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Free University in Solidarity with May 1 General Strike
New York, NY (27 April 2012): This May Day, a coalition of students and faculty from Brooklyn College, Columbia University, the CUNY Graduate Center, Eugene Lang College, Hunter College, New School for Social Research, New York University, the Occupy University, and Princeton University are collaborating to produce a “collective educational experiment” to be held on Tuesday, 1 May from 10am to 3pm. The action is in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street’s call for a General Strike and a day without the 99%.
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.
The Free University is an expression of collective desires for educational justice and for knowledge to be a genuine commons and a collaborative process—not a source of profit. It is a call for free access to education at all levels and for all people, and for an educational system emancipated from the shackles of racism, patriarchy, homophobia and all other forms of oppression. The Free University is an open invitation to students, educators, workers, citizens, and non-citizens to join in a conversation about what education could be. The Free University calls for change.
During the day, lectures, workshops, skill-shares, discussion and a plethora of classes (from computer programming to drawing classes, horizontal pedagogy, English as a Second Language classes, lectures on the prison system, and much more) will be held—all free and open to the public. 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.
For more information on May Day and how to participate, or to view a schedule of classes, please click here.
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