KPFA - Against the Grain
By Against the Grain
To listen to an audio podcast, mouse over the title and click Play. Open iTunes to download and subscribe to podcasts.
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.
||CleanAgainst the Grain – February 22, 2017||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.||2/22/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFighting Back Against Trump||While Trump was consolidating his power after his inauguration, some of the leading lights of the radical left gathered at a remarkable event in Washington D.C. It featured the likes of Naomi Klein, Owen Jones, Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor, and Jeremy Scahill, who took stock of the moment and looked ahead. They emphasized the need for solidarity, radical analysis, and collective action in the face of the unbridled corporate right. (Many thanks to Jacobin Magazine, Verso, and Haymarket Books for making the audio available to us.)||2/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Southern Strategy, Racism, and the Republican Party||The overtly racist politics of Donald Trump has been called unprecedented — a break from the Republican Party’s past rules of engagement. But a look backward, particularly at the GOP’s Southern Strategy to woo white voters based on segregationist or racist appeals, indicates how inaccurate that assumption is. Edward H. Miller discusses the origins of the Southern Strategy in segregated Dallas, and how the ideas of Texas ultraconservatives became the national politics of the Republican Party. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Edward H. Miller, Nut Country: Right-Wing Dallas and the Birth of the Southern Strategy  University of Chicago Press, 2015  http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/N/bo19197692.html||2/20/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanRace and Racial Politics in Health News||How are race and ethnicity represented in U.S. news coverage of health and medicine? Charles Briggs  argues that whiteness tends to be portrayed as an aspirational state of well-being, while people of color are far too often depicted as deficient, as trapped by culture and thus to be blamed for their own health problems. Charles Briggs and Daniel Hallin, Making Health Public: How News Coverage Is Remaking Media, Medicine, and Contemporary Life  Routledge, 2016  http://anthropology.berkeley.edu/people/charles-l-briggs  https://www.routledge.com/Making-Health-Public-How-News-Coverage-Is-Remaking-Media-Medicine-and/Briggs-Hallin/p/book/9781138999862||2/15/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMilitant Tactics Against the Right||In the aftermath of the shutdown of far right celebrity Milo Yiannapoulos at UC Berkeley, there’s been much debate among progressives and leftists about the use of militant tactics against the right. Some of the questions under contention are whether militant tactics bring down repression on the most vulnerable, and whether free speech—even for fascists—is sacrosanct. Undocumented UC Berkeley student Juan Prieto talks about why he supported the shutdown. And Kieran discusses the history of the group Anti-Racist Action and makes the case for mass militant organizing and action. Resources: Twin Cities General Defense Committee  Building Working-Class Defense Organizations: An Interview with the Twin Cities GDC  A History of Anti-Racist Action   https://twincitiesgdc.org/  http://m1aa.org/?p=1316  https://antiracistaction.org/history/||2/14/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||Clean“Grief-Activism” Amidst Mass Dying at Sea||The Mediterranean has become a watery mass grave for thousands of migrants seeking entry into Europe. Maurice Stierl  describes episodes of what he calls grief-activism: collective acts of grief and commemoration that simultaneously assert a radical critique of European border policy and militarization. He also discusses the current state of trans-Mediterranean migration. Maurice Stierl, “Contestations in Death – The Role of Grief in Migration Struggles ” Citizenship Studies  http://culturalstudies.ucdavis.edu/maurice-stierl-phd  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13621025.2015.1132571?journalCode=ccst20||2/13/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanRadiation and the Human Body||Radiation is a fearsome thing. It occurs naturally and very unnaturally, and is used both as a medical treatment and a terrifying weapon. Timothy Jorgensen traces the history of how scientists became aware of radiation's dangers to the human body, from the so-called "Radium Girls", factory workers who were poisoned painting watch dials, to the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the hydrogen bomb experiments in the Bikini Atoll, and Chernobyl and Fukushima. Rather than leaving things to experts, he believes that people should inform themselves about greater and lesser risks. Resources: Timothy J. Jorgensen, Strange Glow: The Story of Radiation  Princeton University Press, 2016  http://press.princeton.edu/titles/10691.html||2/8/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanIsrael in East Jerusalem; Gitmo and the Berrigans||What is it about the city of Jerusalem that makes Trump's promise to move the U.S. embassy there so alarming? Zakaria Odeh describes what Israel has done in and to East Jerusalem and its Palestinian residents. Also, Frida Berrigan discusses her involvement in efforts to close Guantánamo in the context of her father’s activism and incarceration. Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem  Witness Against Torture  Frida Berrigan, It Runs in the Family: On Being Raised by Radicals and Growing into Rebellious Motherhood  OR Books, 2015  http://www.civiccoalition-jerusalem.org/  http://www.witnessagainsttorture.com/  http://www.orbooks.com/catalog/it-runs-in-the-family/||2/7/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Origins and Politics of the Alt-Right||Until the last year or two, most people had never heard of the alt-right. But the lead up to the election of Donald Trump has highlighted its noxious influence, including in the corridors of power. Is the term the "alt-right" just a fig leaf for neo-Nazism? Or is the alternative right a new formation of reactionary politics, steeped in white supremacy and misogyny? Scholar Matthew Lyons talks about the intellectual origins of the alternative right, and the relationship between the alt-right and Trump's key advisor Steve Bannon. He also weighs in on whether the Trump administration is fascist. Resources: Three Way Fight  Matthew N. Lyons et al, Ctrl-Alt-Delete: An Antifascist Report on the Alternative Right  Kersplebedeb Publishing, 2017 Matthew N. Lyons, "Ctrl-Alt-Delete: The Origins and Ideology of the Alternative Right"   http://threewayfight.blogspot.com/  https://www.leftwingbooks.net/book/content/ctrl-alt-delete-antifascist-report-alternative-right  http://www.politicalresearch.org/2017/01/20/ctrl-alt-delete-report-on-the-alternative-right/#sthash.h7Ansz92.dpbs||2/6/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFinancialization and Its Discontents||Max Haiven  connects the dots between financialization, gentrification, indebtedness, and hedge fund activity. Haiven co-conducted a walking tour of sites in San Francisco and Oakland, sites that offer a microcosm of capitalist dynamics that have enriched a few while burdening and displacing countless others. His analysis encompasses the foreclosure crisis, Puerto Rico's debt, and even the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. The University of the Phoenix   https://maxhaiven.com/about/  http://universityofthephoenix.com/||2/1/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanTrumping Global Warming||The last three years have been the hottest on record. But, rather than urgently addressing global warming, we now have a government helmed by a climate denier, who has chosen the head of Exxon Mobil as his Secretary of State. Are we doomed? Leftwing environmentalist Tom Athanasiou thinks not. He believes the Trump backlash provides the best hope for aggressive action against global warming. Resources: Tom Athanasiou, After the Catastrophe: Climate Justice as the Post-Trump Slingshot  Climate Equity Reference Project  Civil Society Equity Review Coalition   http://www.ecoequity.org/2017/01/after-the-catastrophe/  https://climateequityreference.org/  https://climateequityreference.org/civil-society-equity-review/||1/31/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanFree Universities||As universities become increasingly infiltrated and transformed by capitalist logics, what do free universities add to the educational, social, and political landscape? Fern Thompsett, a Ph.D. student at McGill University, co-founded a free university in Australia; she’s also researched more than two dozen free university projects in North America. Thompsett describes both the free-of-charge and radical-emancipatory aspects of free universities. Angosto-Ferrández and Presterudstuen, eds., Anthropologies of Value: Cultures of Accumulation Across the Global North and South  Pluto Press, 2016 Brisbane Free University   http://www.plutobooks.com/display.asp?K=9780745336633&  https://brisbanefreeuniversity.org/about/||1/30/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Working Class and Anticapitalism||The left has been traditionally defined, in its most radical form, as a movement of the working class against capitalism. What changed over the last half century? Not only has the working class not been at the forefront of radical politics, but radical politics itself has waned. Why have resistance movements become more sporadic? And what lessons can be drawn from the past to re-energize leftwing collective action in the age of Trump? Political economist David McNally  talks about the past and future of radical class-based politics.  http://davidmcnally.org/||1/25/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanHabermas and Adorno on Reason and Rationality||What happens when “reason” is in decline, when the world appears to be moving in the direction of irrationality and political pathology? Martin Jay  discusses how two Frankfurt School thinkers, Theodor Adorno and Jürgen Habermas, tried to salvage a critical version of reason. Whereas Adorno looked to art and aesthetics, Habermas appealed to practices of interpersonal communication and argumentation. Martin Jay, Reason after Its Eclipse: On Late Critical Theory  University of Wisconsin Press, 2016  http://history.berkeley.edu/people/martin-e-jay  https://uwpress.wisc.edu/books/5488.htm||1/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanAgainst Purity||We on the left find ourselves in a world that seems sullied in at every level -- the air we breathe, the water we drink, the unequal social relations between people, and an exploitative relationship with the natural world. Our answer, not surprisingly, is to struggle for more purity, both in our environment and in our political practice. But, Alexis Shotwell suggests that, in our fight against the ravages of capitalism, purity is not the best way to come together collectively and change a damaged world. Resources: Alexis Shotwell, Against Purity: Living Ethically in Compromised Times  University of Minnesota Press, 2016  https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/against-purity||1/23/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
News for smart people...
Against the Grain offers extremely rich analysis of generally political topics that you are hard-pressed to find anywhere else, not even on Democracy Now or Flashpoints. Against the Grain seems to put its faith in Academia as a source for contemporary critical models from which to view current issues. The result is a truly "smart" response to the punditry of more conventional poitical programming. My only criticism is that the podcast isn't updated as regularly as one would hope, just look at the dates in the window below to understand what I mean. Maybe they'll fix that.
One of the Best
Against the Grain provides in depth analysis on an amazingly wide array of issues. The hosts (usually C.S. Soong) are always well informed and ask thoughtful questions.
Ideas that matter
Tired of the shouting matches, or psuedo-celebrity smugness that pretends to be meaningful discussion about which way our society should move? Then listen to Against the Grain. Some of today's most important ideas are actually taken seriously here. The host and producer always do excellent preparation. Too bad it's only an hour, and only on three times a week.