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.
When we on the left talk about the plight of the Palestinians, we usually talk about land – and rightly so. The dispossession of the Palestinians of their land has been a central element of the project of Israeli settler colonialism. But often what is forgotten is the question of Palestinian labor, its fundamental role … Continued
You might not expect weighty topics like class privilege and critical theory to be addressed in stories written by a science fiction and fantasy author. But Paul Park takes up these and many other issues in his new short story collection, which features surreal developments and plot twists that play with readers’ expectations. Paul Park, … Continued
Fear is a central part of American life — and has been so at least since the early Cold War, according to historian Elaine Tyler May. She argues that while there are many things that Americans should be deeply concerned about, including climate change and vast wealth inequality, we are obsessed with threats like crime, … Continued
Why does poetry seem so impenetrable to so many of us? Do poets say something and mean something else? Matthew Zapruder talks about what sets poetry apart from other forms of expression; he also suggests ways to approach, read, and get the most out of poems. Matthew Zapruder, Why Poetry Ecco, 2017 Matthew Zapruder, Father’s … Continued
The alt-right is white nationalist, misogynist, and highly transphobic, mobilizing resentment against changing gender hierarchies and feared demographic change in America. Historian Alexandra Minna Stern discusses the appeal of the alt-right, from when it first came to national prominence in 2016, through its change of fortunes in the wake of the violent white nationalist rally … Continued
What would it mean to take revenge against the capitalist system? And what kinds of vengeance has capitalism itself taken, against workers and other exploited people? Max Haiven examines Marxist, feminist, anti-colonial, and other perspectives on revenge, and he considers what forms of avenging might point the way toward radical social and political transformation. (Encore … Continued
There was plenty of labor militancy in the U.S. in the early 20th century. Much of that militancy was met with violence; workers were brutalized and sometimes murdered for organizing to demand fair wages and decent working conditions. These sometimes life-and-death struggles were enshrined in song. Mat Callahan talks about the tunes he and Yvonne … Continued
America has long been the country of endless promise, of open vistas, and a sense of providence about its place in the wider world. That optimism has always cloaked the brutality of imperial expansion and limitless growth. And now that centrist ideal of boundless expansion, according to historian Greg Grandin, may be coming to an … Continued
Are there any drawbacks to the focus on mass imprisonment and racist cops? According to Tony Platt, the carceral system extends far beyond prisons and police departments. Platt describes the many components and attributes of the carceral state; he also puts current dilemmas and debates about criminality and punishment in the U.S. into historical context. … Continued
It’s self-evident that unequal societies like ours are bad for the poor. However, as epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson argues, they’re also bad for everyone else, including the affluent, not only because inequality affects schools and healthcare, but because it also makes us anxious and unhappy. Wilkinson reflects on our psychological well-being in wealthy but unequal countries. … Continued