Against the Grain – June 18, 2024

Against the Grain

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.

Upcoming Episode

What did the Communist Party accomplish in California, or try to? SFSU emeritus professor Robert W. Cherny considers the party’s agendas and activities in relation to longshore workers, labor unions, political figures, and others. He also examines the stances the party took toward the Roosevelt administration, the New Deal, the Comintern, and U.S. involvement in … Continued


What can sex workers add to discussions around transformative justice, prison abolition, and labor organizing? Heather Berg has spoken with sex worker radicals whose perspectives on left theory and practice are informed by encounters with ever-present threats to their lives and livelihoods. Heather Berg, “‘If You’re Going to Be Beautiful, You Better Be Dangerous’: Sex … Continued


In 1936, Nazi Germany hosted the Summer Olympic Games in Berlin, amidst international calls to boycott. It was an enormously consequential event in the politics of the times, granting Hitler an international spotlight to promote the Third Reich. Much less known, as writer Michael Waters argues, is how Nazi eugenics and paranoia about transgender athletes … Continued


Recent political discussions of marriage have revolved around who should be allowed to wed. But missing from most debates is the question of the unfair privileges conferred by the institution of marriage itself. Scholar Jaclyn Geller discusses the more than one thousand benefits accorded married people, at the expense of the non-married. Resources: Jaclyn Geller, … Continued


What are discarded materials from extractive activities like mining doing to life on the planet? According to Gabrielle Hecht, what’s happening in South Africa to and around mountainous piles of mining residues crystallizes a number of thorny environmental and sociopolitical issues faced by communities around the globe. Gabrielle Hecht, Residual Governance: How South Africa Foretells … Continued


For over half a century, Big Oil and the plastics industry, through their trade associations and front groups, have sold the public the false idea that plastics are recyclable. Recycling became the mantra of good ecological stewardship, promoted by the likes of city governments, school children, and environmental groups. Davis Allen lays out the mass-marketing … Continued