Black Friday “Really, Really Free Market” Offers Alternative to Consumerism

A flea market where everything is free–known as the “Really, Really Free Market”–is being organized for Grand Rapids on what is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

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This month’s Really, Really Free Market (RRFM) in Grand Rapids will take place on November 28 on the biggest shopping day of the year. Organizers hope that in the spirit of “Buy Nothing Day” the event will encourage people to build community rather than commerce:

“Instead of spending a hectic day at the mall, why not spend it with others, becoming a community.

Be a part of Buy Nothing Day, a tradition that is practiced throughout the country on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Bring anything you don’t need, leave with things you do!

Things to share:

Skills, talents, food, goods, art, anything.”

This RRFM will be hosted at The Division Avenue Arts Co-Operative (The DAAC) at 115 S. Division from 1pm to 5pm.

First Ever “Really, Really Free Market” Planned for Grand Rapids

The “Really, Really Free Market”–a market where everything is free and the emphasis is on sharing to provide for each other–is being organized in Grand Rapids this weekend. With the success of markets in other cities, it should be an interesting experiment in building community.

This weekend, The Bloom Collective, a local lending library and infoshop on Wealthy Street, is coordinating Grand Rapids first “Really, Really Free Market” in Grand Rapids. The event will take place on Sunday, July 27 at 2:00pm in the parking lot at the corner of Wealthy and Fuller. The group is asking that people bring usable items or services (for example, haircuts) to the market.

Across the country, “Really, Really Free Markets” are an idea that have caught on rapidly in a variety of communities. Based on the idea that there is already enough for everyone in society and that existing resources could be allocated better in order to provide for everyone, the “Really, Really Free Market” movement is:

“…a non-hierarchical collective of individuals who form a temporary market based on an alternative gift economy. The RRFM movement aims to counteract capitalism in a non-reactionary way. It 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, food, skills and talents such as entertainment or haircuts. A RRFM may take place in an open community space such as a public park or community commons.”

Although the markets have been popularized and initiated in recent years by anarchists, they have succeeded because they are inherently radical and are not controlled by any specific political ideology. According to an essay published by Crimethinc, “Really, Really Free Markets” succeed because they are a practical way of building community and providing for peoples needs. When they work, they provide a working frame of reference as to how anarchist economics can work and how society should work. Moreover, they provide a means through which people can get to know each other and provide for their needs in the present, rather than waiting for a distant utopia or government social service programs.