Schedule of Events

“How can we free education?”
Saturday, May 18, 2013

All day:
Arts, Crafts, Food, Care station
Bring art materials, blankets, food, and extra care.
Occupy Wall Street Screen Printers station
Bring your own blank paper, shirts, bags, etc. to design.
End-of-semester “work-in” for students and teachers
Get your productivity on together in the park.

Free University-NYC Brief Welcome and Statement of Intention
3pm sharp!

“Papier Maché Workshop”
with Cooper Union and CUNY students

“Lessons from the University of California/New School Student Occupations”
New York Year Zero
Veterans of the 2008-2009 student occupations at the University of California and the New School discuss the recent history of radical student struggle in the U.S.

“Why Are We Not Free?”
Cecile Lawrence
What is freedom? What does it look like, smell like, sound like? Who has it? Who does not? Did we once/ever have it? When? If so, where did it go? How can we retrieve it? Did it get stolen from us? If so, when, how? Or did we give it up? Is this a religious discussion?

“Free University-NYC: Ideas Working Session”
Come help us build the next year of FreeU-NYC activism and solidarity. Some topics that will be approached: summer events/ideas; visions for the year ahead; website development; links with other organizers/organizations; lessons from May 1, 3013.

“Writing and Free Education from Home, School, and Everyday Life”
Susan Naomi Bernstein
For new and experienced writers: This course presents the processes of writing for anyone who struggles to write. Together we will develop our own practices of writing for audiences and purposes that connect to our visions of free education, and social transformation for home, school, and everyday life.

“Desiring School: Formulations and Performances”
Elizabeth Adams
What would a school be like that you would want to go to? How can you best describe it, and how can you best perform that description?
Hone your wildest imaginings into startling and pithy formulations. Generate a variety of performances of them in everyday life. Design social heuristics to improve their effectiveness.
Formats: Talking, writing, acting, responding
Ideology: the “teacher” brings the starting questions and structure because she does not yet have the answers.

“Lessons from the Quebec Movement”
Stefan Christoff
Stefan Christoff will present about the struggle in Quebec and give some background/context to the demand for abolishing tuition. Stefan is a Montreal-based writer, community activist and musician who recently published “Le fond de l’air est rouge,” a booklet of texts on the Quebec student uprising in 2012.

“Facilitation Skills-Share”
Marisa Holmes
Facilitation is the act of guiding a group thru its own process. I will cover intermediate and advanced facilitation techniques, so that we can collectively improve our practice of direct democracy.

“A discussion on the social consequences of debt”
Aaron Jaffe
I’d like to share in a discussion regarding the longer term consequences for indebtedness. How are educational, labor, political, and social responsibilities experienced when burdened with debt? I hope the conversation will be a balance of both personal and political concerns.

“Education in Transition: A Discussion on Creating Alternative Learning Opportunities for Regions and Peoples that are In Flux”
Jennifer Lauren

“NYC Universities at a Tipping Point”
with members of All in the Red, Free University, Student Bloc NYC
Cooper Union students occupy their president’s office for over a week, creating a public dialogue on defending free education through nonviolent direct action. Faculty votes of no confidence in administrators spread across Cooper, NYU, and New School. CUNY shuffles in/out Chancellors and Trustee members amidst tuition increases, adjuncts exploitation, a Pathways stalemate, David Petraeus’ announced teaching appointment, and the successful ouster of Medgar Evers’ president. This tipping point in NYC universities can produce new coalitions between students, faculty, and staff workers to make change in our near future. In this discussion, we’ll map out some of these issues and resources, identify key pressure points, and brainstorm strategies for the summer and next academic year.

Short Films by Cooper Union students – Outdoor Screening

Red Light Ceremony with the Cooper Union student occupation





Schedule of NYC May Day 2013 events organized by Free Cooper Union and the Free University of NYC:


10am – 3pm: Cooper Union Free University @ Cooper Square

Open Arts & Crafts Session
Book Shields! Banners! Placards! Sidewalk Chalking!

“Space, Design, and the Everyday”
Matthew Bissen

This course explores fundamental concepts of space and design with particular attention focused on how as designers and citizens we participate in the everyday design, reproduction, and production of our current and future realities. This course session will focus on architecture and counterculture and support the continuing development of semester long student projects.

“Organizing a NYC Student Movement”
Discussion with folks from Free University-NYC and All in the Red

Join students from around NYC to explore concrete ideas on how to organize a city-wide student movement that can build on lessons from mass mobilizations in Quebec, Chile, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere, while also envisioning our own locally specific forms of student power.

“Understanding Basic Economics and Finance”
Ron Rubin

There is a clear distinction between Economics (Main Street) and Finance (Wall Street). In order to understand how and why more and more of the value created by Main Street is flowing into the hands of Wall Street it is absolutely necessary to understand the distinction between these two related but different institutions and how they function in today’s world. Otherwise no real change will be possible.

“Watch the Gap: How Income Inequality and Poverty are Hurting America’s Kids”
Anthony Zenkus

Poverty and Low Socioeconomic Status can cause significant challenges to the cognitive, emotional and physical development of children. They increase the risk factors for everything from child abuse to school failure. With one of the highest gaps in income equality in the world, and one of the highest child poverty rates in decades, the United States is creating a lost generation that will grow up with less opportunity and more risk- unless we act. Income inequality must be addressed as a public health problem with repercussions that effect the entire community.

Tidal: Occupy Theory Occupy Strategy Conversation”

TIDAL has held significant conversations with Free University. The discussions in Washington Square Park led to Strike Debt. The S17 event expanded our horizons. Now, as TIDAL seeks to internationalize and nationalize its project, we want to re-open the conversation. How do we learn from Detroit? From Athens? From Tunis? From Cairo? What are the means of that learning? How do we ensure that this conversation is mutual and beneficial to all? An open workshop for all hosted by Team TIDAL.

“Writing for Home, School, and Everyday Life”
Susan Naomi Bernstein

For new and experienced writers: This course presents the processes of writing for anyone who struggles to write. Together we will develop our own practices of writing for audiences and purposes that connect to our visions of social transformation for home, school, and everyday life.

“Imagining a Student/Worker-Run University”
Various Participants

This will be an open discussion that is meant to encourage the development of a vision of a Free Cooper Union run by students and workers. We will talk about precedents in the form of student-run coops, cooperatively run schools, worker takeovers, the tenets behind the wages for schoolwork movement, and the legal and ideological strands that can link Cooper’s past to this future.

“People Power and Politics”
Dominique Nisperos

Introduction to the Gay Liberation Movement, discussing Carl Wittman’s A Gay Manifesto.
Reading materials and outlines will be provided.

“NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium”
Ben Katchor

Discuss and share new models for the distribution of text/image work.

“Climate Debt/Climate Justice”
Andrew Ross

Climate debt is not yet part of the political architecture in the U.S. Where does it come from? What kind of justice does it involve? And why is it so important?

“Current Financial Regulation and Its Discontents: Thinking Hard about Efficient Market Hypothesis and the Dodd-Frank Act”
Leon Kautsky

“Towards an Alternative School of Art”
Collaborative workshop with folks from vizKult, OWS Arts & Labor, and Making Worlds

The economic and structural realities of art schools as they exists today can often be a source of anxiety and frustration for artists, teachers, and staff alike, but what might an alternative model look like? In this workshop we’ll discuss the things we like and don’t like about the current art school system. Then we’ll learn about various alternative models and discuss amongst ourselves how they can be applied to or replace that system.

“Love Spam”
Barbara Browning

About a year and a half ago, I initiated an experiment in creating a surplus of sentimental value. I began by spamming random individuals with personally targeted, hand-crafted ukulele covers I made of sentimental songs. Victims ranged from an obesity doctor in Winnetka, Illinois to the anarchist anthropologist David Graeber. In this workshop, I’ll give an update on the results (thus far) of the project, and I’ll give participants some ideas for possible similar projects of their own.

“Presenting the New Edition of the Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual”
members of Strike Debt

“Art, Design, Architecture, and Activism”
Benjamin Young

What do art, design, and architecture have to do with activism? How can artists, designers, architects, and other cultural workers contribute to a radically egalitarian and democratic public sphere? How can we imagine other forms of communication and design outside that of advertising? What forms of public discussion, critical thinking, and social and political activism can take shape against or through mass culture, and how can art and design disciplines contribute to them?
Participants are asked to come prepared to discuss the following readings: Mira Schor, “Lowering the Bar on Activism,” Huffington Post; Mira Schor, “Books are Like People,” A Year of Positive Thinking; Reinhold Martin, “Occupy: What Architecture Can Do,” Design Observer; Reinhold Martin, “Occupy: The Day After,” Design Observer.

“Building the Commons in NYC”
Making Worlds

Join an open conversation about the commons and education.

“Why We Need to Break Up the Megabanks”
Cathy O’Neil, OWS Alternative Banking Group

“Song Share”
Everybody Now!

Want to learn the May Day song? Want to sing but feel afraid to? Want to have a rockin’ good half hour? Then this is the class for you!
Throughout the day many will be singing the May Day song “We Stand for Justice.” This class is to help everybody feel comfortable, confident, and excited about singing during the rally and throughout the day. No singing or music skills needed, for we all are singers. We welcome and invite you to join us. Let your voice be heard!

3:00pm: Education Convergence @ Cooper Square

4:00pm: March to Union Square to join the May 1 Coalition rally & march to City Hall

9:00pm: Dance Party to Free Education @ Washington Square Park fountain