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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

Poem: The Donald Makes A Choice

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2016 | 3:04 PM

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We had to wait for Donald Trump
To find out which white guys he'd dump;

And now he's done with all suspense
And picked the Indiana guv, Mike Pence;

They're quite a team,...

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In An Age of Trump, We Need Woody Guthrie

(1) Comments | Posted July 14, 2016 | 3:50 PM

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If Woody Guthrie, America's most revered troubadour for social justice, was still alive he would no doubt be celebrating his 104th birthday today by writing songs about Donald Trump's attacks on immigrants, Muslims, the physically handicapped,...

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Patriotic Progressives Embrace the Flag, Too

(1) Comments | Posted July 4, 2016 | 11:47 AM

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Donald Trump hugs the flag at a Tampa rally. Activists display the flag at a march for immigrant rights.

July 4 is an occasion for Americans to express their patriotism. But the...

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Community Activists And Senator Warren Persuade HUD Sec. Julian Castro To Help Homeowners And Reign In Wall Street Speculators

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2016 | 11:31 AM


Last September 30, community activists and local officials from around the country came to Washington, DC to protest HUD's pro-Wall Street policies.

Two years ago, community organizing groups around the country, with the key support of Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), began pressuring HUD...

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Here's The Draft Democratic Party Platform

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2016 | 10:05 AM

Here's the draft of the Democratic Party platform. It is dramatically more progressive than the 2012 version. The nation's political center of gravity has changed. Thanks to grassroots movements like Occupy Wall Street, the Fight for 15, the Dreamers, Black Lives Matter, .350 (fossil fuel divestment), struggles over women's rights,...

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Helen Keller's Radical Vision

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2016 | 11:58 AM

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In 1919 Helen Keller (second from right) joined a union picket line outside a New York theater showing "Deliverance," a film about her life. In 1962, Patty Duke portrayed Keller in the film, "The Miracle Worker,"...

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Trump And Gingrich: Two Men. Six Wives. Family Values.

(87) Comments | Posted June 26, 2016 | 9:17 PM

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Assuming he isn't ousted as the GOP's presidential nominee at the party's Cleveland convention next month, who will be Donald Trump's vice presidential running mate? The field keeps narrowing, as more and more Republicans - including...

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Farewell to "Darling Corey" Lewandowski

(0) Comments | Posted June 22, 2016 | 10:38 PM


Donald Trump just said "you're fired" to his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

This was predictable. In fact, it was predicted years ago in a traditional bluegrass folk song called "Darling Corey."

The Corey in the song is a woman, but otherwise...

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Huntington Hospital Values Profits Over People

(1) Comments | Posted June 20, 2016 | 8:59 PM


Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, Calif., has been in the news twice in the past two weeks. But the stories weren't about one of its doctors discovering a cure or inventing a new life-saving procedure. They were about 11 tragic deaths...

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My Dishwasher Is What's Wrong With Capitalism

(1) Comments | Posted June 13, 2016 | 10:29 AM

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Six years ago we paid about $700 for a new KitchenAid dishwasher. Since then, we've spent considerably more than that getting it repaired. Each repairman (and they've all been men) who came to our house told...

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A Who's Who of Trump's Surrogates

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2016 | 10:25 AM

President Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, and hundreds of others -- elected officials and movement activists -- will be campaigning for Hillary Clinton.

Some pundits say that Donald Trump has alienated so many people -- including other Republicans -- that he'll have problems finding people willing to...

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Let Bernie Be Hillary

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 3:38 PM

Understandably, Bernie Sanders is now doing the same thing that Hillary Clinton did in 2008. Eight years ago, near the end of the 2008 campaign, Clinton gave what I called at the time "Hillary's Checkers Speech" (after Richard Nixon's 1952 effort to persuade Eisenhower to keep him on...

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Does Tonight's Speech Indicate a New Donald Trump or Just Temporary Sanity?

(47) Comments | Posted June 7, 2016 | 10:20 PM

Some observations after watching Trump's "victory" speech as the next GOP nominee.

  • The speech was delivered at the Trump-owned suburban Briarwood Golf Club to what appeared to be an almost all-white crowd. Pretty bad symbolism. Who made THAT decision?
  • He used a teleprompter -- perhaps for the first time...
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She's Giving Her Right Arm for Bernie

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 11:41 AM


Deborah Dentler is giving her right arm for Bernie Sanders and has no regrets.

The 63-year-old lawyer is a veteran political campaigner. Her first volunteer experience was in high school, door-knocking for Senator Eugene McCarthy's 1968 presidential crusade. Since then she's volunteered...

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The Greatest -- Muhammad Ali -- Dies at 74

(5) Comments | Posted June 4, 2016 | 11:41 AM


At the opening ceremonies of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Muhammad Ali suddenly appeared on a platform in the stadium. Janet Evans, a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming, passed the heavy Olympic torch to Ali. Shaking from Parkinson's disease and perhaps from...

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Is the Contemptible Trump In Contempt of Court?

(21) Comments | Posted June 2, 2016 | 11:11 AM

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Donald Trump just struck out swinging, so now he's attacking the umpire.

Unfortunately for Trump, the umpire is Judge Gonzalo Curiel of the Federal District Court in San Diego, who is presiding over a...

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The Political Bob Dylan

(23) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 6:39 PM

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Folksinger Joan Baez sang Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changing" at a Bernie Sanders rally in San Jose last week. Nobody knows what Dylan thinks of the current political scene because he turned his back...

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Real Estate Mogul Greg Geiser Sues Working Class Couple for Protesting Unfair Eviction

(37) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 10:12 PM

Facing eviction by Wedgewood Inc, Pablo Caamal and his family launched a vigil in front of their Rialto, CA home, supported by friends and neighbors (Photo by La Opinion).

On March 30, Greg Geiser, the CEO of Wedgewood Inc., kicked...

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Jane Jacobs' Radical Legacy: Cities Are For People, Not Developers

(1) Comments | Posted May 4, 2016 | 9:48 AM

ON April 10, 1968, New York state officials scheduled a public hearing to discuss their plans for an expressway that would have sliced across Lower Manhattan and displaced hundreds of businesses and the homes of 2,000 families. The expressway's opponents, including Jane...
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In Ken Burns' New Documentary, Rachel Robinson Finally Gets Her Due

(7) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 5:27 PM


There's a wonderful scene in Ken Burns' new documentary, Jackie Robinson, where Barack and Michelle Obama explain the important role that Rachel Robinson played in her husband's success on and off the baseball field.

"I think anytime you're involved in an endeavor that...

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