New Essay at the Progressive: Neil Young’s Righteous Crusade

I have a new story at the Progressive on Neil Young’s “righteous crusade” against Spotify. In my analysis, it represents a much larger fight against the corporate capture of the arts, and the dominance of greed as a decision-making calculus, no matter how destructive to public health or the common good. As Neil himself sings, “Have to shut the whole system down!”

extrachill.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/neil-...

At the Bottom of the Empire: Homelessness, Housing Injustice, and Jesse Jackson’s Call to “Eradicate Poverty”

Last week, I attended a press conference that Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. and the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition hosted in the Martin Luther King Legacy Apartments in Chicago. Jackson, and other speakers, condemned the “moral disgrace” of widespread poverty, housing injustice, and homelessness in the world’s wealthiest country.

I’ve written a story on the press conference, the history of King and Jackson’s anti-poverty and anti-racism work in Chicago, and the related issues of oppression and exploitation in the present. Read at CounterPunch.

Jesse Jackson recalls Martin Luther King Jr.'s last birthday - Chicago  Tribune

America’s “Culture of Death”: Covid-19, Gun Insanity, White Supremacy, Ecological Destruction, and Public Indifference

I wrote an essay for the December 17 Weekend Edition of CounterPunch – a broad exploration of the deep problems within the United States, turning on my appropriation of the late Pope John Paul II’s phrase, “culture of death.”

Read it at CounterPunch.

New Story for the Progressive: How the GOP Plans to (Legally) Steal the Next Election

I have written a new story for the Progressive, detailing the right wing, fascist assault on voting rights throughout the United States, with a soft focus on the Carolinas. For the story, I spoke with Patricia Sullivan, brilliant historian at the University of South Carolina, and author of the riveting and insightful new book, Justice Rising: Robert Kennedy’s America in Black and White. I also interviewed Joselle Torres, communications manager with Democracy North Carolina, and obtained a statement from Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr., who was born and raised in Greenville, South Carolina, and whose organization, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, is valiantly fighting for voting rights.

This is an important story about the resurrection of Jim Crow. It also makes a good companion piece to my recent profile of former neo-Nazi and current anti-racist leader, Christian Picciolini, as it relates to the ongoing demolition of democracy that he warns is happening right in front of our eyes.

Read the story at the Progressive. It was also reprinted on Common Dreams.

Virginia Becomes a Voting Rights Bastion - The New York Times

New Profile of Former Neo-Nazi and Current Anti-Racist Leader, Christian Picciolini

For the past two months, I’ve been working on this profile of Christian Picciolini, conducting interviews and bolstering the story with supplemental research. Christian was a neo-Nazi skinhead leader in the early 1990s, and left the movement to denounce white supremacy 25 years ago. For the past two decades, he has devoted himself, full time, to fighting white hate, and disengaging members of hate organizations.

He is now shifting focus to long term prevention measures, and in doing so, sounding an urgent warning to the United States, calling everything happening right now, “The skinhead’s dream of the 1990s coming true.”

Take a moment to read Christian’s fascinating and important story. His arc demonstrates that transformation and redemption, with hard work, humility, and good intentions, are possible, and his message shows what America is currently at risk of losing and facing.

The story originally ran on Salon, and was later reprinted on the Raw Story and AlterNet.

Christian Picciolini - Photo by Britton Picciolini 3.jpg.jpg.jpg | KJZZ

A New Interview with Kirk Hammett

I recently interviewed Kirk Hammett, lead guitarist of Metallica. This is the fifth time we’ve talked, and he is always full of insight and joyful spirit. I first interviewed Hammett, along with all the other members of Metallica, while writing my 33 1/3 book on the Black Album. We had a fascinating and freewheeling conversation about the composition, recording, and seemingly endless life of the record – a conversation that also touched on Hammett’s acceptance of Buddhist philosophy, how the Civil Rights and anti-war movements influenced him at an early age, and his broader thoughts on music.

Since then, we’ve talked about Lemmy Kilmister, and the collaboration album with Lou Reed, Lulu. The release of the Black Album boxset, and the debut of the Black Album episode on the 33 1/3 Spotify podcast, presented the perfect opportunity to have another discussion.

On October 1st, I interviewed Kirk Hammett about the Black Album, his philosophy of creativity, and the often misunderstood identity of Metallica. 333 Sound, the website for the outstanding 33 1/3 book series, has published our discussion.

Read our wide ranging conversation about Metallica, the Black Album, creativity, intellectual curiosity, and Woodstock ’99.

Metallica's Kirk Hammett talks S&M2, drive-in concert, Lou Reed and more –  Marin Independent Journal
Metallica's Metallica (33 1/3): Masciotra, David: 9781628929300:  Amazon.com: Books

Demolishing Dissent: Jesse Jackson and the Propaganda Model of Media – A Lecture

I recently gave a talk at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, IN on how multinational corporations, major media companies, and the two major political parties in the United States coalesced to create explicit bias against Jesse Jackson, and in doing so, played off the implicit bias of the audience. Citing Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman’s seminal, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, I explained how in the interest of manufacturing consent, media companies “demolish dissent,” using the work of Jesse Jackson as an emblematic example.

Listen to the lecture:

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.