The Abolitionist, launched in 2005, is a cross-wall, bilingual (English/Spanish) newspaper dedicated to the strategy and struggle of prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition that is published by Critical Resistance (CR). The Abolitionist is sent to thousands of people imprisoned in jails, prisons and detention centers in the US and some internationally, who in turn share the paper with many more prisoners. Free to people locked up, The Abolitionist is supported by paid subscribers on the outside, as each paid subscription by a non-imprisoned person sponsors a free subscription for at least two prisoners.

CR’s newspaper is an important forum for prisoner voices and a valuable source of news and analysis on the issues that affect prisoners and state-targeted communities globally. A major organizing tool with and for people who are locked up for the past 20 years, The Abolitionist covers topics ranging from re-entry to the criminalization of immigrants, to health care and health issues inside prisons and jails, to internationalism, the rise of fascism and implications for PIC abolition, to anti-capitalism struggle, war and militarism, to reproductive justice, environmental justice, housing, to alternative visions, practices and models for a safer, more humane world, and more.

To date, The Abolitionist is CR’s longest running project. The project was started in 2004 by CR’s Oakland Chapter, with the chapter producing its first issue in the winter / early spring of 2005. Since 2015, The Abolitionist Editorial Collective has become a national workgroup and project of Critical Resistance, with editorial collective members across North and South America, that operates through consensus. The editorial collective works tightly with authors and contributors inside and outside of cages to produce the content for each issue, practicing power-sharing, political rigor, principled struggle, and collective leadership throughout its editorial process. After printing consistency fluctuated for a few years due to the collective being volunteer-run for most of its existence thus far, CR decided to assign a national staff position (CR’s Media Manager) to lead the editorial collective and project in 2020. Since 2020, the paper has printed on a routine schedule. Now, our two issues print in June and December each year.

As George Jackson said: “The point is…in the face of what we confront, to fight and win. That’s the real objective: not just to make statements, no matter how noble, but to destroy the system that oppresses us. By any means available to us. And to do this, we must be connected, in contact and communication with those in the struggle on the outside.”

A Vital Tool for Inside-Outside Organizing and Radical Political Education

Listen to imprisoned columnist Stephen Wilson explain the importance of the paper to people locked up and his plan for his column, “9971,” focused on study for abolition.

Project Updates & Upcoming Issues

In 2020, the editorial collective changed the structure of the newspaper slightly from being strictly theme-based to now encompassing a feature section of articles that share a focus or theme, alongside a separate section of regular columns on different topics. Fondly referred within CR as “The Abby,” Abby columns include 9971 (a column written by imprisoned columnist Stevie Wilson in Pennsylvania on study for abolition that honors the prisoner-led Attica rebellion that started on September 9, 1971), the Inside-Outside Fishing Line (where an imprisoned person and an outside organizer exchange their thoughts on a topic solicited by Abby members), the Abby Throwback (in which the collective selects a previous printed article from paper to reprint), “Until All are Free” column on political prisoner news, CR Updates & Movement Highlights, and Kites to the Editors (which is our letters to the editors section of letters from imprisoned subscribers). In 2022, the editorial collective also changed the frequency of the issues and moved from printing three issues per year to two, in order to grow more capacity to prioritize circulation and engagement with each printed issue.

Issue 39

  • Printed June 2023
  • Features reproductive justice & PIC abolition

Free download of complete issue now available here!

Issue 40

  • Printed December 2023
  • On Control Units
  • Read the Letter from the Editors & Sneak Peek articles here!

Issue 41

First issue of 2024

  • Printing June 2024
  • Features focus on ecological justice

Issue 42

Second issue of 2024

  • Printing December 2024
  • Features focus on

The Abolitionist Newspaper hits the airwaves:

Check out Critical Resistance’s new Podcast!

In 2023, Critical Resistance and The Abolitionist Editorial Collective began an exciting new collaboration with Beyond Prisons Podcast– a regular show for The Abolitionist Newspaper on Beyond Prisons podcast where editorial collective members discuss the most recent issue. CR members share some of the behind-the-scene thinking, analysis, and strategy that makes up each issue, reporting on a rough landscape assessment to sketch what conditions the editorial collective observed and critiqued while making the issue, and bringing on contributing authors and guest speakers to discuss their pieces or work as it related to the feature articles’ themes.

While the editorial collective is still working on a regular schedule for when each episode airs, you can find every episode on Beyond Prisons’s website here, and also on CR’s project page for “Over the Wall” on CR’s website here. 

Support the Project & SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

If you like what you hear and see and want to support the project, sign up for a paid subscription to sponsor free subscriptions for prisoners. If you have a loved one currently incarcerated in jail, prison or detention, you can sign them up for a free subscription here.

CR also frequently organizes launch events in different locations or online through webinars for issues once they print, so be sure to regularly check CR’s event pages for a launch event for The Abolitionist newspaper near you.