See also: Democratic Socialists of America Saul Alinsky
Campaign for America’s Future Liberty Hill Foundation
Progressive America Rising Industrial Areas Foundation
Raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, Peter Dreier earned a BA from Syracuse University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1977. In 1975 he worked on Tom Hayden’s campaign for the U.S. Senate and was a visiting professor at UC Santa Barbara. After teaching sociology at Tufts University from 1977-83, Dreier spent nine years (1984-93) as a senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn, and as director of housing at the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Dreier has been a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) since the early 1980s. In 1983 he spoke at a Socialist Scholars Conference in New York City, which was attended by a 22-year-old community organizer named Barack Obama. A writer who was present at the event recalls that Dreier: (a) “proposed to bring down American capitalism from below, by swamping governments with entitlement programs”; (b) called for “a revolution of rising entitlements” that “cannot be abandoned without undermining the legitimacy of the capitalist class” (Dreier's words); and (c) declared that an “expansion of state activity and budgets” would create a “fiscal crisis in the public sector” that “in the longer run … may give socialist norms an opportunity for expansion or at least visibility.” (Dreier's words).
In 1993 Dreier joined the faculty of Occidental College, where he currently serves as the E. P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics and as director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Program.
When Robert Borosage and Roger Hickey created the Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) in 1996, Dreier helped them establish the organization. For a list of additional CAF co-founders, click here.
In 2008 Dreier served as a campaign advisor for presidential candidate Barack Obama. He was also a member of Progressives for Obama, now known as Progressive America Rising.
Dreier was a longtime supporter of the notoriously corrupt, now-defunct, community organization ACORN. In September 2009—after ACORN's involvement in condoning and abetting tax fraud, voter-registration fraud, money laundering, human trafficking, and underage prostitution rings had been exposed in the media—Dreier co-authored a 61-page report defending the organization. He claimed that criticisms aimed at ACORN were nothing more than unfounded smears concocted by “conservative business groups,” “the conservative echo chamber,” and “Republican officials” who were “upset with ACORN’s community organizing efforts to help poor Americans improve economic conditions and gain a stronger political voice.”
That same month, Dreier wrote an op-ed in the Huffington Post titled “First They Came for ACORN,” a piece lamenting that “Democrats did not speak out” in ACORN's defense when “Big Business,” “the Religious Right,” and various conservative broadcasters and politicians attacked the group. As journalist Matthew Vadum put it, the op-ed's title was “Dreier’s cute little way of calling all of ACORN’s critics Nazis.”
In a September 2009 appearance on the Rachel Maddow television show, Dreier portrayed ACORN as the victim of a massive conspiracy orchestrated by big business and the GOP. He also claimed, falsely, that the group had done everything in its power to prevent the devastating subprime mortgage crisis of 2008. In reality, ACORN had worked tirelessly to force banks to lend money to uncreditworthy borrowers—precisely the practice that laid the groundwork for financial calamity.
Also in 2009, Dreier was a member of the Liberty Hill Foundation's advisory board.
In 2010 Dreir served as a coordinator of the newly established Cry Wolf Project (CWP), which fights conservative efforts to derail or discredit “progressive” policy initiatives, and contends that the federal government's voluminous regulations—created mostly by unelected bureaucrats rather than elected officials—neither harm the nation's economy nor curtail individual freedom, but rather, serve to “save lives, clean our environment and make our families more secure.”
In 2011 Dreier supported the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street movement.
Giving voice to his heartfelt conviction that only government can make a nation's economy function efficiently, Dreier in 2014 said that “without government intervention” in the mortgage market, millions of Americans were “at risk of joining the almost 5 million households that have already suffered through foreclosure since the housing bubble burst in 2007.”
At one time, Dreier worked for the Industrial Areas Foundation founded by Saul Alinsky. Today, in addition to his professorial duties, he is a member of Social Policy magazine's Editorial Advisory Group, along with such notables as Heather Booth, Noam Chomsky, Frances Fox Piven, and Maya Wiley.
One of the classes that Dreier teaches at Occidental College is titled “Movements in Social Justice,” for which a required text is A People's History of the United States, authored by the late Marxist historian Howard Zinn.
For additional information on Peter Dreier, click here.
 In December 2007 a former student of Dreier's, Jason Rantz, penned an article about his experiences in Dreier's class. Rantz reported: “Dreier ... romanticizes Socialism and Communism, often ignoring the brutal truth about those economic systems, in order to indoctrinate his students.... The professor doesn't use his course just to brainwash his students into the thrills of Socialism and Communism. [H]e uses his course to routinely demean conservatives.”