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We are the 99 percent

On #MayDay: Strike For Education With The Free University!

Posted 11 years ago on April 28, 2012, 2:34 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

The Free University is a collective educational experiment that will be held on May 1, 2012, from 10am-3pm. In solidarity with the general strike, the Free University offers a public space for the 99% to disengage from an unequal system and imagine a model for alternative education. Those gathered in Madison Square Park, and those meeting in other spaces in solidarity, will create a university that is open to all, without debt or tuition for students, without pre-requisites, age limits or any other disqualifying requirements. Learning can only happen through interaction, exchange, and dialogue. To create a living future together, all must be included and welcome.

The Free University is an open invitation to educators around New York City to participate in May Day 2012. During the day, lectures, workshops, skill-shares, and discussions will be held — all open to the public. If you are in solidarity with the general strike but cannot cancel your class, bring it here! We also invite all educators interested in volunteering special sessions and classes for the day. We will have designated spaces for the quieter and more intimate classes.

No single day, park, or effort can contain our vision; instead, we propose and will struggle to make all our universities places of free education, inquiry, and access to knowledge for all. We demand that our society put forward the necessary resources to provide such an education for all.

Free U is a project made in partnership with educators and students from Brooklyn College/CUNY Grad Center/Eugene Lang College/New School for Social Research/Hunter College/ /Pratt Institute/New York University/Queensborough Community College/ Rutgers/Columbia University/Princeton.

Follow on Twitter: @FreeUnivNYC



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[-] 6 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Education should be fully funded by Society. It is Societies investment in it's people who will then contribute to society the benefits from that education. Take out Private for profit as it is not designed to support but to profit from individuals.

[-] 3 points by DCInsider (54) 11 years ago

I agree 100%. But I am curious though, High School is free and everyone is guaranteed a High School education but not everyone takes advantage of that. And is what you are saying is everyone should get free College Education? I only ask because I spent some time working in the UK and higher education like University is free (well there is a nominal fee each term but it is low), but only if you hit certain academic marks. So if you didn't hit certain scores in the equivalent of their High School you would not get accepted to a University. Granted you could go to a Polytechnic and learn a trade like plumbing, etc.

I ask because I was thinking the other day that free is not always good. When you get something for free you dont always properly value it. Take a high school education, where some are indifferent to getting an education. But if you pay for a private education the students are more vested. Its something to think about, free is not always a good thing.

[-] 4 points by ProfessorOccupy (4) 11 years ago

DC: Income inequality and poverty are linked to school failure. It's simplistic to say that people don't "take advantage" of education because it is free, in fact, charging for it will widen the very divide that is linked to school failure. If you want to see more school success, and lower drop-out rates, fight poverty and income inequality, since they are the foundation of school failure which keep the poor in generations of poverty.

[-] 1 points by DCInsider (54) 11 years ago

I was not saying you should charged a ridiculous fee. But for example in the Cal State system going to a CSU is around 5500 a year in tuition. That is really not bad, and when I went there it was about 2500 a year do the price double in 10 years. Now I can't speak with authority on provate universities, but I know friends who have gone and they have said thy received scholarships to help them pay. For example, GW in DC is one of the most expensive undergraduate programs in the Nation. Most graduates has some sort of tuition assistance or scholarship.

I think it is a hasty generalization to say income inequality and poverty are the root of educational problems. That implies that if you are poor that you will always be poor. And I believe that is not the case. For example, there is multiple programs in DC to help people become college bound, like Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and Capital Partners for Education, etc.

I think the issue here is pretty complex it is about how to mentor people to take advantage of opportunities. It is about examining schools that are not meeting a minimum standard of education (teachers always will be against merit or performance pay because they say they can't control the quality of their students). The issue is that our teachers are underpaid and there is no incentive for then to go above and beyond as teachers. But the answer may not be pay them more money, because in DC we have seen that does not always work. So afar does work in DC? Charter schools that most fellow OWSers here don't like. But it works so I don't know what to say about that. Just some of my thoughts.

[-] 3 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

We have a very serious problem. I do not believe free is part of the problem. I do believe it is a social sickness of spreading apathy and despair among the young as they see what is happening in the world around them and say to themselves WTF. The Young often times see more clearly then the adults as they have not placed defensive filters yet. They see the corruption in government and in business, they see the lack of opportunity and see the outsourcing of jobs. They see the failure of their parents in trying to get ahead at work with open eye's. They see though that there are some who are doing very well- but those are doing so at the expense of others. They see a major economic meltdown and understand like we do that this was due to major white collar crime in support of greed and that these criminals have not been brought to justice. They see the wars. They see all of this and more and I think they say why the hell should I bother.

This is another area of healing that this society needs to attend to.


[-] 0 points by badguy (-25) from Baltimore, OH 11 years ago

Yay! Free college for everybody! Free food for everybody! Free houses, free cars, free haircuts, free bubble gum. Maybe you people do need an education. I'm curious. Who do you expect to pay for all of this after this country is bankrupt and you people have successfully exterminated all of the wealthy Americans? I hate to break this to all of the "INTELLECTUALS" on here but a free education is a farce. It seems to me that as long as someone else is working their ass off to pay for your "free" education, you people are all happy as clams. Here's an idea. Work your own ass off for your own education. I will work my ass off for mine.


[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Yes - as your user name suggests - "This" is "Adults" Time. Thank you for advertizing the need for Adult involvement.

How exactly do you see anyone "owning" the product of someones education? Unless someone enters into a contract where they give-up their right to their discoveries - the only owner is the individual.

Are High School Grads owned by society?

Your comment is a non-issue.


[-] 2 points by JadedCitizen (4277) 11 years ago

What is wrong with 'equal' opportunity. Shouldn't everybody have the opportunity to have a higher education or should it only be reserved for the rich and those willing to plunge themselves into massive debt.


[-] 3 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 11 years ago

Not all that long ago (at least it was in my lifetime) the City University was tuition free. It was high ranked too. On top of that if a kid did well on the Regents Scholarship exam she got a stipend that at least covered transportation and lunch. If you got your H.S. diploma at least you got into a free community college. Do well there and move on to one of those very good free four year schools. Not that long ago...

[-] 4 points by DCInsider (54) 11 years ago

I was thinking the same thing about California. My tuition there was maybe 1000 a semester which is pretty much nothing. And my friends who could not fet in went to a Community College and transfered to a UC school after they got their AA. I think you are right if you got a 2.0 you were akmost guaranteed a transfer if your CC had an agreement with a 4 year University. But I think the demand for education outstripped the supply and State budgets took pretty sizable hits so the cost of heavily subsidized education became infeasible for most States.

[-] 1 points by ShubeLMorgan2 (1088) from New York, NY 11 years ago

"the cost of heavily subsidized education became infeasible for most States."

Lots of things changed. Mainly the organized working class including and led by "minority" communities took some pretty big hits and have been down and out for years now. #Occupy might just be the light at the end of the tunnel.

[-] 3 points by believeinequaljustice (3) from South Holland, IL 11 years ago

Many of us college students also work and we pay taxes just like everyone else. We understand that "it is not free". Thank the lord we learn that in our educational system. What we would like is fair pricing so we can be consumers after we finish college, such as purchasing homes, cars, etc; however, if we're already consumed in debt, we are not awarded these opportunities. When you look at economics, many of the college graduates cannot contribute to the economy of the United States because of huge debt. Therefore, before you speak, you should look at the whole picture.



[-] -1 points by Frizzle (520) 11 years ago

Really, that is what you work for, to be a mindless consumer?

[-] 4 points by DCInsider (54) 11 years ago

Please respect the person's opinion. It's not easy juggling University and work. My Dad use to tell me that going to school is like your fulltime job. And most people go to school to get better jobs and be contributors to society. So yes if you are asking do people want to be consumers, absolutely. When you buy goods and services it helps find additional jobs down the supply chain. Basic Econ 101.

[-] 1 points by Frizzle (520) 11 years ago

Consumerism is one of the biggest problems of humanity. We plunder the earth to desperately trying to sustain growing consumption. It's harmful and dangerous for the survival of our species.

So i think it's perfectly fine to address people who still are locked into the mindset that consuming is somehow a good thing.

[-] 1 points by DCInsider (54) 11 years ago

Fair enough. I just get tired of people saying negative things while they talk, txt, post in their iPhone, iPad, or MBP. I think consumerism is extremely healthy. It drives innovation. If people didn't want the mobility to talk while being mobile we never would have mobile phones today or GPSes. You would still be using land lines and street maps to navigate. So Consumerism drives markets to innovate.

Unfortunately, I do not think companies willingly innovate for the public good. I mean there may be a few exceptions. But look at IBM back in the 1960s who laughed at the concept of desktop computers. Preposterous they said, and not only do we have desktops, but laptops, notebooks and now tablets. Just saying consumerism is not a bad thing.




[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23769) 11 years ago

Solidarity to all student occupiers on May Day 2012!

[-] 2 points by Revolutionary (311) 11 years ago

Education must be free.As it is not free that is the main cause the 1% is able to exploit the less educated.

[-] 1 points by DCInsider (54) 11 years ago

How would you propose we fund free education? What do you think the cost would be?

[-] 1 points by Revolutionary (311) 11 years ago

Funding anything needs a proper planning.Governments have to set aside funds for the education of the masses.Otherwise people/masses/99% will have to set up a parallel government in order to do such things.

[-] 1 points by Revolutionary (311) 11 years ago

Governments will have to set aside funds for educating the masses.Otherwise people/masses/99% will have to set up a parallel government in order to cater the basic needs of themselves.

[-] 2 points by Brynin (39) 11 years ago

Wow!! very exciting. I hope sound design is included.

[-] 2 points by Yin7 (44) 11 years ago

YES! This is the world we should live in.


[-] 2 points by amanofnoimportance (82) from Orlando, FL 11 years ago

But online learning and research tools have been around and public for a very long time.

I'm not sure what ground is being broken here.

[-] 2 points by SwissMiss (2435) from Ann Arbor Charter Township, MI 11 years ago

Online classes aren't free. In order to compile the necessary info to learn a profession online for free, one would spend most of their time researching and compiling info. For people like me, I learn much more easily by taking organized classes and lessons.

[-] 1 points by amanofnoimportance (82) from Orlando, FL 11 years ago

You're confusing what I said with online components of a college like WebCT. It is not the same thing.

[-] 1 points by soothsayer (2) 11 years ago

Student Debt March video April 26 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjNtEiUpM8k



[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

It is here - now - today - MAY DAY - Have A GREAT Day Everyone!!!

[-] 1 points by tawbnul (1) 11 years ago

Withdrawal from the system will start with the smartest people who object to the system in principle. They will be joined by the poor people who can no longer survive under the system. The mediocre, older population who is just above the poverty line will not move yet. However, as the smartest people and the poor have left and the system is designed to continue to expand, there is very high pressure in the system to exploit the mediocre, older population and push the population into poverty. As more and more people in the mediocre, older population are pushed into poverty and withdraw from the system, there will be higher and higher pressure in the system to exploit those that remain.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 11 years ago

Care2 from Civil Rights:

Progressive Media Outlets Pledge Coverage Of May Day Protests


May Day, otherwise known as International and Immigrant Workers’ Day, marks the first major resurgence of the Occupy Wall Street movement since massive arrests and police brutality drove most occupations indoors over the winter.


Although OWS has been in full effect since September, 2011, mainstream media outlets have consistently refused to cover its actions, or intentionally distorted coverage by focusing only on participants who thwart the movement’s mandate against violence and vandalism. That’s why more than 25 independent media outlets belonging to The Media Consortium are collaborating to provide coordinated, national coverage of the nationwide May Day strike and other related events.



To assist the movement in spreading its message of social and economic equality on this historic day, Media for the 99 Percent will leverage their existing platforms and reporters to provide coordinated national multimedia coverage, featuring:


An interactive Map: Find out where actions are happening across the country and follow the independent media’s by-the-minute coverage with links to video, audio, photos, and blog reports.

Television and Live Stream Broadcast: Free Speech TV will broadcast live (and live streamed) news coverage throughout the day, featuring reports from around the U.S., as well as in-studio commentary.


Curated Social Media Coverage: Using the Storify platform, Media for the 99 Percent will offer a curated narrative of breaking news via blog updates, along with photos and social media posts from reporters on the ground.

All three content tools are available for embedding by other news outlets and the public.

As a member of The Media Consortium, Care2 Causes is proud to support the efforts of Media for the 99 Percent by continuing to bring you accurate, passionate accounts of occupations across the U.S. and around the world.

Do you trust corporate media tell the story of the May Day actions? Do you trust corporate media to explain the messages of income inequality, workers’ rights, immigrant rights, and more behind these actions? If not, we encourage you to do whatever you can to support the efforts of Media For The 99 Percent.

Read, watch, and share the stories published by members of Media for the 99 Percent on your social media profiles. You can also help by making a financial donation so the coalition can pay its freelancers for their hard work during this event.


Related Reading:

OWS Sustainability To Host May Day Teach-Ins


Occupy The Courts Protesters Seek To End Citizens United


May Day Belongs To The Workers And Their Songs


Read more:

general strike http://www.care2.com/causes/tag/general-strike ,

may day http://www.care2.com/causes/tag/may-day ,

occupy wall street http://www.care2.com/causes/tag/occupy-wall-street ,

ows http://www.care2.com/causes/tag/ows ,

progressive media http://www.care2.com/causes/tag/progressive-media ,

the media consortium http://www.care2.com/causes/tag/the-media-consortium

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/progressive-media-outlets-pledge-coverage-of-may-day-protests.html#ixzz1tRBxEZAg



[-] 2 points by Toka313 (2) 11 years ago

Too worried about being co-opted that they forgot the movement was supposed to co-opt others. And it doesn't help when they all look down on Obama voters.. Hey, elections have consequences. Wake up.


[-] 0 points by gosso920 (-24) 11 years ago

Here's a slogan for you!

"You get what you pay for - FU."

[-] 0 points by boxman (7) from Prospect, KY 11 years ago

Too bad the 1% already beat you to it. High quality education, freely available to anyone, no barriers. www.coursera.org/about.

[-] 3 points by SwissMiss (2435) from Ann Arbor Charter Township, MI 11 years ago

Do they offer degrees, full programs, certificates for free? It looks like they only offer certain classes for free.... and since these are FOR-PROFIT institutions offering them, it's not the same. They're still in business to make a profit.

[-] 1 points by boxman (7) from Prospect, KY 11 years ago

The ability to make a profit is what pulled society out of serfdom. I don't understand how eliminating profit does any good. Somebody has to be making a profit in order for an economy to even exist. Regardless of that, what does it matter; the classes are offered to anyone for free. Certificates of completion are available to those who complete the course with passing grades.

Coursera represents concrete change and progress towards the goal of making high quality education accesible to all people. The courses are outstanding, I've taken a few myself, and they were completely free. OWS has done nothing but march, chant, and whine, and as evidenced by your response, attack anything that ows didn't conceive even when it moves towards their goals. Meanwhile the rest of us move on.

[-] 1 points by DCInsider (54) 11 years ago

SwissMiss it may not be free but as I have posted before tuition at a lot of State Schools is pretty reasonable and a AA first makes it even cheaper. For example you can get an AA at Santa Monica Community College for about $2000 (total cost) and transfer to UCLA and graduate there after 2 more years for $28,000. I know you are thinking that is a lot, but the total tuition would be $30,000 for 4 years of college and if you qualify you can get Pell Grant for $5000 a year knocking out of pocket tuition down to $18,000 (not sure if they will give you the full amount if you are going community college). But Stafford Loans could make up the balance at a low interest rate. So graduating from UCLA could be very well possible and moderately affordable to most Californians.

Should UCLA be free? Absolutely not. If you want cheaper options go to a California State University. Their tuition is about 5500 a year. Which a Pell Grant would cover if you qualified, but again you could do an AA and cut the cost down substantially. If you are top scholar in HS the Universities offer their own scholarships and grants as well.



[-] -1 points by Safe (-2) from Memphis, TN 11 years ago

Teachers and musicians should not get paid. They should teach or play for the enjoyment of their craft. I do!!!!

[-] 3 points by SwissMiss (2435) from Ann Arbor Charter Township, MI 11 years ago

That could be said about ANYONE in ANY profession. Why should only teachers and musicians do their crafts for free, when it takes money to live on?