In November 2016 he was one of 200 professors added to the Professor Watchlist which works to “expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students.” His RateMyProfessors.com score is 2.8 and users of the site have commented that he "indoctrinate[s] all of his students with left wing ideals" and "is a doctrinaire and biased political advocate, not a balanced and disinterested scholar."
Previously, he helped establish the Campaign for America’s Future in 1996 and was a member of Progressives for Obama (in 2008). He is a longtime supporter of the now-defunct community organization ACORN and a longtime member of the Democratic Socialists of America. He once worked for the Industrial Areas Foundation founded by Saul Alinsky.”
He graduated from Syracuse University with a B.A. in 1970, and from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in 1977. He was the Director of Housing at the Boston Redevelopment Authority and senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Ray Flynn for 9 years.