Interview with Christian Picciolini

I interviewed Christian Picciolini, a fascinating and inspiring anti-hate leader. A former neo-Nazi, Picciolini now dedicates his life to battling white supremacy, helping young men in hate groups disengage and reform, and advocating for the full promise of multiracial democracy in the United States. His books, White American Youth and Breaking Hate, are essential for understanding the danger of white supremacy, and how it manifests as a formidable threat against the future of American democracy.

Go to Salon, to read our timely and insightful discussion about racism, the threat to democracy, and how leading right wing figures and Republican officials now sound frighteningly like the neo-Nazis of the 1990s.

Christian Picciolini reads from White American Youth: My Descent into  America's Most Violent Hate Movement—and How I Got Out (Hachette Books,  2017) – Calandra Italian American Institute
Breaking Hate: Confronting the New Culture of Extremism: Picciolini,  Christian: 9780316522939: Amazon.com: Books

The American Fool: How Provincialism, Arrogance, and Greed Make US Foreign Policy an Exercise in Idiocy

I have a new essay in CounterPunch. It covers the “American Fool” factor in US foreign policy. American ignorance, avarice, and hubris have cost millions of people their lives. The latest results are on display in Afghanistan, as a 20 year war of criminality and stupidity comes to an inevitable end.

Read at CounterPunch.

Bush Regrets 'Mission Accomplished' Banner
Who better to lecture Muslims than Islam expert Donald Trump? | David  Shariatmadari | The Guardian

Interview on the Tavis Smiley Show

I had the great thrill and honor of talking with journalist extraordinaire, Tavis Smiley, about my book, I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters. Smiley endorsed I Am Somebody, calling it a “wonderfully written book that profoundly makes its case.” Listen to our conversation in the archives of KBLA, Smiley’s new radio station in Los Angeles.

May be an image of 5 people, including David Masciotra, beard and text that says 'Masciotra Bellerjeau Tavis. 9am-12n. -12n. KBLA. Monday. kola 1580 am talk radio McCoo & Davis Jr.'

“Pushing Back Against Authority”: Son Volt, and the Power of Protest Music

The new Son Volt record, Electro Melodier, is the best collection of political songs in many years. I had the pleasure of exchanging emails with Jay Farrar, songwriter and singer for the band, in July. I’ve written an essay on Son Volt, and the importance of protest music, for the July 30th weekend edition of CounterPunch.

Electro Melodier by Son Volt Reviews and Tracks - Metacritic

Walking Around Blind Without a Cane: “Democracy” in America

I had a big new essay at CounterPunch+ last weekend, examining how and why “democracy” is a hazy concept to most Americans, which places it in greater danger from the growing right wing threat of fascism.

A CounterPunch+ subscription costs $4 per month. Please consider subscribing, not only so that you can read my essay, but also some of the best political writing from a genuinely independent source.

“Declarations that the United States has fallen into conditions resembling a ‘civil war’ have become hackneyed and cliched. That such an extreme condemnation of American culture and politics can transform into a bromide demonstrates how deeply institutional and social dysfunction trouble the world’s wealthiest country. Even more disturbing are those surveyors of politics and history who persuasively argue that, in many ways legally and culturally significant, the Confederacy has triumphed long after Gettysburg…”

Read the rest of the essay, “Walking Around Blind Without a Cane: ‘Democracy’ in America.”

Interview on “Pause for Justice” Radio Program

I was recently a guest on the “Pause for Justice” radio program, broadcasting out of the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL. Gracious and thoughtful host, Allison Heard, and I had a great conversation about my book, “I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters,” as well as related issues of civil rights and social justice.

Ms. Heard also gave me the opportunity to select the songs that would play during the broadcast. Here were my choices:

  1. “Think” by Aretha Franklin
  2. “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye
  3. “I Remember, I Believe” by Lizz Wright
  4. “Peaceful World” by John Mellencamp with India.Arie
  5. “People Have the Power” by Patti Smith

New Essay at CounterPunch: “The Phony Free Speech Panic versus Right Wing Fascism”

I have a new essay running in the July 2nd, Weekend Edition, of CounterPunch. It compares the phony free speech panic (“Cancel culture!” “Wokeism!” The horror!) and the actual laws that suppress, penalize, and threaten the exercise of free speech from fascistic Republicans in multiple states. The right wing is now censoring and punishing educators and protestors who discuss topics and advocate for causes that they do not like.

It is a truly dangerous and frightening move that coalesces with the ongoing Republican effort to demolish voting rights, and limit access to the ballot for voters of color and college students.

American democracy is under assault, and my new essay describes a critical element of the problem.

50 days of protest in Portland. A violent police response. This is how we  got here. - OPB

Interview on the Peace and Justice Report

On June 16th, I was a guest on the WSLR Peace and Justice Report – an outstanding program on progressive politics, broadcasting live from beautiful Sarasota, Florida.

The hosts conducted a gracious and thoughtful interview, asking me questions about my book, I Am Somebody: Why Jesse Jackson Matters, an assortment of political issues, and the future of American democracy. The entire episode is worthy of your attention, but my segment begins at the halfway point.

Peace & Justice Report - WSLR+Fogartyville

Interview with Jesse Jackson Jr. on voting rights, American history, and the threat to American Democracy

Early last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at length with former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. about his groundbreaking work and prescient ideas regarding voting rights, “states’ rights” racism, and democracy itself. Read my story on his meticulous dissection of the dangers facing American democracy, and his bold and imaginative proposal for rectification at Salon. You would be hard pressed to find this high quality of analysis elsewhere in mainstream discourse.

Pictured below is Jackson and me at the chart of Jackson’s making, which I describe in the story.