Want to learn how to change the world without having to set foot in a regular classroom? Opportunities abound this summer. Depending on your tastes, you can find workshops and discussions that range from the very theoretical to the intensely practical, from the urban to the outdoors.
The Brecht Forum
An anchor of the New York left, the Brecht Forum is always a go-to place in the summer. Starting June 4, well-traveled “Zapagringo” blogger R.J. Maccani will lead a four-part class on the Zapatistas and connections that can be made between their efforts in Mexico and struggles here in the United States. The Brecht’s intensive three-day course on Marxism will be held from July 11 to 13 and will focus on the relationship of capitalism to the current global food crisis.
This summer also marks the third year of the “Black August Visual Liberation Series,” which will be held throughout the month of August. Through films, classes and seminars, participants will learn about black revolutionary theory. “People come to the Brecht Forum … to learn more about what it means to be an activist,” says Kazembe Balagun, Brecht’s outreach coordinator, “[and] to deepen their understanding of Marxism and history, to network with like minds … and [to] get exposed to different movements that they hadn’t acknowledged before.” For more information, visit brechtforum.org.
The Union for Radical Political Economics
With the economy tanking and prices busting through the roof, why not run to the woods in mid-August and find out what the dissident economists at the Union for Radical Political Economics have to say about the situation? This year’s conference will be held at beautiful Camp Deer Run in Pine Bush, N.Y., at the foot of the Shawangunk Mountains. When you aren’t learning about the current economic crisis, the reasons for scapegoating immigrant laborers, community-based alternative economics and much, much more, you can enjoy full recreational facilities plus spectacular hiking trails. There will also be music performances by Soul Purpose and a radical folk music session. For more information, visit urpe.org.
War Resisters League
Tired of marching in circles at antiwar demonstrations? The War Resisters League (WRL) will be training people how to use revolutionary nonviolence and direct action to stop the war during a weeklong camp from June 23 to 29 in Voluntown, Conn. The camp is “going to try to develop strategies in linking various struggles, [make] connections around multiple issues and [look at] how we begin to see these issues as part of a larger system … [the] military-industrial complex,” says Sarah Husain, WRL’s organizing coordinator. For more information, visit warresisters.org.
Northeast Climate Confluence
With the planet’s heating-and-cooling system breaking down, people from diverse movements will gather in High Falls, N.Y., from July 30 to Aug. 3 to share tactics and strategies for grassroots-based organizing to mitigate the affects of climate change. While most people will be camping out for the week, special accommodations have been made to ensure that the space is comfortable for folks of all ages and needs. For more information, visit climateconfluence.org.
Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute
Get your hands in the dirt! The folks at the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute know how to live sustainably and in harmony with the land. Various courses are tailored to people’s levels of interest and experience. City-dwellers will find the Urban Permaculture Weekend Series of interest. A more intensive two-week course will give participants “critical thinking and design skills to plan and implement permanent culture for farms, homes, gardens, communities and the planet,” according to staff member Michael Burns. For more information, visit fingerlakespermaculture.org.