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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

The Warren vs Roberts Courts: Separate and Unequal Views on Marriage Equality

(7) Comments | Posted June 28, 2015 | 1:52 PM

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Chief Justices Earl Warren (left) and John Roberts

The Supreme Court's ruling Friday to legalize same-sex marriage is a victory for human rights and an occasion to rejoice. The decision follows in the footsteps...

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Which Woman Should Adorn the $10 Bill?

(85) Comments | Posted June 27, 2015 | 5:32 PM

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In a speech last year in Kansas City, President Barack Obama said he received a letter from a nine-year-old girl that included a list of possible women to put on America's paper bills and coins,...
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On Gay Marriage, Will the Supreme Court Favor Equal Rights or States' Rights?

(4) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 7:02 PM

Should we allow each state to decide whether black Americans can marry white Americans? Today, that idea seems absurd. Most Americans believe that states shouldn't be permitted to trample the basic right of interracial couples to marry -- even if a majority of people in a state want to do...

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A Big Test for Janet Yellen: Stop the OneWest-CIT Merger

(1) Comments | Posted June 19, 2015 | 11:45 AM

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OneWest CEO Joseph Otting. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen. OneWest Chairman Steven Mnuchin.

A coalition of California community groups and a local legal aid agency have come up...

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Hypocrite of the Year: Anti-Obamacare Plaintiff David M. King

(2) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 7:58 PM

In the contest for Hypocrite of the Year, here's one vote for David M. King.

King is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, now before the U.S Supreme Court, designed to kill Obamacare. If the Supreme Court rules against it, millions of Americans will lose their health insurance. But not...

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How Progressives Should Celebrate Flag Day

(11) Comments | Posted June 14, 2015 | 4:56 PM

Today is Flag Day. On June 14, 1777, the Continental Congress passed a resolution "that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white on a blue field, representing the new constellation". In 1916, President...

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Who and What Changed America? A 20th Century Timeline

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 5:37 PM

TIME magazine just published its "25 Moments That Changed America" list, focusing on the 20th Century. I agree with most of the selections and am impressed with the essays that explain the choices. I included a timeline of key moments as part of my book, The 100 Greatest...

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Bernie's Burlington: What Kind of Mayor Was Bernie Sanders?

(6) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 1:34 PM

2015-06-04-1433425290-5349856-BernieSandersin1981.jpg Mayor Bernie Sanders in his City Hall office in Burlington, Vermont in 1981

John Davis remembers a meeting in 1986 when Bernie Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, confronted the owners of the city's largest affordable-housing complex. The federal program that had...

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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?

(67) 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

(59) 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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