Non-profit

Mass Liberation Project

Website:

www.masslibproject.org

Location:

Oakland, CA

Formation:

2019

Type:

Criminal Justice Reform Group

Project of:

Tides Advocacy

Founder:

Alex Muhammad

The Mass Liberation Project is a far-left criminal justice advocacy organization formed in 2019 to advocate for “community liberation” for African-American families and other communities of color. [1] It is a project of Tides Advocacy, a 501(c)(4) fiscal sponsorship organization based in San Francisco that is associated with the Tides Nexus of liberal groups.

The Mass Liberation Project aims to abolish the current criminal legal system and supports groups that work toward the same goal. [2] The project advocates for the elimination of prisons and criminal punishment. [3] Outside of direct criminal justice reform, The Mass Liberation Project has claimed that African American communities need to be “liberated” from current American culture. [4]

Organizers

The Mass Liberation project organizes  people who have been directly involved in the legal system, including people who were formerly incarcerated, have a felony conviction, are on probation or parole, or are family members of those who have been incarcerated. The Mass Liberation Project provides left-of-center training, coaching, political education, organizing, electoral strategy, and a fellowship program for its members. [5]

The Mass Liberation Project claims that there is an issue with the “culture of punishment” and the criminal legal system in the United States and aims to influence public policy in support of left-wing ideals. The Project works with those who have been the subject of criminal prosecutions, training them to become organizers through the group’s fellowship program. [6]

Policy Issues

The Mass Liberation Project endorses left-leaning candidates running for local and state offices through its social media accounts. [7] [8] The Project supports the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and encourages its followers to participate in Black Lives Matter protests and vote for left-of-center candidates who support the movement. [9] [10]

Policing

The Mass Liberation Project supports left-wing criminal justice policies, including defunding the police. [11] The Project has also advocated for prison abolition, most recently collaborating with Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL) in an effort to close Chicago’s Cook County Jail. [12] [13]

The Mass Liberation Project has also worked to investigate current policing behaviors. The Project joined six other left-of-center advocacy groups, including Michigan Liberation, Color of Change, and the Advancement Project, to form a joint coalition[14] demanding an outside investigation into the Detroit Police Department Narcotics Unit assisted by Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy (D). [15]

Voting Access

Aside from direct advocacy for left-wing criminal justice reform, the Mass Liberation Project has focused on improving voting access for convicted felons. In 2020, the Project lobbied for Nevada AB431, a bill that reinstated voting privileges for previously incarcerated people. The Mass Liberation Project also worked to register formerly incarcerated people to vote in the 2020 elections. [16]

Homelessness

The Mass Liberation Project advocates for the legality of homeless encampments and has argued that the police should not be able to enforce trespassing laws against them. The group, along with the ACLU Arizona, the National Lawyers Guild, Poder in Action, Food Not Bombs, and the Poor People’s Campaign, issued a letter to the mayor of Phoenix and the city council urging the local government to decriminalize sleeping outside. [17]

Leadership

Alex Muhammad is the Political Training Director and one of three founding organizers of the Mass Liberation Project. [18] She was formerly a staff member of the People’s Lobby USA, a Chicago-based organizing group that supports policies and candidates who advocate for left-of-center racial and gender policies. [19]

Affiliates

The Mass Liberation Project has local affiliates that work toward the same goals

Mass Liberation Project – Arizona

Mass Liberation AZ was formed in 2018[20] in coordination with the national Mass Liberation Project, from which the Arizona-based group also received training. [21] This local group supports the idea that all prisons, detention centers, and jails should be abolished, and that the United States must defund the police . [22]

Mass Liberation Project – Nevada

Mass Liberation Project – Nevada is part of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada (PLAN) and is an affiliate of the national Mass Liberation Project. [23]

The group lobbies legislators for left-of-center changes to the criminal justice system[24] and raises money to bail charged offenders out of jail. [25] In May of 2020, hundreds of people protested on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement[26] on the Las Vegas Strip, over 80 of which were arrested and charged with failure to disperse. Mass Liberation Project – Nevada posted $1,000 bail for many of the protesters who were arrested and not released on their own recognizance. [27]

Financials

Mass Liberation Project received $8,600 from Vote Liberation in December 2019. [28] In June 2019, the group received $600,000 from the Open Philanthropy Project, a major left-leaning funder. [29]

References

  1. About Mass Liberation Project. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://www.masslibproject.org/about  ^
  2. Homepage. Mass Liberation Project. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://www.masslibproject.org/ ^
  3. Donate. Mass Liberation Project. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/the-mass-liberation-project-1# ^
  4. Mass Liberation Principles. Mass Liberation Project. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://www.masslibproject.org/principles ^
  5. About. Mass Liberation Project. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://www.masslibproject.org/about  ^
  6. Mass Liberation Principles. Mass Liberation Project. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://www.masslibproject.org/principles ^
  7. Twitter. Mass Liberation Project. Posts from July 28, August 2, and August 4, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://twitter.com/mass_liberation?lang=en ^
  8. Facebook. Mass Liberation Project. Posts from July 30, August 3, and August 4, 2020. Accessed October 15, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/MassLibProject/ ^
  9. Facebook. Mass Liberation Project. Post from August 26, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/MassLibProject/ ^
  10. Facebook. Mass Liberation Project. Post from August 3, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/MassLibProject/ ^
  11. Twitter. Mass Liberation Project. Post from August 19, 2020. Accessed October 15, 2020. https://twitter.com/mass_liberation ^
  12. Corrections – Home. Cook County Sherriff’s Office. Accessed October 15, 2020. https://www.cookcountysheriff.org/cook-county-department-of-corrections/#:~:text=The%20Cook%20County%20Department%20of%20Corrections%20(CCDOC)%2C%20expanding%20ninety,daily%20jail%20population%20averages%206%2C100. ^
  13. Facebook. Mass Liberation Project. Post from October 16, 2020. Accessed October 16, 2020. ^
  14. Parvez, Bisma. “Grassroots Groups Call for Investigation into Detroit Police Corruption Scandal.” Detroit Free Press. February 10, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2020/02/10/detroit-police-department-corruption-scandal/4618630002/ ^
  15. Kozlowski, Kim. “Craig Defends In-House Probe of Police Narcotics Unit.” The Detroit News. February 11, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2020/02/11/james-craig-defends-internal-probe-detroit-police-narcotics-unit/4727110002/ ^
  16. Schoenmann, Joe and Berns, Dave. “You Can’t Live There: A Long Struggle For Black Rights in Las Vegas.” KNPR – Nevada Public Radio. September 24, 2020. Accessed October 16, 2020. https://knpr.org/knpr/2020-08/you-cant-live-there-long-struggle-black-rights-las-vegas ^
  17. Swenson, Ali. “Phoenix’s Homeless Fight for New City Policy on Sleeping Outside, Per Ruling.” Phoenix New Times. January 8, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/news/homeless-sleeping-phoenix-9th-circuit-court-martin-boise-arrest-11422139 ^
  18. Webinar. “Voter Suppression Vs. Voter Participation.” Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training. October 14, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.tickettailor.com/events/crossroadsantiracismorganizingtraining/428958 ^
  19. Castle, Lauren. “Maricopa County Attorney Candidate Accused of Misconduct in Decade-Old Case.” AZ Central. June 30, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/06/30/maricopa-county-attorney-candidate-julie-gunnigle-misconduct-allegations-illinois/3254916001/ ^
  20. About Us – Who Is Mass Lib AZ. Mass Liberation Project AZ. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.masslibaz.org/who-is-mass-lib-az.html ^
  21. Castle, Lauren. “Maricopa County Attorney Candidate Accused of Misconduct in Decade-Old Case.” AZ Central. June 30, 2020. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/06/30/maricopa-county-attorney-candidate-julie-gunnigle-misconduct-allegations-illinois/3254916001/ ^
  22. About Us – Who Is Mass Lib AZ. Mass Liberation Project AZ. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.masslibaz.org/who-is-mass-lib-az.html ^
  23. Links. Mass Liberation Project – Nevada. Accessed October 16, 2020. https://www.massliberationnv.org/#links ^
  24. Rindels, Michelle. “Podcast: Mass Liberation Advocates and the State of Criminal Justice Reform in the Legislature.” The Nevada Independent. April 13, 2019. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/podcast-mass-liberation-advocates-and-the-state-of-criminal-justice-reform-in-the-legislature ^
  25. Lyle, Michael. “Lawmakers Passed Zero Bail Reforms. Now What?” Nevada Current. June 26, 2019. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2019/06/26/lawmakers-passed-zerobail-reforms-now-what/ ^
  26. Komenda, Ed. “LIVE: Las Vegas Police Reportedly Firing Nonlethal Rounds During George Floyd Protests.” Reno Gazette Journal. May 31, 2020. Accessed October 16, 2020. https://www.rgj.com/story/news/2020/05/31/las-vegas-protest-live-updates-vegas-strip-day-3-george-floyd-rallies/5303939002/ ^
  27. Lyle, Michael. “How Many Times Are We Going to Have to Say We Can’t Breathe?” Nevada Current. May 31, 2020. Accessed October 16, 2020. https://www.nevadacurrent.com/2020/05/31/how-many-times-are-we-going-to-have-to-say-we-cant-breathe/ ^
  28. Vender/Recipient Profile: Mass Liberation Project at Tides Advocacy. OpenSecrets.org. 2020 Cycle. Accessed October 24, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/campaign-expenditures/vendor?cycle=2020&vendor=Mass+Liberation+Project+At+Tides+Advocacy ^
  29. Mass Liberation Project – General Support 2019. Open Philanthropy Project. June 2019. Accessed October 13, 2020. https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/mass-liberation-project-general-support ^
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Mass Liberation Project


Oakland, CA