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.
Much of middle school and high school education is mind-numbing, with students being taught to the test, based on a rigid curriculum that elevates breadth over depth and memorization over critical inquiry. How might it be done differently? Educator Ira Rabois spent almost three decades teaching secondary students at an alternative public school. He discusses … Continued
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about race, segregation, poverty, militarism, and nonviolent resistance in two talks that he gave in Hollywood, in March 1968, and in London, in December 1964. Pacifica Radio Archives
Fannie Lou Hamer and Thomas Merton were both, as Albert Raboteau puts it, religious radicals. Hamer became an outspoken advocate for racial and social justice; she risked her life to secure voting rights and political equality for African Americans. Thomas Merton was a Catholic contemplative who spoke out forcefully against racism, militarism, and rampant consumerism. … Continued
Depending on whom you ask, cities in America are booming or cities in America are failing. But whether San Francisco or Detroit, or the many smaller cities around the country, urban areas are central to perpetuating the stark inequalities of our society—and yet are also sites of political ferment. William Goldsmith talks about the state … Continued
According to Nicole Nguyen, national security-related agencies and companies are drawing young people into a mindset of militarism and war via their involvement in homeland security programs, which have been established in dozens of public schools in the U.S. Nguyen did ethnographic work at one such high school; she reveals what the students are taught … Continued
Historian Matthew Delmont discusses the controversy over school desegregation in the 1960s and 70s and how it was reduced by the media and politicians to the frame of “busing” students. He reflects on the political implications of turning civil rights and segregation in the North into the narrow issue of school transfers. Resources: Matthew F. … Continued
The birth control pill has been called revolutionary; it’s been associated with a revolution in contraception, with the sexual revolution of the 1960s, and with what’s called the therapeutic revolution of the mid-20th century. Elizabeth Watkins discusses the pill’s development and impact in the arenas of medical practice, women’s liberation, popular perception, and pharmaceutical marketing. … Continued
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. Resources: Francesca … Continued
Highlights of some of the best commentary presented on Against the Grain in 2016, featuring Erik Olin Wright on unconditional basic income; Juliet Hooker on Black protest politics; Emanuele Saccarelli on revolutionary struggle; and Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt on culture in Fidel Castro’s Cuba.
In the popular imagination, U.S. anarchism ended with the deportation of Emma Goldman in 1919, only to re-emerge recently with the masked Black Block. But according to scholar Andrew Cornell, anarchism survived and thrived in mid-century America, deeply influencing bohemia, Civil Rights, and the New Left. Resources: Andrew Cornell, Unruly Equality: U.S. Anarchism in the … Continued