KPFA: Against the Grain [Program Feed]

  • Keynes, Crisis, and the Green New Deal
    We live in an age of anxiety and crisis.  And there is a long tradition of thought that liberal elites have drawn on during such moments to rescue civilization as they know it from collapse: what we would call Keynesianism today, but which Geoff Mann argues dates back to the French Revolution, centuries before the birth of the economist John Maynard Keynes.  Mann discusses the complicated entanglement of the Keynesian interventionist state and the left, as well as why we're seeing the revival of Keynesianism in the Green New Deal.
  • The Politics of Climate Crisis
    There’s no question: global warming is here and causing serious harm. And we’re on course for much worse, especially as the signatories to the Paris Accord — the US aside — are not on track to meet even the insufficient targets it sets.  How might that shape the politics of the future?   And what might radicals do to change course?  Joel Wainwright discusses our possible futures in a climate-changed world, part of an Against the Grain series on organizing against climate disaster. Resources: Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright, Climate Leviathan: A Political Theory of Our Planetary Future [1] Verso, 2018 [1] https://www.versobooks.com/books/2545-climate-leviathan
  • Food Activism and Farmworkers
    If the goal is a socially just food system, is it enough for consumers to vote with their forks, or for food activism to focus on urban areas and concerns? Laura-Anne Minkoff-Zern [1] says we need to shift the focus from consumer-led food initiatives to movements led by farmworkers and supported by consumers. She finds the activities of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers [2] particularly instructive and inspiring. (Encore presentation.) Alkon and Guthman, eds., The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation, and Collective Action [3] University of California Press, 2017 [1] https://www.maxwell.syr.edu/geo/Minkoff-Zern,_Laura-Anne/ [2] https://ciw-online.org/about [3] https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520292147/the-new-food-activism
  • Literature, Modernism, and the CIA
    What did the CIA do in the arena of literature? What did literary modernism have to do with colonialism? And how and why have foundations actively collaborated with U.S. intelligence agencies? Juliana Spahr [1] considers the impact of politics and cultural diplomacy on literary production and on the ability of certain writers to achieve canonical status. (Encore presentation.) Juliana Spahr, Du Bois’s Telegram: Literary Resistance and State Containment [2] Harvard University Press, 2018 [1] https://inside.mills.edu/academics/faculty/eng/jspahr/jspahr.php [2] http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674986961
  • Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed
    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 Lisa Duggan examines what is at the heart of Rand’s enduring appeal. Resources: Lisa Duggan, Mean Girl: Ayn Rand and the Culture of Greed [1] UC Press, 2019 [1] https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520294776/mean-girl#about-author
  • Credit-Seeking, Ratings-Obsessed
    What happens when financial markets take over, when Uberization replaces traditional employment, and when credit ratings become crucial to the well-being of people and governments? According to Michel Feher, these transformations have affected labor markets, the promises governments make to their citizens, and opportunities and arenas for social struggle. (Encore presentation.) Michel Feher, Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age [1] Zone Books, 2018 [1] https://www.zonebooks.org/books/132-rated-agency-investee-politics-in-a-speculative-age
  • From Capitalism to Democratic Socialism
    The term socialism has, amazingly, gone from one consigned to Cold War obscurity to the self-description of several prominent US politicians. But what does socialism mean and how could we ever manage to get there? Jacobin magazine founder Bhaskar Sunkara argues that socialism is achievable — and maps out a path to emancipation, first through social democratic reforms, but not stopping there. He also lays out the perils of partial reform of the capitalist system and the need to abolish it all together. Resources: Bhaskar Sunkara, The Socialist Manifesto: The Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality [1] Basic Books, 2019 [1] https://www.basicbooks.com/titles/bhaskar-sunkara/the-socialist-manifesto/9781541674004/
  • Yellow Vest Realities and Reactions
    The Yellow Vests have shaken the French political establishment to its core. What are the protesters’ grievances, and how has the uprising been viewed by intellectuals on the left? Gabriel Rockhill [1] describes and assesses the Yellow Vests movement, the Macron regime’s reaction to it, and the French intelligentsia’s opinions of it. Gabriel Rockhill, “The Failure of the French Intelligentsia? Intellectuals and Uprisings in the Case of the Yellow Vests” [2] The Philosophical Salon Gabriel Rockhill, “Spectacular Violence as a Weapon of War Against the Yellow Vests” [3] CounterPunch Étienne Dolet and the Radical Education Department, “Ten Lessons from the Yellow Vests” [4] It’s Going Down [1] https://gabrielrockhill.com/ [2] https://thephilosophicalsalon.com/the-failure-of-the-french-intelligentsia-intellectuals-and-uprisings-in-the-case-of-the-yellow-vests/ [3] https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/22/spectacular-violence-as-a-weapon-of-war-against-the-yellow-vests/ [4] https://itsgoingdown.org/ten-lessons-from-the-yellow-vests/
  • Fund Drive Special: The Rise of the National Security State
    The history of the 20th century is the history of empire.  But did it have to be? We’ll look at various episodes in U.S. war-making, through the lens of award-winning director Oliver Stone, from World War One to World War Two and the development of the atomic bomb, to Vietnam and the proxy wars of today.
  • Against the Grain – May 21, 2019
    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.
  • Fund Drive Special: Slavery’s Long Shadow
    “The Long Shadow,” a documentary film written and directed by Frances Causey, investigates the history and legacies of slavery and anti-Black racism in the U.S.
  • Fund Drive Special: The Socialist Manifesto
    Jacobin magazine founder Bhaskar Sunkara speaks about the viability of socialism at a KPFA event in Berkeley.
  • Against the Grain – May 14, 2019
    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.
  • Fund Drive Special: Hannah Arendt
    The film “Vita Activa” examines the life and ideas of Hannah Arendt, who wrote about totalitarianism, the plight of refugees, and the nature of evil.
  • Fund Drive Special: How Inequality Makes Us Sick
    Epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, along with his co-author Karen Pickett, caused a sensation with their work The Spirit Level, which amassed vast amounts of data to illustrate that whether you are poor or well off, social inequality makes us ill, unhappy, and stressed. In the documentary film "Dysfunctional Societies" Wilkinson makes the case that equality is a public health necessity.

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