Tag Archives: Freedm School




Scholar, activist and socialist Joseph Schwartz will speak at Hamilton College this Wednesday, March 3 at 7:00pm on the subject of mass incarceration. Schwartz is Professor of Political Science at Temple University where he teaches political theory and American politics. He has been active in the fight for affordable urban housing. He is the author of The Permanence of the Political and The Future of Democratic Equality. Schwartz also serves as a National Vice-Chair of Democratic Socialists of America. He will give a talk on mass incarceration in the U.S. and will give attention to the plight of people of color and undocumented immigrants. While many activists and critics point out the brutality of the racialized system of mass incarceration in the US, few provide alternatives to this major problem. Schwartz will address this in his talk as he offers an alternative vision to combat the New Jim Crow. That vision is socialism for the 21st century.

The event is being organized by the Hamilton Democratic Socialists, a student group at Hamilton College. The Mohawk Valley Freedom School will provide transportation to the event from Utica. Cars will promptly leave Cornerstone Community Church at 500 Plant Street at 6:30pm. The event will take place at Hamilton College in Kirner Johnson 102.


Fredom School Class Postponed Until Next Week!



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.

Class is from 7:00 – 8:30pm. Free dinner will be served at 6:30pm.

Freedom School Organizational Meeting – Wednesday, January 14



There will be a Freedom School organizational meeting Wednesday, January 14 at 7:00pm at the Freedom School office. It should be a rather quick meeting but please come with your ideas. We will be talking about planning for the summer school among other things. If you want to get more involved with running the Freedom School, this is your chance! See you there!

The Lead Catastrophe in Utica – Freedom School Class – Thursday, December 18



There is a major public health problem locally that few are talking about. Utica is the epicenter for instances of lead poisoning and the piloting of lead prevention programs in New York State. Join MVCC student and researcher Lana Nitti as she leads the Mohawk Valley Freedom School in a discussion to take a deeper look into the lead catastrophe in our community, who it impacts, and why. We will examine this important issue through a social, economic, and scientific lens to ensure that we have the necessary knowledge to make positive changes in our community. We welcome you to become a citizen scientist!

Class will begin at 7:00 and dinner will be served at 6:30.


Feminism! – Freedom School Class – Thursday, December 4



There are multiple misconceptions around the term feminism. What is it? What are the roots of feminist thought and action? What does it mean to us and for us? Come to the Freedom School to have a discussion about feminism. We will examine and debunk both historical and contemporary myths about feminism. We will also analyze the relationship between feminism, race and class. As always, we will discuss how this is relevant to us and to our community and what we can learn from it. The class will be taught by Kimberly Williams who is the associate director of the Days-Massolo Center at Hamilton College. She has a background in academia in a wide variety of issues including feminism, poetry, science fiction, race, class, gender, and trauma. She also has a background in social justice activism. She is the founder of an international women’s organization, was active as a student in Ithaca and continues her work around multiple issues of social justice at the Days-Massolo Center.

As always, dinner will be at 6:30pm and will be cooked by our wonderful student-teacher-chef Alicia. Class will start at 7:00 and continue to 8:30.

Freedom School Class – Thursday, November 13 – Education, School, Knowledge & Power



We will continue the discussion we started over a week ago on the philosophy of education for this class. What is education? What is school/schooling? Are these terms in opposition to each other or do they compliment each other? We will look at different perspectives on knowledge, education, school and learning and have an open dialogue about this. We will also look at the debates surrounding public schools, charter schools and various alternative approaches to school and learning. In addition, we will look at the unique experiment in “popular education” led by the Sandinistas in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Bring yourself, bring a friend, bring a family member and bring some ideas for this exciting class! As always, dinner will be served at 6:30pm and class will be from 7:00-8:30.

Freedom School is Back in Session! – Thursday, October 30 at 7pm



Freedom School is back in session! Come to our first class this Thursday, October 30 at 7:00pm. A free dinner will be served at 6:30pm. We are located at Cornerstone Community Church (500 Plant Street in Utica). The topic for the evening will be “Changing the Education Paradigm” where we will discuss the philosophy of Freedom Schools, education and schooling. We will have a discussion centered around the function of schools in modern society. Are they places that encourage students to question authority? Are they places that encourage regimentation and obedience? Come join us for the first of many exciting classes and discussions. We will meet Thursday every week. Same time, same place.  This is open to people of all ages, backgrounds and “education” levels. See you there!

If you have any questions, please call us at 732-2382 or email us at freedomschoolmv@gmail.com.

Until the Rulers Obey: Voices From Latin American Social Movements – October 3



Until the Rulers Obey: Voices from Latin American Social Movements

A book talk by editors Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein of the new book Until the Rulers Obey.

Where: Mohawk Valley Freedom School (500 Plant Street in Utica at Cornerstone Community Church)
When: Friday. October 3 at 7:00pm

Sponsored by the Mohawk Valley Freedom School, CNY Citizen Action, and others.

Ross and Rein will give an overview of social movements in Latin America – what they are, their history and current struggles – and dialogue with the audience on the lessons these movements have to offer to people here in the U.S. engaged in working for a better world.

Here is a bit of information about the book itself:

Until the Rulers Obey: Voices From Latin American Social Movements includes interviews with more than 70 organizers, activists and scholars from 15 countries, Mexico to Argentina. The movements they’re part of helped bring new governments to power after decades of austerity and dictatorship. They’ve mobilized on a broad range of issues, fighting against mines and agribusiness and for housing and land; for rights as women, workers, LGBT and indigenous people; for the survival of their communities and our planet. Their organizing runs the gamut of nonviolent social change strategies, from land occupation to electoral participation to creating alternative communities.

Avi Lewis and Naomi Klein say, “This is the book we’ve been waiting for. Anyone interested in the explosion of social movements in Latin America—and the complex interplay between those forces and the ‘Pink Tide’ governments—should inhale this book immediately.”

Until the Rulers Obey is a profoundly necessary book. Little has been published about Latin America in the way of an overview from 1989 to the present, even less in the voices of the protagonists themselves. The great experiments of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s failed, but new and in many cases less dogmatic approaches to social justice have taken root in a number of countries south of the border. This book explores those efforts, often in the words of the change-makers themselves. Clifton Ross and Marcy Rein have done us a great service. Read this book for access to what the U.S. corporate media still doesn’t want us to know.”
—Margaret Randall, author of Sandino’s Daughters Revisited, When I Look Into the Mirror and See You, and Che on My Mind
For more information, please call 732-2382 or email maslauskas84@gmail.com

Thursday, March 13 Class: The Unsung Heroes of the Black Freedom Movement



Come to the second class session for the program “Social Movements, Social Change.” The class starts at 7:00 and for those who want dinner, please come at 6:30. We had an exciting, thought-provoking discussion during the first class on Freedom Schools, Paulo Freire, and popular education.

At the end of class last week we agreed to continue our discussion about Freedom Schools, old and new. We will also open up a discussion about leadership, grassroots (horizontal) organizing and the “unsung heroes” of the Black Freedom (Civil Rights) Movement. We will look at people such as Ella Baker and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as well as Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. What can we learn from these individuals, organizations, and ideas? Come to this class to find out.