The Baltimore Free School

The Baltimore Free School is a grassroots, collectively run and community-funded project, with a classroom inside Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse at 30 W. North Ave. Building upon a long tradition of horizontal organizing, collaborative learning and participatory education, we believe that the empowerment of people of all ages and backgrounds to share and learn is vital to the health of any community. To that end, we work toward creating a space where the exchange of ideas can occur without the exchange of money; a space where we can learn to relate to each other in new and meaningful ways. By building this infrastructure, we hope to form a microcosm of the world in which we want to live.

Click here to get started submitting a proposal. If you want to get involved with organizing the Free School, or have any questions about the project or the course process, please contact us at freeschool@redemmas.org.

Take a course

Every course offered through the Baltimore Free School is 100% free of charge to learners. Sign up online today!

Teach a course

Anyone can teach a course or organize a discussion or workshop at the Free School; propose one right now!

Support the BFS

Get involved as a volunteer organizer or make a tax-deductible donation to help us keep the doors open.

More info

Information on renting the space for private meetings, our consensus-based collective structure, our history and more.

Upcoming Courses

    • Thu, Apr 20 @ 6:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Health and Society

    "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely   the absence of disease or infirmity"   -World Health Organization

     

    Despite being one of the wealthiest nations in the world and spending a great deal of money on healthcare, the health status of our nation is suboptimal. Why is that?

    In this course we will explore the interplay between the way our society is structured and our state of health as one explanation for this quesiton.

    • Sat, Apr 01 @ 12:00 PM
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    Community accountability through the eyes of a survivor of abuse

    A dialogue between survivors and allies on what community accountability looks like. 

    • Sun, May 21 @ 4:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Sustainable Cycles: An Introduction to Reusable Menstrual Products and Bicycle Touring

    Calling all #periodposse! Sustainable Cycles will be biking through Baltimore offering a workshop about reusable menstrual products and bicycle touring!

    • Sun, Apr 02 @ 5:00 PM
    • Sun, Apr 09 @ 5:00 PM
    • Sun, Apr 23 @ 5:00 PM
    • and 5 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    Meditation

    I will hold a safe space for your to explore your breath, your mind, and your emotions. Together we will pay attention, non-judgmentally, to the present moment. We will breathe in different ways,  direct our focus to different things, and explore various meditation practices. Then, we will share our thoughts and experiences of the practice.

     

    Everyone is welcome. You do not need any prior experience with meditation, and you don't have to be able to sit cross-legged.

    • Tue, Apr 11 @ 6:00 PM
    • Tue, Apr 18 @ 6:00 PM
    • Tue, Apr 25 @ 6:00 PM
    • and 3 more sessions
    (North Ave classroom)

    Yoga for Ex-Offenders

    6 week Introduction to Yoga for Formally Incarcerated Individuals in Baltimore beginning April 11, 2017 from 6-7pm and reoccurring each Tuesday.

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    Let's Talk: Intimate Partner Abuse Part IV

    Intimate partner abuse is a public health issue and has been affecting millions of people. We are coming together to continue our journey of healing together through storytelling. We hope to see you all there!!

    • Sun, Apr 09 @ 11:00 AM
    • Sun, May 21 @ 11:00 AM
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    Literary Review and Criticism of Multicultural Books

    This class will focus on the reading, discussion and critique of fiction and non–fiction books about the many cultures that make up America and the world.

    • Sat, May 13 @ 10:00 AM
    • Sat, Apr 01 @ 10:00 AM
    • Sat, Apr 15 @ 10:00 AM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    Marxist Theory and Working Class History

    MARXIST THEORY AND WORKING CLASS HISTORY Speak Out Now will host a series of six classes on Marxist theory and working class history for people who want to understand better the need for and possibilities of revolutionary change.  We will expect participants to attend on a regular basis in order to facilitate the integration of theory and practice.   

    Each two-hour session will include a central topic (listed below) as well as--time permitting--current events and related opportunities for action.

    The topics include: - Marxist Philosophy - Marxist Political Economy - The Paris Commune - The Russian Revolution - The American Working Class Upheaval of the 1930s - The American Working Class Today and the Prospects for Socialist Revolutionaries   The discussions will be led by a socialist organizer rooted in Baltimore who is a part-time college faculty member. 

    For more information, contact Bob at speakoutbaltimore@aol.com.

     

    • Thu, Mar 30 @ 6:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    LGBTQ Sensitivity workshop for Religious Leaders

    —1. To provide an honest and scholarly sharing of knowledge about sexuality, stigma, transcended internal homophobia, and how to denounce those “crippling powers” and “empower us” as religious leaders to move forward and provide a “safer space” in our religious institutions for all humanity that we might reach fullest potential as the Creator desires.  —

    2. How to broaden our understanding so we might become allies for all humanity regardless of: race, creed, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation, religion, but especially LGBTQ persons who are and or desire to have a greater spiritual encounter with the Eternal.    a. Use of Proper pronouns

    b. Understanding Gender Expression vs Gender Identity vs Gender Assignment

    c. Use of Proper Vocabulary    

    • Sun, Apr 23 @ 2:00 PM
    • Sun, May 28 @ 2:00 PM
    • Sun, Jun 25 @ 2:00 PM
    • and 1 more session
    (North Ave classroom)

    Baltimore Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)

    The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States, and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International. DSA's members are building progressive movements for social change while establishing an openly democratic socialist presence in American communities and politics.

    We are activists committed to democracy as not simply one of our political values but our means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives. We call this vision democratic socialism — a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.
     

    WE MEET EVERY 4th SUNDAY OF THE MONTH

    Our Facebook page:
    https://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreDSA/

    Our Email:
    baltimoredsa@gmail.com

    • Sat, Apr 01 @ 5:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Technology, Value, and the World System

    Technology, Value, and the World System: A Reading Group at the Baltimore Free School

    Convened by John Duda and Yousuf Al-Bulushi

    Remember immaterial labor?  What ever happened to those cognitive networks of production in common that were going to usher in a new era of digital communism?  The tragic euphoria of dot-com theory is repeating itself today in farcical calls for a universal basic income, as venture capitalists and wide-eyed leftists alike sell us a vision of post-work in which the commodity manages somehow to still function just like it used to before the robots ushered in our collective era of leisure. Is the abolition of capitalism really just a few more apps and “disruptions” away?  Or could it be that the relationship between labor, technology, and the production of value is far more complicated than the latest round of digital bedtime stories would have us believe, especially when we locate this intersection in the context of truly global relations of production and exchange?

     

    Over the course of this reading group, we’ll dive deep into these issues from a perspective grounded in critical social theory.  As we explore thematic clusters of shorter articles and excerpts, we’ll also work our way through the majority of Moishe Postone’s Time, Labor, and Social Domination.  Doing so will help provide a theoretical frame of reference to help understand why, as Postone notes, “increased productivity results neither in a corresponding increase in social wealth nor in a corresponding decrease in labour time, but in the constitution of a new base level of productivity.” We believe that a rigorous theoretical approach is necessary in order to illuminate the hidden ground of this counterintuitive historical trajectory, and we think Postone offers a useful starting point to do so. (A little more on Postone.)  This is a reading group, not a class that’s mapped out in advance—so the precise effects of reading this particular theoretical counterpoint in relation to or against the more grounded thematic material is not known in advance—but we’ll figure it out together!  We will make an effort to have texts available either for purchase at a discount at Red Emma’s, or, where possible, in digital form to make this group maximally affordable.

    • Wed, Apr 12 @ 10:00 AM
    • Wed, May 10 @ 10:00 AM
    (North Ave classroom)

    La Leche League: Mother-to-Mother Breastfeeding Support

    Our Mission is to help mothers in Baltimore to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding as an important element in the healthy development of the baby and mother.

     

    • Wed, Apr 26 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, May 24 @ 7:00 PM
    • Wed, Jun 28 @ 7:00 PM
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    Cooperative Study Group: Beginners Helping Beginners

    • Sat, Apr 08 @ 4:00 PM
    (North Ave classroom)

    Jacobin Reading Group

    Are you interested in meeting with other people in Baltimore to discuss articles from Jacobin magazine? If so, then you should join the Jacobin reading group!! We meet about once a month. The discussions are lively, non-doctrinaire, and open to everyone. For more information, send an email to baltimore.jacobin@gmail.com.