KPFA - Against the Grain
By Against the Grain
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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 – September 18, 2018||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.||9/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanWest Germany and the Sixties||This year is the 50th anniversary of 1968, a stand in for the explosive movements of the 60s and 70s. Christina Gerhardt discusses those movements through a German lens, many of which exploded on the scene a mere decade and a half after the defeat of the Nazis and into a society deeply marked by fascism. She reflects on the rise of the New Left and the armed struggle group the Red Army Faction, and how the repression of the left paved the way for surveillance and the abuse of prisoners today. Resources: Christina Gerhardt, Screening the Red Army Faction: Historical and Cultural Memory  Bloomsbury, 2018 Christina Gerhardt and Sara Saljoughi (eds.),1968 and Global Cinem a Wayne State University Press, 2018 1968 and Global Cinema Film Series   https://www.bloomsbury.com/us/screening-the-red-army-faction-9781501336690/  https://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/1968-and-global-cinema  https://bampfa.org/program/1968-and-global-cinema||9/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanShould the Left Engage With the State?||Many people on the Left have come to believe that we can and should change the world without taking power. While some of the arguments emanating from people like John Holloway are valid, says Paul Christopher Gray , he believes that engaging with the state and vying for state power can, under certain circumstances, lead to fundamental social and political transformation. Paul Christopher Gray, ed., From the Streets to the State: Changing the World by Taking Power  SUNY Press, 2018  https://brocku.academia.edu/PaulGray  https://www.sunypress.edu/p-6579-from-the-streets-to-the-state.aspx||9/12/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanIt’s in the Can||What's inside that seemingly unremarkable object: a metal can of food? How did we get to where we are today, where canned food appears so mundane -- when, in fact, selling food in a corrodible can to dubious American consumers was an uphill battle for the processed food industry? Historian Anna Zeide looks at the role of trade groups, public relations, and political lobbying in the marketing of canned food. Resources: Anna Zeide, Canned: The Rise and Fall of Consumer Confidence in the American Food Industry  UC Press, 2018  https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520290686/canned||9/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPolitical Asylum and the Domestic Violence Survivor||Asylum protection for domestic violence survivors and for people fleeing other forms of persecution is under threat. Jeff Sessions has intervened in a key immigration case. Karen Musalo  discusses the details, background, and implications of the Attorney General’s decision. She also stresses the importance of protecting women who fear gender-based violence if returned to their home country. Center for Gender & Refugee Studies  Immigrant Women Too   https://cgrs.uchastings.edu/about/bio/karen-musalo  https://cgrs.uchastings.edu  http://www.immigrantwomentoo.org/||9/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanOil Extraction and the Treatment of Women||What does fossil fuel extraction, and the environmental damage it causes, have to do with the exploitation of women? Sean Parson  and Emily Ray  apply insights from ecofeminism, Marxism, and Freudianism to the situation of women in and around the Bakken oil fields; they also discuss the sexualization of women’s bodies in oil industry-related advertisements. (Encore presentation.)  https://nau.edu/SBS/SUS/Faculty-Staff/Parson-Sean/  https://web.sonoma.edu/polisci/faculty/emily-ray.html||9/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPalestinian Dispossession||We’re often told that the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians rises out of a unique historical situation. But the dispossession of the Palestinians, rather than being exceptional, has strong echoes in other historical dispossessions. Gary Fields discusses the enclosure of the lands of the English peasantry, Native Americans, and the inhabitants of historic Palestine. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Gary Fields, Enclosure: Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror  UC Press, 2017  https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520291058/enclosure||8/29/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanBiopolitical Power and the Carceral State||Power comes in different flavors, asserted the French theorist Michel Foucault. Sarah Burgess  explains the difference between sovereign power and biopolitical power; she also discusses biopolitical practices and rhetorics of power in the context of the easily preventable death of a Canadian woman in her prison cell. Happe, Johnson, and Levina, eds., Biocitizenship: The Politics of Bodies, Governance, and Power  NYU Press, 2018  https://www.usfca.edu/faculty/sarah-burgess  https://nyupress.org/books/9781479860531/||8/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanImagining Life After Capitalism||What can Star Trek tell us about life after capitalism? Peter Frase discusses four possible futures in a world where workers are increasingly being replaced by machines -- ranging from communist and socialist societies to ones in which workers are literally disposable. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Peter Frase, Four Futures: Life After Capitalism Verso, 2014||8/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPunishment in Solitary||According to Terry Kupers, a culture of punishment and impunity pervades solitary confinement facilities around the U.S. Because many inmates in solitary suffer from serious mental illness, they can respond to escalating punishments in ways that invite more — and more brutal — punitive measures. Kupers discusses what can be done to promote, rather than undermine, inmates’ emotional stability and prospects for rehabilitation. (Encore presentation.) Terry Kupers, Solitary: The Inside Story of Supermax Isolation and How We Can Abolish It University of California Press, 2017  https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520292239||8/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCan Capitalism Survive?||Capitalism depends on various inexpensive things to stay robust, including labor — both paid and unpaid — energy, food, and nature. What happens when they all stop being cheap at the same time? Jason Moore discusses whether capitalism can survive the rising costs of business as usual. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Raj Patel & Jason W. Moore, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet  UC Press, 2017  https://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520293137||8/21/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanPostcolonial Thought||Nearly every society in the world is either a former colony or a former imperial power. How then should we regard and understand processes of imperialism and colonialism? According to Julian Go , a body of thought called postcolonial theory has offered many insights into the workings and legacies of empire and colonialism. Many of those legacies, Go asserts, continue to affect and haunt us today. Julian Go, Postcolonial Thought and Social Theory  Oxford University Press, 2016 Benzecry, Krause, and Reed, eds., Social Theory Now  University of Chicago Press, 2018  http://www.bu.edu/sociology/faculty-staff/faculty/julian-go/  https://global.oup.com/academic/product/postcolonial-thought-and-social-theory-9780190625146?cc=us&lang=en&  https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/S/bo26383995.html||8/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanThe Politics of Memory||How is radical memory transmitted from generation to generation? How does that transmission frequently fail — and how might it better succeed? Anthropologist and veteran radical Phil Cohen discusses the politics of remembrance and archiving, from the Sixties to the present. (Encore presentation.) Resources: Livingmaps  May Day Rooms  Phil Cohen, Archive That, Comrade! Left Legacies and the Counter Culture of Remembranc e PM Press, 2018  http://www.livingmaps.org.uk/wordpress/?doing_wp_cron=1528694125.6178820133209228515625  http://maydayrooms.org/  https://secure.pmpress.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=931||8/15/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanMigration in Real Life||In the two decades following the end of the bracero program in 1964, the number of Mexicans who migrated to the U.S. without papers rose dramatically. Who were these people, why did they cross the border, and who did they leave behind in Mexico? Did migrants tend to stay permanently in the U.S., or did what’s called circular migration take place? Ana Raquel Minian  conducted over 250 oral history interviews on both sides of the border. Ana Raquel Minian, Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration  Harvard University Press, 2018  https://history.stanford.edu/people/ana-raquel-minian  http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674737037||8/14/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanCopspeak||We’re told that the police are imperfect, but if we make the right reforms, the bad apples will be weeded out and aggressive behavior no longer tolerated. But, as David Correia argues, what if the police are not reformable? (Encore presentation.) Resources: David Correia and Tyler Wall, Police: A Field Guide  Verso, 2018  https://www.versobooks.com/books/2530-police||8/13/2018||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.
Not Against my Grain :)
I listen to over fifty, mostly political/cultural, podacsts a week. I delete and fast-forward with glee whenever I can: if I find the topic or segment or its treatment boring; if it's something with which I'm already quite familiar and consider I can skip; if it's merely propaganda; if it's something about which I just don't want to care about right there and then. Against the Grain isn't "easy listening": if I half-listen for more than a few seconds, I have to rewind. Listening to Against the Grain and trying to do much of anything else doesn't much work for me. And it's a nearly hour-long podcast, three times a week. So, it's with no small measure of satisfaction and relief when I find myself listening to something I just don't want to know about: I can delete it and get on with the next podcast or with something else. The rest of the time, which is almost all of the time, it's a treat. I rarely relisten to anything: I have lots of time but not ~that~ much; and I'm not that kind of self-indulgent. When I do relisten to something -- either for the sheer pleasure or because duty would seem to demand it -- it's often Against the Grain.
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.