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.
In the face of the contemporary infatuation with democracy in the West, what should the left do with a term and a concept often used to mask injustices and inequities? Gabriel Rockhill discusses some of the key conjunctures in the history of democracy; he also asserts that a focus on democracy may actually distract us … Continued
Historian Alfred McCoy argues that the end of the US as an empire may come sooner than most of us realize. He discusses the rise and fall of American global power. Resources: Alfred W. McCoy, In the Shadows of the American Century: The Rise and Decline of US Global Power Haymarket, 2017
What role do toxic residues and environmental pollution play in how the Anthropocene is unfolding? According to Gabrielle Hecht, Africa is too often neglected or ignored by natural and social scientists and international bodies, even as mining residues and other wastes wreak havoc on human health and the environment. Gabrielle Hecht, “The African Anthropocene” Aeon … Continued
In 2013, Edward Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance by the National Security Agency pointed to spying on a mind-bending scale. Journalist Pratap Chatterjee weights in on the connection between that mass data collection and drone warfare – and the state of surveillance and drone attacks five years on. Resources: Pratap Chatterjee and Khalil, Verax: The … Continued
Why was neoliberalism devised and introduced? What impact did the so-called Third World debt crisis have on poorer countries? Why have capitalists gone on what Vijay Prashad calls an investment strike? The historian, journalist, and author connects the dots in a new working document entitled “In the Ruins of the Present.” Resources: Tricontinental: Institute for … Continued
We’re told that the police are imperfect, but if we make the right reforms, the bad apples will be weeded out and aggressive behavior no longer tolerated. But, as David Correia argues, what if the police are not reformable? Resources: David Correia and Tyler Wall, Police: A Field Guide Verso, 2018
Addressing mass incarceration and repressive policing in the U.S. is a daunting task. Jonathan Simon believes that invoking human dignity, and the need to respect dignity, can fuel efforts to change the direction of the carceral state. Sharon Dolovich and Alexandra Natapoff, eds., The New Criminal Justice Thinking NYU Press, 2017 Jonathan Simon, Mass Incarceration … Continued
What can Star Trek tell us about life after capitalism? Peter Frase discusses four possible futures in a world where workers are increasingly being replaced by machines — ranging from communist and socialist societies to ones in which workers are literally disposable. Resources: Peter Frase, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism Verso, 2014
Richard Lichtman (1931-2018) was a social theorist, philosopher, teacher, and writer. Based at the Wright Institute in Berkeley since the late 1970s, Lichtman spent many years studying and lecturing on Marxist theory. His book “The Production of Desire” was an effort to bring together the ideas of Marx and Freud. In “Dying in America,” Lichtman … Continued
Given the disparities between the lifespans of whites, African Americans, Native Americans and other groups, it might seem to be sensible to gear medicine along racial lines. But sociologist Leslie Hinkson argues that it represents a dangerous turn in science and healthcare. She discusses race, biology, and debt. Resources: Nadine Ehlers and Leslie R. Hinkson … Continued