This is a list of the Mohawk Valley Freedom School classes for this month. Dinner starts at 6:30pm every Thursday and classes usually run from 7:00 – 8:30pm. The Freedom School is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornestone Community Church.
Thursday, January 15
Je Suis Charlie?
The recent attacks in France have led too much commentary and massive public support and empathy for those who were killed at the French publication Charlie Hebdo. The mainstream media is saturated with news stories about Islamic extremism and terrorism and push the dangerous narrative of “us versus them” and the “clash of civilizations.” We will discuss the events that led up to the attacks, media coverage of it and ask the difficult questions surrounding war, terrorism, racism, Islamophobia and imperialist aggression. We will also look into the history of colonialism in Algeria, free speech in France, and secularism in France.
Thursday, January 22
The Kurdish Revolution in Kobane
Derek Scarlino and Brendan Dunn will give a talk and lead a discussion about the events in the fight against ISIS in Kobane, Syria, and the Kurdish social revolution. The Kurds are a people who have for years been denied a nation to call their own and have been occupied by the Ottomans, British, Americans, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. While Syria has been ripped apart by a tragic civil war since 2011, a number of Kurdish towns in the Northern part of Syria carved out their own autonomous cantons where they have created a social revolution rooted in concepts of feminism, mutual aid, cooperation and participatory democracy. It is here where women have taken the lead in the fight against ISIS and have successfully beat them back. It is here where the PKK, the anarchist Kurdish Workers’ Party, has carved out an alternative to the systems envisioned by Islamic fundamentalists, authoritarian states and the Capitalist West. It is a system that many would call anarchist in nature and in practice. There will be an open discussion in class about what we can learn from the Kurdish revolution.
Thursday, January 29
Love and Rage! – A New Media Collective
Love and Rage is a new independent, alternative media collective in Utica that was just launched as an alternative to the mainstream media that already exists. Members of Love and Rage will be present to have a discussion about who they are, what they do, and how you can get involved. They will also lead a discussion on critically analyzing local and corporate media, creating narratives, and doing “guerrilla and citizen reporting.”
This is a statement from the Love and Rage “About” section on the group’s new website:
The aims of Love and Rage are simple. We are a collective which wants to provide our diverse, multiethnic hometown with a source for alternative news and information.
It has come to pass that the past few years have seen dramatic shifts in all currents of American and global society. From the social to the economic to the political. We are activists, writers, students, teachers and organizers who have come together to use our talents to tie the strings together.
If you’re looking for fair and balanced, keep searching. There’s no such thing. What there are plenty of, however, are facts. We’ll do our best to present those.
What there’s also a lot of are analyses to news and information that local for-profit media are not equipped to engage in. We don’t want to skim the surface. We want to dig in and present insight, from the bottom-up.
We declare that news through our lens is through that of anarchism, of feminism, of anti-fascism. We are critics of capitalism, imperialism and racism. These are some themes that will be prevalent with us.
“You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” – Howard Zinn