MV Freedom School April Class Schedule

by MV Freedom School


4/1 – COINTELPRO: The War on Civil Rights, taught by Alicia McWilliams and Derek Scarlino

This is the final class on the Civil Rights Movement unit (rescheduled from 3/25). Alicia and Derek will talk about COINTELPRO, the FBI’s ‘counterintelligence program’ headed by J. Edgar Hoover. The program sought to disrupt and destroy the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left during the 1960s and 70s. COINTELPRO was most fiercely directed against groups like the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement and resulted in assassinations of members of the groups and imprisonment of key members. Alicia and Derek will also discuss the legacy of COINTELPRO and modern forms of domestic spying activities.


SONY DSC4/8 – “We Are All Leaders” – A Discussion on Grassroots Leadership and Popular Education, discussion led by Brendan M. Dunn

Brendan will lead a discussion on what leadership means. He will give a brief history of bottom-up forms of leadership. Students will look at the “group-centered leadership” advocated by Ella Baker in the Civil Rights Movement, the concept that “we are all leaders” that Wobblies (members of the IWW labor union) and other union activists promoted in the 1930s, as well as the “horizontalism” advocated by groups ranging from Argentinian workers to the indigenous Mayan Zapatistas. Students will also discuss what popular education is.


dronessyr4/15 – “The Drones Are Coming: Why Central New York Should Care”, a guest lecture by Ed Kinane and Anne Tiffany of the Syracuse Peace Council

Kinane and Tiffany are both members of the Upstate Drone Activist organization and will speak about domestic and international aspects of the use of drones. The forum will focus on drones across the world by the United States military, significant civilian casualties resulting from drone attacks, domestic surveillance and privacy concerns, and implications for international law and human rights. Both Kinane and Tiffany have served time in federal prison for their nonviolent civil defiance against the Pentagon’s School of the Americas in Fort Benning, GA. Tiffany spearheaded an effort to have the City Council pass a resolution banning the use of drones without warrants in the skies of Syracuse.


guthrie4/22 – Social Justice and Music, taught by Jim Roberts

Jim will discuss the role of music in resistance movements. He will include both the labor movement and the abolitionist struggle. He will also look at the 20th century with a focus on the folk revival of the 1960s and hip hop. Students will listen to, discuss and perhaps even sing a number of songs. Students will also talk about the IWW’s Little Red Song Book. Come to this class if you want to learn about social justice in a four-part harmony!


4/29 – May Day! – A History and Discussion of May First, taught by Brendan M. Dunn

The first of May is celebrated all over the world as May Day, or International Worker’s Day. Although its roots are in the US, it is not acknowledged the same way it is the world over. Brendan will discuss the origins of May Day and will focus on the mass movement of Chicago launched by the Chicago anarchists, the Eight Hour Movement and the eventual execution of the Haymarket martyrs. Students will discuss topics ranging from unions and immigration, to how May Day is celebrated in places around the world.


The Mohawk Valley Freedom School is a school dedicated to social justice and social change. It is run by and for the community and is rooted in popular education.

The Mohawk Valley Freedom School is held every Wednesday at the Cornerstone Community Church at 500 Plant Street in Utica. Classes are from 7:00-8:30pm with a free dinner at 6:30pm. Please contact 732-2382 or

This class is free and open to the public and to people of all ages and backgrounds.

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