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.
Against the Grain
12:00 PM Pacific Time: Mondays to Wednesdays
In-depth analysis and commentary on a variety of matters — political, economic, social, and cultural — important to progressive and radical thinking and activism. Against the Grain is co-produced and co-hosted by Sasha Lilley and C.S. Soong.
How has the figure of the comic book superhero played into left-wing political projects and aspirations? In his new book, Ramzi Fawaz argues that the reinvention of the American superhero was a response to, and a factor in, the rise of radical political sensibilities and movements in the 1960s and beyond.
Soil is essential for terrestrial life on earth. And like so many other parts of the environment, it’s under threat, degraded in a world where it’s being built on, contaminated, and eroded. Geographer Salvatore Engel-DiMauro argues that soil also highlights the many problems that the left has with understanding both the social and scientific, or … Continued
A number of thinkers and activists on the left have embraced the notion of a basic income paid to all without means testing or a work requirement. Erik Olin Wright argues that a generous basic income would contribute to revitalizing a socialist challenge to capitalism. He also distinguishes the version of UBI that he supports from … Continued
It’s been called the greatest political film of all time. The Battle of Algiers, which was released fifty years ago, told the story of the Algerian people’s struggle against French colonialism. It became an instant classic and touchstone for radical movements in the Third World and the international left. And it became a tool for … Continued
Large homeless encampments are sometimes dismantled, at times tolerated, and in some cases legalized. What accounts for the different ways in which local authorities treat homeless encampments, and how do camp residents view their situation? Chris Herring discusses the administrative logics of homeless seclusion as well as the adaptive strategies of campers.
Since its inception, one of the main preoccupations of the Federal Bureau of Investigation has been black rebellion. From the early days of the Harlem Renaissance until at least J. Edgar Hoover’s death in 1972, the FBI has had a fascinated fear of African American literature. William J. Maxwell discusses how the FBI extensively surveilled … Continued
Akhil Gupta sees a growing tendency to view global poverty as a threat not to the acutely poor but to elites in the global North. Unchecked migration, terrorism, and disease vectors are seen as manifestations of that threat, against which elites now seek to protect themselves. This, according to Gupta, makes meaningful action to alleviate … Continued
Movements like Black Lives Matter have turned a spotlight on the mass criminalization of people of color in the United States. But are we any closer to understanding why the American state locks up its residents in record numbers? Radical scholar Jordan Camp discusses working class insurgency from below—from the Watts Rebellion to the Los … Continued
In an era of massive cuts to social services, the largesse of the wealthy seems a blessing. But what do the rich get in return for their philanthropy? Linsey McGoey argues that they receive both financial benefits and great influence over policy. She traces the history of philanthropy in the United States and discusses the … Continued
When, in response to police violence, Black Lives Matter and other protesters get unruly or violent, they are condemned for not following the lead of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Juliet Hooker considers whether it’s fair to expect Blacks, who she says have been perpetual losers in U.S. democracy, to peacefully acquiesce, to behave like … Continued