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 as 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.
A market is one of the many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers. It can be said that a market is the process by which the prices of goods and services are established. Markets facilitate trade and enable the distribution and resource allocation in a society. Markets allow any trade-able item to be evaluated and priced. A market emerges more or less spontaneously or may be constructed deliberately by human interaction in order to enable the exchange of rights of services and goods. Markets generally supplant gift economies and are often held in place through rules and customs, such as a booth fee, competitive pricing, and source of goods for sale.
A gift economy, gift culture, or gift exchange is a mode of exchange where valuables are not traded or sold, but rather given without an explicit agreement for immediate or future rewards. This exchange contrasts with a barter economy or a market economy, where goods and services are primarily exchanged for value received. Social norms and custom govern gift exchange. Gifts are not given in an explicit exchange of goods or services for money or some other commodity.
Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in financial and capital markets, whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.
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.
Food Not Bombs is a loose-knit group of independent collectives, sharing free vegan and vegetarian food with others. Food Not Bombs' ideology is that myriad corporate and government priorities are skewed to allow hunger to persist in the midst of abundance. To demonstrate this, a large amount of the food served by the group is surplus food from grocery stores, bakeries and markets that would otherwise go to waste. This group exhibits a form of franchise activism.
Raleigh is the capital of the state of North Carolina and the seat of Wake County in the United States. Raleigh is the second-largest city in the state, after Charlotte. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees, which line the streets in the heart of the city. The city covers a land area of 142.8 square miles (370 km2). The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 479,332 as of July 1, 2018. It is one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. The city of Raleigh is named after Sir Walter Raleigh, who established the lost Roanoke Colony in present-day Dare County.
Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the largest country in Oceania and the world's sixth-largest country by total area. The neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and East Timor to the north; the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu to the north-east; and New Zealand to the south-east. The population of 25 million is highly urbanised and heavily concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, and its largest city is Sydney. The country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide.
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; San Jose, 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; Albany, NY, 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.
Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 488,943 in 2017, making it the 37th most-populous city in the United States. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri state line. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion between the two ensued and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon after.
Belfast is a town in Allegany County, New York, United States. The town is in what is called the Southern Tier of the state. Its population was 1,663 at the 2010 census. It was named in 1825 after the city of Belfast, the capital of present-day Northern Ireland, because it had numerous residents of Scots-Irish ancestry from that area.
Ithaca is a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York. It is the seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca–Tompkins County metropolitan area. This area contains the municipalities of the Town of Ithaca, the village of Cayuga Heights, and other towns and villages in Tompkins County. The city of Ithaca is located on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, in Central New York, about 45 miles (72 km) south-west of Syracuse. It is named for the Greek island of Ithaca.
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.
Mission Dolores Park, often abbreviated to Dolores Park, is a city park in San Francisco, California. It is located two blocks south of Mission Dolores at the western edge of the Mission District.
Union Square is a 2.6-acre (1.1 ha) public plaza bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets in downtown San Francisco, California. "Union Square" also refers to the central shopping, hotel, and theater district that surrounds the plaza for several blocks. The area got its name because it was once used for Thomas Starr King rallies and support for the Union Army during the American Civil War, earning its designation as a California Historical Landmark.
The Singapore Really Really Free Market began around January 2009and continues going strong in 2017.
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.
Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities.
Saint Petersburg is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject.
Ivanovo is a city and the administrative center of Ivanovo Oblast, Russia, located 254 kilometers (158 mi) from Moscow and approximately 100 kilometers (62 mi) from Yaroslavl, Vladimir, and Kostroma. Population: 408,330 (2010 Census); 431,721 (2002 Census); 481,042 (1989 Census). It was previously known as Ivanovo-Voznesensk.
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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