Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier teaches politics and chairs the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. His latest book is The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame (Nation Books, 2012).

Recent Articles

Athletes and Activism

American athletes have used their celebrity to spotlight injustices, but the NFL protests may be the largest in professional sports history. Still, there’s more they can do to challenge Trump and his allies. 

(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File)
(AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes, File) Buffalo Bills players take a knee during the national anthem before their game against the Denver Broncos on September 24, 2017. I f #BlackLivesMatter encapsulated a burgeoning protest movement against police abuse, #TakeAKnee took those protests to a new level this week as NFL players responded to President Trump’s attack on athletes who dare to exercise their First Amendment rights to protest against injustice. Aside from professional athletes forming labor unions and going on strike to improve their pay, benefits, and working conditions, the current national anthem protests may be the largest collective dissent in the modern history of professional or collegiate sports. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick launched the protests last year by kneeling to display his opposition to police killings of African Americans. This year, only a few players took a knee during the preseason games or in early regular season games. But another Trump...

The Virginia Shooting Isn't About Bernie. It’s About the Right’s Embrace of Guns.

Concentrating on James Hodgkinson's political leanings obscures the real problem of gun violence in America—and why it's happening. 

AP Photo/Cliff Owen
AP Photo/Cliff Owen An SUV with a bullet hole in the windshield and a flat tire sits in the parking lot following a shooting in Alexandria, Virginia on June 14, 2017. S oon after James Hodgkinson brought a 7.62-caliber rifle and a handgun to a baseball field in suburban Virginia and opened fire, injuring Republican politicians and staffers, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered his explanation for this horrific incident. “It's part of a pattern,” Gingrich said on Fox News. “An increasing intensity of hostility on the left.” Rush Limbaugh called Hodgkinson part of “the deranged based of the Democratic Party.” The National Review ’s David French referred to the shooting as “a textbook example of lone-wolf progressive terrorism.” We’d expect no less from right-wingers like Gingrich, but this view was also parroted in a New York Times article under the headline “Attack Tests Movement Sanders Founded” by reporter Yamiche Alcindor. She wrote, “The suspect in the shooting in Virginia...

The Feisty Group That Exposed Wells Fargo’s Wrongdoing

The whistleblowing heroes are the bank’s employees who formed the Committee for Better Banks—not that you’d know this from the media’s coverage.

DW labs Incorporated/Shutterstock
DW labs Incorporated/Shutterstock F ront-page stories in Tuesday’s New York Times, Wall Street Journal , and Los Angeles Times revealed that Wells Fargo’s board would be slashing $75 million in compensation from two former top executives whom it blamed for the bank’s scandal over fraudulent accounts. But missing from these three papers’ stories—and from similar stories in other major print and broadcast news outlets—was the feisty group of bank employees that initially exposed the wrongdoing: the Committee for Better Banks . A report issued Monday by a four-person committee of Wells Fargo’s board determined that John G. Stumpf (the former CEO) and Carrie L. Tolstedt (the former head of community banking)—both of whom were ousted last year—were primarily responsible for pressuring low-level employees to create and foist two million unwanted bank and credit card accounts on unsuspecting customers. To penalize the two former executives, it demanded a “clawback”—the forced return of pay...

Trump Doesn’t Have the Balls

The president declines to throw out baseball’s ceremonial first pitch on Monday and face a certain barrage of boos.

AP Photo/Frank Eltman
AP Photo/Frank Eltman Autographed baseballs signed by Democratic and Republican presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and their running mates Tim Kaine and Mike Spence. P resident Donald Trump likes to wear baseball caps adorned with the words “Make America Great Again” across the front. But offered a chance to wear a real major league baseball cap in a real baseball stadium next week, Trump balked. In yet another break from tradition, Trump declined an invitation to throw out the ceremonial first ball at the Washington Nationals’ opening day game next Monday. On Tuesday, Politico reported that Trump was “in talks” with the team to toss the first ball, but hours later the White House claimed that Trump had a “scheduling conflict,” without providing any information about why he’s skipping this ritual. A more likely explanation is that Trump feared that he’d be greeted with a deafening chorus of boos as soon as he stepped into Nationals Park. Last November, 91...

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