Really Really Free Market
The Really, Really Free Market (RRFM) movement is a horizontally organized collective of individuals who form a temporary market based on an alternative gift economy. RRFM events are often hosted by people unaffiliated with any large organization and are encouraged to sprout up by anyone, at anytime, anywhere. The RRFM movement aims to counteract capitalism in a proactive way by creating a positive example to challenge the myths of scarcity and competition. The name Really Really Free Market is itself a play on words: it is a reinterpretation and re-envisioning of the term Free Market which generally refers to an economy of consumerism governed by supply and demand. The RRFM holds as a major goal to build a community based on sharing resources, caring for one another and improving the collective lives of all. Markets often vary in character, but they generally offer both goods and services. Participants bring unneeded items and food, as well as skills and talents such as entertainment, massage, arts and crafts, language lessons, plants, haircuts, yoga, and more. A RRFM usually takes place in an open community space such as a public park or community commons.
Origins and spread
The first known Really, Really Free Market took place in at a Food Not Bombs meal in Christchurch, New Zealand as a protest to a meeting on free trade. The Really Really Free Markets started to spread around Asia. Jakarta Food Not Bombs organized a Really Really Free Market on Buy Nothing Day. The first Really Really Free Market in the United States happened simultaneously in Miami, Florida, and Raleigh, North Carolina during the anti-globalization protests against the FTAA in 2003. The idea of a "Really, Really Free Market" emerged from a visioning ritual by members of the Pagan Cluster in Austin in preparation of the FTAA Summit in Miami, November 2003. Members of the Green Bloc picked up the idea and made it real. Participants from the SouthEast Anarchist Network (SeaNET) held demonstrations using the Really, Really Free Market to protest the G8 summit in 2004. The idea quickly spread across the United States, Russia, and other countries such as Australia, England, Malaysia, Taiwan, South Africa, and Canada.
In the United States
The movement has taken root in dozens of cities in the United States, with some holding one-time events, annual, bi-monthly, and even monthly markets. Cities include San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; Tallahassee, FL; Athens, GA; Bloomington, IL; Rockford, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Des Moines, IA; Louisville, KY; Detroit, MI; Grand Rapids, MI; Minneapolis, MN; Kansas City, MO; Reno, NV; Albuquerque, NM; Belfast, NY; Ithaca, New York;;New York, NY; Carrboro, NC; Charlotte, NC; Greensboro, NC; Greenville, NC; Raleigh, NC; Washington, NC; Wilmington, NC; Cincinnati, OH; Dayton, OH; Yellow Springs, OH; Cottage Grove, OR; Lancaster, PA; Pittsburgh, PA; Kingsport, TN; Austin, TX; Richmond, VA; Shepherdstown, WV; and Milwaukee, WI.
In San Francisco, CA, USA
The San Francisco Really Really Free Market was started sometime around 2004. The SF RRFM was spearheaded by local activist Kirsten Brydum until her tragic passing in 2008. From around 2007 until 2010 the SF RRFM was hosted on the last Saturday of every month in Mission Dolores Park. During this time, the SF RRFM was an especially popular event that received decent local media exposure. Since then it has sprouted up organically in Union Square, among other places. During 2007-2010 local organizers would distribute "seed packets:" a CD that served as digital collection of flyers, announcements, musings, pictures, and essays. This was part of the ongiong effort to encourage others to start their own RRFM. These seed packets are now compiled for download online.
The first Russian Really Really Free Market was organized in Moscow in 2008. The original name of RRFM was changed to "Freemarket" or "Absolutely Free Fair". Since that time the idea of RRFM has spread widely across the Russian Federation. Recently participants of the movement arrange regular meetings in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Ivanovo, Yekaterinburg, Perm, Belgorod, Kirov, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Vologda, Volgograd, Tolyatti, Volzhsky, Petrozavodsk.
Due to the often harsh Russian climate the RRFMs usually take place indoors, but summer time meetings often occur in public parks, yards of apartment houses or city squares. In Ivanovo, for instance, the very first free fair was held in Yesenin Square on 19 June 2011, but as winter set in, the RRFM meetings were moved to the reference room of the Regional Public library.
RRFMs in Russia are often accompanied by master classes in handiwork (mehendi, hair dressing, making stencils for textile printing, etc.), lectures on social and ecological problems and the collection of secondary raw materials and charity fundraising in aid animal shelters.
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- Give-away shop
- Diggers (theater) – a group of early adopters of the free-store concept
- DIY ethic
- Mutual aid
- Direct action
- Pay it forward
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