Critical Resistance is energized by the growing demand to move beyond the violence of imprisonment and policing and towards a society that centers health and self-determination. It’s a ripe moment for advancing abolition, and we are ready to keep the movement growing. On the eve of 20th anniversary of CR’s founding 1998 conference, “Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex,” it is empowering to see years of concerted organizing and your loyal support coming to fruition.
In 2017, CR ran a number of transformative campaigns and projects, through the work of small staff, four chapters, a dedicated membership and hundreds of volunteers. In workshops, presentations, rallies, hear- ings, publications, and countless conversations, we advanced analysis and bolstered campaigns that are making headlines, shifting common sense, and impacting policies.
Facing the rise of global militarism, CR chapters strengthened ties with 3rd world internationalist struggles and joined forces to fight the violence of policing against Black and Brown communities. Against rising xenophobia, white supremacy, and fascism, we showed up to defend immigrants, broaden sanctuary and combat white supremacist gatherings. Fighting capitalism, we deepened our connections with organiza- tions and communities fighting against economic divestment and gentrification. We want to uplift four main areas of impact:
> No New Jails: With three campaigns fighting jail expansion in major U.S. cities—Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco— we are uplifting these campaigns and increasing resistance to jailing nationally.
> Eliminate the Violence of Policing: Our Oakland and Portland chapters are running campaigns and projects to curb the violence of policing and halt the encroachment of policing into the pro- grams and services that communities need for health, resilience, and emergency response.
> Empower and Organize with Prisoners: Through our bilingual newspaper, chapter prisoner mail programs, collaborative prisoner reports, and Inside-Outside Reading Groups, we are bridging the silencing divide of prison walls and bringing imprisoned people into outside movements.
> Building Vibrant Internationalist Movements: In 2017, CR continued to strengthen our existing partnerships, build new relationships in chapter cities across sectors, and join allies’ demonstra- tions. We supported abolitionist causes in key areas such as Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, and even Australia. For our broader movement, we released media and educational tools to support analy- sis and abolitionist foundations, including the Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex video project and our Abolition of Policing workshop.
It’s been twenty years since organizers kicked off the efforts to build a popular, more unified movement against the prison industrial complex. Since then, the analysis, ideas, and, increasingly, the strategies of Critical Resistance have been in high demand. Even more is possible for our movement and our organi- zation. We’re hopeful and ready to keep building and growing.
Onward, toward liberation,
Jess Heaney, Lily Fahsi-Haskell, Mohamed Shekh, CR Co-Directors and the CR National Fundraising Committee