Public schools in cities across the U.S., cities like Newark, New Jersey, have been the targets of privatization campaigns over the last two decades. Sociologist John Arena asks why rising star and Mayor Cory Booker was unsuccessful at forcing through corporate school reform in Newark, while his rival and successor Mayor Ras Baraka — the … Continued


What accounts for the militarization of the police in the U.S., and how long has it been going on? Julian Go links police militarization with colonial conquest, imperial control, and the racialization of crime and disorder. The domestic effects and implications of the so-called imperial boomerang, Go reveals, have been momentous and longstanding. Julian Go, … Continued


Against the Grain

The Technological and Ideological Tools of Occupation

Israel’s military power has been on display following Hamas’s attack and Israel’s continuing assault on Gaza. Israel is one of the world’s most important producers of military hardware and surveillance technology, honed in its occupation of Palestine, and exported around the globe to various brutal regimes. Antony Loewenstein traces the history of Israel’s military tech … Continued


Much been said and written about the Sixties; what should we make of the ’70s? Revolutionary hopes were dampened and movements repressed, but did something constructive and instructive also take place? Michael Hardt considers radical struggles and conceptual developments that he finds provocative, inspiring, and relevant to our times. Michael Hardt, The Subversive Seventies Oxford … Continued


What’s the value of a liberal arts education? It’s become commonplace to hear Humanities degrees condemned as a waste of money, purportedly not readying students for the world of work. Author and literary critic Gayle Greene counters that they have never been more necessary — yet are disappearing from higher education. Resources: Gayle Greene, Immeasurable … Continued


Against the Grain

Automated Warfare

Many U.S. military establishment bigwigs are pushing the development of automated and autonomous weapons systems. Roberto González questions whether this robo-fanaticism, as he calls it, is justified. He also describes efforts to address human warfighters’ distrust of machines. (Encore presentation.) Roberto J. González, War Virtually: The Quest to Automate Conflict, Militarize Data, and Predict the Future University of … Continued


Universities are one of the most hallowed institutions in our society — but critics argue they’re closer to hedge funds that conduct classes. Higher education is largely tax-exempt, based on the idea that universities benefit the public at large, including the communities where they are located. Yet urbanist and historian Davarian Baldwin argues that cities … Continued