A People’s History of Utica Event to Take Place at MVCC

by Utica IWW

On Thursday, January 25, 2018 a lecture dubbed “A People’s History of Utica” will take place at Mohawk Valley Community College at the Utica campus. The event will take place in the Alumni College Center (ACC) in room 116 and will run from 7:00pm to 8:30pm. The event, which is a part of the college’s Cultural Series and Diversity and Global Views programs, and is also sponsored by the Utica IWW and Mohawk Valley Freedom School is free and open to the public. The lecture will be given by IWW organizer and Adjunct Professor of History Brendan Dunn. This event is the first of several that will give an in-depth look at social movements and revolutions. The next event will be a panel discussion on Immigrant and Refugee justice and activism.

Utica has a rich history of populist, immigrant and radical social movements, from indigenous resistance to settler occupation, to the abolitionist movement to rise of the New Left during the rebellion of the 1960s-70s. Little, however, is known of the radical history of Utica during the early 1900s. During this raucous time in Utica’s past, Italian socialists held a national convention in Utica, members of the revolutionary union the Industrial Workers of the World, or “Wobblies” as they were called, launched strikes, anarchists set up a library and activist hub on Bleecker street, and Italian socialists had pitched battles in the streets of Utica with Italian fascists, culminating into one major riot. Utica was once home to Juliet Stuart Poyntz who was one of the founders of the US Communist Party. She was later kidnapped and disappeared by Stalinist assassins when they heard she was going to reveal an expose on the crimes of Stalinists at home and abroad. Anarchist Emma Goldman, Wobblies Big Bill Haywood and Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, anarchist and Wobbly Carlo Tresca who was later assassinated by the mafia, and the socialist “Black Socrates” Hubert Harrison all came to Utica because it was a destination of radical activism. The authorities were so threatened by these radicals, many of them Italian immigrants, that they spied on them, arrested them and raided their radical headquarters in town.

This presentation and lecture by Adjunct Professor and IWW organizer Brendan Dunn will unveil this exciting and relatively unknown “people’s history” of Utica as attendees learn more about Italian and other immigrant radicals, Communists, socialists, anarchists and Wobblies.

This event will be held at MVCC’s Utica Campus – Alumni College Center, Room 116. This event is port of the college’s DGV series. Contact Brendan Dunn at for more information about the event.

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