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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

Community Activists Crush Conservative Politicians With LA County $15 Minimum Wage Victory

(8) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 11:21 AM

Low-wage workers and community activists rally on Tuesday in favor of a $15 minimum wage law in Los Angeles County, cheered on by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl (in yellow jacket), Hilda Solis (green jacket), and Mark Ridley-Thomas (blue suit)

Three years ago residents of...

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Thank You, Donald -- How Trump Could Determine the Outcome of the Presidential Election

(18) Comments | Posted July 20, 2015 | 6:39 PM

As a political scientist, I am reluctant to make predictions about elections, especially about the behavior of a single individual. But I'm willing to make an exception this year, because the presidential campaign is turning out to be such an exceptionally crucial (and entertaining) one. Here is what I see...

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'Hano! A Century in the Bleachers' Profiles Sportswriting Superstar in New Documentary

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2015 | 4:34 PM


Arnold Hano's A Day in the Bleachers is one of the three greatest nonfiction baseball books ever written - along with Roger Kahn's The Boys of Summer and Elliot Asinof's Eight Men Out. Inning by inning, it chronicles the opening game...

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America Is Still Singing Woody Guthrie's Songs

(0) Comments | Posted July 15, 2015 | 9:17 AM


Woody Guthrie, America's most revered troubadour for social justice, would be 103 years old if he were alive today. He was born on July 14, 1912. Although he died in 1967 at 55, his songs have endured. They are still sung around the...

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Why LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich Hired a Phony Corporate-Backed 'Research' Firm to Kill the Minimum Wage Plan

(4) Comments | Posted July 8, 2015 | 2:56 PM

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Influence Peddlers: Michael Antonovich and Richard Berman

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has hired a corporate-sponsored lobby group and PR firm to conduct a so-called "study" of the minimum wage.

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How Progressives Should Celebrate This July 4th

(4) Comments | Posted July 4, 2015 | 3:46 PM

2015-07-04-1435993411-8188201-KatharineLeeBates.jpg 2015-07-04-1435993457-3892923-BarackObama.jpg 2015-07-04-1435993515-2699575-WoodyGuthrie2.jpg Katharine Lee Bates, Barack Obama, Woody Guthrie

"America the Beautiful" was a close contender to be the national anthem. It remains one of the top five patriotic songs...

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Is Bernie Sanders Too Radical for America?

(347) Comments | Posted July 3, 2015 | 10:21 AM

Originally published in The American Prospect


Now that Bernie Sanders is rapidly climbing in the polls and attracting huge audiences to his campaign events (including over 10,000 people at a Madison, Wisconsin rally the other day), his opponents are...

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Thurgood Marshall, the NAACP's Pioneering Lawyer, Knew That Black Lives Mattered

(1) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 1:42 PM

2015-07-02-1435859413-4076186-thurgoodmarshall.jpg 2015-07-02-1435859757-4945016-ThurgoodMarshallinBirmingham.jpg
Thurgood Marshall in front of the Supreme Court building (left) and with Autherine Lucy and fellow NAACP attorney Arthur Shore outside Birmingham's Federal Court during Lucy's campaign to desegregate the University of Alabama. February, 1956.

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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?

(8) 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

(60) 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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