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 FreeUniversityNYC@gmail.com

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 (http://goo.gl/NCckqg). 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” (http://goo.gl/m7douE)


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: rashidmod.com]

“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 lavaca.org 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”: http://www.AVPNY.org/?qnode/10

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: http://stopmassincarceration.net/


“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.

Sun 5/25: “Remaking Justice beyond Police, Courts, and Prisons” Free University

us prison map

The Free University of New York City invites your contribution to a special community education event, “Remaking Justice beyond Police, Courts, and Prisons,” on Sunday, May 25. We’re coordinating this event in solidarity with the Justice for Cecily McMillan campaign (http://justiceforcecily.com/), 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. We wish to create a safe movement space to share histories, practices, and updates on these related struggles, and to envision concrete steps toward transformative justice.

“Remaking Justice beyond Police, Courts, and Prisons”
Free University
Sunday, May 25, 2:30pm-6pm
Battery Park, Manhattan
(4/5 to Bowling Green, R to Whitehall, 1 to South Ferry)
To contribute a workshop, or to volunteer, please fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ax8W9zn6ttnRUjpvmsEo4siWH3trEb-LpIDRODpi_Z4/viewform
If you cannot join us, stay connected with our ongoing study/actions. Check our website for regular updates, and spread the word by sharing our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/670281353021871/For more information, to suggest folks to contact for doing a workshop, or to participate in co-creating this event, please email FreeUniversityNYC@gmail.com

heading image credit: rashidmod.com

May Day Free U reflections & May 10 Picnic

free u sat may 10 picnic
What an amazing May Day yesterday. Tremendous gratitude and respect to everyone who participated in the multiple Free University activities that happened. Please check out (and continue posting!) pics and reflections of the 3rd annual NYC May Day Free U in Madison Square Park , and 2nd annual May Day Free U in Stony Brook. The Free U model was also recently used on Earth Day at Columbia’s Earth University, and elsewhere on May Day at SUNY New Paltz and University of Sheffield in London.

Next up on Saturday, May 10, we’ll have a *Free U summer visions picnic* at Tompkins Square Park. Meet at the Hare Krishna tree with food and ideas to share. We’ll discuss summer activities already in the works and new project collaborations.
Also, during the May 30-June 1 NYC Left Forum, members of the Brisbane Free University (Australia), La Universidad de la Tierra (Oaxaca, Mexico), and Free University-NYC will discuss “Freedom Learning Practices.” Please contact FreeUniversityNYC@gmail.com for more details!

Schedule & Map for NYC May Day Free University

3rd annual MAY DAY FREE UNIVERSITY in Madison Square Park
Workshop Schedule: https://freeuniversitynyc.org/schedule-2/
Map: https://freeuniversitynyc.org/map-madison-square-park/

***WEATHER UPDATE: Rain or shine, it’s time to get free! We’re aware of the forecast for rain on Thursday morning, and are carefully watching weather predictions. It seems that the rain will clear up by late morning when we begin. Just in case, we ask you to bring umbrellas and plastic bags for sitting on the park benches.***

Arts, Crafts, Food, Care, Info Hub

Children’s Art Zone and Free Store

both near Statue of Admiral Farragut at north central end of the park


May Day Free University Welcome and Statement of Intention


Susan Angus, Commission on Voluntary Service and Action
“How the 1% Still keeps the 99% Disorganized: How To Change That”
Circle A
This class will elucidate how the 1% become the 1% and stay there; how the 99% continue to be disorganized while growing poorer and poorer; and organizing strategies that are successful in turning this around.

Eric Darton, Harry Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies
“The Dao of New York”
Circle B
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 is about regrounding ourselves in the practice of, action by action, conversation by conversation, learning a new art for defending our communities and mobilizing the energies within ourselves and the city as a whole.

Simone Kolysh, CUNY Graduate Center
“Raising Feminist, Gender-Critical Children”
Circle C
This class will discuss how to break down sex/gender/sexuality in the West to your children in order to raise them with an intersectional, feminist viewpoint. Specific examples and conversation starters will be provided. This is for everyone who wants to support their children’s developing gender identities outside the strict gender binary.

Max Liboiron, Superstorm Research Lab
“Mutual Aid Research Models and Methods”
Circle D
Mutual aid is characterized by solidarity (fellowship arising from common responsibilities and interests) and reciprocity (mutual, though not necessarily symmetrical, exchange). A mutual aid model does not only seek to “do no harm,” it also strives to reciprocate, to respond, and to cooperate. It takes the processes and practices of research, not only its results, as a place to do meaningful normative & activist work. We will discuss some existing models and resources for transforming research ethics, methodologies, and methods for mutual aid and how they might be useful to attendees.

Fury Young, Die Jim Crow
“Music and the New Jim Crow”
Circle E
The class will begin with a history of mass incarceration and how it has affected African American communities. We will look at this history through the lens of the “New Jim Crow,” a la Michelle Alexander’s book. From there, we will discuss a music project called Die Jim Crow, a concept album of songs written and performed by formerly and currently incarcerated black musicians. We may also compose a song by the end of the class.


Tal Beery and Noah Fischer, Occupy Museums
“The Occupied Museum”
Circle A
Join Occupy Museums for an action planning session and discussion on the possibilities of bringing effective politics to the museum space. We start with a short presentation on our top tactics developed since 2011, including a discussion of our recent actions at the Guggenheim (with G.U.L.F., MTL, and Gulf Labor), and kick off a brainstorm on new museum occupation strategies. We will end by collectively cooking up a concrete occupation of a major New York museum. Stay later to continue the conversation and participate in a collective painting.

James Cersonsky, Young Worker Media Project
“Building the Young Worker Media Project”
Circle B
Everyone agrees, in some sense, that young workers are the future of labor. But that doesn’t guarantee us a voice in the movement, let alone at the workplace—or in broader public discourse. How can we take media into our own hands? And how can we coordinate it to bring together workers, students, and organizers across generations? Join the Young Worker Media Project to power-map the mediascape, discuss next steps for building a national committee, and brainstorm collaborative possibilities for using media—all kinds of media, from podcasting, to shopfloor writing, to spoken word—for rank-and-file movement building.

Liliana Gomez, South Mountain Co-op
“Democratic Free School Education”
Circle C
How can democratic education and schools empower students, facilitate democracy and create horizontalism? Come learn how democratic schools are paving the way for a new society.

Ben Katchor, NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium
“New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium”
Circle D
A discussion group for artist/writers working in various text-image forms: comics, picture-stories, animation, etc. at which to present and critique their 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.

Anthony O’Brien, Secretary of International Committee, PSC-CUNY
“Education Commons in a Haitian Town”
Circle E
Radical students & community youth in a small town in southern Haiti come together to run Third-Cinema-type film screenings & discussions in the town square, music & performance, & practical organizing workshops about water, cholera, and political economy. Reversing the brain drain to the cities; claiming extra-institutional access to education; bringing organized thinking from the capital city to one’s hometown.

Making Worlds
“Health – Care/transformative commons practices”
Circle G
We will have a conversation on transformative practices of health and care in North and South, looking at and learning from the different struggles that have been taking place in the city.


Ilona Bito
“Ballet on the Barricades”
Circle G
Ballet Barre follows a traditional class structure to prepare for dancing, sensing the body and moving together. By engaging with the barricades as barres, we transform the boundaries of the park into a new space for learning and expression. 40 minutes, no experience necessary. Musicians are invited to accompany.

CUNY Divest
“CUNY taking action on climate change: DIVEST.”
Circle B
A discussion on the gargantuan task of organizing around climate change at the nation’s largest public urban university: CUNY. Students, alumni and faculty have come together from various CUNY schools to demand that the university DIVEST it’s stocks in fossil fuel companies were are exacerbating the climate change crisis. We have been met with “no”s and disregard from administration, but we have continued to organize with significant support from many students governments and the PSC union of 25,000 CUNY staff and faculty. Join us for a discussion on our work so far, the state of climate change, and what organizing across CUNY has been like. CUNY students are very encouraged to attend!

Nichole Davari, Marymount Manhattan College
“The Mismeasure of Poverty”
Circle A
My class will explore the criticisms of the current official U.S. poverty measure for adequacy and its failure to meet the needs of people. Numerous efforts at reform have been tried, but the United States government has been unresponsive. In my class I will propose that by collecting compelling narratives of those who are classified as living under the poverty line the urgent need for reform of the measurement will become obvious. I expect to create awareness of the incompetent measurement and answer why the classification of “poor” has been unchanged since 1969.

Intern Labor Rights
“What does a just internship look like? Deconstructing the intern economy”
Circle C
What are the rights of interns? How does the intersection of education, professional development, and compensation connect to broader issues of labor exploitation? Come join Intern Labor Rights in a collective exploration of what a “just” internship looks like through legal analyses, group story-sharing & visioning, and strategy-building!

Brooke McGowen, Radical Art Initiative
“Radical Design”
Circle D
We will study examples of political posters from historical revolutions and discuss their powerful visual effect. Then each student will create a design to illustrate a relevant issue from today. Please bring drawing materials or tablet, etc.

Lorenzo Raymond, New York Year Zero
“Diversity of Tactics in the Civil Rights Movement 1963-1964”
Circle E
Popular history characterizes the civil rights struggle as part of what historian Andrew Hartman calls the “good sixties” – a period when social movements were supposedly pacifistic and innately moderate–but the scholarly consensus is coming to agree that the Black freedom movement did not win its greatest victories until it resorted to radical and diverse tactics. CUNY historian Jeanne Theoharis recently wrote of “a dramatic shift in Civil Rights historiography… a host of new scholarship that, over the past decade, has… ushered a new set of characters and events to the stage and then begun to rewrite the entire play…the variety of tools employed in the fight for social change…reveal the “good” movement (1954-1965) only succeeded through its militant stepchild (Black Power).”

In the months leading up to “I have a dream” and President Kennedy’s proposal of the Civil Rights Act, blacks in Birmingham exploded in insurrection; even as the iconic pictures of pacifists bombarded with fire hoses were being taken, Life magazine photographer Charles Moore was injured by a brick thrown by a protester, intended for a fireman. The following month, blacks and whites exchanged gunfire in Cambridge, Maryland and Lexington, North Carolina; bottles flew at police in Jackson, Mississippi and buildings burned in Savannah, Georgia. The placid March on Washington was in many ways a victory celebration of a summer of rebellion that had put the country on notice. The months when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 wound its way through Congress, and when Malcolm X gave his “Ballot or the Bullet” speech throughout the country, were marked by similar confrontation.

As the mainstream media presents its sanitized retrospective of the movement in this era of civil rights anniversaries, join Lorenzo Raymond for a reclamation of People’s history and a salute to the mass militancy that changed America.

Juan Romero
“Drum Circle”
Circle H
We will jam out and share our energy through music!


Marea Violeta
“Women inJustice: Solidarity with Marissa Alexander”
Circle F
We will have a discussion on the situation of women and justice, focusing on the case of Marissa Alexander. Please, bring paper, colors, as we will create works of solidarity that we will send to Marissa in order to show her our solidarity and support. For more info, contact us: mareavioletanyc@gmail.com


Jeanne Flavin and Kylee Sunderlin, Fordham University/National Advocates for Pregnant Women
“Reproductive Justice & Resistance to the Drug War”
Circle A
From criminal justice to the civil child welfare system to mass media, we will explore the ways in which the U.S. drug war has been used to justify the punishment of pregnant people and their families, & offer concrete strategies for organizing drug war resistance.

Amin Husain, TIDAL
“Gentrification, Displacement, and Capitalism’s Accumulation by Dispossession”
Circle B
We will look at gentrification not only as an isolated socio-historic process rooted in white supremacy, but also in its broader context and global framework as a capitalist move of accumulation by dispossession. We will also talk about new initiatives being worked on as we speak to resist gentrification citywide with liberating territory, taking direct action, building communities of resistance and food sovereignty capacity, as well as solidarity economies.

Angela Mellon
“Herbs for Hormonal Gender Transition”
Circle D
Come learn about which plants support the mind and body through hormonal gender transition. What body systems do estrogen and testosterone therapy affect? How can herbs nourish those systems and restore balance if lost? This is a beginner herbalism workshop intended for trans* folks and their lovers, friends, and healers.

Carol Smith, PSC-CUNY
“Student Activism at CCNY in the 1930s: Lessons for Today”
Circle E
CCNY in the years of the Great Depression was a major center of student activism which led to the formation of two national organizations, the National Student League, and the American Student Union. These students fought to maintain free tuition, to remove ROTC from campus and campaigned for financial aid and job programs from the federal government.

Cynsei Sohbet
“Dancing for Freedom”
Circle H
Inspiring, motivating, and mobilizing – this was the magic of the music inspired by the Civil Rights Movement lead by artists in all genres of music. From the church-based hymns of the Freedom Singers to the popular music of Motown, music was the “soul of the movement” according to Martin Luther King Jr. and a participatory experience that gave Civil Rights organizers and activists strength and a sense of community. DANCING FOR FREEDOM continues this legacy of strength and community through music AND dance. “People Get Ready” because “A Change is Gonna Come”, so come and “Respect” that beat and move those feet! The dance class is open to all ages and experience levels.


Gather at the Admiral Farragut statue for final words of celebration. Then we’ll walk together to the May Day rally and march at Union Square.

*Free University picnic + summer visioning session*
Saturday, May 12, 12pm
Tompkins Square Park

*“Freedom Learning Practices: From Brisbane to NYC to Oaxaca”*
Left Forum panel featuring members of the Brisbane Free University (Australia), Free University-NYC, and Unitierra (Oaxaca, Mexico)
May 30-June 1


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
RSVP/share on facebook
Contribute activity/volunteer

May Day Free University at SUNY Stony Brook
RSVP/share on facebook
Contribute activity/volunteer


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 FreeUniversityNYC@gmail.com


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: