by The Big Conversation

The Big Conversation Series is starting up again this fall in Utica with a lecture dubbed A People’s History of Utica. The event will take place on Wednesday, September 26 at 7:30pm at The Other Side (2011 Genesee Street, next to Cafe Domenico).  This presentation and lecture will be given by Utica native, Adjunct Professor of History, IWW union organizer, and member of the Black Rose Anarchist Federation Brendan Maslauskas Dunn.

It may be hard to imagine today, but Utica was once a hotbed of radical and revolutionary activity. In the early 1900s, a mass movement of socialists, anarchists, and labor activists called this city home. The Italian Socialist Federation held their national convention in Utica in 1911, members of the revolutionary union the Industrial Workers of the World, or “Wobblies” as they were called, organized immigrant workers locally and launched strikes, anarchists set up a library and activist hub on Bleecker street, and Italian radicals had pitched battles in the streets of Utica with Italian fascists. A national strike wave swept through neighboring towns and eventually landed in Utica in 1919. World renown revolutionaries such as 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. Utica was once home to both Juliet Stuart Poyntz who was one of the founders of the US Communist Party and Max Farrar who joined the Spanish Revolution to fight fascism.

The local political and business establishment were so threatened by these radicals, many of them Italian immigrants, that they spied on them, arrested them, used the police and vigilantes to shoot and arrest them, and raided their radical headquarters in town. This powerful presentation will provide a glimpse into the events and ideas that shaped Utica’s radicals. A different, relatively unknown history of those with dreams and visions of a different Utica and a better world, will unravel during this event. A subaltern, radical, revolutionary… one would say a people’s history of Utica will be unearthed, not just to learn from our past but make sense of the city and world we inherited and what we can do make the dreams of a not too distant past a reality today.

For more information or to reserve your seat, please contact 315-735-4825 or kodomenico@verizon.net. This event is free and open to the public.

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