Albany Anarchists Organize Really, Really Free Market

  • Posted on: 9 February 2018
  • By: thecollective


The following report from Love and Rage in New York, details a community program that helped provide free cold weather clothing, blankets, and beyond.

by Black Cat Connolly

ALBANY – Another successful Really Really Free Market was organized by a local group of anarchists and radicals at the Albany Social Justice Center. The event—the second this winter—featured a variety of items including cold weather clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, kitchen appliances, toys, books, and even bikes, all available for free to anyone who decided to stop in. In addition to the clothing and home goods there was a radical literature table full of anarchist zines from CrimethInc and an assortment of hot beverages made available by Albany’s Food Not Bombs.


The event was organized and staffed by a collection of “friendly neighborhood anarchists,” who saw the market as not only an opportunity to provide direct mutual aid, but also to demonstrate how it can function as an alternative to the “services”, offered by the state, capitalism, and charity.

“As an anarchist I want to create real life examples of alternatives to the state,” said Dave G., one of the organizers of the event, “I want to disprove the myth of scarcity and I want to help my community. I don’t believe the necessities of life or even the luxuries are something we should be working for or dying for. It should be accessible to all. I do want to dismantle the inherently hierarchical charity dynamic. I think this is a great alternative.”

27545302_10215644656455320_3380702711111515477_nAnother organizer, Allison M., echoed those sentiments, “On a bigger scale we want to show anarchism in action, that anyone can partake in mutual aid, that capitalism isn’t necessary, that the myth of scarcity is indeed a myth, and that we have more than enough to give people what they need. A group of people put this together for the community to show that we don’t need capitalism, we don’t need money, we just need each other.”

Although organized by a small collection of anarchists, the event was supported by a number of unknown community members who dropped off contributions at a few collection points around the Capital District. Before the doors even opened a large line of community residents began to queue outside the door. All told the market saw well over 200 individuals stop through and many happy faces on a cold day.

What struck organizers was the way the culture of the event seemed to demonstrate many of the virtues of anarchism.

“The beautiful thing is that we want this to be non-hierarchical and a lot of folks came and got stuff and about thirty minutes later they’d come and bring stuff that they don’t need from their own houses.”, said Allison M., “People would be looking for something and someone would just come in and give it to them as opposed to the non-profit model where people don’t even see where their items are going.”


Dave G. reiterated how people’s comportment during the event was markedly different than what you would see in a capitalist market: “I am sure that everyone was in some level or need or desperation but they all worked together; no one was pushing or shoving. This certainly wasn’t a black Friday situation, because people didn’t feel like they were competing, people didn’t feel like the people they were sharing the room with were their competition. It was horizontal.”

Organizers hope to build on the success of their two events by continuing bi-monthly Really Really Free Markets throughout the coming year.


Black Cat Connolly is an anarchist organizer and member of the Albany General Defense Committee of the Upstate IWW GMB, he can be reached at



Where did the clothing,blankets, sleeping bags,kitchen appliances,toys,books,and bikes come from? Let me guess:factories - capitalist owned factories that enjoy the protections and support from the state.

You want a fuckin medal for your observational skills?

and if they got them from capitalist owned factories they're pro-capitalist and pro-civ

Maybe, discussions took place where and how and who and the true costs of stuff at the point of taking the 'free' stuff? Hopefully, some education took place!

these events are generally pretty fun in colder areas when it’s early spring, and you emerge face to face from the cold bringing new energy, and share in that energy.

it’s time to stop paying to live. capitalism is a recent phenomenon. and can never stop people from rising to the occasion to meet their needs and do different types of exchange, such as those beyond measure.

and speaking of measure, who acquire’s capitalism’s externalities? every life form.

free association all the way, beyond some ‘correct’ line of thought aka measure. humans do not have a god’s eye view of reality, which means the world as it is is already beyond measure.

I will donate the medal to your favorite charity.

Is there a way to know more about the stuff happening in Albany these days (you know like the stuff the pigs must know already) as I ain't very far from there and would like a hop cross border down Appalachia soon!

Is an apple which falls off of a capitalist owned tree and rolls onto common public land free? Yes, and one would be a fool not to eat it or question it's origins,.,

What a silly comparison.Trees and factories? The items given away at the Albany Social Justice Center got there because workers produced them and people bought them.There is no straight line from the factory to the justice center.And to call this good deed mutual aid is a stretch.

Not one for abstract thinking, hmmm?

Umm nooo! I've worked in the industrialized horticultural business as a cheap laborer and it isn't much different from factory process work which I've also done. Dishwashing also, so if a steak slips off of a plate, it's free right? You should get out more and experience raw capitalist relationships within the existent. Can I have your medal, I've earned it?,.,:)

I have been on both sides of the labor/management divide in restaurants for over thirty years and have done multiple jobs,including pot washer,so don't give me a lecture about "raw capitalist relationships".I know as much about them as you do.
Nothing is Free in a capitalist economy. Nothing.
You can add the cosmetic of mutual aid, the perfume of horizontalism, and a wig of solidarity to capitalist relationships and call this anarchy if it makes you feel better. But it's not anarchy; it's capitalism.
What I was challenging was the comment made by one of the Albany event organizers who said "capitalism isn't necessary." Yes it is if you want to organize another similar event.

But surely, even within the capitalist hegemony, the air we breath is free? Oh, *gasp*, tell me it is so, or I shall faint and be unable to share the air I have collected in plastic bags to distribute amongst the enslaved workerists.,.;

Let's see- falling apples,sliding steaks, and now air. Is that all you got?

I was saving this for last, cos its the most important. Free thought. Surely the capitalists can't charge us for this, though they own most of it?.,.

It depends on the social context of one's thoughts. It is a constant struggle when it comes to breaking away from the vast propaganda machine.
Free thought can get very expensive when it is transformed into action.

And nice to know there are free thinkers on this site who challenge organizations,.,

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