Critical Resistance (Prison Abolition Group) Speaks About Jerry Brown

Nov 8, 2010:  While there's certainly variety in all our reactions to last week's elections, we can all agree that reasons to celebrate are few and far between.
Here at Critical Resistance, we're looking ahead to what will or won't change for
the fight against the prison industrial complex.  And we think that the (re)election of Jerry Brown is something that should give every single
one of us pause.


We don't wish a Wall Street billionaire had won instead.  But in his roles as
Governor, Oakland's Mayor, and Attorney General, Jerry Brown proves himself
over and over as one the of the "toughest-on-crime" politicians in California

Jerry Bronwn 1978
Gov Brown
in 1978:

40,000 CA

  • As Governor, Brown signed off on the blueprint for the
    runaway prison building boom that followed through new taxation, sentencing, and construction financing schemes;
  •   As Mayor, Brown forced through a draconian curfew for
    people on probation and parole, and forced a military
    charter school and US Marine training exercises onto the city;
  • As Attorney General, Brown has fought relentlessly against
    the prison population cap order, assertin g the ludicrous
    notion that the California Department of Corrections
    can improve conditions inside by building more prisons.
  • and Attorney General Brown also helped lead the US govt's
    covert war against social movements from 60s and 70s,
    forcing ahead the SF8 case against former Black Panthers and
    community activists on 40-year-old charges.

Of course, we can say judging people by past behavior doesn't work, but we've all been burned too many times before by Democratic 'allies' in elected office not to be prepared.

  • Already, Governor-elect Brown is forming positions that will affect us all, including:
    • how he'll respond to whatever Plata/Coleman decision comes down from
      the Supreme Court;
    • the myriad ways to reduce the prison population;
    • the beyond-urgent need to reinvest in our shredded social safety net;

    We need to do 3 things today to avoid the worst-case scenarios, and build toward a fighting
    chance something good can happen:

    Jerry Bronwn 2010
    Gov-Elect Brown
    in 2010:

    165,000+ CA prisoners

    1. Continue conversations about how and why elected center-left elected officials push 'tough on crime' politics as strongly, if not more, than those overtly on the right.

    1. Send a strong message to the incoming Governor to reverse the social, political, and economic crisis that is our prison system. Right now, click here to go to his website, where he's asking for input.  Send a clear and simple message: "California doesn't need more prisons, California doesn't want more prisons, and California can't afford more prisons."  It doesn't matter if you're outside California - what happens here will effect the entire country, so we all need to shout together.

    1. Make sure CR has the resources we need to win real change.

    This week, in "honor" of Jerry Brown's election, CR wants to raise $2,400:

    $100 for every new prison opened since his first go-around. 


    Let's make sure we have the power not just to avoid election catastrophes, but to actually build
    the world we want and need.

    Please do and give as much as you can right now!


    With hope and thanks,


     lisa signature

    Lisa Marie Alatorre

    Campaign Director

    ari signature

    Ari Wohlfeiler

    Development Director


    ps: there's always a bright side to the moonbeam too.  Prop 25 passed, which should make it at
    least a little easier to get prison reductions into the 2011 budget debate.
     And in Santa Barbara,
    voters roundly rejected jail funding in Measure S,
    jamming up the county's plans to build a new
    jail and showing yet again the Californians are done investing in new cages.