The Free University of NYC
Madison Square Park, Manhattan
This day-long Free University is being conceived as a form of education strike in which we, a city-wide coalition of students and faculty, will simultaneously withdraw our labor from an increasingly privatized, securitized, and exploitative educational system and redirect our energies towards a vision of what education could be. The May Day strike and Free University will intervene in a dysfunctional, inequitable, and inaccessible system and will offer instead education that is open, free, and accessible to all. It is a strike against all forms of oppression and the perpetuation of class, racial, and gender inequalities within the contemporary universities. It is a strike which demands an educational system that actually serves the public’s needs and desires. It is a strike against the rising and unmanageable burden of national student debt. And above all, it is a strike which envisions a world in which students, educators, and the wider public may become decision-makers in their collective future.
Anyone may sign up to hold any kind of class or skill share. Anyone may attend. All are invited and encouraged to participate by attending a class or volunteering to lead class based on their own knowledge, skills, or experiences. Finally, faculty from universities around New York who may be contractually prohibited from striking, are encouraged to move their classes off campuses and into the park in solidarity with the General Strike.
Educators have scheduled over forty workshops, classes, and collective experiences during the five hour educational experiment. Attendees will be introduced to movements such as Take Back the Land, which has been occupying foreclosed housing; radical student organizing within the City University of New York (CUNY); and indigenous environmentalism. Other workshops focus on creating new ways of living, from permaculture to open access academic publishing, from nonviolent communication to immigration relief for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.