Politics and History

Wendy Kline says the history of birth in America is the story of the medical establishment’s deliberate suppression of midwives. For her as for most mothers, it’s a story that’s political and personal.  

The first birth is when you arrive here, as a wet, wiggling newborn. But there may be other transitions in your life that feel just as difficult and profound. Some people actually call those passages re-birth. 

Studs Terkel in studio

Studs Terkel talked with people from of all walks of life about their work, from firefighters, to steel workers, to labor activist Cesar Chavez. As part of a whole radio hour examining work, we hear snippets of Terkel's wisdom on how life for blue collar workers has changed over the years.

man walking to work

The anthropologist David Graeber says “BS jobs” are an epidemic. Especially in that circle of hell known as middle management.

punch the clock

When we talk about reforming work, fixing work, creating new kinds of work — author and historian James Livingston thinks perhaps we’re not going far enough. 

Niki poses with some of her staff. She makes accommodations for employees struggling with prior convictions or legal status.

A few years ago, Niki Okuk started a tire recycling company in Los Angeles. Run along the lines of a worker-owned cooperative, the employees are people who would ordinarily have a hard time finding any job. 

man moving steel

Alissa Quart spent the last few years traveling around the country, talking with all kinds of people about work. What she found is a lot of people with jobs that look good on paper but who feel — in a word — squeezed.

Demonstrators march for "Medicare for All" and other socialist-leaning policy goals.

University of Wisconsin sociologist Erik Olin Wright was one of the world's leading Marxist theorists. He died in early 2019. In 2018, he stopped by our studio to talk socialism with Steve Paulson.

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