Join us May 5 in-person at San Francisco State University or online via livestream for “Toward Abolitionist Horizons: 25 Years of Critical Resistance,” an evening of discussion and performances, looking back over the past 25 years of Critical Resistance, and looking forward into the next 25 years of strategy and struggle to abolish imprisonment, policing, and surveillance.
In the past 25 years of struggle since Critical Resistance’s first conference in 1998, Critical Resistance has made numerous gains against the prison industrial complex (PIC) with coalitions and movement partners around the world. In the past 25 years, Critical Resistance has halted California’s 20-year prison building boom through leading the Stop Delano II campaign (1998-2008), starving the California prison system of millions of dollars intended for new cages and then cofounding the now-70-organization-strong Californians United for Responsible Budget (CURB) coalition.
In the past 25 years, Critical Resistance (CR) has also resisted jail expansion coast to coast across the US.
- In New York, CR stopped the construction of a new jail in the Bronx with the Community in Unity coalition(2006-2008) and in 2017 reignited the calls for “No New Jails” in NYC, then campaigned to close Rikers without building new jails.
- In Los Angeles (LA), CR has defied jailing since 2004, inspiring dozens of organizations and thousands of people to take up the call of “No more jails” in LA (2004- 2017 with LA No More Jails coalition; from 2017- 2020 with JusticeLA coalition). In 2019, CRLA and the JusticeLA coalition stopped women’s jail construction plans in LA County and succeeded in winning the war of ideas against jail expansion as the men’s replacement mental health jail plan (CCTF) was shifted to instead build a mental health treatment facility.
- In the Bay Area in California, CR halted jail expansion in San Francisco, for 7 years with the No New SF Jail Coalition, defeating multiple plans for new cages, and successfully closing the seismically unsafe county jail at 850 Bryant in downtown SF in 2020.
All the while, CR has built power across cages with imprisoned people for PIC abolition.
- CR built the Amnesty for Survivors of Hurricane Katrina campaign with imprisoned people’s loved ones in New Orleans to identify, expose and stop the use of imprisonment, policing and surveillance as the state’s response to natural and unnatural disasters.
- CR founded The Abolitionist newspaper, a bilingual, cross-wall political education and organizing tool that reaches thousands of imprisoned people across the US (and some internationally) for free.
- CR advanced the call to abolish solitary confinement in California and ran media, outreach and legislative strategies for the 30,000-prisoner strong California Prisoner Hunger Strikes with Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition and the Short Corridor Collective at Pelican Bay State Prison (2011-2015), leading to the international recognition of solitary confinement as torture and a massive reduction of its use in California;
- With CRNYC and a statewide network of organizations and loved ones impacted by imprisonment, CR defeated a draconian package and visiting restriction proposals in New York State that would have limited contact between imprisoned people and their loved ones (2017-2018)
In the past 25 years, Critical Resistance (CR) has also worked to erode the power of policing through concrete organizing victories and model anti-policing campaigns and projects.
- CR eliminated racist gang injunctions in Oakland, CA with the Stop the Injunctions Coalition (STIC), modeling the first complete grassroots victory against this policy in the country (2010-2015).
- With the Stop Urban Shield coalition, we defeated Urban Shield in a defunding campaign, the largest SWAT team training and weapons expo in the world (2013-2019).
- CR then founded the Oakland Power Projects to increase people’s wellbeing and decrease reliance on policing, developing an Anti-Policing Healthworkers network and the Know Your Options healthcare series that empower people to deescalate everyday emergency situations and reduce engagement with cops. From 2016-2019 we collaborated with public health workers to draft and pass the “Law Enforcement is a Public Health Issue” policy statement through the 25,000-person strong national American Public Health Association.
- Most recently, CR cut proposed police expansions in Portland, OR in half and disbanded the Portland police’s racist gang policing unit through our Care Not Cops campaign, stopping the addition of over 35 new police positions and saving Portlanders $15 million for mental health services and community programs (2017-2020)
Now Critical Resistance is working with CURB to close at least 10 prisons by 2025, which would cut the state’s capacity to cage our people by at least one-third. Working now to cancel Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) contracts with New York prisons and jails throughout the state with Abolish ICE New York New Jersey coalition, CR also continues to print two fresh and radical issues of The Abolitionist per year, while working with imprisoned people to close prisons in CA, and supporting imprisoned people detained by ICE to resist their detention in New York.
In the next 25 years, CR will continue to stop prisons, resist jail expansion and denounce prison and jail reform, moving in solidarity with people resisting imprisonment while inside jails, prisons, detention centers, building critical dialogues, shared consciousness, organizing lessons and strategies across walls for PIC abolition, all as we continue to build off of our anti-policing legacy, shrinking the scale and scope of policing to build vibrant, sustainable, police-free communities.
BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW for “Toward Abolitionist Horizons” and come celebrate 25 Years of Critical Resistance and strategy and struggle against the PIC with us, Friday May 5 in-person at San Francisco State University or online via livestream.
This event will be a benefit for CR, and all proceeds will go directly to sustaining CR’s campaigns and projects. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.