At the south end of Washington sq Park, at the Judson Memorial Church there’s en economic experiment in progress. On the
last Sunday of each month people come to participate in the Really Really Free Market, a pre-figurative economic system completely free of money, barter or trade.
All goods and services, from books and food, to tax advise and haircuts are completely free. For most New Yorkers it’s hard to imagine getting anything for free without some kind of catch but According to Rob Freeman, that’s the whole point: to challenge New Yorkers’ imagination.
“We want to introduce people to alternatives to capitalism and new modes of sharing,” says Rob Freeman, a twenty-something Anarchist organizer whose name seems serendipitously fitted to his activism. For those unfamiliar with systems of Anarchist coordination it’s a little hard to understand what Freeman’s official title is within the decentralized structure of the ‘Free Market. According to Freeman, he “bottom-lines,” certain aspects of the ‘Free Market.
People are encouraged to bring stuff to give away but it’s not required. Some arrive at the ‘Free Market empty handed, stay for a free acupuncture treatment, and leave with a microwave.
“We want to show that scarcity is a myth, that there is enough to go around.” Says Freeman. What he sees in our world is not scarcity but unnecessary waste. What the ‘Free Market aims to do is eliminate waste and reduce gratuitous consumption in a single stroke.
The Free Market though is more than just a place to grab free stuff, it’s a place to make connections and for people to network
and for activists to recruit. Alongside tables of free vegetables and racks of free clothes, activists hand out independently produced ‘zines hoping to get others involved.
Meaghan Linick-Loughley, 22, was introduced to the Really Really Free Market in 2006 by a friend and fellow antiwar activist.
“I didn’t bring anything the first time, but I took some literature some pins and some ‘zines. I cut hair once. I started cutting my own hair 4 or 5 years ago. People liked the way I cut my own hair and started asking me to cut theirs. I can’t remember how many I cut that day, maybe 10.”
Rob Freeman whose head was a little shaggy that day was one of her first. “It took a while because she was being really careful,” recalls Freeman, “but she rocked it that’s for sure.”
“I like that it’s trying to pose a different economic model,” said Meaghan. “Cool music cool people. I brought friends there and they really liked it. One of my friends started playing music there.”
The next Really Really Free Market will be held November 29th.
Their Myspace is: http://www.myspace.com/anewworldinourhearts