The failed German Revolution, in which he was a participant, marked the Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse for life. But unlike some of his more pessimistic colleagues in the Frankfurt School, particularly after the rise of fascism, Marcuse did not give up on liberatory possibilities. In the 1960s, Marcuse became one of the key philosophers of … Continued
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.
Do fictional narratives, like those found in novels, plays, and films, promote empathy? Does emotion-based empathy spur people to alleviate suffering in the real world? Namwali Serpell calls into question much of the conventional thinking about empathy in relation to art. Drawing on thinkers like Arendt and Brecht, Serpell points to fiction’s capacity to enlarge … Continued
If it feels like an uphill battle to organize against climate change in this country, imagine the challenges in Canada where a significant part of the economy is based on fossil fuel extraction and transport. Yet Canada also has multiple inspiring movements, with indigenous people at the forefront, fighting to leave coal, oil and gas … Continued
Puerto Ricans in New York City already numbered in the tens of thousands by 1930. As Lorrin Thomas indicates, the fact that they were U.S. citizens did not shield them from discrimination and harassment. Thomas describes how, over the course of the twentieth century, young Puerto Ricans came to assert a new political consciousness and … Continued
Since the end of the Soviet Union, most activists have turned their attention from nuclear weapons. But the nuclear threat never went away and now Trump appears to be launching a new arms race. Yet over the last forty years, participants in the Ploughshares movement have put their bodies on the line to oppose nuclear … Continued
Dale Minor produced a radio documentary about the momentous civil rights struggle in Selma, Alabama in March 1965.
We think of public utilities operating for the public good — it’s right there in the name. But most public utilities are investor-owned and, like corporations as a whole in this country, have enormous power to dispossess poor people through government-backed mechanisms like eminent domain. Sociologist Loka Ashwood discusses how such dispossession, along with state-sanctioned … 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. Max … Continued
The resistance to the Dakota Access Pipeline galvanized a generation of activists. It involved hundreds of tribes and thousands of people, standing up against not just the companies that would pollute the region’s water, but to the militarized forces of the state. As Native historian Nick Estes argues, the No DAPL efforts brought into sharp … Continued
Every society has a technological dimension. So what does, or should, a socialist technology look like? What ends would such a technology serve, and who would decide which products or devices get deployed, and for what purposes? Victor Wallis sketches the contours of what he calls an authentically socialist technology. (Encore presentation.) Victor Wallis, Red-Green … Continued