Against the Grain – February 1, 2021

Against the Grain

A radio and web media project whose aim is to provide in-depth analysis and commentary on a variety of matters — political, economic, social and cultural — important to progressive and radical thinking and activism.

Upcoming Episode

To what extent did Frederick Engels engage with environmental and ecological issues? When Engels wrote about the dialectics of nature, what did he mean by “dialectics”? According to John Bellamy Foster, Engels’s insights into ecology, dialectics, and the environmental conditions of the working class were, and remain, critically important. John Bellamy Foster, The Return of … Continued


The coronavirus has laid bare the divisions and inequalities of our society. It’s also exposed the stark differences in possible approaches to the pandemic. Radical scholar Alexis Shotwell argues that we need to frame our fight as one for collective care, rather than containment and control. She discusses solidarity and the lessons of the HIV/AIDS … Continued


Siamak Vossoughi writes stories about identity, connection, and belonging. Many of his protagonists are, like him, Iranian-American; some of them strive to find an America they feel comfortable inhabiting. Understanding fascism, redefining masculinity, tracing the contours of the immigrant experience: these are some of the issues addressed in Vossoughi’s new book. Siamak Vossoughi, A Sense … Continued


Many who are concerned with the unfolding climate emergency have pinned great hope on the election of Joe Biden and Democratic control of the Senate.  But, as sociologist Richard Lachmann observes, progressive expectations of Democrat politicians have been regularly dashed.  He argues that a different approach to forcing elites into action is more effective: combining … Continued


How did the sixties unfold in Europe? Was it primarily a set of political rebellions? How did revolutionary movements in Western Europe compare with those in the Eastern bloc? Timothy Scott Brown talks about the desires, inclinations, and innovations of sixties radicals. Timothy Scott Brown, Sixties Europe Cambridge University Press, 2020 Timothy Scott Brown, West … Continued


The experience of trans people has burst into the mainstream in the last decade, although the struggles of gender variant people are nothing new. Jack Halberstam talks about the politics of categorization, generational differences, radical vs. single-issue politics, and anti-trans feminism. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Jack Halberstam, Trans* A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability … Continued


Against the Grain

Infamous Internment

More than 110,00 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes and sent to remote concentration camps in early 1942. Photojournalist Paul Kitagaki Jr. has tracked down dozens of camp survivors and their descendants. Charles Wollenberg has written about several key legal cases provoked by this tragic episode and the attorney who spearheaded them. (Encore presentation.) … Continued