize.

File this story under the ever-growing “hypocrisy” tab. Nathan Robinson, the editor-in-chief of a leftist political and culture magazine called Current Affairs, recently terminated several staff members following their attempt to organize a worker co-op. Employees at the socialism-promoting publican had begun working to create a more “democratic workplace where all voices were equally valued.” But their attempt to finally implement a “collective vision” got them the pink slip.

“We discussed it informally, we tried piecemeal reforms, we did a full-organization survey and one-on-one interviews with editors and staff to find a consensus on a collective vision,” the now former employees claim. All of that should be in accordance with the magazine’s goals of establishing a culture of empowered employees, which is stated on its website.

In fact, it wasn’t as if Robinson wasn’t privy to any of this — he actively engaged in promoting it. He even provided workshops for employees seeking to explore socialist restructuring ideas. And why not, as Robison authored a book titled Why You Should Be a Socialist.

But alas, as soon has his employees dared to actually walk the talk, Robison fired them. “When we finally got around to discussing organizational models during a Zoom meeting on August 7th, Nathan became agitated,” a letter from the fired employees alleges. “He instated that in our attempt to set shared internal values, we were disregarding his vision for the Current Affairs as published in the first issue. The next morning, he started removing people from the company Slack [instant messaging software], and sent letters requesting resignations, eliminating positions, and in some cases offering new ‘honorary titles’ which would have no say in governance.”

The employees complain, “We are sad, aghast, betrayed, and of course, angry to realize that this person we trusted has been lying to us for years.”

Well, maybe this will serve as a wake up call to some of these socialists that the utopian ideals of Marxism can’t exist in the real world — because of the nature of humanity. Socialism invariably leads to tyranny.

Interestingly, Robinson himself admitted that he failed to live up to his socialist ideology, even recognizing that he didn’t want to give up control of the small company he created. “I have felt like it was my baby and I know how to run it,” he explained in a social media post. “It was hard to feel like I was slowly having my ability to run it my way taken away. I think that it’s easy to talk about a belief in power sharing but when it comes down to actually sharing power over this thing I have poured my heart and soul into, it felt very very difficult to do.”

And that is and remains the Achilles heel of socialism. Personal ownership always produces greater care, commitment, and responsibility than collectivism. Personal property makes for valued property.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that Robinson has learned from this and rejected the inherently bankrupt ideology of socialism. “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,” he admitted. “I don’t blame people who cancel, all I can say is that I tried hard for five years to do right by people who worked for us and I’m really sad that I undid it in a single week.”

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