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.
He was a trailblazing critic of imperialism, but chances are you’ve never heard his name. The radical Japanese journalist Kotoku Shusui, who moved from socialism to anarchism, wrote a seminal critique of imperialism — before Hobson and Lenin — and led the movement against empire in Japan. Robert Tierney discusses Kotoku, his classic work Imperialism, … Continued
The idea that human society and markets are self-regulating, and that therefore political intervention to address poverty and equality is wrong-headed, has taken over the political landscape. Fred Block shows how that idea, advanced by T. R. Malthus and much later by Charles Murray, has pushed governments to abandon safety-net protections. Fred Block and Margaret … Continued
For Americans who are concerned about the ways that big agribusiness grows our food—whether it’s the pesticides in vegetables, the ecological impact of food being shipped around the country, or the tastelessness of much mass produced food—local food production on family farms seems like a holistic alternative. But, as political scientist Margaret Gray argues, there’s … Continued
What happened in Cuba after 1959 wasn’t only Fidel Castro’s rise and the political maneuverings of a revolutionary government. There was also a fundamental transformation in culture and cultural production. Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt describes how cultural work was harnessed to the project of building a new society.
Children are being diagnosed with increasing rates of autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and bipolar disorder. Theories abound about the spike in these conditions. But what if the root problem is, in fact, a society that medicalizes normal childhood behavior? Clinical psychologist Enrico Gnaulati makes such a claim. He discusses kids, psychiatric diagnoses, and the … Continued
If the problem is religious polarization and inequality, isn’t the solution secular governance? Secularism, after all, promises the equality of citizens regardless of religious affiliation. Saba Mahmood argues that modern secular governance, contrary to its grand claims, has in fact exacerbated religious inequalities. It has also, she says, constrained our political imagination to a significant … Continued
Santiago, the capital of Chile, was a hotbed of radical, non-sectarian organizing in the early 1920s, when a repressive backlash led to the death of poet José Domingo Gómez Rojas. Historian Raymond Craib tells the story of anarchists and communists, students and workers, radicals and reactionaries, the pursuing and the pursued, whose politics echo down … Continued
How many stories feature the Black Panthers, the Daley machine, the Young Lords, the original (pre-Jesse Jackson) Rainbow Coalition, and Chicago’s first black mayor (Harold Washington)? Jakobi Williams’s story does; he discusses how cross-racial coalition-building revolutionized Chicago’s politics and how it can and should inspire social justice organizing today. Jakobi Williams, From the Bullet to … Continued
Every day, the police kill someone in America. But in the last several years, widespread anger about police violence had led many to take to the streets — and the prevailing model of policing, known as broken windows, seems to be in crisis. What will replace it? And how should we understand the role that … Continued
How are race and ethnicity represented in U.S. news coverage of health and medicine? Charles Briggs argues that whiteness tends to be portrayed as an aspirational state of well-being, while people of color are far too often depicted as deficient, as trapped by culture and thus to be blamed for their own health problems. Charles … Continued