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
Award-winning program of ideas, 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.
Railing against capitalism is one thing; coming up with an equitable alternative is another. For many years Michael Albert has been formulating and refining his vision of a just and participatory economy. That vision includes, among other things, establishing what he calls balanced job complexes and basing income on the duration, intensity, and onerousness of … Continued
Why does the United States intervene militarily around the world? Supporters might claim that the U.S. acts in the interests of national security. For critics, a likely answer would be that the country wants to exercise influence and domination over others. Journalist Andrew Cockburn, however, argues that a great number of military decisions are based … Continued
Is there such a thing as society? Was the mid-twentieth century an antisocial moment in U.S. history? Theodore Martin describes what happened to the idea of society in the wake of the New Deal and World War II, and argues that sociopolitical changes fueled the emergence of a new kind of antisocial novel, examples of … Continued
Prisons, jails, immigrant detention centers. We know them as places of unfreedom, but we don’t often think about them as places of work. Yet compulsory labor is a key part of incarceration in this country. Sociologist Erin Hatton discusses the state of coerced work in prisons, the lack of worker protections, and how work has … Continued
Who were the Jacobins? What did they believe in, what did they accomplish during the French Revolution, and how should they be judged? Micah Alpaugh discusses the Jacobin clubs’ social and political stances, the policies they enacted, and the Jacobins’ turn toward terror. Micah Alpaugh, ed., The French Revolution: A History in Documents Bloomsbury, 2021 … 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
In its early days, the internet appeared to hold the promise of a new form of communication not driven by the profit motive. Yet the sordid state of the internet today was not inevitable, according to scholar Jessa Lingel. Instead, she argues, a process took place — similar to the gentrification of our cities — … Continued
How does political ideology work in Cuba? What is ideology anyway? Katherine Gordy argues that socialist ideology in Cuba, far from constituting a static, abstract canon of beliefs, is practiced and produced by people at all levels of Cuban society. She also comments on Fidel Castro’s espousal of Marxism and on the role of nineteenth-century … Continued
Great powers rise and fall. But when their power wanes, as Britain’s did in the early 20th century and the U.S. is arguably waning now, who shoulders the costs of their decline? Is it elites or those on the bottom? Sociologist Richard Lachmann, who died in September, discusses what the past can tell us about … Continued
A protracted but determined struggle to defeat an airport construction project produced an extraordinary victory. In the face of brutal police repression, Isabelle Fremeaux, Jay Jordan, and others created an autonomous zone and prevented the construction of a massive international airport on 4,000 acres of fields, forest, and wetlands in western France. Fremeaux and Jordan … Continued