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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

If You Like Social Security and Minimum Wage, Thank Frances Perkins

(6) Comments | Posted May 30, 2015 | 2:26 PM

2015-05-30-1432991427-2145146-FrancesPerkinsmeetswithsteelworkersinHomesteadPA1933.jpg 2015-05-30-1432991469-9602475-FrancesPerkinswithFDRsigningSocialSecurityAct1935.jpg Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins shaking hands with steel workers in Homestead, Pennsylvania in July 1933. Perkins stands behind President Franklin Roosevelt as he signs the Social Security Act into law on August 14, 1935.
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Can We Head Off a Long Hot Summer of Riots and Rebellion?

(64) Comments | Posted May 26, 2015 | 11:34 AM

The nation's attention has been focused on the recent riots in Baltimore, but the harsh truth is that they could have happened in any major city. Indeed, we could see a long hot summer of urban (and, as in places like Ferguson, suburban) riots that would make the two-day disturbances...

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The Wage War's Two Battlegrounds: The Ballot Box and the Board Room

(9) Comments | Posted May 20, 2015 | 10:05 PM

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Members of Unite Here Local 11 voice their support for a $15 municipal minimum wage at Los Angeles City Council chambers on Tuesday. Thousands of McDonald's employees protest Wednesday outside the corporation's headquarters in Oak Brook,...
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Bernie Sanders' Socialism Is as American as Apple Pie

(57) Comments | Posted May 5, 2015 | 10:22 AM


Now that Bernie Sanders has entered the contest for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, Americans are going to be hearing a lot about socialism, because the 73-year old U.S. senator from Vermont describes himself as a "democratic socialist."

"Ever since I was a...

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This Year's May Day Rallies Continue Tradition of Protests for Workers Rights

(4) Comments | Posted April 26, 2015 | 6:36 PM

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(Left) Union members, immigrants, and many others participate in the May Day march and rally in Los Angeles in 2013. (Right) Garment workers and activists participate in a May Day rally in Dhaka, Bangladesh last...

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Union-Busting Huntington Hospital Gets Into the Voter Suppression Game

(2) Comments | Posted April 16, 2015 | 9:20 AM

Huntington Hospital nurse Dolly Farquhar with two colleagues from the critical care unit

How low will Huntington Memorial Hospital stoop to undermine its nurses' union drive?

Dolly Farquhar -- who has worked at the Pasadena, California hospital for 31...

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Huntington Hospital Nurses Defy Union-Busting Campaign

(4) Comments | Posted April 12, 2015 | 10:46 PM

Dolly Wilson, a leader in the campaign to organize the registered nurses at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, California, was shocked to read a text message she received from another registered nurse. While Wilson, who works in the emergency room, was off duty, someone had put a letter in every...

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The 50 Greatest Baseball Books of All Time

(18) Comments | Posted April 6, 2015 | 12:02 PM

The baseball season is now upon us. "Whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball," wrote Columbia University scholar Jacques Barzun in 1954. That observation remains true today and in the intervening years our national pastime has inspired great poems, music, plays, films, novels,...

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Former Cong. Barney Frank -- Funny, Brilliant, Gay, Liberal and Effective -- Explains It All in His New Autobiography

(3) Comments | Posted March 13, 2015 | 7:47 PM


Barney Frank was the smartest, funniest, and one of the most effective members of Congress. In his new book, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, Frank reveals how he decided to come out of the closet as...

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102 Years Ago, Alice Paul Led Another Voting Rights March That Led to Women's Suffrage

(4) Comments | Posted March 2, 2015 | 11:07 AM


This week, Americans will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark Selma-to-Montgomery march, led by Rev. Martin Luther King, and celebrated in the new film Selma, that helped secure the Voting Rights Act of 1965, a major milestone in our nation's history. In...

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My Brothers, Charles and David Koch

(38) Comments | Posted February 6, 2015 | 8:07 AM

Charles and David Koch

A year and a half ago I discovered that the Koch brothers are my brothers.

I learned about our extraordinary kinship through a brief article in the New Republic, which mentioned that Charles Koch, and his younger twin...

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Celebrating Writer Langston Hughes -- Black, Red and Gay

(4) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 7:56 AM


Langston Hughes -- the poet, novelist, playwright, and short-story writer -- was born 113 years ago yesterday. His "Dream Deferred" -- one of the most famous poems in American literary history -- reflects Hughes's brilliance as a writer as well as his anger...

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At Selma and Around the World, Pete Seeger Brought Us Closer Together

(1) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 7:15 AM

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Pete Seeger with Martin Luther King, Charis Horton, Rosa Parks, and Ralph Abernathy at the Highlander Folk School, a Tennessee training center for activists, in 1957; Seeger (with...

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Martin Luther King Was a Radical, Not a Saint

(12) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 12:02 PM

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As we celebrate his birthday, it is easy to forget that in his day, in his own country, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was considered a dangerous troublemaker. Even President John Kennedy worried that King was...

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Howe About That?

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 9:25 AM

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The first issue of Dissent in 1954. Dissent's founder, Irving Howe. The current (Winter 2015) issue of the magazine.

Franklin Foer recently resigned from his...

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Selma's Missing Rabbi

(15) Comments | Posted January 17, 2015 | 9:11 AM

Marching from Selma: John Lewis of SNCC, an unidentified nun, Rev. Ralph Abernathy; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Bunche (former U.S. Ambassador to the UN), Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth

Ava DuVernay's film "Selma" is a...

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Bill Moyers' Departure from TV Leaves a Huge Hole

(1) Comments | Posted December 31, 2014 | 1:51 PM


This week PBS stations around the country will broadcast the final segment of Moyers & Company, Bill Moyers' provocative, groundbreaking interview show. Moyers, who came to PBS in 1971, is retiring the show, but not retiring from the world of public affairs. He...

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Moms Urge Jeff Foxworthy and Alan Jackson: Don't Support NRA Extremism

(169) Comments | Posted December 30, 2014 | 8:20 PM

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Jeff Foxworthy and Alan Jackson

Last month Jay Leno canceled a gig at the gun industry's upcoming trade show, the National Shooting Sports Foundation's (NSSF) SHOT Show, after several advocacy groups --...

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Focus on the NRA

(72) Comments | Posted December 28, 2014 | 5:34 PM

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NRA chief Wayne LaPierre; Slain New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos

It has been a week since Ismaayl Brinsley, a deranged man with a long criminal record, killed two...

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My 50 Favorite Books of 2014

(0) Comments | Posted December 23, 2014 | 5:32 AM

2014-12-23-ElizabethWarrenAFightingChance.jpg 2014-12-23-MarkKurlanskyReadyforaBrandNewBeat.jpg 2014-12-23-RuckRaceball.jpg 2014-12-23-SonsofWichita.jpg 2014-12-23-KleinThisChangesEverythingcover.jpg

First, a confession. I have not read Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century,...

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