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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

Pasadena Chamber of Commerce's Paul Little Applauds LA's Minimum Wage Law

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 9:38 AM


Pasadena Chamber of Commerce president Paul Little is ecstatic about Los Angeles' new minimum wage law.

"Thank God for the LA City Council," Little was heard to say at the hearing held by the Pasadena City Council's Economic Development and Technology committee...

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The New Wave of Campus Protest: What's Behind the Oxy Occupation?

(0) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 8:57 AM


Students around the country are in revolt. So the pundits are pontificating. Much of it is hogwash, but there have been a few thoughtful analyses of what's happening on American campuses. One of the best is a column in Sunday's New York Times,...

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I Don't Care Who Killed JFK

(110) Comments | Posted November 22, 2015 | 8:39 PM

The controversy over who killed President John F. Kennedy has now raged for over half a century. Every year on November 22, Americans regurgitate the debate over who was responsible for JFK's murder in 1963. It is a diversion and a waste of time.

It is more important to...

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Let's Turn Pasadena Into the City of Raises

(5) Comments | Posted November 19, 2015 | 9:10 AM

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Pasadena workers and supporters are fighting for a living wage. Restaurant mogul Gregg Smith (Parkway Grill, Arroyo Chop House, Smitty's and Seco) wants to stop them.

Pasadena, California -- home...

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Henry Wallace: America's Forgotten Visionary Politician

(5) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 8:40 AM

Henry Wallace with Franklin D. Roosevelt

Henry Wallace, who died 50 years ago this week (November 18, 1965), was one of the most fascinating and controversial political figures in American history.

One of the great "what if?" questions of the...

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8 Key Questions for the Next Republican and Democratic Debates

(31) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 9:15 AM

The Republican debates so far have allowed the presidential candidates to avoid some of the tough issues facing our economy and society. Most of the debate moderators' questions so far have encouraged the GOP candidates to attack each other's personalities, character, and poll numbers, but have not explored their positions...

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Paul Wellstone's Ordinary Life and Extraordinary Legacy

(7) Comments | Posted October 25, 2015 | 9:15 PM


The late Senator Paul Wellstone used to say that he represented the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." Since Wellstone died in a plane crash 13 years ago (on October 25, 2002), other activists and politicians -- from the Occupy Wall Street, Raise...

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Paul Ryan Is a Hypocrite, Charlatan, and Right-Wing Extremist

(158) Comments | Posted October 21, 2015 | 2:44 PM

Paul Ryan wants to be Speaker of the House but he wants a coronation, not a contested election. Toward that end, he's orchestrating a campaign that makes him appear to be a bridge-builder between the so-called "establishment" and "Tea Party" wings of the Republican Party -- the only guy who...

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Playwright Arthur Miller, Dead for a Decade, Is Still Stirring Controversy

(1) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 1:23 PM

Arthur Miller -- one of America's greatest playwrights whose work reflected his affinity for the underdog and who translated his social conscience into political action -- was born 100 years ago (October 17, 1915) and died in 2005.

A Miller play is always being performed somewhere in the world,...

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The Koch Brothers Are My Brothers

(9) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 10:15 AM

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Charles and David Koch

Two years 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...

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Why Did CNN's Dana Bash 'Cry Wolf' About Paid Family Leave? Is She Working for the Chamber of Commerce?

(28) Comments | Posted October 14, 2015 | 9:50 AM

Did the U.S. Chamber of Commerce write at least one of the questions that CNN's correspondents asked the Democratic candidates for president at Tuesday night's debate?

The Chamber and its Republican allies in Congress routinely use the accusation "job killer" the way Senator Joe McCarthy used the word "Communist" --...

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People Die Because of This Man: The Real Reason We Never Get Gun Control, No Matter How Many People Get Gunned Down

(14) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 12:37 PM


Although 26-year-old Christopher Harper-Mercer pulled the trigger on the gun that killed nine people at Umpqua Community College in Oregon on Thursday, Wayne LaPierre, the fanatic executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, also has blood on his hands.

LaPierre, who has...

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Courageous Pasadena Nurse, Allysha Almada, Is Getting a Voice at the White House

(8) Comments | Posted October 4, 2015 | 8:57 PM

At 6:28 pm on September 21, Allysha Almada looked at her cell phone and saw an email that appeared to come from the White House. "The President cordially invites you to attend the White House Summit on Worker Voice to be held...
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Stephen Colbert Has Already Raised the Bar Very High

(55) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 12:37 AM

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Ever since CBS announced in April 2014 that he'd be replacing David Letterman, many of his fans wondered if Stephen Colbert would lose his edge after he moved from The Colbert Report on Comedy Central to...

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Did Pope Francis Just Endorse Socialist Pacifist Dorothy Day for Sainthood?

(14) Comments | Posted September 25, 2015 | 10:50 AM

On Thursday, in his speech to Congress, Pope Francis praised Dorothy Day -- along with Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., and Thomas Merton -- as one of four "representatives of the American people" whom he admired.

Pope Francis was probably the first pope to mention Day's name in...

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Donald Trump Does Not Really Want to Be President

(143) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 11:51 AM

I do not believe that Donald Trump really wants to be president.

In fact, behind all that arrogance and bravado, Trump is incredibly insecure and knows he's not prepared for the job. Nobody who talks so excessively about how rich, smart, and lovable he is really believes...

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Celebrating W.E.B. Du Bois: A Towering Figure Who Died 52 Years Ago

(3) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 10:26 AM

On August 28, 1963, as more than 200,000 Americans assembled at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Roy Wilkins, the longtime head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), addressed the crowd....
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Today's Activists Have Much to Learn From Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March

(8) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 9:32 AM


Bayard Rustin, the trailblazing organizer and activist, had four strikes against him. He was a pacifist, a radical, black and gay. Controversy surrounded him all his life. He believed in the use of militant confrontation and protest to bear witness to injustice, inject...

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Steve McQueen's Bio-Pic of Paul Robeson Will Help Restore the Reputation of the 20th Century's Most Talented Individual

(1) Comments | Posted August 23, 2015 | 12:50 PM

2015-08-23-1440342139-24409-PaulRobeson.jpg 2015-08-23-1440342439-8313800-SteveMcQueenwithOscar.jpg Paul Robeson; Steve McQueen

Last year, in an article about Paul Robeson for the Los Angeles Review of Books, I wrote: "Surely there is sufficient drama in Robeson's remarkable life to merit a television miniseries...

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Can Bernie Sanders Revive King's Dream -- Fusing the Spirit of Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street?

(68) Comments | Posted August 15, 2015 | 6:44 PM

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Throughout American history, advocates for racial justice and economic justice have sometimes been at odds, but they've also found common ground. In recent weeks we've watched this tension play out in a surprising way, when Black...

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