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
Stephen Bezruchka on why U.S. residents are less healthy than people in dozens of other countries.
Consumer capitalism and the focus group appear to go hand in hand. But Liza Featherstone argues that the focus group has radical origins and, in convoluted ways, points to the potential for collective input in an egalitarian society. She discusses the history of focus groups for consumer goods and electoral politics. Resources: Liza Featherstone, Divining … Continued
What accounts for the allegiance W. E. B. Du Bois professed to Stalin’s U.S.S.R.? What did the influential African American thinker and writer believe had happened to white supremacy and racial prejudice in the Soviet Union? According to Vaughn Rasberry, Du Bois believed that emerging communist nations like the U.S.S.R. had the right to experiment, … Continued
While Americans are dealing with anxiety and depression in greater numbers, and the suicide rate has increased by almost 25% since the turn of the 21st century, access to talk therapy is decreasing. Clinical psychologist Enrico Gnaulati considers the social implications of the decline of psychotherapy and the rise of pharmaceutical drugs like Prozac, cognitive … Continued
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
Radio in the 20th century, which you could tune into in your car or at home, had a mass audience and was a collective experience, for good or ill. Radio today, which can be listened to when you want it, how you want it, is a more private and atomized affair. Historian Matthew Lasar discusses … Continued
What has North Korea’s economic development looked like? What is the relationship between torture and the law, and how should we pursue accountability for acts of torture? What’s happening to schools and students as neoliberal reforms are implemented? Kevin Gray, Lisa Hajjar, and Chela Delgado spoke recently about these weighty issues. The Center for Political … Continued
Can an anonymous alternative currency — not tethered to the oppressive arm of the state — make us free? That’s the premise behind Bitcoin, invented less than 10 years ago, which has soared stratospherically and then, recently, fallen sharply. David Golumbia reflects on the rightwing libertarian ideas behind Bitcoin. Resources: David Golumbia, The Politics of … Continued
What does fossil fuel extraction, and the environmental damage it causes, have to do with the exploitation of women? Sean Parson and Emily Ray apply insights from ecofeminism, Marxism, and Freudianism to the situation of women in and around the Bakken oil fields; they also discuss the sexualization of women’s bodies in oil industry-related advertisements.
In 2017, the so-called drug war in Mexico has had its bloodiest year yet. And it shows no sign of abating. Lost in the gruesome headlines is any sense of what’s driving the violence — and the role that the Mexican state plays in it. Mexico-based journalist John Gibler talks about the forces underlying the … Continued