Schedule/infopack for *Horizontal Art and Action* / *Arte y acción horizontales* Free University

*Horizontal Art and Action* Free University / *Arte y acción horizontales* Free University
Saturday, October 11, 11:30am-4pm
Pedro Albizu Campos Plaza
East 13th St & East 14th St between Avenues B & C
East Village, Manhattan

Download complete schedule/infopack.

20 fantastic workshops scheduled for this Saturday! In case of rain, we will relocate to Campos Plaza Gym, right next door. Full schedule with course descriptions below:

11:30am – Welcome, Opening Remarks, Statement of Intentions

Ongoing: Portable Writing Center

– Visualizing Solidarity from Ferguson to Gaza to Hong Kong
– Organización y reproducción de la cultura (arte) como una forma de resistencia dentro de las comunidades indígenas migrantes en Nueva York.
– Songlines
– Anti-Gentrification Rap

– carving/sculpturing
– Exploring the Gentrification (k)NOT
– Open Source Public Space: Creating and Reclaiming
– Performative Documentary for Youth Organizing

– Free Money Movement
– I Hear You
– Drawing Towards Cairo
– Visualizing Our Network: Radical Spaces for Building Counter-Power

– B to C: Before Campos – Walking Tour
– “Acting”
– Empowering community and everyday through art practice
– Would You Like A Letter For A Rainy Day?
– Action Art and Intervention Behind the Iron Curtain


Susan Naomi Bernstein
“Portable Writing Center”

To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads.
*Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza

In the middle second decade of the 21st century, we struggle with a critical contradiction in making art. We feel still desire to create with/for the deep collectivity of community. Yet in our current context— in which Supreme Court law defines corporations as people—we experience the disappearance of all that sustained us in the past: time to create, funding, public space.
We can mourn these losses—and we can assess these new realities as the late Chicana poet Gloria Anzaldúa suggests: As “borderlands,” liminal, transitional, transformative spaces. As we become “crossroads” ourselves, we can begin to imagine a world free of constraint for making art, for creating new possibilities from the lessons of the old—and moving forward to a world “sin fronteras,” without borders.

As we write, let us move forward. Consider these questions: What hope might we find from memories of vanished spaces? How might these memories move as toward the future? What opportunities do the crossroads offer us? What possibilities might we imagine? What if time, money, and space were not obstacles, but instead points of resistance—places of struggle and resilience? What steps might we take? How can we involve the collectivity of our communities—youth, elders, those in the middle, those in the margins— in our yearnings for the future? Write with the prompt above—and/or create your own questions for writing. Begin in an appropriate moment—begin now—in peace, compassion, and love.

*Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004), “chicana dyke-feminist, tejana patlache poet, writer, and cultural theorist,” grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, at the border of Texas and Mexico. Grappling with the material realities of this site, Anzaldúa worked all her life to create art in the multiple languages and contradictions of Borderlands struggle and resistance. (“Gloria Anzaldúa: Voices from the Gap.” 3 December 2012. Web. 6 October 2014.)


NYC Solidarity with Palestine / Direct Action Front for Palestine
“Visualizing Solidarity from Ferguson to Gaza to Hong Kong”
This presentation and dialogue will work through visualizing solidarity by looking at the connections–and the practice of connecting struggles for liberation–from Ferguson to Gaza to Hong Kong, while weaving climate justice and colonization into these examples.

Cinthya Santos-Briones
“Organización y reproducción de la cultura (arte) como una forma de resistencia dentro de las comunidades indígenas migrantes en Nueva York”
Dialogo a través del “periodismo antropológico” y la fotografía documental para conocer y entender la organización y la reproducción de la cultura como una manera de resistencia identitaria, a través de la música tradicional y, celebraciones como el carnaval dentro las comunidades indígenas migrantes -otomíes, nahuas y tepehuas- en Nueva York.

Dialogue through “anthropological journalism” and documentary photography in order to learn and understand the organization and reproduction of culture as a means of identity and resistance through the performance of traditional music and celebrations like the carnival and other fiestas among indigenous migrants communities–otomíes, nahuas and tepehuas–in New York.

Elizabeth Adams & Vita Wallace
Over the past four years we have helped over 60 neighbors write songs about their blocks, documenting, archiving, and singing the results on singing walks. We will be available to help you write a song about your block, and also to sing and share some of the existing 60.

Sean P O’Connell
“Anti-Gentrification Rap”
Rap performance about gentrification in Rockaway Queens


seun adewale adelowo

Judith Lombardi
“Exploring the Gentrification (k)NOT”
The Gentrification (k)NOT Movie is a consequence of the Gentrification (k)NOT Project. The Gentrification (k)NOT Movie clarifies the meaning of the term gentrification, explores its dynamics as elements of a system that displaces people from their communities. It also examines what (we) might do to prevent gentrification from happening during the revitalization of an urban neighborhood.

Matej Vakula
“Open Source Public Space: Creating and Reclaiming”
In this workshop about producing and reclaiming public space, participants will create user manuals on how to produce public space.

Amy Morto
“Performative Documentary for Youth Organizing”
Last summer I worked at a Christian youth camp and conference center producing a kid-powered performative documentary–that is to say, eight campers volunteered to carry small cameras with them throughout their week at camp and film whatever they thought was important. I compiled their footage and contextualized selections with interviews I took with other campers, counselors, and administrative staff. For this activity, I will show a bit of the final product (given audio/visual media equipment or just my laptop if the group is small enough and the space allows.) I can also talk through the point of performative documentary as it relates to participatory action research and horizontal education, and engage participants in a discussion on how, when, and where to implement these strategies.


Art Workers of Color
Uncovering histories. Amplifying voices. An informal discussion with Art Workers of Color Initiative on race, class, and gender in art institutions. In this discussion we will look closely at various documents of protest by artist of color from 1960s to the present. Afterwards, artist Kenneth Pietrobono will discuss his artwork as it relate to class, race, and gender.

Jim Costanzo
“Free Money Movement”
The Aaron Burr Society launched the Free Money Movement on April Fool’s Day 2009. We distributed 100 $1 bills on Wall Street stamped with Free Money on one side with Slave of New York on the other. The Federal Reserve Bank was authorized to bailout Wall Street Banks with tax dollars from the 1% that was given as Free Money after the 2008 crash. This resulted in people losing their jobs and homes because of government deregulation and the subsequent corporate fraud. In 2013 the Society added another stamp: Common Good/Commonwealth. We now have two choices: either we have Free Money for the Common Good of the 99% paid for by the nation’s Commonwealth; or we can continue to be Slaves of Wall Street with unending bailouts for the 1%. Today the Common Good would include environmental sustainability based on economic and social justice.

Ari Marcantonio and Jaime Knight
“I Hear You”
Our interest lies in the potential to found paths to community and collaboration through an examination of individualism and the competitive nature of market capitalism. How difference (in upbringing, race, sexuality, language, class, gender, politics, etc…) allows us to be in solidarity or not, and how an exploration of difference may produce mutually supportive structures invested in the heterogeneity of a diverse world. We will organize a participatory performance that examines communication across difference. Using the simple technology of a cup phone, we create a metaphor that depicts the direct lines of communication that connect individuals while highlighting the difficulty of navigating those lines. Before making the first contributions ourselves, we will ask participants to share ways in which their identity has brought them closer to or separated them from those around them, how it has aided or impaired their ability to relate to and communicate with others.

Two groups will form at either end separated by a distance that requires communication through the phone. Individual participants will speak into the phone to give some account or anecdote, or to communicate a feeling about how their identity and subjectivity affect their ability to communicate with others. Their counterpart at the other end will then attempt to relate what was said to their own group. In this way, the action parallels the content of the dialogue as the participants, in order to communicate what their counterparts have said, must filter the speech through their own subjectivity. The action will proceed naturally as participants who are satisfied with their contributions pass the cup along giving others an opportunity to share. The resulting image not only depicts the difficulty of relating across lines of difference but actualizes the commitment necessary to make one another feel heard by a heterogeneous group of others.

Alexandra Zevin
“Drawing Towards Cairo”
We need to communicate directly with our neighbors, free from the intervention of governments, corporations, and other large organizations. Participants in this workshop will be introduced to “But a Shadow of Myself”, an intercultural project in which artists from New York and Cairo use silhouettes to explore themes of identity and collaboration. Participants will get the chance to draw and write in response to art by Cairo participants, and make a collaborative drawing. The workshop will end with a discussion of ways to participate further, including exhibiting artwork in Cairo, drawing collaboratively with Egyptian artists, and videoconferencing with Egyptian artists.

Raquel de Anda
“Visualizing Our Network – Radical Spaces For Building Counter-Power”
Where do artists and activists gather? How do we support infrastructures that generates social change? Is physical space needed to support practices that push forth a new social structure? This meeting of minds will discuss the importance of alternative artist and activist led spaces. Through discussion and play we’ll work together to visualize our network and come up with ways of keeping it alive. Information from this workshop will inform a online map of the spaces where artists and activists gather to support each others practice, and is part of a larger project of making our network visible.


Thea Martinez
“B to C: Before Campos”
A one-hour walking tour of the streets surrounding Campos Plaza Community Center, highlighting the history of the Latin@ activists who fought to build Campos Plaza and other affordable housing in the area.

Michelle Obando
Abramovićian Burden performance, perhaps.

Jon Irigoyen
“Empowering community and everyday through art practice”
I am an artist from Barcelona living in Helsinki making my PhD about art, community and public space. I will discuss different tools and projects that I have develop in Finland, Spain, and Peru, which could be used to empower the community and the perception of the people about the problems we face everyday in relation to public space, inequality, and gentrification.

Sebastian Milla
“Would You Like A Letter For A Rainy Day?”
Quick! You are having a very extra-ordinary bad day. Everything is going wrong and even the things that went right…kind of sucked.
Do you:
A. Take it out on your spouse.
B. Drive recklessly on the freeway.
C. Vote republican.
Would You Like A Letter For A Rainy Day? (WYLALFARD?) is a community art project that enlists perfect, superhuman strangers to assemble modest, yet potent arts toolkits, place them in an envelopes made from recycled paper, attach that envelope to a biodegradable balloon, and send said toolkit off into the New York sky for another lovely stranger to find, reflect on, and create from. Labelled only “open in case of rain”, these mobile, serendipitous toolkits serve as a reminder to their finders. We all share rainy days, and what better way to deal with stress, anxiety, pain, and the damn blues than a gift from someone who has felt the same, made you something, and asked you to join in?

Carol Schaeffer
“Action Art and Intervention Behind the Iron Curtain”
This presentation will primarily examine action art and interventionist works primarily from post-68 Czechoslovakia, but also will include works from Hungary, Poland and Russia. Partly an exercise in exposure, this lecture is designed to release this region and period of art history from its relative obscurity, and to encourage intellectual comparisons to struggles against oppression across political ideologies. A brief history of central European nations will be provided, providing germane information to the presentation’s talking points.

Following the Soviet invasion of Prague, which signaled the end of the short lived freedoms of the Prague Spring of 1968, artists, dissidents and intellectuals faced harsh retribution for their works from the state. This continued for over 20 years, until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Abstract performance art continued, but often via private or covert means. Artists utilized both urban and rural spaces to enact dérives or other forms of reclaiming space. Some performances were radically confrontational against the state, other acts sought to explore internal reflection. Many performances were purposefully apolitical, neither for the communist state nor for its opposing enemy of western capitalism. Yet under the highly politicized nature of Soviet rhetoric, even apolitical acts were read as resistance to state control, and were thus heavily censored.

How do these works explore anxiety, personal and political? Work and labor? Surveillance? Liberties of the individual? What did performance art during the Cold War actually look like? And what does it mean to make a subversive work of art? Taking the violent self-immolation of Jan Palach as a starting point for resistance acts of this region and time period (his death being undoubtedly a desperate act of dissidence rather than “performance art” in the institutional sense), this presentation will look at the tensions of public performance under oppressive regimes, exemplified in this case by the Kremlin’s control over central and eastern European nations.

Oct 11 *Horizontal Art and Action*/*Arte y acción horizontales* Free University

*Horizontal Art and Action* Free University
Saturday, October 11, 12-4pm

Campos Plaza
E 13th st between Avenues B and C
Lower East Side, Manhattan
Horizontal Art & Action_poster2
(Versión en español más abajo)
Free University – NYC welcomes workshops, teach-ins, dialogues, and performances by artists and community activists to learn and share power together (in Latin America, a process called horizontalidad). In the wake of losing 5 Pointz, Brecht Forum, Gathering of Tribes, Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, City College Morales/Shakur Center, 285 Kent, and soon Death by Audio, and also seeing public art become the front-lines of gentrification, we need art and actions that envision creative social change while practicing it.
Contribute an activity / volunteer here.

Potential themes: Art/mural skills-share. Tenants, workplace, & youth organizing. Radical art history 101. Street journalism. Visualizing solidarity (Ferguson, Gaza, climate justice..). Creative direct action training. Walking tours. Horizontal community justice. Spoken word & theater. DIY pamphlet design. Guerrilla media/copwatch. Peaceful parenting.

This event is part of the Art in Odd Places Festival (

*Arte y acción horizontales* Free University
Sábado 11 de octubre,
Campos Plaza
E 13th St entre las avenidas B y C
Lower East Side, Manhattan

Free University-NYC convoca a artistas y activistas de la comunidad para proponer talleres, diálogos o performances que nos ayuden a aprender y compartir modos de empoderarnos juntos–un proceso que en América Latina se llama horizontalidad. Tras la pérdida de muchos espacios, como 5 Pointz, Brech Forum, Gathering of Tribes, Rebel Díaz Arts Collective, City College Morales/Shakur Center, 285 Kent–pronto Death by Audio– y ver que el arte público se ha convertido en un frente de batalla en el proceso de gentrificación (aburguesamiento), creemos que necesitamos juntarnos para compartir un arte y acciones que imaginan el cambio social desde la práctica.

Si quieres contribuir con un taller, una performance -o ser voluntario, rellena este formulario.
RSVP y reenviar en Facebook.

Temas posibles: Herramientas para hacer arte o murales.
Organización de vecinos, laboral, o grupos juveniles. Historia básica de arte radical. Periodismo callejero. Visualización de solidaridad (Ferguson, Gaza, justicia climática). Entrenamiento de acción directa creativa. Tours. Justicia comunitaria horizontal. Palabra y teatro. Diseño de panfletos. Guerrilla media – Copwatch. Enseñanza pacífica.

Este evento será parte del festival “ART IN ODD PLACES” / “ARTE EN LUGARES EXTRAÑOS” (

Sept 20: *Decolonize Climate Justice* Free University!!

*Decolonize Climate Justice*
Free University
Saturday, September 20
El Jardín del Paraíso
Spans E4th to E5th st between Ave C & D
Lower East Side, Manhattan

PCMposter finals1_web

(Versión en español más abajo)

Download the event schedule:
Free University NYC_Decolonize Climate Justice_Schedule

To volunteer, fill out this form.
RSVP/share on Facebook.

Decolonize Climate Justice is a call to transform our ideas, practices, and organizing to protect the earth and its inhabitants from ecological, economic, and political devastation. One day before the People’s Climate March, as part of NYC Climate Convergence, Free University-NYC will host teach-ins, workshops, indigenous performances, direct action trainings, and more.

Those most affected by the first symptoms of climate change­­ such as extreme weather and environmental disasters brought on by capitalist exploitation ­­are indigenous people worldwide, marginalized majorities of the Global South and poor people of color in the Global North. These connections are not coincidental: the same systems of thought and action that devalue and deaden the world around us also function to devalue human lives and cultures.

Continue reading

“Subtleties of Resistance” a huge success!

Profound gratitude to all who co-created the “Subtleties of Resistance” Free University yesterday. If you’re on Facebook, post and see photos, share reflections, announce future events – keep these dialogues and actions moving:

Here’s the event’s infopack, which contains readings, writing prompts, further contact info:

If you missed last night’s films screening, check out an expanded bill tonight at UnionDocs, 7:30pm, $9:

All are invited to join Free University – NYC‘s ongoing creations. Come envision next steps at a community picnic next Saturday, July 12, at Prospect Park. Meet at 12pm outside Brooklyn Public Library to walk over together.

- the Free U crew

July 5 “Subtleties of Resistance” Free U schedule & infopack!


Our Saturday, July 5, “Subtleties of Resistance” final schedule and infopack are here!

12pm – Free U group meets at corner of Kent Ave and Grand St in Williamsburg to get in line together at *12:15pm SHARP* with flag/sign to identify our presence. Only 100 people are allowed inside the exhibition at a time, but we’ll do our best to get everyone in!

*1pm-1:30pm – Performances inside exhibition*
– Brian Jones – reading of Frederick Douglass’s July 5, 1852 speech “What to the slave is the Fourth of July?”
– Sofía Gallisá – reading in Spanish of Abelardo Díaz Alfaro’s 1947 story “Bagazo”
– Tracie Morris – original sound poetry

*2pm-3pm – Free U community picnic at Grand Ferry Park (BYOgoodies)*

*3pm-5pm – Workshops/dialogues/teach-ins at Grand Ferry Park*
– 3pm –
– Arts & Labor Alternative Economies Working Group and Tidal Magazine – dialogue on 1960s-70s artists of color protests; art and gentrification; and current campaigns, boycotts, and creative actions to change museums and cultural institutions.
– Coalition Moratorium to Protect Prospect Park, Crown Heights Tenant Union, NYC Anti-Eviction Network, and Reclaim Bushwick – roundtable discussion on resisting evictions and gentrification across the city.
– Lorraine Currelley – presentation on “The Failure to Address the Authenticity of Kara Walker’s Historical, Psychological, Socio-political, Spiritual, Never Subtle Subtlety.”
– Nicole Fleetwood and Sable Smith – dialogue on the #WeAreHere project, Black visual arts, and education.
– 4pm –
– Theater of the Oppressed NYC – introductory workshop to play essential games from the arsenal of TO, participate in a forum theatre demonstration, and engage in theatrical dialogue to investigate racism, sexism, and classism as they affect our communities.
– Ricardo Waldron – presentation on “Jamaica: The History of the Maroons and their relationship to the Haitian Revolution.”

*8:30pm – Free outdoor community film screening at Kent Ave and Grand St*
– UnionDocs will feature “Domino Sugar–1989” and “Third Shift

Important details:
– Free University-NYC events are family-friendly, but we can’t provide childcare for this event. However, we will have an info/care/creation station at the park that welcomes kids.
– This event is wheelchair accessible. For wheelchair accessible transit, take the 2/3 to Court St., then take the B62 bus and either get out at S. 2nd and Bedford and travel awhile on the sidewalk, or transfer at Broadway for the B32.
– Participants with nasal sensitivities should bring a handkerchief. The Domino Sugar Factory has a fairly strong smell of the remnants of sugar, work, and industrial dissolution.

Any questions, don’t hesitate to email us at

July 5 – “Subtleties of Resistance” Free University at Kara Walker’s exhibition

“Subtleties of Resistance”
Free University at Kara Walker’s
A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby

Saturday, July 5, 2014
12pm-4pm (arrive early in line)
Domino Sugar Factory
310 Kent Avenue at South 1st st.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Although Kara Walker’s A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby exhibition has been well-attended and widely reviewed, the exhibition has also been fraught with a lack of on-site critical engagement. Some visitors have even responded to the work in ways that are racist, sexist, classist–adding insult to historical and present injuries.

On June 22, a mass gathering coordinated by and for people of color will work to reverse this trend ( Continuing in this spirit, Free University-NYC aims to crowd-source artists, historians, critics, anti-gentrification actors, spoken word performers, and more (from both inside and outside “professional” circles) to host on July 5 an interactive “pop-up” series of dialogues and performances inside the exhibition across the afternoon. As this will be the day after a highly illusory national holiday and a day before the exhibition closes, we aim for these interactions to be reflective, concrete, and forward-moving.

RSVP/share on Facebook.

Contribute an activity.

We especially seek contributions on the following themes:
– histories and current examples of enslavement and resistance
– the rise of sugar and other commodities under capitalism
– women of color’s participation in social, economic, and cultural life
– minstrelsy and appropriation in art
– counter-histories of the Fourth of July
– intersectional/anti-oppression art and activism
– resisting gentrification, displacement, and apartheid
– creating safe spaces in museums and communities

Confirmed participants:
Brian Jones – performance from Frederick Douglass’s July 5, 1852 speech “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” (


Sat 5/31 @5pm: “Freedom Learning Practices from Brisbane to NYC to Oaxaca”


“Freedom Learning Practices: From Brisbane to NYC to Oaxaca”
Saturday, May 31, 5pm-7pm
Balsley Park (W 57th st & 9th ave), Manhattan

This panel gathers Fern Thompsett from the Brisbane Free University in Australia, Conor Tomás Reed from the Free University of NYC, and Lindsey Shilleh from Unitierra in Oaxaca, Mexico, to explore alternatives to education, in a move beyond alternative education. We situate learning at the core of our capacity to collectively imagine and develop the sort of society in which we wish to live. However, we recognize that current educational structures can submerge us further in the capitalist system, and convert education into a commodity to be bought and sold, which threatens autonomous learning. We also see that radical pedagogies, student/teacher uprisings (ex: Chicago, Chile, Quebec), and the long tradition of freedom schools can frame a people’s history of learning inside/outside institutions to reverse the demise of education as a commons.

We therefore ask: How can we create alternatives beyond educational institutions that also transform these institutions and societies in the process? How can we reclaim learning as a form of resistance and liberation? Our three projects have taken such forms as cooperatives, documentaries, militant research, radio programs, seminars, and workshops in such spaces as museums, parking lots, parks, street corners, and subway stations. We will share from our experiences of collective, free, non-institutional learning to suggest (and ask) how to re-imagine what it is to learn as a crucial part of social movement life.

“Remaking Justice” Free U a vibrant success!

Tremendous gratitude and respect for the 100+ people and 11 workshop presenters who came out to the Free University yesterday. Such power and life in rad community education!

–>Our next event will a FREE panel at the Left Forum on Saturday, May 31, @5pm on “Freedom Learning Practices from Brisbane to NYC to Oaxaca.” Meet outside by 4:50pm at John Jay College, 540 W 59th St, Manhattan.
— Featuring members of the Brisbane Free University (Australia), Free University – NYC, and Unitierra de Oaxaca (Mexico). Spread the word, and come through!

Stay connected:

Sunday 5/25 “Remaking Justice beyond Police, Courts, and Prisons” Free U schedule + details

us prison map

​[image credit:]

“Remaking Justice beyond Police, Courts, and Prisons”
Free University
Sunday, May 25, 2014
Battery Park, Manhattan, NYC
(enter the park near the Charging Bull at Battery Place and State Street, look out for signs and red balloons)
Closest subway: 4/5 to Bowling Green

RSVP / share on Facebook.

Free University-NYC invites you to a special event on Sunday, May 25, “Remaking Justice beyond Police, Courts, and Prisons.” We’re coordinating this event in solidarity with the Justice for Cecily McMillan campaign, and more broadly with people working to end race/gender/sexuality/class violence, police brutality, Stop n’ Frisk, mass incarceration, and repression of political dissent here and around the world. We will create a safe movement space to share histories, practices, and updates on these related struggles, and envision concrete steps toward transformative justice.



Arts, Crafts, Food, Care, Info station


Free University Welcome and Statement of Intentions


Claudia Acuña and Marina Sitrin
“Activist Legal Strategies & Collectives: From Argentina to NYC and Philadelphia”
This workshop will be facilitated by Claudia Acuña from and MU from Argentina and Marina Sitrin, former legal collective activist and organizer. We will discuss the various strategies of organizing legal defense from within the movements, from the perspectives of the movements – then how one might or might not engage with lawyers and the legal system.

Iskandar Kourkjian-Mowad and Lucy Parks, Justice for Cecily McMillan Support Team
“Court Support and Technology: A practical guide to web-presence”
This “class” is going to be a short introduction to using websites and technology in activism generally and court support specifically, including the structure and methods of Cecily McMillan’s Support Team. We’ll be talking briefly about the role of websites in internet activism, as well as the effect of a cohesive web-presence in the support model for Cecily McMillan. We’ll wrap up with a brief introduction on tools and measures to set up websites quickly and without code, and provide a list of resources for those wishing to pursue the topic even further.

Fury Young
“Die Jim Crow”
The class will start as a history of mass incarceration and its effects on African American communities. This history will bleed into a discussion about a current project entitled Die Jim Crow, which is a music album written and performed by African American musicians who have been or are currently incarcerated.


Frederica-Azania Clare, Alternatives to Violence Project
“Re-Entry: Returning of Our Prisoners and Soldiers”
We are a group of men and women who meet to offer our “returning citizens” a welcoming hand, especially those with some Alternatives to Violence experience, who are going through the transition back to society. We have learned that often the most difficult bid begins upon release. We are your Brothers and Sisters. WE welcome you BACK! We are family. For more info: http://www.LandingStrip.US. Our Mission: “Making a Difference”:

Florence Johnston Collective
“Moving beyond incarceration and confinement – An open conversation on launching alternative care practices”
Institutionalizing vulnerable populations into our prisons and hospitals is a centuries long practice that has protected capitalist production from potential social unrest. The jobless are arrested for engaging in ‘illegal’ sources of income, and the employed are over-medicated to ensure continued productivity. This open conversation will explore these historical trends; highlight potential alternatives and steps necessary to move beyond institutionalizing society’s vulnerable such as commoning practices; and introduce existing groups and efforts in New York that are launching new possibilities and practices. We hope this session will allow friends to reflect on these important topics and also link into existing groups and networks that are launching inspiring alternatives.

Debbie Litsas
“Organizing Beyond Law in Greece”
This workshop will share some of the direct action organizing experiences from Thessaloniki Greece, ranging from Free Health Clinics to the recent popular referendum against water privatization – experiences that are not technically legal in many ways, but are organized anyway and are successful. It will also speak to the increase in repression of the movements and how people are organizing in defense/response.

Travis Morales, Stop Mass Incarceration Network
“October, 2014 – A Call For A Month Of Resistance To Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression And The Criminalization Of A Generation”
This workshop/teach-in will dig into how to make a major advance in resisting and stopping the horrors of mass incarceration of mainly Black and Latino people and the associated outrages of police brutality and murder of our children, the placing of a target on the backs of Black and Latino youth, the wholesale criminalization of a generation, and the detention and deportation of immigrants. We will discuss how mass incarceration is a slow genocide that must be urgently resisted and stopped. We will get into how the month of resistance can and must impact millions, change the way they look at mass incarceration and bring many of them into a movement of resistance to stop it. For more info:


“Making links between Prison Abolition and Decolonization”
This presentation and workshop is based on Bronwyn’s graduate school research about the relationship between settler colonialism and criminalization in Canada. It will be oriented toward a discussion about what it looks like/could look like to build political resistance that makes connections between those processes.

“Copwatch and Popular Justice”
Having trained people in Copwatch for a very long time, one of the early lessons was that eliminating the police from a neighborhood or block has to be complemented with a variety of forms of popular justice work, including community intervention, street mediation, restorative justice, harm reduction, and violence prevention. This workshop seeks to give a primer on copwatch as an organizing tool, and then discuss its necessarily complementary relationship with alternative models of justice.

Eric Darton
“The Dao of New York”
Do great cities have a “way,” a “method,” and, by extension, a “rule of life,” or “process” that allows them to live robustly and nourish their inhabitants. If they do, what is the Dao of New York? And can we say that our city is living in harmony with it? This workshop will use Daoist symbols and images to develop strategies for using cyclical process of change and transformation to defend and strengthen our communities, as well as to mobilize and root the energies within ourselves and the city as a whole.

Carrie McCann and Rebekah Schiller
“Current Successful Alternatives to Criminal Court”
The New York Peace Institute has a working relationship with the Brooklyn DA’s Office in which some criminal cases are referred to mediation instead of handled in the traditional manner. Participants have a say in the outcomes of their cases, which include, but are not limited to, harassment, assaults, criminal trespassing/mischief, property damage, menacing, noise, and debts. In addition, participants can address the impact the dispute has had and form plans for their future interactions including decisions about an order of protection. Restorative Justice Coordinator Carrie McCann and Mediator Rebekah Schiller will discuss the current program, how it provides concrete alternatives to the criminal court system, and how to get involved.

Save the date! Upcoming Free University-NYC event!:
“Freedom Learning Practices: From Brisbane to NYC to Oaxaca”
Saturday, May 31, 5pm-7pm
John Jay College, 540 W 59th St, NYC – meet outside by 4:50pm
FREE PANEL at Left Forum featuring members of the Brisbane Free University (Australia), Free University-NYC, and La Universidad de la Tierra (Oaxaca, Mexico)


Cecily’s Sentence + Next Steps for “Remaking Justice” on May 25

Today over 200 people came out to support Cecily McMillan, who was sentenced to 90 days in prison at Riker’s (minus time served and good behavior) and 5 years’ probation. Please read/share Cecily’s Support Team’s exceptional statement, in which they connect Cecily to a much wider arc of justice that we must build.

To aid this ongoing work, Free University-NYC urges all to participate in our “Remaking Justice beyond Police, Courts, and Prisons” event this Sunday, May 25. Contribute a workshop, volunteer, spread the word, and keep this amazing movement energy flowing.