Archive by Author

Oxy’s Campaign Semester is “the only one of its kind”

5 Nov

You can read all the textbooks in the world about campaigns and elections, but until you’ve worked on one, you don’t realize how chaotic and exciting it is.

Read more about Oxy’s innovative Campaign Semester where students earn credit to work on campaigns on The New York Times.

Pre-Existing EVICTIONS…

31 Oct

Wells Fargo Bank and US Bank have chosen to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month by trying to evict breast cancer survivors from their homes.

Last week, Ana Casas Wilson — a wheelchair-bound woman with cerebral palsy and terminal stage-four breast cancer, and who has struggled for months to get Wells Fargo and US Bank to accept her money and stop foreclosing on her home of forty years — received a final 5-day notice to vacate from LA County Sheriff Lee Baca’s office. Wilson and her family briefly fell behind on her payments after she had to go into the hospital for a double mastectomy, as I described in an earlier post. She and her friends and supporters have launched a round-the-clock vigil at her home in a blue-collar suburb outside Los Angeles (8968 San Juan Ave., South Gate, CA 90280) to resist eviction, as the Los Angeles Times reported last week.

It turns out that Wilson isn’t the only cancer victim that Wells Fargo and US Bank are trying to evict. Community groups around the country have met with others in a similar situation. One of them is retired police detective Jacqueline Barber. She spent 20 years on the Atlanta police force, only retiring after she was injured by a car in the line of duty. In 2009, the predatory loan on her house caused her monthly payment to go up by $1500, and she fought to stay current, according to a local Atlanta news outlet. Then she was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer and had to undergo aggressive treatment to save her life. She fought back against the disease, and spent months filling out forms and asking Wells Fargo for modifications to her mortgage.

A Wells Fargo Executive Vice President assured he they were working on her case. Instead, they sold her loan to US Bank at foreclosure auction, and now she’s fighting imminent eviction. The banks are refusing even to sell the home to friends and family who have banded together to help Jacqueline.

We all know that increased stress makes it harder for the body to fight back against serious illness. There is little in life that is more stressful than being evicted. By pursuing these foreclosure evictions US Bank and Wells Fargo are hurting the lives of Ana and Jacqueline.

My interview on Tavis Smiley’s show

22 Oct

I was happy to be included on Tavis Smiley’s show the other day on PBS!

“For more than three decades, Peter Dreier has been involved in urban policy as a scholar, a government official, a journalist and an advocate for reform at both the national and local levels. He’s written widely on American politics and public policy and is a frequent speaker to a wide variety of professional, scholarly and civic organizations. He’s currently professor of politics and director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Los Angeles’ Occidental College. In his text, The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century, Dreier profiles the century’s most effective and influential reformers and radicals.”

Please see my interview with Tavis Smiley here.

In honor of opposition to Mr. Schwarzenegger

6 Oct

I never had any intention of purchasing Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pathetic new biography, so it would be disingenuous to say that I am “boycotting” the book.

What you use those muscles for Arnold?

The truth is, few people of conscience — who certainly abhor Schwarzenegger as both a person and a politician — are likely to buy the book. But to register my protest against his behavior toward his wife, his children, women in general and the people of California, I’ve donated the price of the book — $35.00 – to the Feminist Majority Foundation. and to the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Where these websites ask “donation in honor of,” I wrote, “Opposition to Arnold Schwarzenegger.” I encourage others to join me in this protest.




5 Oct

See my discussion with Joan Brunnwasser of OpEdNews about my recent article Meet the Bank CFO Fighting to Foreclose on a Wheelchair-Bound Cancer Patient.

You can find the article here.

Tim Sloan: A face from the 1%

4 Oct

Wells Fargo CFO Tim Sloan makes $8 million a year and lives in a $5 million house in San Marino, a wealthy Los Angeles suburb. His bank is trying to evict Ana Wilson from her tiny home in blue-collar South Gate. Wilson, a wheelchair-bound woman with cerebral palsy and breast cancer, missed several mortgage payments while she was in the hospital. Frustrated by Wells Fargo’s refusal to renegotiate her loan, Wilson went to Sloan’s mansion to protest her mistreatment. San Marino cops arrested her.

Who is the real criminal here? Read more about Tim Sloan vs. the 99% here.

Jonathan Kozol speaks at Oxy

12 Sep

Author, education reformer, and social critic Jonathan Kozol spoke at Occidental College yesterday about his new book, Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years Among the Poorest Children in America.

“Charity will never suit as a substitute for social justice.” –Kozol


10 Sep

Amie Williams, an award-winning documentary filmmaker, will be at Occidental College to screen her new film, “WE ARE WISCONSIN!” 


WHEN & WHERE: September 18th, 7pm in Swam Dumke West





“WE ARE WISCONSIN!” is a feature length documentary film that follows the day-to-day unfolding of public outcry against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s controversial budget-repair bill, focusing on the human story behind a remarkable popular uprising forged on the floor of the Madison Capitol.  The film asks the question “Why should we care about what’s going on in Wisconsin?,” on multiple levels, through an in-depth profile of six leading individuals central to the story: a UW- Madison student leader, a county social worker, a nurse, a high school teacher, a police officer and a union electrician who come out to protest what they see as a direct attack on their livelihood. They all meet inside the capitol over the course of what became an historic eighteen days, February-March, 2011.

The film amplifies why Wisconsin has become ground zero for so many disparate groups, awakening a sleeping giant of collective voices, alarmed and angry at the new hyper-conservative wave of local government sweeping the Midwest. At a time when mass demonstrations have become increasingly rare in America, this film will explore what it takes to spark a social movement. Some are calling what happened in Wisconsin an Egypt-like uprising in American politics, where collective public outrage transforms a nation.



Amie Williams is a remarkable artist.  She founded her own film/video production company, BAL MAIDEN FILMS (Gaelic for women who worked in the mines), in 1991, at the dawn of the digital revolution, when the entire landscape of filmmaking was shifting. Taking advantage of these new technologies, Amie has built an innovative, integrated company that strives to tell stories about people and places that are part of this shift in consciousness. From labor unions to African womens micro-finance collectives, AIDS orphans to environmental truckers, BAL MAIDEN FILMS and the new non-profit group she co-founded, GLOBAL GIRL MEDIA,  Amie specializes in activist/consciousness-raising videos for non-profits and grassroots groups.  Bal Maiden Films client list includes SEIU, UNITEHERE, ILWU, Rotary International, Discovery Channel, PBS, BBC, Canadian TV, Current TV, Al Jazeera English and Kenya Television Nation.

Never content to stay put when there is a rally, protest, election, or uprising to follow, Amie has been excavating stories from Siberia to Soweto, Tokyo to Nairobi, crossing borders, building bridges and pushing boundaries, as well as her art to activate dialogue and debate. Her films include UNCOMMON GROUND and FALLON, NV: DEADLY OASIS, and NO SWEAT (about American Apparel and SweatX two t-shirt manufacturers in downtown Los Angeles).

Amie’s films have won numerous awards, such as the International Documentary Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Media Grant, the SONY/Streisand Award for emerging female filmmakers, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Peace Grant, the A.F.I. Independent Film and Videomakers Award, and a National Arts Council grant to tour Japan to show her work.

My Interview with Tavis Smiley

10 Sep

You can hear Tavis Smiley’s 15-minute radio interview with me this week about my new book.  I’ll also be on Tavis’ TV show some time in October.

My talk at Diesel, A Bookstore

30 Aug