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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

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

(70) 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

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

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Ella Baker, Ferguson, and 'Black Mothers' Sons'

(0) Comments | Posted December 22, 2014 | 5:01 PM

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In 1964, at the height of the civil rights movement, the great organizer Ella Baker said: "Until the killing of black men, black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the...

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Tom Hayden, 75, Is Still Rocking the Boat

(0) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 5:30 PM


Tom Hayden turned 75 on Thursday.

As the author of the Port Huron Statement, the founding document of the New Left that called for a new grassroots movement against segregation, poverty, and war, Hayden is often described as a "60s radical."...

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My Brief Encounter with Hillary-Basher and Scandal-Monger Edward Klein

(5) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 10:41 AM

It is two years before the next presidential election, but the anti-Hillary hit squad is already revving up its engines. Fox News and the rest of the right-wing echo chamber (Rush Limbaugh and his ilk), the conservative think tanks, magazines, and websites, and each of the Republican presidential wannabes as...

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Organizer in Chief?

(4) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 8:46 AM

Occasionally, President Barack Obama reminds us that he was once a community organizer.

In his interview Monday night with BET News, Obama said that he had invited some people who have been organizing protests against police misconduct to meet with him at the White House last week.

"Because the...

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Cold Anger in Restless Times: The Growing Movement for Racial and Social Justice

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2014 | 10:17 AM

Students in Jefferson County, Colorado left class on Friday to protest recent decisions not to prosecute police officers in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner

A year ago and a half ago, I wrote an article for The...

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On Black Friday, Americans Confront the Walmart 1 Percent: Pay Employees a Living Wage

(46) Comments | Posted November 27, 2014 | 6:18 PM


Walmart won't pay its employees enough to afford Thanksgiving dinner, so they're holding food drives for their employees. Seriously. It's been reported that an Oklahoma City Walmart set up bins for underpaid associates to donate canned goods to other underpaid associates.


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Why Jay Leno Snubbed the Gun Lobby

(40) Comments | Posted November 21, 2014 | 8:06 AM

America's gun lobby discovered that the nation's epidemic of gun violence is no laughing matter. On Thursday, comedian Jay Leno cancelled his speaking gig at a gun industry event less than 24 hours after three reform groups launched a petition asking the former "Tonight Show" host to disassociate himself from...

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Gay Marriage: The Tide Has Turned. Will the Supreme Court Listen?

(216) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 1:01 PM

The Supreme Court may soon be pushed, however reluctantly, to address the question of whether there's a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. So far, it has punted on the issue. But last week, gay and lesbian couples filed petitions asking the court to rule on the matter now...

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