Graeber on Inequality and Human History

Against the Grain

Open any world history book and you’ll read that the Neolithic Revolution was the key turning point in human history, when hunter gatherers gave up roaming in small egalitarian tribes and settled down to farm. Out of that, civilization was born, with all the benefits and ills connected to it: the rise of cities, the …

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What happens when financial markets take over, when Uberization replaces traditional employment, and when credit ratings become crucial to the well-being of people and governments? According to Michel Feher, these transformations have affected labor markets, the promises governments make to their citizens, and opportunities and arenas for social struggle. Michel Feher, Rated Agency: Investee Politics … Continued

In 2013, Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance by the National Security Agency pointed to spying on a mind-bending scale. Journalist Pratap Chatterjee weights in on the connection between that mass data collection and drone warfare – and the state of surveillance and drone attacks five years on. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Pratap Chatterjee and Khalil, … Continued

Against the Grain

Remembering Anti-Fascists; The Salton Sea

How does Germany remember and honor those who fought fascism, and where does the U.S. stand in comparison? David Bacon reports on the monuments he visited and the courageous and often radical people they commemorate. Bacon also traveled to the once-majestic Salton Sea in California, where dust pollution from the receding shoreline is making farmworkers … Continued

Amid regimes of exploitation and social control, who or what will step forward to save the day? Michael Hardt discusses how people and social movements might come together to achieve fundamental social and political transformation. He believes existing circuits of social cooperation could be harnessed to challenge the efforts of elites to extract and privatize … Continued