LIBERATION LAB! 5th Annual May Day Free University with Rename&Reclaim

5th Annual May Day Free University with Rename&Reclaim /
5to Primero de Mayo de la Universidad Libre con Renombrar y Reclamar
Saturday, April 30th, 11:30am-5pm
Washington Square Park, Mannahatta, NYC

Contribute a workshop/teach-in/performance + volunteer:


Free University-NYC, in collaboration with Rename&Reclaim, will host an afternoon of free social justice education – including workshops, teach-ins, performances, and interactive play – as part of the May Day 2016 weekend. Come celebrate and learn from each other. Uncover radical histories of the Village and New York City. Collaborate with social movements for labor, migration, and care across all ethnicities and races.

***Know Your Histories:
– African, African American, Asian, Caribbean, Chicanx, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Native American, and Pacific Islander histories and presences in Washington Square Park, the Village, and NYC.
– People’s histories of May Day, labor, unions, wildcats, and workers’ centers.
– Umbra, the Beat Generation, and the origins of the Black Arts Movement and white countercultures in the Village.
– East Village origins of the Young Lords and Nuyorican Poetics.

***Know Your Presence:
#BlackLivesMatter, #ICEFreeNYC, #AsiansforBlackLives, #MuslimsforBlackLives, #ShowingUpforRacialJustice, #RapeFreeNYC, #ShutDownRikers, #FreeCUNY, — building bridges to liberation.
– Prisons, NYPD / ICE, and the law (e.g., “know your rights,” protection from neighborhood raids, copwatch 101, prisoners solidarity).
– Race and migration struggles amidst election contests between Clinton, Cruz, Sanders, Stein, and Trump.
– Resisting gentrification and evictions under de Blasio’s new housing policy.
– Student and faculty strikes from Chicago to France to NYC to Puerto Rico.

***Cultures of Resistance:
– Poetry, literature, and music from African, African American, Asian, Caribbean, Chicanx, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Native American, and Pacific Islander presences in the Village and May Day celebrations.


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-NYC has since organized over 20 events of free crowd-sourced education in community centers, museums, parks, and subway stations in New York City. We recognize that the current system of higher learning is unequal and unsustainable, while vast knowledges across communities are hidden and undervalued. With tuition increasing at public and private colleges, the exploitation of adjunct labor, and the larger amounts of debt that students are expected to take on, university education becomes a rarefied commodity only available to the few. As a study/action alternative, we welcome diverse networks of political education to learn, grow, and transform society together.
Contact: + + + @FreeUnivNYC

Rename&Reclaim is a group that was born out of the desire to keep the conversation around #BlackLivesMatter alive in the Village, Manhattan. Beginning in Fall 2015 with “Critical Tactics Lab” dialogues at New York University, the group began gathering to advance the goals of critical awareness and momentum that #BlackLivesMatter achieved. Conversations led to the importance of “renaming” as a part of the process to bring awareness, overcome erasures, and honor the role that African Americans have played to intellectually, physically, and spiritually construct the city as it is today. In addition, we urge collective acts of uncovering, sharing, and “reclaiming” many more of these hidden histories of Washington Square Park, downtown Manhattan, and across New York City. These histories form a context against which white settler-colonial supremacy in NYC can be made visible and interrupted.
Contact: + @Rename_Reclaim

3/13: FUNDRAISER for Albert Woodfox (Angola 3) – Film / Food / Letter-Writing

Albert Woodfox

FUNDRAISER for Albert Woodfox (Angola 3) / Film / Food / Letter-Writing!
Sunday, March 13, 5-8pm
Mayday Space
176 St. Nicholas Ave, Bushwick, Brooklyn

Co-sponsored by Free University-NYC, Campaign to Bring Mumia Home, CUNY Prison Divest, Lynne Stewart Defense Organization, Mayday Space, National Lawyers Guild – NYC Chapter, New Abolitionist Movement, NYC Anarchist Black Cross, NYC Books Through Bars, NYC Free Leonard Peltier, and NYC Jericho Movement (in formation).

This special fundraiser event will honor the February 19 release of Albert Woodfox (the Angola 3’s last remaining member who had been imprisoned in solitary confinement for over 41 years). We will screen the film The Angola 3: Black Panthers and the Last Slave Plantation, share food, write letters to Albert and incarcerated people, and discuss solidarity inside/outside prisons. All donated funds will be given to Albert Woodfox to help his transition to freedom on the outside.

To make an online donation,  click on the “Help Albert!” link on the Angola 3 website, and specify “Albert Woodfox” as the designated recipient.

Please contact us at if your organization or crew would like to co-sponsor.

This event builds upon our December 13 event “Care Down the Walls: Education, Health, and Housing beyond Prisons” (

POSTPONED! Sun 2/14: Showing Our Love for the People: Free U Teach-in @Occupy Museums event

Hello Free U family,

Sunday’s #KochPlaza Action is POSTPONED!

Update from Occupy Museums: Due to headlines like “life-threatening cold this weekend” and concern for the health of our presenters, we’ve decided to postpone the 1st Annual Evict Koch Award Ceremony and Teach-In.
Occupy Museum folks will still be out there at 2pm handing out Valentine’s cards celebrating Koch’s eviction from the American Museum of Natural History board and calling on the Met to do the same. You’re welcome to join them.

For a future date…
Free University-NYC, in collaboration with Occupy Museums, will invite you to Showing Our Love For The People!

In the meantime…
Free U folks have been brainstorming 2016 event themes, working groups, and intentional directions for our 5th (!) year of existence. Please email if you wish to learn more about next steps.

love and life,
-the Free U crew

Sun 2/14: Showing Our Love for the People: Free U Teach-in @Occupy Museums event!

Free U Vday

Showing Our Love for the People!
Free U Teach-in @Occupy Museums event
Sunday, February 14, 2-5pm
Koch Plaza at Metropolitan Museum of Art
RSVP/share on facebook

Free University-NYC, in collaboration with Occupy Museums, invites you to “Showing Our Love For The People!”
• Learn about Free U’s 5-year background of horizontal popular learning strategies
• Connect the privatization of public art spaces to New York City arts histories and anti-gentrification struggles
• Talk with Free U organizers and help brainstorm 2016 actions
Gentrification Primary NYC: Manhattan vs. Brooklyn
A Citizens’ Meeting at Koch Plaza, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Sunday, February 14, 2-5pm
Occupy Museums, David Tobis, and the International Forum on Globalization will host a citizens meeting, teach-in, and afternoon of actions at David H. Koch Plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum. The event will bring together experts, activists, and artists for short lectures and discussions on culture, housing, finance, and income inequality.

Schedule for Dec 13 “Care Down the Walls” Free University

​Care Down the Walls:
Education, Health, & Housing beyond Prisons

Free University

Sunday, December 13
11:30AM – 4PM
Sixth Street Community Center
638 E Sixth Street (between Avenues B & C)

Welcome / Statement of Intentions

*All Day*
Virtual Writing Workshop: Spaces for the Future
Susan Naomi Bernstein

Describe a real or imagined community space that creates hope for the Future. Your writing can:• Illustrate with thick description and details• Explain emotional significance• Consider symbolism• Document history• Make a case for necessary changes

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: Structuralism in Black Literature
Nicholas B. Powers

From Frederick Douglass to Sapphire’s novel ​​Push, learning how to read was intimately tied to freedom. In this teach in, we look at how literacy re-subjectified the blackened body and created a structuralist vision that is the radical seed in Black literature.

Alternatives and Divestment from the Treatment Industrial Complex
Root Cause and Hospital Care Workers Collective

In Part One of this workshop, Root Cause will share a Divestment Presentation (see video to discuss cutting ties with the Treatment Industrial Complex, using an activity to understand the TIC’s web. Points for discussion: How can we can cut these ties? What are recommendations for different stakeholders? How can we push Rangel to take tax breaks away from prisons (see petition We will identify resources and strategies healthcare workers and community groups need to improve public health while reducing the need for police and prisons.
In Part Two, public hospital workers will share experiences and discuss possibilities of expanding concrete alternatives to abolish prisons that are based on non-hierarchical and transparent forms of collaboration between community groups and healthcare workers. More specifically, we’re interested in how healthcare workers can more effectively collaborate with communities to resist racism, police brutality, and incarceration. Our guiding question: How do we liberate health from surveillance, privatization, and racism?

Introduction to Warrior Sisters and Demo Class
Warrior Sisters – Hetal Sheth

Warrior Sisters is a non profit organization dedicated to ending systemic male violence against women. The group was started in Oregon in 2013 by a handful of women and now has representatives building communities and facilitating free self defense trainings for women and events in cities across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and now in NYC! We draw inspiration from Gulabi Gang, a grassroots women led movement in India, in working to build a culture of resistance and empower women as a collective force. We believe that strong women’s communities are a vital element of assault prevention. We are dedicated to building these communities through discussion, sharing of stories, mutual support, and respect. Join us to hear a short introduction about Warrior Sisters which will be open to all and a demo class right after for women only.

HIJOS in Argentina: Breaking Social Silence – Community Power
Marina Sitrin

I will share the experiences of HIJOS in Argentina so as to help us think together about options for where we place our energy/demands/focus and well as how. HIJOS (Hijas y Hijos por identidad y justicia y contra el olvido y silencio – Daughters and Sons for Identity and Justice and Against Silence and Forgetting), began in the later 1990s in Argentina and in many ways is both precursor and emblematic of the forms of organization of the post 2001 rebellion. Different from the Madres of the Plaza de Mayo and the Abuelas, though in solidarity with them, HIJOS does not place demands upon the government as their strategy for justice, but rather organizes itself so as to address society as a whole. They do this to break a “social silence” that they argue is largely to blame for the dictatorship and mass disappearances of their parents, family members and others in society. The perspective of HIJOS is horizontal – looking to those around them as the source of power – both in attempts to transform society, and as the location of the silence that has supported the status quo. Hundreds if not thousands of people who were active or complicit in the dictatorship live free in society in Argentina. Until recently there was a total silence about this. HIJOS organizes in this silence. HIJOS’s goal is not to speak to the genocidas (those involved in the dictatorship), but their neighbors and society in general. Those who were letting people who committed such atrocities live in peace and silence. The form their protests take is more of a public outing than a traditional protest. It became known as the Escrache. An Escrache is this process of outing, it is a tactic for social awareness, using direct action, theater and education against silence and forgetting.

Using Meditation to Achieve Outcomes
One Thousand Arms – Kara Dansky

Meditation can help us connect our intention with concrete outcomes. This workshop will cover the fundamentals of meditation practice, mindfulness and awareness, cause and effect, obstacles, and the development of confidence in our ability to achieve our goals, including education, healthcare and housing for all and an end to the prison industrial complex.

Overdose Reversal
Streetwork Project – Graciela

I will teach an overdose reversal & safer injection training. Using naloxone & talking to your communities/networks about safer injection can save lives. Drug users are constantly targeted by police and are at great risk for health concerns, even death, if the stigma & shame around it are not addressed. I will teach how to obtain naloxone (I can bring some kits to give out as well), how to prevent an overdose through safer injection strategies, how to talk about IV drug use without judgment, how to address health concerns, referrals for needle exchanges, how to care for & support injectors in our communities, how to access needle exchanges, and how to administer naloxone as a harm reduction-focused workshop.

Free Your Mind
Beyond Attica/Close Rikers/Stop Mass Incarceration/Riverside Direct Action Response Team – James Litkett

This revolutionary activist poet ( will talk about empowering the formerly incarcerated and protecting their freedom in mind, body, and soul so as to not become victims of circumstance.

Teatro Vida: Theater and Public Health, Bronx New York 1990s
Thea Martinez

The facilitator will provide a historical context for discussing the early experiments of government funded programs bringing theater arts into public health education during the AIDS crisis of 1990s. Further discussion will explore how we can utilize theater in and outside The (Prison) Walls to improve public health today. In the second half of the workshop, Thea Martinez will share some of her experiences as actor/educator during the 1990s and offer exercises that introduce the Teatro Vida method to workshop participants.

Attica and Abolitionist Strategy
Critical Resistance – Bryan Welton

How is care an alternative to caging and control, and when is “care” a strategy for remaking repression? Where can we find obstacles, traps, exits, and openings in this moment of prison reform? How can we transform the power and scale of abolition? Critical Resistance members will discuss coalition building and non-reformist reform through their experience in building the Beyond Attica campaign, working to free people and resources from the prison industrial complex toward reconstructing healthy, whole, and self-determining communities.

Reflections/next steps dialogue
Free University-NYC

We will all come together to reflect on the day, and to lay out concrete strategies for a larger city-wide network that can amplify our projects and gain wider support. We will share recent/upcoming actions to build bridges between our groups, and will brainstorm what themes Free University-NYC can explore in 2016 and beyond.
@FreeUnivNYC #CareDownWalls

Dec 13: “Care Down the Walls: Education, Health, & Housing beyond Prisons” Free University

“Care Down the Walls:
Education, Health, & Housing beyond Prisons”
Free University

Sunday, December 13
Sixth Street Community Center
638 E Sixth Street (between Avenues B & C)

Contribute a workshop / volunteer:
RSVP / share on Facebook:

We need to strengthen bridges between CARE and PRISON ABOLITION. This is a call for workshops by care workers and prison abolitionists to share our experiences, analyses, and strategies.

The emotional care that upholds our work in education, health, and housing is often unrecognized, or not directly tied to ending the prison industrial complex. Meanwhile, ​the call to abolish prisons at times ignores the role of healthcare workers, educators, and community groups to create alternatives beyond abolition.

At this event, we will discuss how to care for each other at risk of eviction, illness, and incarceration. We will also share resources to support the imprisoned and just released.

Anticipated themes:
– Radical healthcare, past and present.
– Defense / offense of legal aid.
– Housing strategies from Brooklyn to the Bronx.
– Cop-Watch, know your rights, de-arrests.
– Learning love and liberation in the classroom.
– What comes after we shut down Rikers Island?
– Media inside and outside prison walls and care stations.
– Strike for something: turning economic demands into social change.
– Social Reproduction 101: wages for housework, revolutionary feminisms.
– Police & prison abolition histories: Black Panthers, Young Lords, Attica, Pelican Bay, National Immigrant Youth Alliance organizing inside detention centers…

Share your upcoming actions, meetings, reading lists, zines, jail solidarities, support for the recently released with We will compile this info in a pamphlet for the event.
@FreeUnivNYC #CareDownWalls


CareDowntheWallsFreeU CareDowntheWallsFreeU2 CareDowntheWallsthumbnail

NYC Housing Justice Resource Guide — June 2015

Free University-NYC folks have just compiled a NYC Housing Justice Resource Guide for June 2015, featuring an actions/events calendar, housing justice groups, resources, readings.
(contact to suggest more material)

Context: Housing struggles are heating up in the city, with NY state rent regulation laws expiring on June 15, and De Blasio’s rezoning laws favoring the super-rich. All through June a range of public hearings, events, and actions will lead up to a June 24 Rent Guidelines Board (RBG) Final Vote at Cooper Union.

Check it out to get involved in your neighborhood!
Help us crowd-source resource guides for additional social justice efforts!


Free University Summer Activities Brainstorm Session: May 17, 2015

Save the date! On Sunday, May 17th, 2-4pm, we will have a Free U Summer Activities Brainstorm Session in the North-West corner of Washington Square Park. Please join us!

After celebrating the 4th anniversary of the Free University NYC with a May Day Free University in Washington Square Park, we are going to reconvene this upcoming Sunday to imagine together what a summer filled with radical, horizontal education experiments could look like.

Bring ambitious ideas, good vibes and a friend!

May Day Free University (May 1-2) – “How to Survive in NYC” – Full Schedule


Friday, May 1, 10:30am-2pm
Saturday, May 2, 11:30am-5pm
Washington Square Park
(west side near playground and chess tables)

RSVP/share on Facebook

FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2015

Virtual Writing Workshop
by Susan Naomi Bernstein

*10:30AM* (Prompt starting time!)
Community Welcome and Reading of Group Intentions

Activist self-care and non-oppressive discussion
by Blanche Deschênes

The dust has settled on what was the biggest student strike of Quebec’s history. In the months following the end of the movement, several sought refuge where they could: support groups for sexual assault survivors, TV series sessions with roommates, family houses in the countryside. In our wild fight against the system, did we forget to take care of ourselves? This workshop will propose diverse solutions applicable to our working groups and personal lives, as well as an open discussion on our individual experiences.

Black Women Creating a New Narrative for Self and Labor Justice
by Lorraine Currelley, Poets Network & Exchange, Inc.

This workshop will provide a historical perspective of Black Women and labor. We will seek to answer the questions. Historically what were the defining labor roles for Black women? Have they changed over time? What can we do to change the old paradigm and construct new narratives?

Lessons in how to create inclusive learning opportunities
by Jenny

This workshop will dive into how to design, deliver and sustain learning programs for specific communities.  This session is ideal for youth practitioners, educators, volunteers or those interested in community organizing, youth development work, or volunteering or working abroad in the humanitarian sector.

by Matt Hopard

How to livestream. Ins and outs. Setting up a channel. Street awareness, etc.

When the Empire Strikes Back
by Can’t Touch This NYC Anti-Repression Committee

Targeted arrests and prosecutions? Coordinated raids on activist centers? Waves of protest are often followed by state repression. But this doesn’t have to defeat us: any strong movement learns collectively how to confront repression, limit its impact, and regain energy and initiative. Join Can’t Touch This NYC to recap the repression that followed this winter’s anti-police brutality protests across the country, and discuss how we can flip such repression on its head, and keep the movement strong and in the streets.

[10 minute break]

Art as Organizing Strategy
by People’s Climate Arts
In building mass movements, images and stories are powerful tools for communicating our visions and grievances to the public and each other. The process of finding these stories and images brings communities together to collaborate and clarify their goals. Members of People’s Climate Arts (name change pending) will share case studies of how this process worked on a massive scale during the People’s Climate March, and also discuss our work since then, supporting the anti-police brutality movement, the Fight for $15 campaign, The Ayotzinapa Caravan, and the commemoration of the BP oil spill.

Demanding #JusticeforAkaiGurley
by Meejin, CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities

We will talk about our current work to demand #JusticeforAkaiGurley as Asians standing in solidarity with the family of Akai Gurley and with Black communities.

Queer Relationships – Building Across Difference
by Sarah Hartzell, Brooklyn Community Pride Center

Learn and practice skills to build strong, accountable relationships and communities. Queerly informed Inter-Group Dialogue to build relationship (romantic, friendly and beyond) across difference towards action!

The Humanity of the Future
by Beta Local, PR + Making Worlds
The workshop consists of two readings and the making of signs for the May Day march.
1- Reading of a short text in Spanish “La humanidad del futuro” from Luisa Capetillo, a historical labor organizer and feminist from Puerto Rico.
2- Reading of a short text in english about education from Iván Illich or Everett Reimer about alternatives in education or the importance of deschooling society.
3- Inspired by the readings people will be able to make their own signs for the May Day March (We will provide with materials).

SATURDAY, May 2, 2015

Virtual Writing Workshop
by Susan Naomi Bernstein

*11:30AM* (Prompt starting time!)
Community Welcome and Reading of Group Intentions

Affordable Housing Models to Resist Gentrification
by Mariana Bomtempo, Tait Mandler, Gamar Markarian, Drew Vanderburg, Parsons, The New School for Design
Rapid neighborhood change and rising rents are amplifying homelessness and displacement. How can we create permanent affordable housing while fostering neighborhood cohesion and a sense of ownership? This workshop will cover models for cooperative affordable co-housing and how they can help neighborhoods right the speculative real estate market. We will use a model that we developed to reclaim vacant buildings in Bushwick, Brooklyn as an example.

How to Survive (And Win) a Campus Campaign
by Alyssia Osorio, Students for Educational Rights

Members of Students for Educational Rights (City College of New York) will be skills-sharing on tactics and strategies used in past organizing campaigns. We’ve won campaigns around extended library hours, free printing, and gender neutral bathrooms.

Male Feminism Beyond Politics; Our Roles in Interpersonal Relationships
by Nicholas Powers, The Indypendent

Ever feel a frustration between your ideals and behavior? To live and breathe equity in a deeply hierarchical America begins in our intimate spaces. Come to an open discussion group on the joys and trials of male feminism. Discover that instead of endless guilt, a great strength comes when who we truly are can be the goal of our lives.

Mayday Space Info Session
by Ana Nogueira and Lucas Shapiro, Mayday Space

Mayday Space is a new community and movement space that we are building in Bushwick, Brooklyn. It will be a neighborhood resource and city-wide destination for engaging programming and workshops, a place to conspire, create, and celebrate. Mayday Bar is about to begin buildout, and Mayday Space is gathering and orientating volunteers to make it as dynamic a  resource as possible. Join us for an info session at Mayday Free University to find out more about the multi-faceted project and how you can plug in!

Peacemaking Circle to Overcome Racism and Improve Race Relations
by Boroka Ganyu and S.Y. Bowland, PRASI

Join a Peacemaking Circle to explore on a personal, interpersonal, and community level the challenges and desires to overcoming racism and improving race relations. Peacemaking Circles are methods of problem solving which involve people sitting together in a circle, facilitated by circle keepers. This draws on the Native American tradition(s) of restoring balance among the elements and among members of human communities. It is also associated with Ma’at, the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality and justice. In our multicultural urban society, the circle process elicits collective wisdom, generates the energy of loving kindness, and creates a sense of our shared humanness. The historical practice and dignity of the circle may become a creative, healing, and spiritual space for positive outcomes, collective consciousness, and team work.

Radical Writing Workshop
by Eman Abdelhadi and Michael Gould-Wartofsky

Inspired by Audre Lorde’s call to “speak, remembering we were never meant to survive,” this workshop will open up space and time for participants to hone their writing practice through a series of prompts, participatory readings, and collective conversation. We will also talk about concrete ways we can use our words as weapons in the struggle for a better and more beautiful world. Open to all levels and languages. Facilitated by NYU instructors Eman Abdelhadi, of the Muslim Writers Collective, and Michael Gould-Wartofsky, author of The Occupiers (Oxford 2015).

[10 minute break]

The Dao of New York
by Eric Darton
Does New York have an underlying “way,” “method, “rule of life,” or “process” that would allow it to live robustly and realistically in the world, while nourishing its inhabitants.? What, in short, is the Dao of New York? Can we say that our city of extremes and social asymmetries is living in balance with the rhythms of nature? This workshop will use Daoist symbols and images to develop strategies for working in harmony with the constant process of change and transformation to defend and strengthen our communities and mobilize the dynamic forces within ourselves and the city as a whole.

Direct Action Screenprinting!
by Julie Denise, OWS Screenprinters

A crash course in everything you need to know about guerrilla screenprinting. OWS Screenprinters started out printing for donations in Zuccotti Park, and have grown into a full service custom print shop in Brooklyn! Come join us and learn the art of mobile printmaking thru hands-on demonstrations and an open Q&A. We will show you how to print your own tees, patches, posters or flags and how this can engage others in creative outreach. We will also answer questions on creating a mobile print lab, sourcing materials and tees, and how to prepare images for printing. This workshop is BYOB – Bring Your Own Blanks!

Dismantling the Intern Economy
by Queen Arsem-O’Malley, Anwar Batte, Aaron Braun, James Cersonsky, Intern Worker Alliance

The proliferation of internships, often unpaid, has created a shadow economy that devalues the labor of all workers and preserves an elitist status quo by limiting access to those who can afford to work for free in order to get a foot in the door—and suppressing the voices of students and entry level workers. Interns and other precarious workers have had enough! In this session, participants will share experiences, learn how interns are building power and winning, and strategize building an intern-worker movement in solidarity with contingent worker campaigns and movements for collective liberation.

Freedom Schools and Urban Rebellions
by Free University-NYC

This presentation will define and explore the role of freedom schools in urban rebellions during the 1960s-1970s, with links to our present education/movement work from Baltimore to Ferguson to NYC. Although several examples may come up in the discussion, we’ll mostly focus on the Watts Writers Workshop (1965-73), the Young Lords (1969-1972), and the Combahee River Collective (1974-80).

Improv Meets Activism: The Nuts and Bolts of Healthcare Advocacy
by Kelli Dunham

What do a successful world wrestling federation tag team match and a successful interaction with the health care have in common? No, not a sleeper hold (at least not usually) but rather team-work. In this workshop participants will share either examples they’ve had of interactions with the health care system that had a less than ideal outcome and/or situations they can anticipate being in. The gathered participants will then use equal parts improv, brainstorming, and cheerleading to role play positive and creative tactics to help people who need health care take back power in the described situations.

Marea Granate NY: tools and resources map
by Marea Granate NY

We will make a collective mural-map of tools and resources that can be useful for migrants like Marea Granate. We will introduce Marea Granate NY (The Maroon Wave NY) which is part of Marea Granate, a transnational movement formed by Spanish migrants, who fight from abroad against the causes that originated the economic and social crisis that forced us to leave our country. Our collective was born in the light of other recent social movements in Spain over the last years. We are somehow the extension of them abroad. Our “wave” is maroon like the color of our passports, the symbol of our forced migration. We analyze and denounce the destructive consequences of the current economic system: on one hand, by identifying the causes that have led us to abandon our hometowns, our families and our friends; on the other, by highlighting the hard living conditions that migrants face.

[10 minute break]

Intergenerational Organizing: How to bring kids and parents into activism
by Students for Educational Rights
It will be led by the parents of the “Save CCNY Childcare” campaign at City College. We’ll be talking about our campaign at CCNY, how the kids are the forefront of the work, and how to make organizing inclusive of parents, children and youth.

Love Spam: Sentimental Value and the Gift Economy
by Barbara Browning

A couple of years ago, I initiated an experiment in stimulating a sentimental gift economy. This involved spamming people indiscriminately with hand-made, individually crafted ukulele covers of sentimental songs. Victims ranged from an obesity doctor in Illinois to the anarchist anthropologist David Graeber. I’ll let you know what happened.

New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium
by Ben Katchor, Parsons, The New School for Design

A weekly symposium for artist/writers working in various text-image forms: comics, picture-stories, animation, etc. at which to present and critique current work. The symposium will examine new ideas for the distribution of print and electronic work that move beyond the existing models of publishing and advertising. Special guests: Ben Katchor, Ed Piskor and others.

Poetry Reading – “How to Survive in NYC”

We welcome new and seasoned poets to bring something to read for 5-10 minutes each in front of a supportive public audience. Bring poems that address the theme “How to Survive in NYC.”

Radical alternatives in healthcare
by Care Workers Collective

The sustained attack on our bodies and mental health is spiking to tragic levels of existence. However alternatives are emerging from the most marginalized as well as within traditional healthcare spaces against hierarchical and profit-driven practices. Speakers will share reflections on how participatory modes of workplace organizing, mutual aid, and other radical trajectories of care have confronted police brutality, racism, the prison-industrial complex, and deteriorating labor conditions. Participants and speakers will then form breakout groups discussing next steps that may lead to further encounters, collaborations, and potentials for scaling up existing alternative care practices.

Radical Stencil Design
by Brooke McGowen, Radical Art Initiative

Stencils are one of the favorite tools of street artists, due to their fast application and durability. In the workshop we will look at radical stencils and design a stencil based on your own ideas.

[10 minute break]

Concluding Free University check-in/next steps
Come together to share reflections on this May Day Free University, and to gather ideas for events through the summer and beyond. The future directions of Free University-NYC belong to all of us!
@FreeUnivNYC  #MayDayFreeU

May Day 2015: How to Survive in NYC

May Day Free University 2015
How to Survive in NYC

Friday, May 1st 2015, 11am-2pm
Saturday, May 2nd 2015, 12pm-5pm
Washington Square Park, west side near playground and chess tables.
RSVP/share on Facebook


(Versión en español más abajo)

Our communities are under fire. People of color, queer and trans* folks, religious minorities, and youth are targeted for surveillance and murder by police and vigilantes. Homelessness, gentrification, and sky-high rents push poor and working-class people to the sidelines. Inequalities in health care, employment, and immigration statuses render us vulnerable. Meanwhile, real estate developers, corrupt politicians, and a brutal police force have created an urban playground for the rich.


In the face of top-down attacks on our bodies, our livelihoods, and our commons, the tide has begun to turn: #BlackLivesMatter, anti-eviction struggles, workplace sit-downs and walk-outs, climate marches and direct actions, park occupations… The cry that “another world is possible” has erupted by hundreds of thousands on the streets. Together, we have the power not only to survive, but to thrive. This power rises through mutual aid, direct democracy, and clear visions for alternative futures. We want to know: how can we collectively navigate and resist systems of oppression, create alternative futures, and build the world that we want to live in, here in NYC, in 2015 and beyond. On May 1-2, 2015, Free University-NYC will host a special two-day event to share strategies and tactics for how to survive in New York City.

Anticipated themes:

• How to resist police oppression: Cop-Watch, know your rights, mediation, de-arrests.
• Make ends meet: navigate low-cost, healthy, sustainable lives while creating long-term movements to seize our wealth back from the 1%.
• Emerging labor struggles in the age of militarized neoliberalism and austerity
• The struggle of front-line and immigrant communities in the Rockaways, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Bushwick, The Bronx, and beyond: how to resist gentrification, landlord/tenant struggles, and the climate crisis.
• Urban guerrilla gardening and food distribution.
• Learn from global anti-austerity movements: how to free education, socially strike, and erase debt in NYC.
• Popular literacy, science, and mathematics workshops.
• Own the conversation: defining #BlackLivesMatter in social media, mainstream media, and art.
• Survival strategies from the past: “serve the people” programs by the Black Panthers, the Young Lords, “Jane” underground abortion services, ACT-UP health research labs, immigrant defense networks.
• Document this! Movement archiving spaces and practices.

Fill out this form to propose a training, workshop, dialogue, etc. or to volunteer at the 2015 May Day Free University:

All horizontal, non-hierarchical, and democratic education practices are welcomed and encouraged!

Calling all educators, practitioners, artists, activists! Contribute here your writing, visual art/photography, and reading lists that address issues of urban survival and resistance: We will distribute a short educational pamphlet, an informational poster, and an open curriculum online.


Nuestras comunidades están bajo de fuego. Las personas de color, las personas queer y trans, las minorías religiosas y la juventud están bajo la mira de las autoridades, y son victimizadas y asesinadas tanto por vigilantes como por la policía. La falta de vivienda, la gentrificación y los precios de alquiler por las nubes, marginalizan a las personas pobres y de la clase obrera. Las desigualdades en el acceso a seguro médico, empleo, y estatus migratorio nos vuelven vulnerables. Mientras tanto, los desarrolladores de bienes raíces, los políticos corruptos, y una fuerza policial brutal, han creado prácticamente un patio de recreo urbano para los ricos.


Frente a los ataques de arriba a abajo a nuestros cuerpos, nuestro sustento, y nuestros bienes comunes, un nuevo cambio ha tomado curso: el efecto viral de #BlackLivesMatter, luchas contra el desalojo, huelgas en lugares de trabajo donde trabajadores ocupan los pisos sentados, o simplemente se largan, marchas y acciones en pro del medio ambiente, ocupaciones de parques y otros espacios comunes… El fuerte grito que declara “otro mundo es posible” ha estallado en las calles, lleno de las voces de miles. Juntos, tenemos no sólo el poder para sobrevivir, sino también para triunfar. Este poder se desarrolla a través del apoyo mutuo, democracia directa, y visiones claras para futuros alternativos. Queremos saber: ¿cómo podemos navegar y resister colectivamente estos sistemas de opresión, y crear futuros alternativos, para poder construir el mundo en el cual queremos vivir, tanto ahora en la ciudad de Nueva York del 2015, y más allá. El 1ero de Mayo de 2015, La Universidad Libre-NYC será la anfitriona de una reunión especial de dos días, un evento dirigido a compartir estrategias y tácticas sobre cómo sobrevivir en Nueva York.

Temas anticipados:

-Cómo resistir la opresión policial: Cop-Watch, ‘conozca sus derechos’, mediaciones, maneras de revertir arrestos.
-Cómo vivir bajo presupuesto: explorar estilos de vida de bajo costo, saludables, y sustentables, y al mismo tiempo crear proyectos y movimientos a largo plazo que nos ayuden a recobrar nuestra riqueza de las manos del 1%
-Luchas laborales emergentes en esta era de austeridad y neoliberalismo militarizado
-La lucha de las comunidades de más en riesgo, y comunidades imigrantes en los Rockaways, Sunset Park, Red Hook, Bushwick, el Bronx, y más allá: cómo sobrevivimos y resistimos la gentrificación, las luchas entre inquilinos y propietarios, y la crisis climática.
-Jardinería y sistemas de distribución de alimentos no conformistas o de tipo guerrilla.
-Aprender sobre movimientos anti-austeridad a nivel global: cómo liberar la educación, cómo hacer huelga efectiva y socialmente, y cómo eliminar la deuda en NYC.
-Talleres para promover la alfabetización popular, la ciencia, y las matemáticas.
-Ser dueños de la conversación: definir #BlackLivesMatter en las redes sociales, los medios de comunicación dominantes y tradicionales, y el arte.
-Estrategias de sobrevivencia del pasado: programas como “serve the people” (“servir al pueblo”) de los Black Panthers, los Young Lords; servicios clandestinos de aborto llamados “Jane”; los laboratorios de estudio para la salud de ACT-UP; y redes de defensa para el imigrante.
-“Documenta esto!” un movimiento para archivar espacios y prácticas.

Completa este formulario para proponer un taller, diálogo, entrenamiento etc. o para ofrecer tu ayuda como voluntario a la reunión de la Universidad Libre del 1ero de Mayo de 2015:

Con ánimo damos bienvenida a cualquier tipo de prácticas educativas de tipo horizontal, democráticas y no-jerárquicas!

Hacemos un llamado a todos los educadores, artistas, activistas y practicionantes de estos ideales! Contribuye y comparte aquí tus escritos, arte visual o fotográfico, y/o lista de lecturas que se enfoquen en la sobrevivencia y resistencia urbana: Distribuiremos en línea un corto folleto educativo, afiches informativos, y un currículo abierto.