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.
What do college athletes, prison laborers, welfare recipients, and graduate students in the sciences have in common? According to sociologist Erin Hatton, they’re all workers who face a particular form of coercion. She discusses what these workers’ circumstances tell us about work under contemporary capitalism. She’ll also consider the situation of prisoners pressured into dangerous … Continued
On the seventieth anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Charter, Gray Brechin spoke about the Roosevelts and their moral vision; the New Deal’s public works projects (many of them in San Francisco); the beginnings of the U.N.; the politics of fear; the nuclear arms buildup; and more. The Living New Deal Shaping San … Continued
The United States fancies itself an exceptional nation, and in terms of its media system, it’s right: the US has the most commercialized press of any advanced industrial country, with the least support for public media. So argues critic Victor Pickard in his study of the political economy of US journalism. He discusses the long … Continued
Excavating alternative and radical histories of San Francisco is Chris Carlsson’s specialty. He talks about the city’s role in the Underground Railroad; the enslavement of Native Americans; the 1966 Hunters Points uprising; the San Francisco Diggers; the Freeway Revolt; and more. Chris Carlsson, Hidden San Francisco: A Guide to Lost Landscapes, Unsung Heroes and Radical … Continued
Belief conjures up political fanaticism and blind religiosity. But evolutionary anthropologist Agustín Fuentes argues that belief is also connected to our capacities to imagine, create, and change the world for the better. He reflects on why the ability to commit passionately and wholeheartedly to an idea is a central part of what makes us human. … Continued
“All Lives Matter,” “I am Darren Wilson”: Reactionary whites and racist institutions have coopted and appropriated discourses originated by radical antiracist movements. Paula Ioanide discusses how and why this is happening. She also considers what white identity in the U.S., constituted historically by the exclusion and exploitation of perceived others, means for whites’ ability to … Continued
The conventional economic wisdom holds that humans started to use money as an outgrowth of bartering — and that money represented a great leap forward for civilization. That couldn’t be further from the truth, argues David McNally. Money, he contends, has not been a benign development, but has since its inception been tied to warfare … Continued
The failure to unionize the South, to organize Southern workers in the 1930s and ’40s on the basis of interracial worker solidarity, had momentous and enduring consequences for race relations and worker well-being in the U.S. as a whole. So argues Michael Goldfield, who in his new book points to the marginalization of leftists within … Continued
Brilliant theorist of non-violent social change or Cold War defense intellectual and strategist? Gene Sharp has had a tremendous influence on progressive ideas and activism since the early 1970s and his ideas are so pervasive that at times they appear to be without a history, just part of the air we breath on the left. … Continued
In the Jim Crow South, African Americans were criminalized. The flip side of that coin, asserts Tammy Ingram, was the decriminalization of whites. Ingram reveals how local authorities tolerated, enabled, and at times actively collaborated with white mobsters in Phenix City, Alabama. (Encore presentation.) Amy Wood and Natalie Ring, eds., Crime and Punishment in the … Continued