Against the Grain (radio program)

Against the Grain (radio program)

"Against the Grain" is a syndicated Pacifica Radio program of radical ideas and action. The show originates out of the studios of KPFA-FM, the flagship station in the Pacifica Radio Network. Against the Grain focuses on in-depth analysis and commentary by some of the most prominent Left intellectuals today, on a variety of matters -- political, economic, social and cultural -- important to progressive and radical thinking and activism, such as Marxist political economy, the global justice movement, philosophical and cultural ideas, and race and gender relations.


"Against the Grain" was founded in March 2003 at KPFA-FM in the San Francisco Bay Area by radio journalists C.S. Soong and Sasha Lilley. The ongoing program was born from a four-part radio series co-hosted and co-produced by Soong and Lilley, entitled Free Radicals, which aimed to challange conventional wisdom on the Left. C.S. Soong is the program's regular host and producer and Eddie Yuen, co-editor of "Confronting Capitalism: Dispatches from a Global Movement," is currently the show's associate producer. Sasha Lilley is on leave from Against the Grain to work as KPFA's acting program director. Lilley and AK Press founder Ramsey Kanaan are the program's alternate hosts.

The program can be heard noon to 1 pm PT/ 3pm to 4pm ET, Monday through Wednesday, at, or archived and podcast at In Northern and Central California, the program can be heard on KPFA 94.1 FM and KFCF 88.1 FM.

Notable guests, interviews, and on-air debates

* Robin Blackburn - A look at pensions and the political economy of old age provision. New Left Review's Blackburn, author of "Banking on Death", talks about the neoliberal agenda to privatize pensions -- and the progressive potential of this collective form of property, August 10, 2004 []
* Lisa Duggan - Neoliberalism has accomplished a shocking upward redistribution of wealth. Duggan contends that the right, much more than the Left, has successfully connected its economic goals with cultural and identity-based politics and if progressives and radicals don't respond in kind a vibrant and truly expansive Left will be impossible to construct, August 24, 2004 []
* Barbara Epstein, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and John Sanbonmatsu - Activist scholars Epstein, Dunbar-Ortiz, and Sanbonmatsu talk about the significance of 1968 and assess the effectiveness of radical strategies and direction, July 7, 2008 []
* Jane Fonda — Radical icon, anti-war activist, and Oscar-winning actor Fonda talks about her memoir "My Life So Far", April 26, 2005 []
* John Bellamy Foster - Is a socialist alternative to capitalism just a utopian dream discredited by the experience of the Soviet Union? John Bellamy Foster, editor of Monthly Review, talks about the legacy and viability of radical socialism and the need to renew its promise, April 13, 2005 []
* Robin D.G. Kelley — The radical scholar argues that invisioning a better world is at least as important as critiquing the current one, January 17, 2005 []
* Cindy Millstein - An Anarchist Perspective. Does anarchism demand an end to all authority? And what does anarchism bring to anti-capitalist resistance? July 7, 2004 []
* Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin - A discussion about finance and American empire with political economists Gindin and Panitch, co-editor of The Socialist Register, August 17, 2005 []
* Raj Patel - The author of "Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System," talks about the politics and economics of food production and consumption, June 2, 2008 []
* Richard Walker and Daniel Buck Economic geographers Richard Walker and Daniel Buck talk about whether China is a capitalist country, despite official pronouncements to the contrary, as they argue in their essay in the New Left Review "The Chinese Road: Cities and the Transition to Capitalism", June 30, 2008 []
* Immanuel Wallerstein — The influential scholar and writer argues that the US was the sole global superpower from 1945 to around 1970, after which US hegemony went into decline. He also describes how the 1968 revolutionaries critiqued the Old Left movements that had taken state power, and contends that capitalism "is doomed", Part I, April 28, 2008 []
* Immanuel Wallerstein — Immanuel Wallerstein discusses what the USSR's collapse meant to the US; what kinds of strategies opposition movements might pursue; and why world-systems analysis, which he innovated, has merit, Part II, April 29, 2008 []

External links

* [ Against the Grain Official website]

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