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.
KPFA spawned the model of listener-sponsored radio and changed the world. As the station celebrates 72 years, we look back at the origins of KPFA Radio. Historian Iain Boal discusses the anarchist and pacifist politics of KPFA’s founders, many interned as conscientious objectors during WW2 and involved in the left libertarian circle around poet Kenneth … Continued
KPFA turns 72 this week. We commemorate that achievement by presenting some gems from the station’s archives, about civil rights and labor struggles, nuclear radiation hazards, encounters with a shaman, and more.
Donald Trump infamously targeted immigrants — and many rejoiced when he left office. But, as historian Elliott Young points out, the criminalization of immigrants has been a bipartisan affair, going back 140 years. He discusses the intersection of mass incarceration and the detention of immigrants. Resources: Elliott Young, Forever Prisoners: How the United States Made … Continued
Can an intensely private emotion like shame – for who one is, or what one has done – serve as an impetus for political engagement? Drawing on Hannah Arendt’s writings on Jewish politics, Manu Samnotra ascribes a political role to shame; he argues that shame can motivate people to create political spaces and engage in political action. … Continued
Racism is finally getting the attention it deserves, including the violence that people of color experience at the hands of the police. But can contemporary racism be understood outside of capitalism? Historian Touré Reed argues against artificially separating race from class — what he terms race reductionism. Resources: Touré F. Reed, Toward Freedom The Case … Continued
“Countering violent extremism” is a U.S. government program aimed at combatting homegrown terrorism. It enlists teachers, service providers, and religious leaders to monitor and report on young people deemed vulnerable to terrorist radicalization. But according to Nicole Nguyen, CVE asks teachers and others to take on policing functions and criminalizes Muslim youth. Nicole Nguyen, Suspect Communities: … Continued
Leo Panitch, the great Marxist political economist, was one of the many losses we have suffered from the coronavirus. His frequent collaborator and lifelong friend Sam Gindin reflects on the enormous contributions that Leo Panitch made to a radical understanding of the state and capitalism on a global scale, as well as the limits of … Continued
What stands in the way of the urgently needed transition to clean energy? What is energy democracy, and what role should it play in the struggle against fossil capitalism? According to Ashley Dawson, a decisive shift toward renewable energy is impossible without a collective struggle to take control of the grid. He says much can … Continued
Trusted, impartial and independent? Or largely unaccountable and part of the Establishment? Sociologist Tom Mills considers the evidence on the enormously influential British Broadcasting Corporation or BBC, which is much revered by progressives in the United States and elsewhere. Resources: Tom Mills, The BBC: Myth of a Public Service Verso, 2020
Healthcare under capitalism can involve expensive visits to trained professionals. What would a system of peer-to-peer caregiving outside the cash nexus look like? Inspired by models developed in Greek solidarity clinics, Cassie Thornton has devised a radical new approach, one that involves three people focusing on the physical, mental, and social health of a fourth … Continued