Anarchists to Converge at 10-Year Anniversary of Carrboro Really Really Free Market

Save the date: 2 pm, Saturday, October 4, 2014

Carrboro Town Commons in Carrboro, North Carolina

A wild party! The Carrboro Really Really Free Market is celebrating its ten-year anniversary with a massive festival! You’re invited for a whole weekend of really really free activities. We’re hoping comrades from around the world will join us in making this something to remember!

A clash of utopias! Come demonstrate the life you would prefer to capitalism. Set up a booth, offer a workshop, put on a performance, screen a film, carry out some dramatic action, obtain and distribute some resource no one could imagine being free. We want to see a wide range of utopian visions and ungovernable desires manifested. Rather than simply opposing what exists, reactively, we dare you to demonstrate that your alternative to competition and obedience is more nourishing, more exciting, and more fulfilling than anything the market can offer.

What Is the Really Really Free Market?

The Carrboro Really Really Free Market is one of the only truly diverse and inclusive spaces in the Triangle area. It offers a venue in which people interact without any of the artificial barriers imposed by class. Every month, hundreds of people from all walks of life come together to share things, meet their needs, and experience a taste of what our lives might be like outside capitalism.

Over the past decade, the Carrboro Really Really Free Market has collaborated with the Recyclery to distribute bicycles to children, worked with Paper Hand Puppet Intervention to hold a massive regional puppetry convergence, and hosted hundreds in a night-long convergence and film screening during the immigration reform protests of May Day 2006. The Sacrificial Poets, the Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army, and countless other performers have graced the Really Really Free Market with their creativity.

Families freshly arrived from places as distant as Nepal have furnished their homes with goods from the Really Really Free Market. Young attendees have regularly smashed piñatas representing ballot boxes, prisons, and other symbols of state power. One participant distributed thousands of seeds smuggled out of an expensive organic seed distribution company. This past spring, participants catered a sit-down restaurant setting complete with waiters and a menu. All this, plus a cornucopia of groceries, sweets, clothing, jewelry, toys, furniture, books, zines, and more.

A Combative Tradition

The Really Really Free Market model has its roots in the movement against neoliberal “free trade” at the turn of the century. The first Really Really Free Market took place in Miami at the demonstrations against the Free Trade Area of the Americas ministerial in November 2003. That summit is chiefly remembered for the violence thousands of militarized riot police indiscriminately inflicted on everyone who was on the streets, resulting in hundreds of arrests and permanent injuries to some protesters.

On June 10, 2004, on the final day of the G8 summit in Georgia, anonymous activists in North Carolina blockaded Research Triangle Park with steel cables, smoke bombs, and banners decrying the G8 and capitalism. This interrupted business for Lockheed Martin, Syngenta, Dyncorp, Dupont, GlaxoSmithKline, and many other corporations, causing a massive traffic jam in the center of the state. Two days later, on June 12, the world’s second Really Really Free Market took place in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fearing further protest activity, the panicked police shut down downtown Raleigh ahead of the event. That night, the news showed hundreds of people joyously dancing, eating, and exchanging gifts while police helicopters circled overhead and a hundred riot police sweated miserably in their Robocop costumes.

The Carrboro Really Really Free Market began a few months later, in October 2004. Since then, they’ve spread around the state, the country, and the world. There have been regular Really Really Free Markets in Durham, Raleigh, Greenville, Greensboro, Charlotte, Wilmington, and Asheville, not to mention dozens of other cities around the US. The model has been replicated as far away as South Africa, Bulgaria, Malaysia, New Zealand, and at least fifteen cities in Russia.

The Carrboro Really Really Free Markets developed a controversial reputation early on, when word spread during a local election that people were painting over politicians’ yard signs with announcements of the upcoming Really Really Free Markets. A struggle with the Recreation and Parks Department ensued. At the time, community use of the ironically-named “Town Commons” was prohibited unless one paid a hefty fee to reserve the space; Really Really Free Market organizers refused to do this. After a showdown with the local government in which police unsuccessfully endeavored to intimidate participants, the ordinance was changed to make the space free for nonprofit events, to the benefit of the community at large.

Next, the local government attempted to crack down around the issue of insurance, announcing that people were prohibited from sharing food on the Town Commons unless organizers bought hundreds of dollars of insurance. Once again, hundreds of people continued to gather and share food, despite the mayor, several aldermen, and half the Carrboro Police Department showing up to one Really Really Free Market to personally threaten some participants. In the end, an “anonymous donor” appeared, paying the insurance to avoid a confrontation that would likely have been humiliating for the liberal authorities.

All of these conflicts were over by 2008, and the Really Really Free Market came to be widely accepted as a regular aspect of life in Carrboro. Despite this, it has always been true to its combative origins. In December 2011, it served as the departure point for an unpermitted march of a hundred people in support of the Human Rights Center, a local organization supporting immigrants which was being forced out of its space by racist property managers. In February 2012, another march departed from the Really Really Free Market to occupy a nearby building slated to be replaced with an unsightly and unnecessary CVS outlet. The development was subsequently canceled; the building remains empty, a testament to the strength of local grassroots opposition to capitalist development.

In short, Carrboro’s Really Really Free Market has been that rare thing, a project that combines both confrontation and infrastructure, that serves the needs of both struggle and survival. It involves self-identified anarchists without being dominated by their subculture, and draws participants of countless other persuasions without losing its edge. It has been a space in which to maintain local ties, and a foundation from which to launch further assaults on the powers that be. Through several successive political eras, it has enabled new generations of dissidents to coalesce locally, while serving as a beacon inspiring others worldwide.

This is what we are inviting you to join us in celebrating and pushing forward. See you in October!
Because there is enough for everyone

Because sharing is more fulfilling than owning

Because capitalists would rather see landfills overflow than anyone get anything for free

Because scarcity is a myth constructed to keep us at the mercy of the economy

Because a sunny day outside is better than anything money can buy

Because free trade is a contradiction of terms

Because no one should have to do without food, shelter, and togetherness

Because life should be a picnic, but it only will be if we ABOLISH CAPITALISM

Send ideas, treasure maps, etc. to:



burn all crimethinc. convergences!!!

first of all, expect resistance. stop gentrifying noooooorrrrrrtthhhhh carrrrolllliinnnnnnaaa. your festival is a huge misnomer and all festivals should be burned, especially crimethinc. even MAO, this one because it is such a huge gentrifying force for the neighborhood.

- some anarchists that disrupted prior crimethinc white cis anarchist gentrifying scum shit.

^ i give this troll a 5/10. points include using prior crimethinc. title, NC song ref., using MAO to refer to APOC philly and prior crimethinc disruptors, signing off with kisses a la Liam from NEFAC, and somehow fitting in cis-white scum into the post. oh let's not forget the burn all crimethinc. convergences either.

best wishes on your RRFM,
- some anarchists

That would be Liam from IEF...unless you are trying to diss IEF by calling them NEFAC and in that case...burn baby burn

did you not see the recent article posted here to Anarchist News by Liam proclaiming why he's no longer an anarchist. Dude basically dropped outta NEFAC and the entire organization collapsed, not in an anti-civ kinda way, but in the way all platformist organizations in NA have.

it was a pretty intriguing article because it also included why he broke up Oasis, best 90s band ever and most importantly how to make gluten free vegan cup cakes for your office warming party and 50 other tips for spicing up your work life.


sorry for yelling.

I hope you cop like activists show up and I hope you get stabbed.

Queer liberals are very good gentrifiers too, dipshit...

Money's got no color, so they say.

PREFIGURATION : We must be the trouble we wish to see in the world. Anarchists have long sought to demonstrate the virtues of their visions through prefigurative projects: free food distribution, do it yourself health care, collective living arrangements. If only a working model of a better world could be created in a microcosm, the thinking goes, everyone who experienced it would become partisans in a revolutionary struggle. Yet in a capitalist society, these experiments can only be carried out at the margins: the dregs making the best of debris.
Meanwhile, at the Googleplex, the central organ of the corporation that dominates the world of internet business, cafes staffed by world famous chefs offer healthy organic food in all-you-can-eat buffets. Google employees drop their children off at free daycare, avail themselves of free hairstyles and laundromats, take their pets to work, and play Ping Pong or volleyball in pristine facilities. After they ride in on the free shuttle or park their electrical cars at the charging station, free scooters wait to convey them from one shining example of sustainable architecture to another; they are encouraged to decorate their workspaces however they wish, and whimsical features ornament the campus, including a tyrannosaur skeleton and a rocket ship. Massage therapists remedy their every complaint; a personal lifeguard watches a single swimmer exercising in a swim-in-place pool the size of a bathtub, with different speed settings for water flow. The brightest luminaries in every field are bought in on a daily basis to present free seminars to which everyone is invited - everyone, that is, who manages to produce profit at a rapid enough pace to maintain a foothold in this city on a hill.
If corporations can 'prefigure' a world of sharing and abundance more effectively than revolutionaries can, what does that tell us about this strategy? Perhaps that the important thing is not to prefigure utopia - which is already available to the winners of the rat race, albeit intramurally - but rather to prefigure the 'offensive' that would render it accessible to all.

So, seizing the "googleplex" is what you're suggesting?
You'll need quite few folks to fight the riot cops when they come to evict you.
Best of luck wordsmith ;)

but how would all fit in a bathtub sized only for one?

Is that really your vision of a better utopia?

I'd rather pick apricots off the trees in my neighbors' yard than eat the organic all-you-can-eat gourmet buffet. I'd rather have my friends take care of my children than take them to free daycare facilities. I'd rather swim in the river than in a bathtub with a lifeguard wathcing me. I'd rather laugh and bullshit with other happy people than work at a tech company.

So I think we're still doing a hell of a better job of prefiguring than they are.

skip to what happens when our desires have been prefigured by capitalism


Hippy! Venus projects for all.

"Yet in a capitalist society, these experiments can only be carried out at the margins: the dregs making the best of debris."

Do they really? The classical anarchist movement made a mark because it was not just confined to the dregs of society. They came from all direction from the margins to nobility.

"They cam from all direction from the margins to nobility."

Thats a fairly confused or deceptive statement. Maybe youre thinking of good old Prince Kropotkin here, but even the red prince understood and conceptualized his anarchism as a lumpen and prole driven cause. Likewise for the handful of other anarchist thinkers back in the day who grew up with money (bakunin and malatesta for example, both of whom gave all their money away to causes and lived their lives either working shit jobs or on nothing, very much of the political or economic "dregs")

I have a hard time finding any classical anarchist writings that talk about how anarchism is just as much for nobles as it is for proles. I would hesitate to categorize anarchism as always being a "working-class" movement - that term is too flexible , too institutionalized, and limited to industrial and urban contexts to describe anarchism's history - but its definitely been a poor and desperate person's movement, numerically, culturally, spiritually. That isnt changed by the fact that a few writers have left the nobility to join it, which is the only reason i can infer for your bizarre statement. So yea, dregs. Although the dispossessed are where its at and shit.

(scratch the word "although," i need to drink my coffee before i comment on this silly website)

"but its definitely been a poor and desperate person's movement, numerically, culturally, spiritually."

I don't disagree, this is what happens when you represent a philosophy that rejects power. But it's good to have a few qualitative people in noble or rich positions that can challenge the prevailing order on an archetypical level. We lack anarchic individuals such as Oscar Wilde and others like him who show examples of elegant living in an unproductive manner. And back then classical anarchism did have more then a few that came from those directions. Today we have many middle and upper class types that take on poor impoverished fashion, and that isn't helping at all.

Perhaps those two tendencies you're describing are actually the same one and it's just easier to romanticize it a few centuries later. Maybe you would have found oscar wilde just as irritating if you'd met him in person, who knows?

"We lack anarchic individuals such as Oscar Wilde and others like him who show examples of elegant living in an unproductive manner."

I dunno...Maybe you and I just have really different friends, but i know a TON of folks who make pretty impressive examples of elegant living in an unproductive manner. I dont think thats a lack that we have!

That said--not exactly sure oscar wilde's even the best example of an anarchist rolling like that, considering he wasnt really an anarchist....Not that i really care, but maybe someone like baudellaire would make a better example? Also not an example, but at least fought in two separate revolutions in France, in part for the artistic decadence of it all.

As for your last sentence, again maybe we have different friends? You seem to picking out a strawman - surely I must have read this in a late murray bookchin grumpathon somewhere? - but the anarchists i know come from a mix of lower and middle class backgrounds, almost all of whom are fairly broke and living rent to rent and service work job paycheck to check now. It doesnt come off to me as a "fashion statement" in any case. If you live in a place surrounded by anarchos that spend more time decorating worn jeans with patches to look down and out than just living and struggling, maybe you should move? (PS the classical @ you yearn for had its bohemians, class dropouts, and aesthetes as well, lest we forget....)

"I dunno...Maybe you and I just have really different friends, but i know a TON of folks who make pretty impressive examples of elegant living in an unproductive manner. I dont think thats a lack that we have!"

Oh I have no doubt some of these kinds exist but its not really properly registering in a radical sense.

And Wilde was an anarchist in the philosophical not so political sense. I would like to see anarchic ideas gravitate more toward THAT kind of anarchic expression. Life and expression not position and politics.

"(PS the classical @ you yearn for had its bohemians, class dropouts, and aesthetes as well, lest we forget....)"

They are not my problem.

so right!

this statement does not pander to my identity, you racist colonialist cis bicurious southern leftist platformist identity politicians!

>Because sharing is more fulfilling than owning

Well if you frame it like that. . .

Well, it`s actually because sharing is caring

well if you frame it like that


No? Well what about a free working van, free fresh watermelon, free Indian food, hot dogs, puppet shows for your kids, actual groceries, books, bicycle repair, and a place to find about radical shit going on in town?

Fuck that, ill just have a large serving of cynicism! Yum!

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Subscribe to Comments for "Anarchists to Converge at 10-Year Anniversary of Carrboro Really Really Free Market"