MAY DAY Free University 2014

free u

MAY DAY (Thursday, May 1) 2014 is just around the corner, and Free University is planning to host another collective experiment in free, radical education in Madison Square Park, NYC and at SUNY Stony Brook. We invite you to teach a class, lead a workshop, facilitate a discussion, or conduct a performance at the Free University, where everyone is a teacher and a student. If you teach a class on May 1st, please consider moving it to one of these free universities.

May Day Free University in Madison Square Park, NYC
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May Day Free University at SUNY Stony Brook
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We invite you to create a poster or meme of your vision for FREE EDUCATION. We will share these widely online with your attribution, and do a small poster print run for May Day. Send your work to


The Free University of New York City is an experiment in radical community education and an attempt to create education as it ought to be, building on the historic tradition of movement freedom schools. First conceived as a form of educational strike in the run up to May Day, 2012, Free University has subsequently organized numerous days of free crowd-sourced education in parks, public spaces, museums, and subway stations in New York City. Together we will once again create a place where everyone interested in or affiliated with grassroots activism in NYC can come together, learn about each others’ initiatives, and share old wisdom and new developments in radical politics.


Past May Day Free University coverage:

Free U mtg – March 22 @2pm | Subway Salon #3 – March 23 @2pm

Free University coordination mtg
Saturday, March 22, 2pm-4pm
The Bean
54 Second Ave

Help create Subway Salons, Pirate Museum Tours, and our 3rd annual May Day Free University. New and continuing Free U family and friends welcome.


Free University Subway Salon #3

Sunday, March 23, 2pm-4pm
West 4th Station, B/D/F/M downtown platform

- How Can We Free Transportation?
- How Can Subways Stations Become Places for Community Education and Power?
- What Would Your Ideal Transit System Look Like?
- What Would a Fare Hike Mean for You?
- How Can we Support Transit Workers?

Come to a public outreach/dialogue on changing access to social resources such as transportation, as we prepare for our 3rd annual May Day Free University. We’ll build up on the input we received from subway riders in the past two Subway Salons.

We look forward to hybrid participation – including people who come to stay, and riders on their way somewhere. We will alternate between discussion, public writing (big and visible), and public drawing (big and visible). Guest speakers will join us throughout the salon.
What we would love your help with:
• Spread the word
• Bring posterboard, cardboard, and markers
• Participate

Contact for more details.

3/9 Subway Salon + 3/16 Pirate Museum Tour

Save the dates and spread the word! Free University’s next two events:

Sunday, March 9, 2pm-4pm

West 4th Street Subway Station, middle level between A/C/E and B/D/F/M train platforms
RSVP/share here
topic: “How can we free transportation?”
We look forward to hybrid participation – including people who come to stay, and riders on their way somewhere. We will alternate between discussion, public writing (big and visible), and public drawing (big and visible).

PIRATE MUSEUM TOUR of the Lorraine Hansberry “Twice Militant” exhibit
Sunday, March 16, 2pm-4pm

Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway (2/3 train)
RSVP/share here
Come explore the letters and archives of Lorraine Hansberry–Black radical playwright of A Raisin in the Sun–to the lesbian periodical The Ladder. We’ll tour the exhibit on its closing day, and then hold an on-site dialogue at the museum.
More info on the exhibit can be found here and here.

Contact to get involved.

Sun 2/23 SUBWAY SALON event + Sat 2/15 mtg notes

Join Free University as we create more meaningful direct contact around the city, starting with our first-ever SUBWAY SALON this Sunday, 2/23, 2-4pm.

Brief notes from our Saturday 2/15 mtg:

-G. from The People’s Record shared info on an upcoming project–”The People’s Manual”–with which Free U can collaborate by crowd-sourcing content. Manual editions will explore housing justice, education, militarization, policing, border imperialism, etc. More details as they develop…

-E. and S. are spear-heading our first “Subway Salon” this Sunday 2/23. This will be a “test run” for future subway salons on a range of themes. Please come out to support it!

-L. is spear-heading Free U “Pirate Museum Tours,” where we invite people/neighborhood groups to engage with NYC museums in pop-up radical education contexts. More details/initial proposals forthcoming.

We aim to focus on these projects throughout the Spring as we build an “Our Right to the City” theme and network of participants for the May Day Free University at Madison Square Park.

Upcoming dates to save:
- Sunday, 2/23, 2-4pm – First-ever Free U “subway salon,” West 4th station middle level
- Saturday, 3/1, 2-4pm – Free U coordination mtg, location TBA
- Sunday, 3/9, 2-4pm – Second Free U “subway salon,” West 4th station middle level (unless otherwise announced)

Sat 2/15 Free U mtg to spring forward

Heads-up! Free University is holding our next mtg tomorrow (Sat), Feb 15, 2pm-4pm, at 16 Beaver St, 4th floor, lower Manhattan. All welcome.

Please see the notes below from last weekend’s potluck/visioning session so we can jump into motion tomorrow.

Notes from our Sun, Feb 9, Open House people’s potluck

Big gratitude for those who gathered today to share community and bright ideas. Our next Free University session will be Saturday, 2/15, @2pm (location to be determined). Please mark yr calendars.

Here are notes from today’s potluck + visioning session…

*lessons from our past work:
- make events/mtgs scheduling consistent
- create within our capacity
- playfulness is powerful!
- food/drinks are key organizing tools
- include short readings with event themes
- video-document for wider event lasting power

*winter Free U public spaces to consider:
- subway stations
- atriums
- museums

*event ideas:
- “subway station salons” – hold a “pop-up” dialogue in a station to engage with a wide array of New Yorkers on social issues. make it a performative, fun, short burst of political contact to spread the word about Free U. Goal: try hosting one at the end of February on “Our Right to the City”!
- museum tours – similar aim to transform a space with community dialogue (ex: Brooklyn Museum 1st Saturday).
- film screenings
- more “counter-classes”
- “Free coffee with Free University” tabling in public spaces – small-scale personable outreach
- good ol’ fashioned flash mobs!

*themes/potential collaborators:
- de Blasio’s election – what does it mean for building NYC power from below?
- learning about international movements (Brazil’s and Sweden’s mass fare-hopping actions
- people of color-led race, gender, and LGBTQI justice (Dream Defenders, Safe Outside the System)
- environmental justice – anti-fracking, XL pipeline, TPP (
- surveillance then and now – on COINTELPRO and PRISM
- linking east/west coast education & anti-militarization struggles (No 2 Napolitano @UC, Save City College of SF, anti-ROTC town halls)
- Our Right to the City – demanding universal school lunch, pre-K, affordable housing, food, open hospitals, transportation, etc.

Sun, Feb 9, @11am: Free University *Open House* people’s potluck!

Free University *Open House* people’s potluck
Sunday, February 9
@Ya Ya Network Space
224 West 29th Street, 14th Floor
Manhattan, NYC


Calling all visionary students, rowdy teachers, rooted community members, lucid laborers, given and chosen families, wise elders, study/action circles, underground archivists, street griots, subway scholars, warrior poets, social reproducers, rank and file agitators, Dreamers, doers, documentarians, artists, scientists, lovers, healers, copwatchers, muralists, pluralists, and all others who wish to GET FREE TOGETHER…

Free University-NYC welcomes you to an *OPEN HOUSE* people’s potluck on Sunday, February 9, to explore education & action project ideas for 2014 and beyond. Bring friends, food, and fellowship.

For more info, contact

Fri 11/15 Free U co-sponsored event, CUNY movement update

“Take Back CUNY!”
Friday, November 15th, 4pm-7pm
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue at 34th St.
Room C201/C202 (basement level)


Join CUNY students, faculty, staff, and community in a strategic dialogue and action plan to resist:
- militarization of CUNY with Petraeus, ROTC, research, and recruitment
- theft of student and community spaces like the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Center
- repression of activism and dissent through the CUNY Board of Trustees “Policy on Expressive Activity” and arrests/suspensions/jail-time of CUNY student organizers
- turning colleges into corporations
- labor exploitation

Confirmed speakers: Sharmin Hossain (Ya-Ya Network), Luis Henriquez (Revolutionary Students Coordinating Committee), Glenn Petersen (Professional Staff Congress – Baruch College), Renate Bridenthal (Professional Staff Congress – International Committee)
Co-sponsors: CUNY Adjunct Project, Free University of NYC, New York Students Rising, PSC-CUNY International Committee, CCNY Students for Educational Rights, Revolutionary Students Coordinating Committee, and the Ya-Ya Network.

Please read this critical update on two suspended City College students, Khalil Vasquez and Tafadar “Taffy”  Sourov, who are now facing jail time and criminal charges. Emergency court support this Tuesday, 9am.

Monday, November 25: ALL-OUT NYC mobilization
“Crash the CUNY Trustees Wedding”


Mon, 9/30, 6pm – Free University “Counter-Class”: Connections between Petraeus & Pathways

Free University “Counter-Class”:
Connections between Petraeus and Pathways

Monday, September 30, 6pm
Baruch College, outside Vertical Campus building
East 25th street between Lexington and 3rd ave
(trains: 6 to 23rd st, N/R to 23rd st)

Join the Free University for the **second** in a biweekly series of “Counter-Classes” to immediately follow General David Petraeus’s course, “Are We on the Threshold of the North American Decade?” We intend to counter his course with critical education of our own.

On Monday, September 30, we will have a 6pm counter-class outside Baruch College’s Vertical Campus building, after the CUNY Board of Trustees meeting. Our dialogue will explore the connections between the decision-making process and politics of hiring David Petraeus, the implementation of CUNY Pathways, and the administration’s disregard for student and faculty input in these and many other university decisions. We invite students, faculty, and staff to strategically unite and make our voices heard.

Preceding our event will be a Professional Staff Congress-led demonstration, 3:30pm-5:30pm outside Baruch College’s Vertical Campus, to protest the Board of Trustees meeting.


Stay connected:

Free University “Counter-Classes” begin this Monday 9/16!

Free University “Counter-Class”
Monday, September 16, 6-8pm
67th Street and Central Park West entrance to Sheep Meadow
(trains: B/C to 72nd St, 1 to 66th St-Lincoln Center)

We look forward to joining you this Monday, September 16, to kick off our “Counter-Classes” series this semester. We will host a 6pm dialogue on the conflict in Syria, shifting plans for imperialist interventions, and how we can oppose U.S. empire abroad and the militarization of our schools at home. Anthony Alessandrini (Kingsborough Community College) and Rayya El Zein (City College of New York/CUNY Graduate Center) will offer opening remarks. The discussion will link thematic political education with strategies to connect, collaborate, and create ideas for future “counter-classes.” Because it may rain earlier in the day, bring a plastic bag or tarp to sit on the grass. Please spread the word with friends, classmates, colleagues, and comrades.