Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Against The Grain Radio Archives!

I love books... I love to go to bookstores, Check out the 'new releases', read the blurbs on the backs - all that good stuff. My problem is, i am a slow ass reader. I cant get through a book unless im really motivated or (which has been the case over the last few years) if im at one of my construction sites where i dont have to do too much and i can make good use of my time. The last book I read cover to cover (and high recommend) was Barbara Ransby's biography of Ella Baker titled Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement; A Radical Democratic Vision. One of these days i will get to writing a review of it for the blog, it was pretty inspiring.


Still we know that a large part of becoming radical intellectuals (not to be confused with academics) is that we gotta know our history, we gotta study movements past and present and figure out what other people with similar ideas have been doing over all these years. For us slow readers and those like myself who cant always figure out 'the big words', audio and video are good learning tools. I remember when i started getting active when i was at college and i discovered David Barsamian and his great radio show Alternative Radio. I stumbled on a big box of Alternative Radio recording on ebay and spent my whole senior year listening to speakers like Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Vandana Shiva, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn etc. Having moved from New York City to Western Massachusetts and feeling kind of out of place i spent many evenings falling asleep to one or another great talking on a variety of subjects.

Enter a great website called Against The Grain which i only found out about sometime around the summer of 2004 but have visited many times since. Its a radio show which is aired on KPFA (the Bay Area Pacifica affiliate) three times a week, but more importantly its a show thats archived at KPFA so that you dont have to miss a single show. Produced by C.S. Soong and Sasha Lilley, Against The Grain is usually a one hour interview with a series of authors, theorists and activists from around the country, with an occasional taped lecture thrown in the mix. The nice thing is that unlike Alternative Radio, they take it one step further by actually featuring lesser known activists who are actually organizing on the ground and sharing their personal experiences. Although i still love to listen to my man Chomsky break it down once in a while, at this point i get a lot more out of a current 'debate on the feminist or anti-war movement' or an analysis of Hardt and Negri's book Empire (which i cant understand for the life of me but im slowly learning..).

The KPFA archives go back for several years and cover every subject you have ever wondered about. I highly recommend it as background radio while your playing your Playstation game or whatever you do to relax around the house (maybe thats just me?). A few months ago myself and Rayan El-Amine (another editor of Left Turn Magazine) were asked to appear on the show to comment on the situation in Palestine as well as the state of 'The Global Justice Movement'.

1 comment:

Ellen said...

I just read that biography and really loved it too. Feel like it filled in
a lot of gaps in my understanding of the movement and of that era. You
should definitely write up a review!

Ellen