Mohawk Valley Freedom School Launches Series of Classes with Screening of Powerful Film on Jamaica

by Mohawk Valley Freedom School/Press Release

The Mohawk Valley Freedom School and members of the IWW are hosting a series classes, workshops, discussions and film screenings this summer. This educational series will launch on Thursday, July 27, 2017 at 7:00pm with the screening of the acclaimed award-winning documentary Life and Debt (2001), directed by Stephanie Black. Freedom School classes are held at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY.

The film will be shown in light of the recent deportation of Utica resident Ricky Morgan to Jamaica. Life and Debt investigates the devastating economic situation and grueling poverty that plagues Jamaica. Following the screening of the film, a discussion will be held about Jamaica, mass migration, neo-colonialism and capitalism. Freedom School educators hope that this discussion will give some background to why Ricky and others like him fled the poverty of Jamaica, only to be forced back in that same poverty twenty years later by a government and economic system responsible for creating this systemic poverty.

According to Wikipedia:

Life and Debt is a 2001 American documentary film directed by Stephanie Black. It examines the economic and social situation in Jamaica, and specifically the impact thereon of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank’s structural adjustment policies. Its starting point is the essay A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid.

These loans were conditional on structural adjustment policies, which required Jamaica to enact major economic reforms, including trade liberalization, privatization, and deregulation. However, the reforms were not successful; the film claims the reforms left Jamaica with $4.6 billion in debt. The film blames the World Bank and the IMF for causing this situation.

The film features a number of interviews with former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley in which he critiques the system of International Financial Institution loans. He is particularly critical of required structural adjustments as an attack on the sovereignty of many former colonial nations and suggests the system is akin to imperialism or neocolonialism.

If anyone is interested in learning more about the Mohawk Valley Freedom School, attending classes or teaching classes and workshops, please contact: 315-732-2382 or

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