David Bacon, a Senior Fellow at the Oakland Institute, is a writer and photojournalist based in Oakland and Berkeley, California. He is an associate editor at Pacific News Service, and writes for TruthOut, The Nation, The American Prospect, The Progressive, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. He has been a reporter and documentary photographer for 18 years, shooting for many national publications. He has exhibited his work nationally, and in Mexico, the UK and Germany.
Bacon covers issues of labor, immigration and international politics. He travels frequently to Mexico, the Philippines, Europe and Iraq. He hosts a half-hour weekly radio show on labor, immigration and the global economy on KPFA-FM, and is a frequent guest on KQED-TV’s This Week in Northern California.
For twenty years, Bacon was a labor organizer for unions in which immigrant workers made up a large percentage of the membership. Those include the United Farm Workers, the United Electrical Workers, the International Ladies’ Garment Workers, the Molders Union and others. Those experiences gave him a unique insight into changing conditions in the workforce, the impact of the global economy and migration, and how these factors influence the struggle for workers rights.
Bacon was chair of the board of the Northern California Coalition for Immigrant Rights, and helped organize the Labor Immigrant Organizers Network and the Santa Clara Center for Occupational Safety and Health. He served on the board of the Media Alliance and belongs to the Northern California Media Workers Guild.
His book, The Children of NAFTA, was published by the University of California Press in March, 2004, and a photodocumentary project sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation, Communities Without Borders, was published by the ILR/Cornell University Press in October 2006. In his latest project, Living Under the Trees, sponsored by the California Council for the Humanities and California Rural Legal Assistance, Bacon is photographing and interviewing indigenous Mexican migrants working in California’s fields. He is currently also documenting popular resistance to war and attacks on immigrant labor and civil rights.
He has received numerous awards for both his writing and photography.
Joan Baxter is a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute. An investigative journalist, anthropologist, and award-winning author, she has lived and worked in Africa for more than 25 years - in Niger, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya, Mali and Sierra Leone.
In 2010 and 2011, under the direction of the Oakland Institute program staff, Ms. Baxter researched and wrote the OI's country reports on large land deals in Mali and Sierra Leone, and contributed features on the issue of large-scale foreign investment in African land to Le Monde Diplomatique, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, BBC Focus on Africa Magazine, and Pambazuka News. For many years, she reported from various African countries for the BBC World Service, Associated Press, and many other international media outlets.
For four years, Ms. Baxter was Senior Science Writer at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), and traveled extensively on smallholder farms throughout Africa and as far away as Indonesia, writing about agricultural development and research. Since that time, she has undertaken research on mining issues in Sierra Leone for Partnership Africa Canada and the Diamond Development Initiative, written about and edited reports on the work of Canada's International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in Africa, and worked as a development consultant for German International Cooperation, or GIZ. She has also served as Executive Director of the international non-governmental organization, Nova Scotia - Gambia Association and its Nova Scotia - Sierra Leone Programme. She is a Board member of USC-Canada and its global Seeds of Survival Program.
Her latest book, Dust from our eyes - an Unblinkered Look at Africa, was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in the United States. She is the author of four books on Africa, including A Serious Pair of Shoes – an African Journal (2000), which won the Evelyn Richardson Award for non-fiction at the 2001 Atlantic Writing Awards.
Mikael Bergius, a research fellow of the Oakland Institute, works on linkages between global policies, local resource use, and land rights. His latest work has focused on the contemporary expansion of the Corporate Food Regime in Africa through the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania and its implications for rural households. He is also interested in the political economy of climate change and particularly in how agrofuels have emerged in the interface between commercial solutions to climate change and the Corporate Food Regime.
Bergius has a background in development studies from the University of Agder in Norway and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. In October 2014, he completed his Master's degree in International Environmental Studies at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Aas and is now hoping to continue his research in Tanzania through doctoral studies.
Lim Li Ching, a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute, works with the biosafety and sustainable agriculture programs at Third World Network, an international NGO based in Malaysia. Co-editor of the book Biosafety First, Li Ching has been actively participating at the UN Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety negotiations, its related experts’ meetings and other international, regional and national biosafety meetings. She is currently a member of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Socio-economic Considerations, established by Parties to the Cartagena Protocol.
Li Ching was a lead author in the East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP) sub-global report of the International Assessment on Agricultural Science, Technology and Knowledge for Development (IAASTD) (2009), and also contributed to the Agriculture chapter of the UN Environment Programme's publication, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication (2011). She was also a co-editor of Climate Change and Food Systems Resilience in Sub-Saharan Africa, published by FAO (2011).
Shepard Daniel is a Fellow at the Oakland Institute and has worked as the Land Policy and Governance Analyst at the Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa, a project at the Oakland Institute. She writes on topics of international food security, international trade and the environment, and global governance issues related to trade, land policy and land investment. Most recently, her research has focused on large-scale land acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa and the role of the IFC and private equity finance in promoting land deals. Her publications include (Mis)Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land Grab and The Great Land Grab: Rush For World's Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor. Shepard is a member of the Land Deal Politics Initiative (LDPI) research network, and she holds a Masters in Environmental Planning and Management from the University of Chile in Santiago as well as a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Shepard is an attorney in San Francisco, California.
Luis Flores, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, has researched the implementation and effects of the Ethiopian government's development strategy, including its forced resettlement plan. For OI, he has authored Development Aid to Ethiopia: Overlooking Violence, Marginalization and Political Repression and Engineering Ethnic Conflict: The Toll of Ethiopia’s Plantation Development on the Suri People.
Currently a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Luis studies economic and urban sociology. In 2013, he was a Judith Lee Stronach Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, where he researched gentrification, financial housing speculation, and household indebtedness. He is co-author of Development without Displacement: Resisting Gentrification in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Luis holds undergraduate degrees in history and political economy from UC Berkeley. He worked for the Blum Center for Developing Economies and served as editor for the Berkeley Political Review. His writing has been featured in the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, the Berkeley Planning Journal, and in the forthcoming Territories of Poverty: Rethinking Poverty Scholarship, edited by Ananya Roy and Emma Shaw Crane.
Luis started at the Oakland Institute as an Intern Scholar.
Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, a Senior Fellow with the Oakland Institute, is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Grassroots Science Program at Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). PANNA’s Grassroots Science Program facilitates community engagement in the use of scientific tools and processes in order to strengthen community-based advocacy for social change and build public authority over policy and public resources. Ishii-Eiteman’s specific campaign activities at PANNA focus on supporting and strengthening agroecology movements and policies in the U.S. and globally, and challenging corporate power and influence in agriculture with a focus on the biotech/pesticide industry and herbicide-resistant genetically engineered seeds.
Before joining PANNA in 1996, Ishii-Eiteman worked in Asia and Africa in rural development projects for over 12 years, facilitating government-farmer-NGO collaborations on sustainable agriculture in Southeast Asia and developing a farmer-based ecological pest management education project in Thailand. Previously, she worked on agricultural livelihood projects in Somali refugee camps and on women's health and literacy projects with Khmer refugees. Her doctoral research focused on Thai farmers' rice cultivation practices and biological control of rice insect pests. Ishii-Eiteman holds a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology from Cornell University and a BA in women's studies and politics from Yale University. She has written extensively on the ecological, social and political dimensions of food and agriculture and was a lead author of the UN-sponsored International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development.
Kristen Lyons writes and speaks on the privatization of development and its local livelihood impacts, plantation forestry and carbon markets, urban agriculture, social impacts and governance challenges related to new technologies including genetic engineering and nanotechnologies, and the impacts of mining interests on research and tertiary education. She has worked for more than ten years as an activist-academic in Australia, the African continent, and the Pacific, and through her work seeks to contribute to public debates and policy.
Kristen has recently convened the Australasian Agri-Food Research Network, a group of scholars engaged in food and farming studies. She has volunteered and sat on boards with Friends of the Earth Australia campaigns (including related to Just Foods and Nanotechnology) and was a co-founder of Mukwano Australia (which collaborates with organic cooperatives in Uganda in assisting to improve health care delivery). She is a member and volunteers with the Australian Greens, and has a long history of involvement in Australia’s organic sector, including with the leading national organization, Australian Certified Organic.
Kristen was awarded a doctorate in Sociology from Central Queensland University in 2001. Along with her background in Environmental Science, she has a strong commitment to research and advocacy that is focused on environmental and social justice. Kristen lives in Brisbane, Australia, where she works at the University of Queensland teaching the sociology of development and environment, as well as convening the Masters of Development Practice Program.
Ashwin Parulkar, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, writes on hunger and the right to food in India, where he is currently a research scholar at the New Delhi based think tank, the Centre for Equity Studies. He works with fellow colleagues on projects that involve field-based research in the poorest communities in India on a range of issues pertaining to social and economic exclusion. Currently, he and a colleague are looking into the plight of migrant Muslims in a slum located in the city of Jaipur. Some of these people have had their citizenship and access to basic services, such as the public food distribution system, revoked by the state government after the May 2008 terrorist attack in that city. Other work includes investigations into government responses to reported starvation deaths in rural communities throughout hunger-prone states of Bihar, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh.
He is a contributor to the Wall Street Journal and has written on foreign land acquisitions in Africa for the World Policy Journal. In 2010-2011, he was the South Asia Analyst for Freedom House's Freedom in the World Report, where he wrote on the status of civil and political rights in Bhutan, India, Indian Kashmir, and Nepal. He has served as a consultant and researcher for numerous international human rights and development organizations, including the International Food Policy Research Institute, UNICEF, ActionAid India, the International Service for Human Rights, and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
He completed an MA in international relations and an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University as well as a BS from Case Western Reserve University.
Lukas Ross, a Fellow at the Oakland Institute, is interested in biofuels, the global palm industry, and the role of finance in large scale land investment deals. He received an MA in International Relations and Film Studies from the University of St. Andrews and an MPhil in Politics from Cambridge University. Prior to joining the Oakland Institute as an Intern Scholar, he researched worker-owned cooperatives and other alternative economic models at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
At the Institute, he is investigating the nascent demand for aviation biofuel. Building upon the Oakland Institute's previous work on land deals in Africa, he now hopes to explore how similar themes of commodification and dispossession are increasingly relevant to the politics of land in the US. Eventually he plans to begin a PhD on the function of corporate social responsibility initiatives in the oil producing regions of South Sudan.
David Solnit is a climate justice, global justice, anti-war, arts, and direct action organizer, an author, a puppeteer, and a trainer. He was a key organizer in the shutdowns of the WTO in Seattle in 1999 and in San Francisco the day after Iraq was invaded in 2003.
He is an arts organizer, puppeteer and a co-founder of Art and Revolution, using culture, art, giant puppets and theater in mass mobilizations, for popular education and as an organizing tool. He has co-created visuals for the campaigns of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, National Peoples Action and numerous mobilizations and actions. David is a direct action, strategy and cultural resistance trainer who currently works with Courage to Resist, supporting GI resistance to war and empire.
Solnit edited Globalize Liberation: How to Uproot the System and Build a Better World. With Army veteran Aimee Allison he co-wrote Army of None; How to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World. He co-wrote and co-edited with Rebecca Solnit (introduction by Anuradha Mittal) The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle (AK Press 2009).
David lives in San Francisco where he works as a carpenter.