KPFA: Against the Grain [Program Feed]

  • Struggles Across Borders
    From at least the Haitian Revolution to the present, black and brown people in the Western Hemisphere have linked arms in solidarity with each other. Historian Paul Ortiz discusses how we can’t understand the United States and its past without looking beyond its borders. Resources: Paul Ortiz, An African American and Latinx History of the United States [1] Beacon Press, 2018 [1]
  • Making Sense of “1968”
    Half a century has elapsed since 1968, a year of globe-spanning revolt and rebellion. What ideas and principles animated the various struggles waged by students, workers, artists, and others? And in what ways can 1968 – and more generally what’s called the global 1960s – inform and inspire current struggles for social and economic justice? Timothy Scott Brown [1] discusses the meaning and legacy of “1968.” Timothy Scott Brown, West Germany and the Global Sixties: The Anti-Authoritarian Revolt, 1962-1978 [2] Cambridge University Press, 2015 [1] [2]
  • Political Language vs Political Reality
    America’s unique place in the world, the dream of prosperity for the hardworking — these are some of the myths that the United States has told about itself, but which critic Eric Cheyfitz argues are now fraying.  He discusses the role of ideology in the U.S., from the American Revolution to the present, and why it is no longer working. Resources: Eric Cheyfitz, The Disinformation Age: The Collapse of Liberal Democracy in the United States [1] Routledge, 2017 [1]
  • Fund Drive Special: Highlights from “Manufacturing Consent”
    Noam Chomsky’s ideas and critiques are featured in the documentary film “Manufacturing Consent.”
  • Fund Drive Special: Noam Chomsky on the Media
    Noam Chomsky is the most prominent and enduring figure on the American left. He is one of the most cited intellectuals in the world. With Edward Herman, he proposed a model for understanding elite control in the United States through the media system, which an iconic film explores.
  • Fund Drive Special: Plants and Animals of the Bay Area
    John Muir Laws writes about and creates illustrations of plants and wildlife found in the Bay Area.
  • Fund Drive Special: The History of Classical Anarchism
    The Paris Commune, the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish Revolution — some of the most important social upheavals fomented by radicals were led or populated by anarchists. Yet most of us have very little knowledge of what the anarchist tradition is actually about, and the ideas of anarchism are often conflated with particular strategies or tactics. A film series attempts to set the record straight.
  • Fund Drive Special: Birds and Birdwatching
    Charles Hood discusses his book “A Californian’s Guide to the Birds Among Us.”
  • Fund Drive Special: Voices from the Annals of Pacifica
    Novelist and critic Gore Vidal, Malcolm X, and journalist Molly Ivins are just some of the luminaries of the left whose voices were given a platform on KPFA and Pacifica Radio.  We look back at some highlights.
  • Fund Drive Special: Inequality’s Impact on Health
    Stephen Bezruchka on why U.S. residents are less healthy than people in dozens of other countries.
  • Consulting the Masses
    Consumer capitalism and the focus group appear to go hand in hand. But Liza Featherstone argues that the focus group has radical origins and, in convoluted ways, points to the potential for collective input in an egalitarian society. She discusses the history of focus groups for consumer goods and electoral politics. Resources: Liza Featherstone, Divining Desire: Focus Groups and the Culture of Consultation [1] OR Books, 2018 [1]
  • Du Bois on Stalin’s U.S.S.R.
    What accounts for the allegiance W. E. B. Du Bois professed to Stalin’s U.S.S.R.? What did the influential African American thinker and writer believe had happened to white supremacy and racial prejudice in the Soviet Union? According to Vaughn Rasberry [1], Du Bois believed that emerging communist nations like the U.S.S.R. had the right to experiment, and to fail. (Encore presentation.) Vaughn Rasberry, Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in the Black Literary Imagination [2] Harvard University Press, 2016 [1] [2]
  • The Decline of Psychotherapy and the Rise of Pharmaceuticals
    While Americans are dealing with anxiety and depression in greater numbers, and the suicide rate has increased by almost 25% since the turn of the 21st century, access to talk therapy is decreasing. Clinical psychologist Enrico Gnaulati considers the social implications of the decline of psychotherapy and the rise of pharmaceutical drugs like Prozac, cognitive behavior therapy, and managed care. Resources: Enrico Gnaulati, Saving Talk Therapy: How Health Insurers, Big Pharma, and Slanted Science are Ruining Good Mental Health Care [1] Beacon Press, 2018 [1]
  • Remembering Anti-Fascists; The Salton Sea
    How does Germany remember and honor those who fought fascism, and where does the U.S. stand in comparison? David Bacon reports on the monuments he visited and the courageous and often radical people they commemorate. Bacon also traveled to the once-majestic Salton Sea in California, where dust pollution from the receding shoreline is making farmworkers and their children sick. The Reality Check: Stories and Photographs by David Bacon [1] David Bacon, In the Fields of the North / En Los Campos del Norte [2] University of California Press, 2017 [1] [2]
  • The Rise of Internet Radio
    Radio in the twentieth century, which you could tune into in your car or at home, had a mass audience and was a collective experience, for good or ill. Radio today, which can be listened to when and how you want it, is a more private and atomized affair. Historian Matthew Lasar discusses the social and political choices and circumstances that led to the decline of broadcast radio and the rise of internet radio. Resources: Matthew Lasar, Radio 2.0: Uploading the First Broadcast Medium [1] Praeger, 2016 [1]

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