Beautiful Revolutions:

TJC Members' Newsletter

Dear all, 

We’re excited to share this first members’ newsletter with you, our TJC community! Going forward, you will receive a newsletter each month, with updates on our work, reflections by different members, and important announcements. 

It is sometimes easy to get caught up in the tasks or projects that we’re each working on, and our relationship to TJC may feel like a series of meetings and to-do lists, where we lose sight of why we do what we do. This year, we’d love to be more intentional about taking the time to explore together why this work matters to us, what each of us cares about deeply, what our shared values, commitments and aspirations are, and how our day-to-day work within TJC is bringing us a little closer towards those futures – and we hope this  newsletter supports this intention by being a space where we can stay connected and share ideas across working groups, deepen our bonds with each other and dream up the futures we want to build together. 

At the same time, we recognise that we are still learning in many ways what it means to belong to and build this collective, support each other, and share collective ownership over this political home, so if you have ideas or feedback about this newsletter, please feel free to share them by writing to, or reaching out to any one of us in the Membership & Movement Building Working Group (Koki, Elijah, Jolovan, Rocky, Meida and Sachi). 

TJC will turn three later in October this year, and it’s been such a tremendous journey so far - rallying our communities to resist carceral oppression and simultaneously building gentler alternatives through our restorative and transformative justice experiments. There are many more exciting projects lined up this year,  and we are looking forward to the privilege of making even more beautiful trouble with all of you ;)

Here’s to a year of growing stronger, together. 

With love and solidarity,
On behalf of the Membership & Movement Building Working Group @ TJC 


Some announcements!

  1. This year, the Prison Life Working Group is expanding its focus to include policing, and has been renamed the Prison & Policing Working Group
  2. We are working towards starting a juvenile justice project this year (at the moment, this is independent of other working groups) - let us know if you’re interested in getting involved!
  3. We’re thrilled to share that TJC will organise its first abolitionist festival this June, and different working groups will be putting up events, performances, workshops, etc at the festival. We’re looking forward to seeing what each working group comes up with, and the magic of it all coming together 🙂

Remembering and recommitting: TJC movement principles

As TJC grows, both in size and ambition, it is critical for us to stay rooted in our movement principles, as well as our commitments as members. To that end, we wanted to dedicate this first issue of our newsletter to remembering and recommitting to the lifeblood that fuels our work:

TJC works in accordance with transformative justice principles, and we take evidence-based approaches to our work, with a focus on harm reduction

We start from the premise that the criminal punishment system and other carceral institutions and practices are not an effective way of reducing social harms or protecting the safety and well-being of the majority - the working class. 

What is considered a “crime” or “offence” is affected by assumptions, norms, and laws within society, which are fluid, and connected political and economic systems that serve a small minority of elites at the expense of the rest of us. 

We work to end cruel and unjust practices of carceral systems, including the death penalty, judicial caning and detention without trial. 

We strongly believe in focusing resources on imagining and building alternative ways of addressing harm that are rooted in dignity, agency, community care, healing and restoration.

We acknowledge that there is much more to learn about transformative justice and its applications in the Singapore context, hence we commit to an ongoing practice of learning, to experimenting, to documenting and sharing openly the knowledge, experience and skills we build as a collective, and to envisioning a kinder, fairer world for and with diverse communities.

We believe in liberation from all forms of oppression, and recognise that any analysis of carceral systems and their role in our society must be grounded in an understanding of how capitalist exploitation, authoritarian rule, anti-worker laws, racism, ableism, misogyny, xenophobia and other forms of oppression intersect to make some groups of people especially vulnerable to targeting by law enforcement and other forms of carceral practices (e.g. within schools, homes, etc). 

We recognise that as long as the structures that instill desperation are maintained, some people will be shaped by desperation, and that our social and economic conditions produce despair and the crimes that stem from it. 

We honour the experiences and perspectives of those who have been, and continue to be, directly affected by the violence of carceral  systems. We aim to centre their voices and create spaces for them to speak their truths and take collective action. 

We stand in solidarity with other individuals and groups working towards a more just, inclusive and compassionate society, in Singapore and around the world. This means that wherever possible, we will use our platforms, energies and resources in aid of other struggles for liberation.


Teach-ins and TJC membership commitments

This year, we would like to strengthen our capacity-building for members via regular teach-ins (once in two months), and we strongly believe this is a crucial part of becoming more effective as activists and organisers. Abolitionist thought and transformative justice practices are still relatively nascent in Singapore, and many of us have much to learn. The teach-ins serve as an important platform through which we offer and receive knowledge. Based on our experience with the teach-ins last year, the Membership & Movement Building (MMB) Working Group has decided to make teach-ins compulsory for all members in 2023

The teach-ins - which will take place in the afternoons, on the last Saturday of alternate months - are designed to build members’ organising skills and literacy in core concepts and ideologies. A lot of thought and effort by the MMB Working Group has gone into creating these resources for all of us, and as we go through this year’s curriculum, we welcome your feedback and ideas on what else you’d love to learn/teach/explore together. Going forward, teach-ins will take place over zoom, and members should either attend the session live, or, if you miss a particular session, catch up on the recording.

Do explore with your working group coordinators if you need any support with accommodations that would make the teach-ins more accessible to you, and if you can’t attend one or more sessions live, work out with them how and when you will catch up via recordings.

You can find the 2023 teach-in curriculum and schedule here. Do save the dates in your calendar, and add your names in the relevant column to confirm your live attendance. 

Apart from attending teach-ins, active TJC members* also have the following duties and powers
  1. Do your best to attend (and if possible, help out with) major TJC events, such as for World Day Against the Death Penalty, Hong Lim Park rallies, and the abolitionist festival. 
  2. Attend at least 75% of all working group meetings
  3. Attend at least 75% of meetings for sub-groups/projects you’re involved in 
  4. Have decision-making power (via consenting / objecting) in meetings you attend
  5. Have an active role in at least one project within your working group
  6. Take on the role of coordinator or secretary for your working group, via circle selection process 
  7. Take on the role of representing your ‘core’ working group (TJ practices, death penalty, drug policy, prisons and policing) in either the public engagement or MMB working groups, which are made up of members from the core working groups. 

*Note: if you are a supporting member, rather than an active member, do check with your coordinators what your roles and responsibilities are
Copyright © 2023 Transformative Justice Collective, All rights reserved.

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