How should we on the left regard technology? Is it something neutral that we can shape for our own purposes? Is it a weapon of social control? Automation and the perilousness of life under capitalism have brought those debates back, but they’re not new. Marxist scholar Gavin Mueller discusses technology, capitalism, and the left.
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.
Conversations with William Irvine about his book “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” and with Mark Vernon, author of “Plato’s Podcasts: The Ancients’ Guide to Modern Living.” (Photo by Joshua Woroniecki via Unsplash.)
Latin America has played a crucial role for the United States as an empire. And historian Greg Grandin argues that Latin America’s importance stretches well beyond the regional interests of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. Instead, Grandin posits, the countries south of the border have been used as a crucible for the formation … Continued
In “Polishing the Mirror,” the influential spiritual seeker and teacher Ram Dass shares his insights into human consciousness and awakening.
There have been numerous exposés of the conditions in factory farms, where livestock are crammed together by the hundreds of thousands. But anthropologist Alex Blanchette argues that animal agribusiness, rather than being a sordid, exceptional case, has represented the cutting edge of capitalist industry for more than one hundred years. He discusses the exploitation of … Continued
To what extent did Frederick Engels engage with environmental and ecological issues? When Engels wrote about the dialectics of nature, what did he mean by “dialectics”? According to John Bellamy Foster, Engels’s insights into ecology, dialectics, and the environmental conditions of the working class were, and remain, critically important. John Bellamy Foster, The Return of Nature: Socialism … Continued
In its early days, the internet appeared to hold the promise of a new form of communication not driven by the profit motive. Yet the sordid state of the internet today was not inevitable, according to scholar Jessa Lingel. Instead, she argues, a process took place — similar to the gentrification of our cities — … Continued
A dozen years after the end of Sri Lanka’s 26-year-long civil war, traditional homelands of the minority Tamil population are still under military occupation, thousands of forcibly displaced civilians remain in limbo, and policies rooted in Sinhala nationalism continue to actively suppress Tamil history and culture. So claims a new Oakland Institute report authored by … Continued
Ayn Rand’s novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged have been called gateway drugs to rightwing ideas for so many Americans. And while the works of the writer and philosopher have seen a resurgence since the global economic crisis, her influence has been undeniably huge and sustained since those books were originally published in mid-century. Historian … Continued
What is anarchism? Many have discovered that it’s not about breaking windows or planting bombs, but what are anarchism’s core tenets, and what has anarchism looked like in practice? Dana Ward considers anarchist theory, history, and practice. Anarchy Archives, an online research center Dana Ward and Paul Messersmith-Glavin, “Why Anarchism is Dangerous” Agency The Institute … Continued