Peter Dreier

Peter Dreier is the E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and founding chair of the Urban & Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. 

Recent Articles

Can New CEO Tim Sloan Fix Scandal-Plagued Wells Fargo’s Corporate Culture?

Tim Sloan has replaced John Stumpf as Wells Fargo’s New CEO, but some wonder whether such a longtime insider can really change the bank’s culture of customers and employee abuse.

AP Photo/Richard Drew
Scandal-plagued Wells Fargo’s recent selection of long-time bank insider Tim Sloan to replace John Stumpf as its CEO has done little to mollify critics, given Sloan’s central management role during more than a decade of consumer and community complaints. Sloan has largely escaped scrutiny during the thumping Wells Fargo has taken from Congress, the media, and bank reform activists for boosting its own stock price by secretly creating more than two million unauthorized checking and credit-card accounts. As lawmakers and state and federal regulators line up to investigate the bank following Stumpf’s resignation, Sloan now replaces him on the hot seat. Sloan’s role as a member of the bank’s inner circle at a time when Wells Fargo stood accused of reckless and discriminatory practices is sure to interest investigators. “I remain concerned that incoming CEO Tim Sloan is also culpable in the recent scandal, serving in a central role in the chain of...

Tom Hayden Always Rocked The Boat

An appreciation of the legendary political activist.

AP Photo / The Ann Arbor News, Patrick Record
In 2013, Tom Hayden—who died on Sunday at 76 from complications related to a stroke he suffered a year-and-a-half ago while investigating fracking and oil drilling in California—donated his archives to his alma mater, the University of Michigan. The 120 boxes of material include more than 22,000 pages of his FBI files, the result of the agency’s 15-year surveillance of Hayden. Historians and journalists will mine this treasure trove of documents to learn about the key movements and personalities in American culture and politics since the early 1960s. Throughout his remarkable career, Hayden was both a prophetic voice and a political strategist, a rare combination. No single figure embodied the spirit of the generation that came of age in the 1960s more than Hayden. As the author of The Port Huron Statement —the founding document of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which called for a new grassroots movement against segregation, poverty, and war—...

Trump No Longer Really Running for President

The Donald’s real political goal is to make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to govern.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
If it wasn't clear before Wednesday night's debate, it should be obvious now that Donald Trump is no longer seriously running for president. He is using his campaign to become the leader of what he calls “our movement”—a white supremacist, nativist, and nationalist crusade—to boost his ego, settle scores (including with many Republicans), and make it impossible for Hillary Clinton to govern. He intends to become America's first celebrity demagogue. For at least the past month, Trump had realized that he is going to lose the race for president on November 8. Indeed, every day, it looks more and more likely that Clinton will beat him by landslide margins in both the popular vote and the Electoral College. If he were still running for president, and trying to win 270 Electoral College votes, Trump would be appealing to swing voters in battleground states. But during his performances in all three debates—as well as in his speeches at Trump rallies since the...

A Century of Anti-Abortion Attacks

One hundred years after Margaret Sanger opened the nation’s first birth-control clinic, Republicans are still attacking Planned Parenthood.

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
Margaret Sanger opened America’s first birth-control clinic 100 years ago this week, on October 16, 1916. In her time, Sanger was a controversial figure, even among feminists, and she often ran afoul of the law in her quest to promote women’s health and birth control. She remains a subject of contention because anti-abortion activists and Republican candidates, including Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, have escalated their attacks on her and on Planned Parenthood, the organization she founded. But Sanger’s pioneering work has been heralded by women’s rights activists in this country and around the world. In a speech last week at Virginia’s Liberty University, Pence—a fervent abortion foe—said: “A Trump-Pence administration will defund Planned Parenthood and redirect those dollars to women’s health care that doesn’t provide abortion services.” Pence added that he longs “to see the day that Roe v...

The Cubs, Cars, Cat Stevens, Consumers, and Capitalism

A new car ad evokes our contentious political climate and exploits a classic protest song to sell Jeep Grand Cherokees.

Radu Bercan/Shutterstock
It is unlikely that the late Marxist philosopher Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) was a baseball fan. But had he been watching Friday's Chicago Cubs-San Francisco Giants game, he would probably have had a lot to say about the new one-minute Jeep Grand Cherokee commercial featuring Cat Stevens' song, “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out,” that was broadcast between innings. In his 1964 book, One Dimensional Man , Marcuse (who taught at Brandeis University and the University of California at San Diego) explored how capitalism seeks to co-opt radical ideas for commercial purposes and turn them into commodities to promote consumer culture and corporate profit. The new commercial for the 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a perfect illustration of Marcuse's point. Created by the McGarryBowen advertising agency, and entitled “Free to Be,” it is a brilliant and disturbing ad designed to exploit our current political and cultural moment, even making an overt reference to the current...

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