In May 2020, the Global Prison Abolitionist Coalition emerged from dialogues between organizations such as the Alliance of Middle Eastern and North African Socialists, Lausan Hong Kong, the Emergency Committee for Rojava, various Brazilian socialist and anti-racist organizations, Socialist Workers Alliance of Guyana, Movimento Negro Unificado, Abolitionist Collective of Canada/U.S., Black and Pink, along with various Egyptian, Indian, Kashmiri, Kurdish, Turkish, Palestinian, and U.S. activist-scholars. Prominent abolitionist scholar/activists among them are Dr. Romarilyn Ralston and Dr. Joy James.
The formation of this coalition was compelled by the need to connect the struggles of political and social prisoners around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic and the threat of imminent death faced by prisoners hastened this effort. This coalition actively draws connections between national and international struggles and between political prisoners and social prisoners, who are mostly working-class victims of poverty, racism, marginalization and neglect. Our position regarding prison abolition is informed by the need for an alternative to capitalism because capitalism is carceral and authoritarian whether in its neoliberal or statist forms.
Our basic aims are the following:
1. Immediate release of prisoners based on restorative and transformative justice practices.
2. Advocating safe housing, health care, necessities and documentation for all including migrants and refugees.
3. Publicizing the cases of political and social prisoners including the forcibly disappeared.
4. Opposing execution and torture including police brutality/murder.
5. Opposing the exploitation of prisoners as laborers.
6. Promoting debate on an alternative society free of alienated labor and the logic of capital.
7. Imagining and working toward a world without prisons and other forms of captivity.
This coalition is both a form of political practice and knowledge-sharing that seeks to magnify existing regional struggles and support their self-organization as we foster global networks.