Critical Resistance (CR) is a grassroots abolitionist organization building a movement to end the reliance on the interlocking systems of imprisonment, surveillance, and policing—what we call the prison industrial complex (PIC)—as a response to political, social, and economic problems. CR has four volunteer-led chapters in Oakland, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Portland, OR; and New York City, NY; as well as national members throughout the country. CR’s approach combines organizing and advocacy to dismantle current structures of imprisonment and policing, changing how communities and decision-makers understand punishment and safety, transforming state resources and building new institutions and practices to prevent interpersonal, communal, and social harm.
Chapters run prisoner mail programs, providing thousands of free organizing and political education resources to imprisoned people throughout the country every year. CR also publishes The Abolitionist newspaper, a bilingual (English/Spanish) publication dedicated to the strategy and practice of prison industrial complex abolition. The Abolitionist is distributed absolutely free of charge to over 7,000 people in prisons, jails, and detention centers throughout the US, who in turn share the paper with many more of their fellow prisoners.
CR chapters have three campaigns fighting jail expansion in major U.S. cities—Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco—which they uplift as resources and models for communities fighting jail expansion nationally. CR Oakland and the No New SF Jail coalition have been halting jail expansion in San Francisco since 2010, successfully defeating proposed new jail plans in 2015 and 2016. CR Los Angeles has fought jail expansion with coalition partners from 2004 to 2017 through LA No More Jails, and from 2017 to the present with JusticeLA. In 2019, they had a resounding win defeating the proposed women’s jail expansion plan.
CR Oakland and Portland chapters are running campaigns and projects to curb the violence of policing and halt the encroachment of policing into the programs and services that communities need for health, resilience, and emergency response. In 2018 and again in 2019, CR Oakland and the Stop Urban Shield coalition defeated Urban Shield, the largest SWAT team training and weapons expo in the world. http://criticalresistance.org/