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.
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. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Nadine Ehlers and Leslie … Continued
What role did slavery play in the story of U.S. capitalism? Does the fact that slavery wasn’t rooted in wage labor mean that it wasn’t a form of capitalist practice? Caitlin Rosenthal offers a definition of capitalism and shares her understanding of how commodification, and the power to impose it, operated under slavery. Caitlin Rosenthal, … Continued
The United States fancies itself an exceptional nation, and in terms of its media system, it’s right: the US has the most commercialized press of any advanced industrial country, with the least support for public media. So argues critic Victor Pickard in his study of the political economy of US journalism. He discusses the long … Continued
In his book Promised Land: Thirteen Books That Changed America, Jay Parini describes and analyzes three iconic works of fiction. Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Parini writes, almost single-handedly created a mass audience for the antislavery movement. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn interrogated race in fundamental ways and introduced a distinctive vision of freedom. And On the Road … Continued
Clarence Thomas is Donald Trump’s favorite Supreme Court justice, which might confirm the liberal view that Thomas is simply a toady of the right. But scholar Corey Robin argues that Thomas is a complex thinker and skilled rhetorician, whose ideas originate in black nationalism. Robin reflects on how Thomas’ pessimism about the intractability of racism … Continued
Highlights of some of the best commentary presented on Against the Grain in 2019, featuring Max Haiven on revenge in a capitalist context; Helena Sheehan on European and Soviet communism; Manu Samnotra on civilization and political resistance according to Gandhi; Michael Burawoy on Pierre Bourdieu and Karl Marx; and Margaret Hunter on what she calls … Continued
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
In November 2013, an African American teenager set the skirt of an agender youth on fire. Sasha was badly burned; Richard was arrested. Dashka Slater’s account of the incident, the two students and their parents, and the criminal prosecution of Richard raises important questions about class, race, gender identity, and, not least, justice – what … Continued
The proponents of cultured meat — meat grown in a laboratory — argue that it not only will put an end of the suffering of animals, but could lead us into a world free of the global warming-effects of industrialized animal agriculture. Benjamin Wurgaft discusses how the hopes for cultured meat refract many competing visions … Continued
Immanuel Wallerstein (1930-2019) was a radical sociologist and economic historian who pioneered world-systems analysis. Although he analyzed what he called the capitalist world-economy over its centuries-long development, he remained a staunch, and globally influential, critic of capitalism. Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis: An Introduction Duke University Press, 2004 Immanuel Wallerstein, The Essential Wallerstein The New Press, … Continued