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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 Political Bob Dylan

(23) Comments | Posted May 25, 2016 | 6:39 PM

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Folksinger Joan Baez sang Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changing" at a Bernie Sanders rally in San Jose last week. Nobody knows what Dylan thinks of the current political scene because he turned his back...

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Real Estate Mogul Greg Geiser Sues Working Class Couple for Protesting Unfair Eviction

(40) Comments | Posted May 19, 2016 | 10:12 PM

Facing eviction by Wedgewood Inc, Pablo Caamal and his family launched a vigil in front of their Rialto, CA home, supported by friends and neighbors (Photo by La Opinion).

On March 30, Greg Geiser, the CEO of Wedgewood Inc., kicked...

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Jane Jacobs' Radical Legacy: Cities Are For People, Not Developers

(1) Comments | Posted May 4, 2016 | 9:48 AM

ON April 10, 1968, New York state officials scheduled a public hearing to discuss their plans for an expressway that would have sliced across Lower Manhattan and displaced hundreds of businesses and the homes of 2,000 families. The expressway's opponents, including Jane...
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In Ken Burns' New Documentary, Rachel Robinson Finally Gets Her Due

(7) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 5:27 PM


There's a wonderful scene in Ken Burns' new documentary, Jackie Robinson, where Barack and Michelle Obama explain the important role that Rachel Robinson played in her husband's success on and off the baseball field.

"I think anytime you're involved in an endeavor that...

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'The Full Spectrum of the Republican Party'

(24) Comments | Posted April 8, 2016 | 9:16 AM

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In his victory speech Tuesday night after winning...

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The 51 Greatest Baseball Books of All Time

(6) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 10:07 AM

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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Mike Antonovich, Tear Down That Sign!

(17) Comments | Posted April 3, 2016 | 4:46 PM

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LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich; controversial sign in an LA County Park in La Crescenta

The sign says "Welcome to Hindenburg Park," but for much of its history, Jews, people of color, and other minorities...

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California's Political Earthquake: A $15 Minimum Wage

(293) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 9:44 AM

The earth has shifted, at least in California. The statewide minimum wage increase to $15 is a huge victory for progressive forces.

On Thursday the state legislature approved a sweeping plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the...

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Radical Feminism Still Challenges Us Today

(3) Comments | Posted March 29, 2016 | 8:20 PM


No celebration of Women's History Month would be complete without acknowledging the extraordinary achievements of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Gilman was the most important feminist thinker in the United States. She laid the groundwork for later feminists...

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A Working Class Family Battles a 'Fix and Flip' Real Estate Tycoon

(7) Comments | Posted March 27, 2016 | 1:05 AM

Facing eviction by Wedgewood Inc, Pablo Caamal and his family have launched a vigil in front of their Rialto, CA home, supported by friends and neighbors (Photo by La Opinion).

Speaking at a real estate conference last September in...

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Paul Ryan: The GOP's Next Presidential Nominee?

(32) Comments | Posted March 24, 2016 | 8:48 AM

Having sat behind President Barack Obama during the State of Union Address in January, House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters afterward that he had done his best to maintain a poker face and avoid wincing, despite his objections to much of what Obama said, out of respect for the office....

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Academic Drivel Report: Confessing My Sins and Exposing My Academic Hoax

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2016 | 2:10 PM

Groucho Marx as Professor Wagstaff in Horse Feathers (1932)

I don't know if there is a statute of limitations on confessing one's sins, but it has been six years since I did the deed and I'm now coming clean.

Six years ago...

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Bernie Is Mainstream

(333) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 8:25 AM

Although his opponents seek to paint him as too far left, Bernie Sanders' views are mainstream. At Wednesday's Washington Post-Univision debate in Miami, for example, Hillary Clinton argued that Sanders' ideas are not realistic and too expensive. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is," Clinton said....

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David Brooks Is Wrong Again -- Trump's Rise Is Not 'Anti-Politics' but the Cancer of Big Money

(73) Comments | Posted February 26, 2016 | 5:32 PM

In his latest column, "The Governing Cancer of Our Times," New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks tries to explain Donald Trump's rise as a presidential candidate.

The cancer Brooks refers to is not Trump himself but what he calls "anti-politics." Brooks didn't invent this term but he...

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Gloria Steinem Renews an Old Debate About Socialism and Feminism

(12) Comments | Posted February 22, 2016 | 8:35 AM

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Gloria Steinem and Charlotte Perkins Gilman

In 1905, Eugene V. Debs, the popular labor activist and Socialist Party leader, had a speaking engagement in Rochester, New York and went to visit the aging women's rights pioneer...

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A Trump Candidacy Is Good for the Democrats, But Bad for America

(38) Comments | Posted February 16, 2016 | 6:52 AM

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Would having Donald Trump as the GOP nominee be good or bad for the...

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How Four College Students Started a Revolution

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 12:38 PM

Late in the afternoon of February 1, 1960, four young black men -- Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain, and Joseph McNeil, all students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro -- visited the local Woolworth's five-and-dime store. They purchased school supplies and toothpaste, and then they...

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The Big Short's Big Shortcomings

(0) Comments | Posted February 1, 2016 | 12:17 PM


"Food Stamp recipients didn't cause the financial crisis," said President Barack Obama in his final State of the Union speech. "Recklessness on Wall Street did."

That's also the message of "The Big Short," a fascinating film that looks at how bankers' greed led...

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A Century Ago, Louis Brandeis Beat Big Business and Anti-Semites, and Revitalized American Democracy

(8) Comments | Posted January 28, 2016 | 6:47 AM

On January 28, 1916 -- 100 years ago -- President Woodrow Wilson nominated Louis Brandeis to be the first Jew on the U.S. Supreme Court. It was the most hotly debated nomination in American history up to that time. The controversy involved Brandeis' progressive political views as well as his...

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Martin Luther King Would Support a $15 Minimum Wage in Pasadena

(1) Comments | Posted January 26, 2016 | 8:15 AM

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(left) Four college students protest segregation at Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. in February 1960. (right) Picketers march in front of Kress store on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena in 1960 in solidarity with Southern sit-ins....
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