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Indian American Socialist Bhaskar Sunkara Named President of The Nation Magazine

Indian American Socialist Bhaskar Sunkara Named President of The Nation Magazine

  • Founding editor and publisher of leftist magazine Jacobin, the 32-year-old is the author of “The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality.”

Bhaskar Sunkara, founding editor and publisher of socialist periodical “Jacobin” has been named president of The Nation, a magazine of progressive politics, culture, and opinion. In his new role, the 32-year-old Indian American will lead The Nation’s publishing and business strategy, working alongside publisher and editorial director Katrina vanden Heuvel and editor D.D. Guttenplan, the magazine said in a press release announcing Sunkara’s appointment. 

He will succeed Erin O’Mara, The Nation’s president since 2016, and executive director of The Nation Fund for Independent Journalism, a nonprofit founded in 2020 to train and develop the next generation of independent journalists.

“I’m proud to join The Nation at this critical moment for independent media and for working-class politics,” Sunkara said in the press release. “The Nation is an indispensable organ of progressive politics in the United States, with vast potential for growth and impact. I’m looking forward to helping build a storied organization and to supporting the effort of its talented staff and contributors.”

Sunkara founded Jacobin in 2010, between his sophomore and junior years at George Washington University when he was 21 and has led it since. Now it has “grown to a paid circulation of nearly 70,000, with 2.6 million unique visitors per month in 2020,” The Nation said. “Jacobin has five foreign language franchises and publishes the UK-based Tribune magazine and Catalyst: A Journal of Theory and Strategy.”

Sunkara grew up in Westchester, New York. His India-born parents immigrated to the U.S. via Trinidad and arrived in New York a year before Bhaskar was born. He told The Vox that in naming the magazine, he was inspired at least in part by C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins, a hugely influential Marxist history of the Haitian Revolution. “We had a lot of C.L.R. James in the house, since he was Trinidadian,” just like Sunkara’s mother, he told New Left Review in a 2014 interview. “I actually heard of the Haitian Jacobins before I heard of the French ones. The Black Jacobins was probably in the back of my mind when I first started thinking about the magazine.”

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His first book, “The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality,” was released by Basic Books in 2019. In 2020 he was named by Fortune as one of America’s 40 Under 40 Most Influential in Government and Politics. He has been a writer for The Nation since 2013; he has also been a columnist for The Guardian U.S. and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vox, and Foreign Policy, among other outlets.

(Top photo, courtesy creativecommons.org)

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