iOS app Android app

Peter Dreier
Peter Dreier is E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics, and chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department, at Occidental College. His latest book, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, was published in July 2012 by Nation Books. He is coauthor of Place Matters: Metropolitics for the 21st Century and The Next Los Angeles: The Struggle for a Livable City. He writes regularly for the Los Angeles Times, The Nation, and American Prospect. From 1984-92 he served as senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn. He is chair of the Cry Wolf Project, a nonprofit research network that identifies and exposes misleading rhetoric about the economy and government. He also serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and the National Housing Institute.

Entries by Peter Dreier

How George W. Bush Benefited From Affirmative Action

(77) Comments | Posted September 13, 2014 | 9:53 AM

The current public debate and wave of articles about how colleges can do a better job of providing access to students from low-income families -- including my own article, "Making Top Colleges Less Aristocratic and More Meritocratic" (with Richard Kahlenberg) in Friday's New York Times -- reminds me...

Read Post

On Access for Low Income Students, Which Top Colleges Walk the Walk?

(0) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 4:56 PM

Education is supposed to be America's primary engine for social mobility, but growing economic inequality is vividly reflected in our nation's top colleges. At the nation's most selective 193 colleges and universities, affluent students (those from the richest socioeconomic quarter of the population) outnumber economically disadvantaged students (those from the...

Read Post

A Labor Day Documentary: 'Brothers on the Line' Tells the Story of the Reuther Brothers -- Founding Fathers of the American Middle Class

(6) Comments | Posted August 31, 2014 | 7:57 PM

Ask most Americans to name the most influential siblings in our nation's history and they'll probably think about politics (the Kennedy and Bush brothers), sports (the DiMaggio brothers and the Williams sisters), and show business (the Marx brothers, Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal, the Osmonds, and the Jackson Five).


Read Post

"I Question America" -- Remembering Fannie Lou Hamer's Famous Speech 50 Years Ago

(3) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 2:13 PM

"I question America " -- the famous words spoken by civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer fifty years ago this week at the tumultuous Democratic Party convention in Atlantic City -- is a fitting reflection of the soul-searching that the country is once again going through in the wake of...

Read Post

Can LA's Communities Bank on Antonio Villaraigosa?

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2014 | 7:25 PM

Antonio Villaraigosa

Antonio Villaraigosa is in a bind. As L.A. mayor, Villaraigosa often sided with unions and community groups against business interests. For example, he signed a "responsible banking" law -- which requires banks seeking to do business with the city to...

Read Post

America's Classist Education System

(25) Comments | Posted July 25, 2014 | 2:55 PM

America's education system is unequal and unfair. Students who live in wealthy communities have huge advantages that rig the system in their favor. They have more experienced teachers and a much lower student-teacher ratio. They have more modern facilities, more up-to-date computer and science equipment, and more up-to-date textbooks. They...

Read Post

Honoring Rachel Robinson, Baseball Pioneer and Civil Rights Activist

(0) Comments | Posted July 20, 2014 | 5:48 PM

On Sunday, Rachel Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals, along with Dizzy Dean and Don Zimmer. Jim Bouton, former major league pitcher and author of the iconoclastic book Ball Four, has called the Reliquary a "people's Hall of Fame." It celebrates baseball's rebels...

Read Post

Maria Shriver's -- and Bobby Shriver's -- Inconvenient Truth?

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2014 | 9:57 AM

Last week Maria Shriver posted a tribute to California's groundbreaking, decade-old paid family leave. In her Huffington Post column, she wrote:

We're thankful that in a few places around the country, new parents are getting some of the help they need. This month California is celebrating the...

Read Post

Fantasy or Forecast? A Progressive Agenda for the Supreme Court

(0) Comments | Posted July 4, 2014 | 10:53 AM

"It's always darkest before the dawn" sang Pete Seeger. "And that's what keeps me moving on."

The recent spate of reactionary decisions by the Roberts Supreme Court -- including this week's outrageous Hobby Lobby ruling -- triggers thoughts of a better day, when the right wingers on the court will...

Read Post

Footwear Giant Skechers Can Run, but It Can't Hide From Abusive Labor Practices

(0) Comments | Posted June 25, 2014 | 2:19 PM

Skechers, one of America's largest footwear companies, can run, but it can't hide.

A report released Wednesday by the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), "Out of Step: How Skechers Hurts Its California Supply Chain Workers," exposes the company's troublesome labor practices. It is not a...

Read Post

Brat Worst: Libertarian and Tool of Wall Street

(2) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 11:42 AM

Who is David Brat, the out-of-nowhere college professor who beat Eric Cantor in the GOP primary?

John Judis has an interesting article in the New Republic suggesting that Brat is in the tradition of right-wing populism that is both anti-Wall Street/big business AND libertarian. Judis writes that...

Read Post

The House of Twenty Thousand Books by Sasha Abramsky

(0) Comments | Posted June 8, 2014 | 3:47 PM

In 1969 I spent a year in London. I was supposed to be studying politics and sociology, but I spent more time at anti-war rallies and protests, at folk-music clubs and concerts, writing articles, and traveling around England and Europe, than I did in class. On a whim, however, I...

Read Post

Happy 80th Birthday, Bill Moyers

(7) Comments | Posted June 7, 2014 | 4:54 PM


Bill Moyers, who turned 80 on Thursday, has been one of the most prolific and influential figures in American journalism. Not content just to diagnose and document corporate and political malpractice, Moyers has regularly taken his cameras and microphones to cities and towns...

Read Post

How Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage Victory Began in New York City's Zuccotti Park

(1) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 7:17 PM


An idea that only a year ago appeared both radical and impractical has become a reality. On Monday, Seattle struck a blow against rising inequality when its City Council unanimously adopted a citywide minimum wage of $15 an hour, the highest in the...

Read Post

Music and Movements: The Tradition Continues

(14) Comments | Posted May 24, 2014 | 7:19 PM

In the most recent Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, the protagonist -- a struggling Greenwich Village folksinger in 1961 -- is based, very loosely, on Dave Van Ronk, a little-known (outside folk music circles) but influential folk-singer who helped define the folk music revival of the late fifties,...

Read Post

Underwater America: Will President Obama, Mel Watt and Wall Street Finally Do the Right Thing for Troubled Homeowners?

(5) Comments | Posted May 21, 2014 | 6:45 PM

The release of former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner's new book, Stress Test -- his self-serving account of the Obama administration's effort to address the nation's economic crisis and mortgage meltdown -- has triggered a great deal of controversy and debate. Was the Obama economic team too cozy with, or too...

Read Post

What Is Mel Watt Waiting For?

(5) Comments | Posted May 13, 2014 | 8:42 AM

Mel Watt, the head of the powerful Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, is expected to break his silence on Tuesday in a speech to the Washington, D.C. press corps, real estate lobbyists, and housing policy wonks. Watt, a former Congressman from North Carolina, will...

Read Post

May Day -- Then and Now

(5) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 12:28 PM

Unlike the rest of the world's democracies, the United States doesn't use the metric system, doesn't require employers to provide workers with paid vacations, hasn't abolished the death penalty and doesn't celebrate May Day as an official national holiday.

Outside the U.S., May 1 is international workers' day, observed with...

Read Post

UCLA Should Have Taken Donald Sterling's Money -- But With No Strings Attached

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 10:05 AM

UCLA made a big mistake returning $425,000 donated by Donald Sterling for kidney research and canceling an agreement that would have brought Sterling's gift to $3 million over seven years.

UCLA's action on Tuesday came soon after the NBA announced that it had banned Sterling from owning an NBA team...

Read Post

Why Is the NAACP In Bed With Donald Sterling?

(56) Comments | Posted April 27, 2014 | 11:04 PM

In an excruciating example of bad timing, the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP was scheduled to bestow its Lifetime Achievement Award to Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, at its May 15 banquet. Sterling is now under fire for racist comments caught on...

Read Post