Oakland’s Police Department has been a poster child for abusive and violent law enforcement. But award-winning journalist Darwin BondGraham argues that the OPD is exceptional only because of the scrutiny it’s received. He discusses the department’s history from the Red Scare of the 1920s to the Black Panthers in the 1960s to Occupy Oakland in … Continued

A number of things are bad for your health. Is economic inequality one of them? According to Stephen Bezruchka, U.S. population health lags behind that of dozens of other countries for two main reasons: extreme economic inequality and a lack of government support directed at early life. (Encore presentation.) Stephen Bezruchka, Inequality Kills Us All: COVID-19’s Health … Continued

Atlanta is a pivotal city for reasons cultural, economic, and political. And so the changes that the city and metropolitan area have undergone since the 1990s have been consequential, deepening class and racial inequality. As Dan Immergluck points out, these shifts were not the inevitable product of market forces, but the result of political decisions. … Continued

What does May Day, as an anarchist and socialist political project, commemorate? Nicolas Lampert and Paul Buhle share historical background; Cindy Milstein reviews anarchist principles; Richard Lichtman considers what Marx called alienation; and Paul C. Gray discusses the importance of identifying workers’ issues of concern and creating democratic structures. (Image on main page by Washington … Continued

Can classic organizing methods be effective in gig economy workplaces? Paul C. Gray examines how methods like organizing conversations, social mapping, social charting, leader identification, and the identification of strategic chokepoints were applied by food couriers in Toronto to the peculiar circumstances of their platform-based work environment. Labour/Le Travail Gig Workers United (Photo on main … Continued

Many have concluded that the climate emergency will only be addressed by mass collective action. But given the small size of the U.S. left, who would populate such a movement? Scholar and participant-activist Kai Bosworth draws lessons from the struggles against the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines in the Upper Midwest, which brought … Continued

Against the Grain

Democratic Development

Where can one find an outstanding example of decentralized democracy? Richard Franke describes a remarkable initiative launched in the Indian state of Kerala that devolved power to the community level, made local development a bottom-up process, and drew on mass mobilizations to bring to light people’s needs and how best to address them. (Encore presentation.) T.M. … Continued

Ours is an era of breathless talk about innovation, technical change, and disruption –- all for the presumed greater good. But what if the focus on relentless innovation has obscured the more important work of maintenance and care? Historian Lee Vinsel discusses the trajectory of technical innovation and its valorization, as well as the devaluing … Continued