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

Tom Hayden Always Rocked The Boat

An appreciation of the legendary political activist.

AP Photo / The Ann Arbor News, Patrick Record
AP Photo / The Ann Arbor News, Patrick Record University of Michigan graduate and political activist Tom Hayden speaks about climate change at the Downtown Ann Arbor Library Branch in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Monday, September 15, 2014. I n 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...

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
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump leaves following the third presidential debate with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Wednesday, October 19, 2016. I f 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...

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
Radu Bercan/Shutterstock I t 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...