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(en) US, Really Free Market Draws Hundereds - A Report Back from Modesto's Really Free Market

Date Sun, 11 Dec 2005 21:46:58 +0200

When the Poor Took Over the Parking Lot:
On Saturday December 3rd, between 200-300 people participated in a full
scale gift economy in action, when they showed up to the Really Free Market
organized by the Modesto based Direct Action Anti-Authoritarians (DAAA)
Collective. A day earlier, the Modesto Bee had run a positive article on the
event, interviewing one person from the collective, and also gave a number
to call for people wanting to help out with the event. (Read that article
here: http://www.indybay.org/news/2005/12/1787238.php). The day the article
came out, the phone was ringing off the hook, with many people calling to
voice their support and interest in the "anti-consumerist, pro-community"
idea and also ask if we could pick stuff up from them. Many people voiced
their concern for giving to large charities, and thrift stores, because they
didn't want anyone to have to pay for the items, and they also didn't want
to line the pockets of various bosses. We also got a call from a Katrina
survivor looking for some help after moving over to Modesto, and also from
another person who asked us to organize a Really Free Market in a town right
next to Modesto!
DAAA Collective organizers got to the Really Free Market site early, (the
event started at 1pm, we got there at 12:30pm), and we were overjoyed to see
that someone had started the party without us! Large amounts of clothing,
toys, and three mattresses, were allready laid out on the grass and the
parking lot by the Wal-Greens sign that we had chosen to be the spot for the
Really Free Market. As we got our banners set up, and got our own stuff out
of our car, no-one stopped us to ask, "Who's the organizer here? What do I
do? How does this work?" The community had risen to the occassion, and
people openly shared and gave items. As more and more cars came in that had
items to donate, more and more people started to arrive. As cars would come
in, teams of people would go to them, and help them pull the items out of
the cars and onto the ever shrinking east end of the parking lot. The only
problems that occured, was when people started going through items in the
cars, and others reminded them to get the items out so everyone could look
at them, and the drivers could drive away. The collective also passed out
many copies of outreach flyers about the DAAA Collective, Food Not Bombs,
and Really Free Market.
Our collective has done the RFM for about two months prior to the massive
one that occured last week, but it was because of community involvement that
it was a success, (the bags and boxes of things we brough was tiny in
comparassion to the massive amounts of things others brought). It was great
to see the community acting as a community, and not looking towards the
"organizers" of the event for direction. We are hoping that with this influx
of people to the market, that more and more people with come, and every
Saturday afternoon, transform the Wal-Greens parking lot into a community
mutual aid station.
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