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Peace and Justice Club hosts Really Really Free Market

This article was originally published on Feb. 28, 2015.

On Saturday, Feb. 26, the Peace and Justice Club held a Really Really Free Market from noon till 4 p.m. The Really Really Free Market movement emerged during the protests against the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) in 2003 as a direct alternative to capitalism. The first markets were rumored to have been held in Miami and Raleigh, and now occur all over the world. They have also been associated with the G8 protests in 2004.

The idea behind the Really Really Free Market is very simple: members of Peace and Justice Club collected Give and Takes from dorms and houses, and participants were encouraged to bring their own discarded items. The bathroom was available for trying on clothes, and there was a mirror handy.

In the living room, socks, ripped jeans, plaid skirts, sweaters and more were strewn over couches and chairs. On the coffee table, frisbees, shoes, mason jars, jewelry and canned soup. Bottles of strawberry and blueberry kombucha, made by Ellen Wanecke’15, were left out for people to sample or take. There were also condoms, zines and chunks of lavender-scented soap handmade by Katia Colin’16. Franny Alfano’15 brought old band posters from WBCR.

Indie rock played from a laptop. Groups streamed in from the cold, picking through the piles. Some left with bags of exciting new finds, while others weren’t so lucky. Generally though, there’s something for everyone.

Though Give and Takes are always available to anyone on campus, there are many advantages to having it all in one place. “It’s better at the Really Really Free Market. You find your size easier. You find the funniest things,” said Sarah Hodkinson’18, one of the organizers of the event.

Katia Colin’16 found spandex pants that she says she’ll use for the OEC backpacking trip over Spring Break. Alex Billington’18 found a dress and some tank tops, and some clothes for her mom. Sarah Lisovich’15 found a vest and some pants she’ll try on later.

Michael Thomforde’16 ended up taking a mason jar with bead necklaces and some soap. He’d never been to a Really Really Free Market before, but was impressed. “I was almost out of soap,” he said. As for the mason jar, “I’m sure I’ll be able to use it.” And the beads, “I can use these for a project. It’s nice to have beads on hand,” he said.

In addition to the clothing, many people offered skills and services. Dana Schiewe’18 brought a bag of food she didn’t want anymore. “And I’m offering to draw ugly portraits,” she said.

Andrea Lopez Arteaga’16 folded some of the clothes on the couch, teaching others a simple folding technique she found online.

Also popular were the free haircuts in the kitchen, given by Sam Kindler’17. Before getting a trim, Rhiannon Decker’15 knitted, sitting on the floor. “I think it’s a scarf,” she said.

Alyse Gowgiel’16 taught a group how to make origami boxes and paper cranes. Later, she and Chris Newman’17 played songs on their violins. This was Newman’s first Free Market

“It gives people an opportunity to try something different – literally and figuratively,” he said.

Free Markets are a long-standing tradition for Peace and Justice Club; the group tries to hold one at least every semester, normally for Peace Week or Justice Week.

Wanecke is passionate about the philosophy behind the Free Market and skillshare. “I think it’s super important we learn from each other. We often think we can just learn from our professors … [but] we don’t need to pay to learn from each other.” She’s also planning a DIY Fest, involving other clubs, that is slated for April 25th, hopefully outside.

Peace and Justice Club plans to have at least one more Free Market this semester, probably in about a month.

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