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Disparities in social, political, and economic outcomes in countries around the world are rooted in varied systemic problems ranging from racism, to exploitative labor and migration policies, to the predominance of corporate monopolies.

July 20, 2020, Strike for Black Lives march, Oakland, California. © Brooke Anderson

On the ground level, basic needs — including nutrition, housing, healthcare, and adequate schooling — are continually denied for billions of people, feeding the cycle of generational poverty. Ultimately, this allows for the perpetuation of discriminatory laws and practices in ‘developing’ and ‘developed’ countries alike.

All over the world, historical injustices such as slavery and colonization have created cycles of inequality that are spurred on by newer forms of institutional discrimination. These forms of systemic prejudice amplify and perpetuate social, political, and economic inequity globally.

One of the most obvious manifestations of this inequity is the increasing stratification of wealth occurring on both global and national scales. The richest one percent grabbed nearly two-thirds of all new wealth worth US$42 trillion created since 2020, almost twice as much money as the bottom 99 percent of the world‘s population. The top one percent of households globally own 43 percent of all personal wealth, while the bottom 50 percent own only one percent.

In addition to economic inequalities, which have led to the poverty, homelessness, and malnutrition of billions, much of the world’s population continues to face severe social and political marginalization due to discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, caste, and class. Indigenous and rural communities at the intersection of these identities are particularly impacted and endangered. With the increase of neo-liberal policies, the economic and political divide between privileged and marginalized groups has widened, cementing the inequities that have arisen from discrimination and further impeding societal mobility.

What we are doing about it

The Oakland Institute is documenting and reporting on inequities around the world, often at the behest of local communities. Our work highlights social, economic, and political disparities; the key actors and policies involved; and the impact on people and communities. The Institute’s reports reveal the pervasiveness of equity issues ranging from homelessness, land and retail consolidation, to the lack of migrant labor rights. Through detailed investigation and reporting, the Institute’s publications bring international attention to communities and problems that are most often ignored and suppressed.


Dignity or Exploitation – What Future for Farmworker Families in the United States?

Dignity or Exploitation — What Future for Farmworker Families in the United States? documents the systematic abuse of workers in the H-2A program and its impact on the resident farmworker communities, confronted with a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions. H-2A workers also face disproportionate exposure to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report describes some of the most acute situations, and analyzes the basic reason for the...

Homelessness: The Fault in "American Greatness" report cover

Homelessness: The Fault in "American Greatness"

Across Oakland and Berkeley, tent camps are sprouting near BART tracks and underpasses. As rents skyrocket in the Bay Area, California working class communities are disproportionately affected.
Image Credit: Doug Blackmon, Erik Prince, Ann Hagedorn; Aftermath of of the Endless War

The Return of Erik Prince: Trump's Knight in America's New Crusade

The Return of Erik Prince: Trump’s Knight in America’s New Crusade? a new brief from the Oakland Institute, exposes the comeback of the founder of Blackwater, the notorious private security company. An ardent detractor of Obama/Clinton foreign policy during the presidential campaign, Prince is now set with access to unique assets, to be a key player in Trump’s foreign policy. Using information not seen before, the brief describes Prince’s post...

Turning the Tide: Challenging the Right on Campus, report cover.

Turning the Tide: Challenging the Right on Campus

Turning the Tide, with an introduction by historian Howard Zinn, presents a historical analysis of how the Right has advanced its agenda and strategies used to gain political influence on campus. It asserts that through strategic planning and massive funding, the Right has been able to reach and influence students and dominate the campus arena, and ultimately reshape politics and public policies at the national, state and local levels. On the...

Report cover

Uprooted: The Impact of Free Market on Migrants

Rufino Dominguez, coordinator of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB, Frente Indigena de Organizaciones Binationales) says there are about 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca living in the U.S. – 300,000 in California alone. Economic crises provoked by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other economic reforms are uprooting and displacing Mexicans in the country’s most remote areas, where...



Faith and community leaders held silhouettes of striking workers, unable to attend due Covid-19.

McDonald's High Tolerance for Inequity, Injustice & Racism

Thursday, June 11, 2020 Anuradha Mittal

Amidst a global pandemic, McDonald's with its estimated net worth of $163 billion, has failed to provide the basic protective gear to keep its workers safe. 33 cooks and cashiers, mainly Latino including 24 women, at its Telegraph Avenue location in Oakland are on a strike for this reason.

Image: Essential Workers. Copyright: Dignidad Rebelde

Ensure Basic Rights of the Working Poor on Cesar Chavez's Day

Tuesday, March 31, 2020 Andy Currier

Forced to continue working in conditions that place their lives at risk, the harsh realities these workers face in daily life are coming center stage.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Credit: USDA, Tom Witham

Feeding the Rich While Starving the Poor: Trump Administration’s Cuts to Food Assistance

Thursday, December 26, 2019 Andy Currier

Early December, the Trump administration finalized a rule that will tighten work requirements to qualify for food stamps; a decision that will strip desperately needed food assistance from an estimated 700,000 people.

Residents walk past campus map at the STFRC in Dilley, Texas. Credit: Charles Reed, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

From Home to Hieleras

Thursday, October 27, 2016 Anna Peare

In the United States, thousands of women and children fleeing violence and poverty are detained as prisoners in for-profit family detention centers, like the South Texas Family Residential Center.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally. Credit Gage Skidmore

Condemning Donald Trump is Not Enough: The Genealogy of Demagoguery and Islamophobia

Friday, December 18, 2015 Elsadig Elsheikh

Condemning Donald Trump and Islamophobia is simply not enough. It is equally important to build wide societal opposition to such rhetoric and policies in order to fight against the rising tide of demagoguery that has the potential to turn into outright fascism in American politics.