Du Bois on Stalin’s U.S.S.R.

Against the Grain

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, …

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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


Against the Grain

Remembering Anti-Fascists; The Salton Sea

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


Against the Grain

N. Korea; Torture and the Law; Neoliberal Ed

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


Against the Grain

The Social History of the Bulldozer

Creative destruction is the hallmark of capitalism, as the economist Joseph Schumpeter argued.  But the destructive side is often overlooked.  Francesca Ammon discusses the enormous wave of demolition that accompanied the postwar boom — transforming the rural, urban and suburban landscape, and displacing the residents of scores of communities around the United States. (Encore presentation.) … Continued


How vulnerable are cities to the weather extremes unleashed by climate change? To what extent do rising sea levels and the “heat-island effect” threaten urban areas? Ashley Dawson contends that while contemporary urban life is increasingly fragile and risky, grassroots efforts to protect communities while addressing social inequities deserve our attention. Ashley Dawson, Extreme Cities: … Continued


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