On the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis, we have put together this list of inspiring organisations and thinkers leading the movement for police and prison abolition both in the UK and the USA.
We’re releasing this list today alongside a Free Palestine resource page because we recognise that this terrible anniversary, falling at a time of escalated violence in Israel and Palestine, offers a chance to observe and consider the links between the ‘carceral logics’ (i.e. the variety of ways people’s bodies, minds, and actions have been shaped by the idea and practices of imprisonment) of both police power and imperialist/ colonial power, and how these powers are interwoven and mutually reinforcing.
UK-based abolition campaigns
- Abolitionist Futures is a UK collaboration of community organisers and activists working together to build a future without prisons, police and punishment. They have put together a comprehensive resource bank and reading list including this great piece by Sarah Lamble on undoing carceral logics, “Practising Everyday Abolition”.
- Community Action on Prison Expansion Campaign (CAPE) is a network of grassroots groups fighting prison expansion in England, Wales and Scotland. They reject the myths that prisons, surveillance and policing can solve social and economic problems, and seek alternatives that keep communities safe and achieve real social justice. Listen to their excellent No Prisons podcast here.
- An illuminating Novara Media podcast with Mark Neocleous looks over the evolution and design of police power alongside the criminalisation of working class and subsistence ways of life through history.
- The New Economics Foundation produced an excellent podcast episode, ‘Do Police and Prisons Keep Us Safe?’, featuring Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper. Check out their resource list on the same page.
- London youth-led organisation Account monitors and scrutinises police activity. It aims to empower young people and hold those in power to account – with young people leading research projects, and carrying out campaign work and political activism for community healing and institutional change.
Leading USA voices in the fight for abolition
- Angela Davis: Are Prisons Obsolete?
- Watch Angela Davis on the fallacy of prison reform
- Read Mariame Kaba’s blog
- Ruth Wilson Gilmore: Is Prison Necessary?
On prison & white supremacy in the US and the UK
- Ava DuVernay’s film, 13th (available on Netflix) accessibly articulates the foundational, historic and ongoing connections between prison and slavery.
- Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrice Khan-Cullors’ memoir When They Call You A Terrorist demonstrates the ways in which the police and prison systems in the USA are used to reify white supremacy and terrorise and harm Black communities.
- UK-based community advocacy organisation The United Families & Friends Campaign (UFFC) is a coalition of those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody. Since 1990, almost 2000 people have died in England and Wales after contact with the police – yet no officer has been held to account.
Ecological and climate justice arguments for abolition
- Ki’Amber Thompson’s poem-essay ‘Be Like Water: An Abolitionist Relationality’ explores ecology and abolitionism, referencing Black feminist abolitionists such as Angela Davis and adrienne maree brown. Thompson’s thesis Prisons, Policing, and Pollution: Toward an Abolitionist Framework within Environmental Justice aims ‘to outline the connections between prisons, policing and pollution, and to explore abolition as a framework within environmental justice to imagine and create more just social and ecological landscapes’.
- The UK’s Empty Cages Collective website features an article ‘Fighting Toxic Prisons: Mass Incarceration and Ecology.
- The huge trend towards criminalisation of diverse ways of living and resisting structural power globally includes massive proposed curbs on the rights to protest in the UK via the Police, Crime, Sentencing And Courts Bill. Friends of the Earth UK lays out the arguments against the Bill.
Visions of transformative justice
- Andrea Ritchie talks about the need to free ourselves from our own internalised carceral logics on the Emergent Strategy podcast.
- Ritchie recommends the Transform Harm website with its wealth of resources on topics around abolition.
- Beyond Prisons is a diverse and inspiring collection of podcasts exploring alternatives to carceral logics.
- Thinking Abolition is a great Instagram account and resource bank.
Posted on May 24, 2021
Categories: Decolonising Art & Culture, Environmental Justice & Activism
Tags: 2021, Abolition, education, Environmental Justice and Activism Events, Police abolition, prison abolition