Friends save RRFM

Congrats to the Really Really Free Market for receiving sponsorship from SURGE, which will provide insurance coverage to allow the Marketeers to continue to distribute food along with other items shared for free (really) at the Carrboro Town Commons on the first Saturday of each month.

Last year, the RRFM refused to pay Carrboro's normal fee for reserving the space (until receiving support from an anonymous donor), and then recently refused to stop serving food although doing so presented a potential liability issue for the Town.

Alderman Dan Coleman has since been in conversation with several members involved in the market, who, Coleman said, “didn't want to be in a position of conflict with the town over this issue.” Coleman said he told these individuals that the most straight-forward approach would be to find an entity that would sponsor the market and provide the insurance.

Enter SURGE. Founded on the UNC campus in 1998, SURGE is a nonprofit network of groups at high schools, colleges and universities that engages in resource development toward progressive political change in North Carolina. SURGE administers a fellowship program that helps student activists work in their own communities.

- The Carrboro Citizen: Really, really insured, the market continues, 8/30/07

I think it is really really notable how many other people - especially Alderman Dan Coleman, Mayor Mark Chilton, and SURGE - went out of their way to try to bring this matter to a resolution so that the markets could continue unabated. It's a great testament to the values of Carrboro, which I hope the Marketeers will remember the next time they get frustrated with an apparent roadblock.



I hope Dan Coleman, Mark Chilton and SURGE will remember that it is anarchistic activists who have created a space in Carrboro where people give stuff away to each other. They should be grateful to the activists for both producing something positive and helping to insure Carrboro's 'commie' reputation, which gives the town distinction. I think Vinci Daro's letter in the Citizen captured the situation well:

Since the beginning of the Really Really Free Market in Carrboro in 2004, town officials have presented many hurdles to get over in order to have an event where people give things away. First we were told the event would hurt local businesses, and we had to convince town staff that it was more likely to help by bringing people into town. Then we were told it would hurt the PTA thrift store, and I had to get a letter of support from the director of the PTA. We were told we couldn't have the event more than twice a year, and unless we wanted to pay more than $100 the event could only last four hours. Then we were told we couldn't have a donation box at the event to collect money to cover the $100 fee. Then we had an issue with the banners, and then there was the blowup over the re-purposed yard signs.

There were threats from the town attorney, visits from town staff with cameras — and then from police with video cameras — and attempts to move the event to Sundays by town staff and aldermen. We have been prohibited from using the power (which is unfortunate because some people like to bring sewing machines to hem and repair clothing, power tools for woodworking projects, crock pots for stews, etc.). We have been prohibited from using the bathroom (but the owner at Citgo has kindly welcomed RRFM participants to use his). And of course, most recently, we have been prohibited from sharing food. (Of course, if we had enough money, we could pay to lift these restrictions.) Throughout all of these complications, there have been meetings with town staff, presentations at aldermen meetings and a public hearing … all in order to have an event where people give things away.

While some elements within town government have been twisting and turning to make things difficult, other elements within town government have been bending over backwards to make things easier. They have announced an anonymous donor to cover the fees, facilitated a new policy for using the Town Commons without fees and are now helping to coordinate an agreement with SURGE to get around the food issue. I would like to thank Helen of the Recreation and Parks department, Alderman Dan Coleman and Mayor Mark Chilton for being the most active supporters of the event throughout its history in Carrboro.

Vinci Daro

Since y'all mention it, I am not really over the sign thing. In my experience, "repurposing" usually means finding a new life for something that has fallen out of use. In this case, campaign signs were stolen during the peak of election season and painted over with RRFM advertising.

Even more annoying to me, some of the people who did this seemed to claim that they weren't really sorry because local elections are all part of the same capitalist system they are trying to fight. While this critique may be accurate at the state and national level, local elections (at least around here) are relatively democratic. And even more importantly, it's those same disparaged elected officials who help to create and maintain access to wonderful resources like the Town Commons used by the RRFM!

I am extremely sympathetic to their goals but ultimately unimpressed with their analysis, and therefore have no interest is supporting their tactics.

I hardly think it is productive to interject any venom into this discussion. So how about everyone just let the RRFM be the fun event that most folks always wanted it to be?

Is repurposed a synonym for stolen?

Mark--What constitutes venom in my post?

I wrote the OP post about the yard signs. I'm WAY over it. Matter of fact the reason I took the time to post it was to get all kinds of liberals talking with each other on OP. Not to start them fighting amongst themselves. It engended a important discussion about property rights IMHO.

Nor was it my intention to vilify or accuse anyone of anything. It makes me sad and regretful that a bunch of people started bashing peaceful people who want to help others. (RRFM folks)

With that said I am VERY happy that the Really Really Free Market is running. I am also very proud of Alderman Coleman and Mayor Chilton for working to help them. It is truly a rare place in the South where your elected officials are liberal enough, smart enough, and brave enough to go to bat for all types of people. Including Anarchists. (In a certain way I think Steve S. was saying the same thing.) :)

Three Cheers for the LIBERAL Town(s) I love!

P.S. Please take my cheering as a sincere expression of my feelings. thank you.

Chris C, repurposed is a synonym for stolen.

When did Carrboro get a "commie" reputation? Nobody tells me anything.

Didn't you hear about France appreciation day back before the Iraq war, James? Who but a commie would have anything nice to say about those surrender-monkey cheese-eaters?

James spends all of his time grooming his immmaculate, lush lawn. He is insulated from the outside world by zoysia.

No commie; croquet.

Oy Vey! My 16 year old daughter went to the RRFM to pick pockets she said. She ended up with an old hippie skirt, joined the Internationalists bookstore and got hit on by a skinny anarchist college boy.

That sounds like a pretty good day, Pat. Some of us think skinny anarchists are pretty cute... ;-)

Ruby--most folks with 16 y/o daughters would rather college boys NOT "hit on" said daughters.

Most 16 y/o DAUGHTERS, OTOH...


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