Tag Archives: Freedom School

The Kurdish Revolution in Kobane – Freedom School Class – Thursday, January 29

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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.

Freedom School Class Schedule for January – Je suis Charlie? – The Kurdish revolution in Kobane – Love and Rage Media

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

https://loveandragemedia.wordpress.com/category/front-page/

Support our First Annual Mohawk Valley Freedom Summer School!

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We are currently in the process of raising funds to launch a summer school program. This is something we have wanted to do for a couple of years but never had the funds to do it. If you can support us, please do! The money will be used for supplies, books, food, transportation costs, and stipends.

Visit our fund-raising site here:

http://www.gofundme.com/jzfjok

Oppression & Resistance, The Lead Catastrophe in Utica & A Lesson on Slavery – Freedom School Class – Thursday, January 8

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We will continue our discussion from our previous class on the lead catastrophe in Utica and what we can do about it. During our last class, MVCC student and Freedom School educator Lana Nitti taught a class which gave a deeper look into the lead catastrophe in our community, who it impacts, and why. We will continue to 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 will also discuss what actions and organizing can happen in order to address this catastrophe.

Since systems of oppression evolve over time and have remained integral to the smooth operation of this nation, we will also have a discussion on slavery led by high school student Diamond Hunt. We will look at the connections between forms of oppression, such as slavery throughout history, and the modern plight of poor and working class people as they are affected by lead poisoning. As always, we will ask what ordinary people can do, and what people have done, to end catastrophes.

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

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Anarchism Reading Group Meets! – Saturday, November 22

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Anarchism, Revolution & Political Theory Discussion and Reading Group
When: This Saturday, November 22 at 7:00pm
Where: Mohawk Valley Freedom School office – 500 Plant Street in Utica’s Oneida Square                                                     What: We will be discussing the first 30 pages of the book ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman

Why?: Several local activists are forming a new organization in town called Black Rose (Rosa Negra). They have decided to launch a discussion and reading group open to anyone interested which will be centered around the philosophy and theory of anarchism and revolution. Although anarchism and anarchy conjure images of chaos, violence and disorder in the minds of many people, the actual theory and practice of anarchism are the exact opposite. In its most basic form, anarchism is a framework that is critical of all forms of violence, coercion, hierarchy and oppression. As such, it is a rejection of both capitalism and the State. Anarchism envisions a society that is rooted in concepts of liberty, freedom, mutual aid, cooperation, decentralization and collectivism. A society whereby the people democratically control and self-manage society and the economy. There is a long history of anarchism and anarchist social movements in the US and around the world. Come join this reading group if you want to learn more about this philosophy or are interested in discussing political theory.

We will read the following text:

The ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman
– Published in 1929, this is considered a classic text that discusses what, exactly, anarchism is, its theory, history, and practice. Berkman was a well known revolutionary anarchist who was persecuted for his beliefs and activism and eventually deported to Russia by the US government. The book can be found here or picked up in person at the Freedom School: https://libcom.org/files/AlexanderBerkman-ABCofAnarchism.pdf

Freedom School Class – Thursday, November 20

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See you at the Freedom School today, Thursday, November 20, for a 6:30pm dinner and 7:00 class. We’ll be continuing the discussion on education, school, knowledge, philosophy, and power. We will also begin formulating our own plan and program to offer as an alternative to the education system (or what we would like to change about it). Students are encouraged to come a talk about different models of education to the table and what can learn from them. Bring yourself, bring a friend and bring some ideas for some great discussion!

Anarchism, Revolution & Political Theory Discussion and Reading Group

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Anarchism, Revolution & Political Theory Discussion and Reading Group
When:First meeting this Saturday, November 15 at 5:30pm
Where: Mohawk Valley Freedom School office – 500 Plant Street in Utica’s Oneida Square
We will order pizza! Feel free to bring other food to share with us!

Why?: Several local activists are forming a new organization in town called Black Rose (Rosa Negra). They have decided to launch a discussion and reading group open to anyone interested which will be centered around the philosophy and theory of anarchism and revolution. Although anarchism and anarchy conjure images of chaos, violence and disorder in the minds of many people, the actual theory and practice of anarchism are the exact opposite. In its most basic form, anarchism is a framework that is critical of all forms of violence, coercion, hierarchy and oppression. As such, it is a rejection of both capitalism and the State. Anarchism envisions a society that is rooted in concepts of liberty, freedom, mutual aid, cooperation, decentralization and collectivism. A society whereby the people democratically control and self-manage society and the economy. There is a long history of anarchism and anarchist social movements in the US and around the world. Come join this reading group if you want to learn more about this philosophy or are interested in discussing political theory. The readings will be passed out at the first meeting and we will decide which sections to read and how often we will like to meet.

We will read the following texts:

The ABC of Anarchism by Alexander Berkman
– Published in 1929, this is considered a classic text that discusses what, exactly, anarchism is, its theory, history, and practice. Berkman was a well known revolutionary anarchist who was persecuted for his beliefs and activism and eventually deported to Russia by the US government.

“The Tyranny of Structurelessness” by Jo Freeman
– This was a popular essay that emerged from the women’s liberation movement in the US in the 1970s. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in setting up organizations that have democratic structures. Freeman was active in the women’s liberation movement of that era.

Anarchism and the Black Revolution by Lorenzo Komboa Ervin
– Written by ex-Black Panther turned anarchist Lorenzo Komboa Ervin, this is a great writing that focuses on the fundamentals of class struggle anarchism and discusses the relevance of anarchism to the Black liberation movement.

“Revolutionary Ecology: Biocentrism & Deep Ecology” by Judi Bari
– A great essay on what deep ecology is and why struggle must also be centered around the environment. Bari was a member of Earth First! and  the Industrial Workers of the World who organized timber workers and environmentalists to save California’s old growth redwood forests.

Please email mvfreedomschool@gmail.com if you have any questions or are interested in joining this reading group.

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Field Trip to Hamilton College Slam Poetry Event – November 6

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The Freedom School class this week will travel to Hamilton College Thursday, November 6 to attend a slam poetry event. The event is dubbed Poetry in Power and three young poets will perform. Students are welcome to meet us at Cornerstone Community Church at 500 Plant Street at 6pm sharp so we can all travel to Hamilton College together. We will have a quick dinner at Tony’s Pizza in Clinton and head up the hill to Hamilton College. The event starts at 7pm and will be in the Event’s Barn on the Kirkland side of the campus. Feel free to meet us at the church so we can carpool over together, or meet us at the actual event.

The event is funded by the Kirkland Endowment in collaboration with ACS, BLSU, & Womyn’s Center 
 
Check out the Artists: 

Mohawk Valley Freedom School Ceremony and Celebration – Juneteenth – Thursday, June 19

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There will be a ceremony and celebration to mark the end of the class Social Movements, Social Change this Thursday, June 19 at the Freedom School. The ceremony will be held at 6:00pm followed by dinner. Certificates will be given out to students of the Freedom School. As always, there will be an opportunity for students to share poetry, spoken word, or any thoughts. The event is open to the public and family and friends are encouraged to come. This event also happens to be on Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day and Freedom Day, a holiday that marks the abolition of slavery in Texas and is celebrated nationally by those continuing the in the struggle and fight for freedom.

Please, come and celebrate this Juneteenth with us at the Freedom School

JOIN THE FIGHT FOR INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE ON TUESDAY, JUNE 17 BUS LEAVING UTICA AT 10 A.M.

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Our fight for higher wages is heating up!

A bus will be picking up local residents on Tuesday, June 17 at 10 a.m. to attend the Albany Rally to raise the minimum wage.  The bus will be stopping at the parking lot at the North Utica Shopping Center (50 Auert Ave, Utica, NY 13502, off Herkimer Road near Berkshire Bank).     There is no charge for the bus.  Lunch will be provided.  Please arrive 15 minutes earlier.

Cities across the country are taking action to raise wages for low-wage workers — with Seattle recently passing a $15/hour minimum wage. And now, thanks to the work of unions, community groups, faith leaders and the Working Families Party, the governor is standing with workers in support of a $10.10/hour statewide minimum wage in NY and the right for localities to raise the wage even higher.

Now is the time to RaiseUpNY! This is our moment — join us at the State Capitol on Tuesday, June 17 to pressure legislators to take action now!

http://nyworkersrising.org/events/]

Rally to RaiseUpNY!

When:  June 17,  Bus Leaves Utica at 10:00 a.m. at the North Utica Shopping Center Parking Lot (50 Auert Ave, Utica, NY 13502, off Herkimer Road, near Berkshire Bank.)  Please arrive 15 minutes earlier.    Bus will be coming back to Utica at about 6 p.m.  Transpiration is available to the North Utica Shopping Center.

Where: Capitol steps in Albany, NY.

What: Rally in  Albany in support of $10.10 minimum wage and the right for cities and counties to raise the wage even higher.

Call John Furman at 725-0974 or send an email to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com to make a reservation

Who:   Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc, Working Families Party

Click here to RSVP and we’ll send you more details. [insert link: http://nyworkersrising.org/events/]

The media will be covering the event, and a big crowd will help make sure we get the attention of the state senate to RaiseUpNY now.