Issue 11/12 (Fall 2013)
|First issue||Winter 2011|
|Based in||New York|
The publication began as an online magazine released in September 2010, but expanded into a print journal later that year. Jacobin has been described by its publisher as a radical publication, "largely the product of a younger generation not quite as tied to the Cold War paradigms that sustained the old leftist intellectual milieus like Dissent or New Politics."
Earlier in 2013, "Jacobin Books" was announced, a partnership with Verso Books and Random House. A collection of essays by Jacobin contributors was published by Henry Holt and Company in 2016. "Class Action: An Activist Teacher's Handbook," produced in conjunction with the Chicago Teachers Union's CORE Caucus and Jacobin was distributed to trade union activists in the 16 cities in the United States and Canada. Additionally, since the fall of 2014, Jacobin has sponsored more than 80 socialist reading groups.
The name of the magazine derives from the book The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L'Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by C. L. R. James, in which James ascribes the Black Haitian revolutionists a greater purity in regards to the ideals of the French Revolution than the "White Jacobins". According to creative director Remeike Forbes, the logo was inspired by a scene in the movie Burn! referring to Nicaraguan national hero José Dolores Estrada, but represents Toussaint Louverture, the most well known leader of the only successful slave revolt in human history.
The magazine's motto, "Reason in Revolt", is a reference to a line from "The Internationale".
It has been variously described as democratic socialist, socialist, and Marxist. According to an article published by the Nieman Journalism Lab it is a journal of "democratic socialist thought." Max Strasser, writing in the New Statesman, suggested that the journal claims to "take the mantle of Marxist thought of Ralph Miliband and a similar vein of democratic socialism."
The New York Times ran a profile of Bhaskar Sunkara, the founding editor and publisher of Jacobin in January 2013, commenting on the publication's unexpected success and engagement with mainstream liberalism. In a 2013 article for Tablet Magazine, Michelle Goldberg discussed Jacobin as part of a revival of interest in Marxism among young intellectuals. Jake Blumgart, who contributed to the magazine in its early years, stated that it "found an audience by mixing data-driven analysis and Marxist commentary with an irreverent and accessible style."