Tag Archives: Mohawk Valley Freedom School

A Place Called Chiapas – Film Screening at the Freedom School – April15

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During the last Freedom School class there was a lively discussion about the indigenous Mayan Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas, Mexico. The originally scheduled event for class this Wednesday is rescheduled until May. Instead, we will watch the film “A Place Called Chiapas.” The film will be screened at 7:00pm on Wednesday, April 15 at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School. The school is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica. Dinner will be served at 6:30pm.

The documentary film was released in 1998. It captures the rise of what the The New York Times called “the world’s first post-modern revolution” in Chiapas. The revolution was launched the same day NAFTA was put into effect on January 1, 1994. The revolutionaries called themselves Zapatistas in honor of the Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata, a hero of Mexico’s 1910 revolution. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional, EZLN) was organized to spur the revolution forward. Since then the Zapatistas have carved out their own society autonomous from the Mexican state that is based off of principles of collectivism, mutual aid and popular power.

Come join us for a great film and an interesting discussion. As always, we will ask ourselves how this struggle is relevant to us and what we can learn from it.

Freedom School Announces Classes on The Civil Rights Movement

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The Mohawk Valley Freedom School will have three classes on the Black Freedom (Civil Rights) Movement this month. Local activist and Freedom School educator Alicia McWilliams will teach the classes. The first class on March 11th at 7:00pm will give an introduction to the Black Freedom Movement. Class will start with a screening of part of the powerful documentary on the subject Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965.  This will lead into a discussion that compares the Civil Rights Movement with various social movements today. The second class on March 18th will continue this discussion. Students will be encouraged to do their own research before coming to class and present their findings on the Black Freedom struggle to the class at large. The next class on March 25th will go over the history of the FBI’s counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) which was created to destroy the Black Freedom, Black Power and New Left movements of the 1950s-1970s. As always, this history and these movements will be brought to the present as we ask the questions: how is this relevant to us today, how can we learn from this, and how do we move forward?

Alicia McWilliams is a dedicated activist and organizer who has been active in New York City, Utica and across the state and country. She has been very active in fighting for civil liberties, defending the Newburgh 4 and others unjustly targeted by the War on Terror, ending mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow, and with the Mohawk Valley Freedom School.

The Mohawk Valley Freedom School is located at Cornerstone Community Church, 500 Plant Street in Utica. Classes are from 7:00-8:30pm with a free dinner at 6:30pm. Please contact 732-2382 or mvfreedomschool@gmail.com. This class is free and open to the public and to people of all ages and backgrounds.

Fredom School Class Postponed Until Next Week!

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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.

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

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/

Freedom School Organizational Meeting – Wednesday, January 14

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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!

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 Organizational Meeting, Saturday, November 22

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There will be a general organizational meeting this Saturday, November 22 at 2:00pm for anyone interested in helping make the Freedom School grow. We will discuss future classes and courses, summer school, fundraising, structure, outreach and many other exciting topics. If you want to help shape the Freedom School and expanding various programs, this is the meeting for you. It will be held in the Freedom School office at 500 Plant Street in Utica. Please call 315 732-2382 if you have any questions. See you there!

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!