PSL Course: A Marxist perspective on prison abolition

Dec 22, 2021

Marxists fight for the overthrow, dismantling, and complete replacement of the core institutions of the capitalist state, including namely the police, prisons, military, and courts. These elements of the state must be abolished through revolution. Yet can we abolish prisons without abolishing capitalist law itself? What does this mean about the contemporary fight to dismantle the prison system?

This two-part video course examines the nature of the racist prison system and provides a Marxist analysis of prison abolition to help build a world without prisons. The course is taught by Nino Brown, Monica Johnson, Angel Nalubega, Sean Blackmon, Rachel Domond, and Eugene Puryear.

Class 1

This class examines the prison system, including who exactly is subjected to mass incarceration, the historical and contemporary treatment of people in prisons, and why the fight for socialism is a first step in building a world free from prisons.

Class 2

The second class discusses the current conditions of the prison system and helps students understand why particular groups of workers are disproportionately incarcerated. Finally, the class articulates a Marxist analysis of prison abolition to explore how we can begin to lay the foundations for a world free of prisons.


Nino Brown is a public school educator and labor activist in Boston. He is also an organizer with the ANSWER coalition, the Jericho Movement and the Boston Liberation Center. He’s a member of the Liberation School Collective and is an editor of the forthcoming book on Marxist pedagogy, Revolutionary Education: Theory and Practice for Socialist Organizers (2021).

Monica Johnson is an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Housing Justice League. Monica is a regular contributor to Liberation News and Community Movement Builders’ paper, Grassroots Thinking.

Angel Nalubega is a Ugandan-American communist educator and organizer from philly. Angel is currently pursuing her MDiv at Princeton Theological Seminary, and is interested in black liberation through the uplift of the international working class.

Sean Blackmon is a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation living in Washington, D.C. Originally hailing from Pensacola,Florida, Sean is a co-founder of Stop Police Terror Project DC, a group that organizes against police misconduct and mass incarceration in the nation’s capital. He is a proud graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and is currently Host of By Any Means Necessary on Radio Sputnik, a daily radio show that focuses on global social movements, international news, arts and culture.

Rachel Domond is an organizer with Party for Socialism and Liberation and Cancel The Rents based out of Boston.

Eugene Puryear is an organizer with Party for Socialism and Liberation, longtime journalist and community organizer-currently based in New York City. He was a key leader In the struggle to free the Jena Six in 2007, was a founder of the anti-gentrification group Justice First as well as the Jobs Not Jails coalition, DC Ferguson Movement and Stop Police Terror Project-D.C. Puryear is the author of the book Shackled and Chained: Mass Incarceration in Capitalist America, and worked for the past four years as the lead host of By Any Means Necessary, a public affairs radio program in Washington D.C. Currently he is the lead host of BreakThrough News, a social justice media project.