No Money, no products, no consum
Long live the Free-shop!
Against products, money and capitalism!
Long live the ęFree shopę. The ęFree shopęis a self-organized and anticapitalist project which opposes our ruling order of money and consumerism. It wants to offer a practical society. In a society in which all things become products and their exchange is only organized via money, in which bank accounts are decide what chances someone has to live, we want to develop a radical alternative: No money, no products, no sale and no exchange. Everybody is equal in the ęFree shopę- no matter whether they are riding up in front in a luxury limousine or if they show up with worn out shoes by foot. It is not crucial what you possess but what you need! Against products, money and capitalism! In our society, in which kids are educated in a long and often violent process to accept the people-made capitalistic society it is a long and stony way to radical liberation. The ęFree shopęoffers a starting point to deprive the ruling logic of the seeminlgy fair conditions of exchange and possesion of its power.In this society in which the unfairness and exploitation is transfigured to a natural state, practical solidarity and self-organization can be the beginning on the way to liberation.
Liberation from the forces of a money economy - Liberation from the forces of labor - Liberation from the violent conditions of comsumerism.
We often only realize the senselessness and misfunctioning of our product systems in its deformities: mountains of garbage, workoholism, the pollution of the environment and the psycho-social decline are only a couple of key words which almost every one of us knows. But these are only the symptons of the mistaken belief of capitalism. This all begins with the principle of exchange according to equivalencies. The thought that all things and jobs which determine our lives could be related to each other according to measurable and seemingly objective standards (meaning they could be measured in money worth) is as crazy as its consequences, which have almost transformed the world into a labor camp. Following a crazy logic of more and faster, bigger and further, people are deviating more and more from their needs and are increasingly following this pseudo-religious delusion. Often they are ruled by this for a life time.
The delusion of a “throw away society”
halfway house information Today, every person in Germany still produces half a ton of household trash per year. This includes not only the packaging material but more and more also commodities and pieces of equipment. From toasters to vacuum cleaners, from old computers to clothes from the last season, more and more useful things are ending up in the trash can - a product of our affluent society. „Advances" and „fashion" make it possible. Yes, they make the consumption of newer things possible and even request it. Of course these products don`t grow on trees, they are produced on the world market. Billions of people work day after day under mostly inhuman conditions to keep up the capitalisitcs world and it`s crazy idea of consumtion, to mass produce new things which in return are mostly brought to the temples of consumerism of the modern industrialised nations of the north. The blind system of increasing capital and utilization of nature and people is not taking into account the ecological and social issues - it is a logic which only knows one direction. We are all long slaves of this logic and there is only one solution: to stop the machine and to free ourselves from the machine - to organize ourselves again. To look for new ways which are far from mass production and mass consumption: For a better society in which nobody is only judged by how many hours he or she works daily.
Itęs not only supposed to stop with things - activities should follow
It all started with things. Bringing, taking, rummaging and being amazed. But thatęs not all. Already you can use the computers for your work. You can write emails and texts, burn CDęs etc. But thatęs only the beginning. We want to encourage you to offer your talents and abilities to others; free from rewards and payments. Organize yourselves! Start groups, offer something to others. Everyone is able to do something. You can offer or ask for everything in the `Free shopę: from haircuts to drumming workshops and help with renovating or moving. The principle should not be that of exchange. What should be the abstract equivalente of two activities? Time? No! Anyone who has compared an hour of cleaning toilets with an hour cakebaking will quickly realize that this equality is as abstract as the thought of equality. We do not want equality - we want mutual help, free agreements and self-organization. In our place you can make an agreement cooperatively. Between one and another you can satisfy your needs independently from money, market and consumerism.
More is less - or, someone who doesn’t need much is rich!
Modesty is a characteristic which has almost deteriorated to a foreign word in our time. The media and with it the commercials offer new things on a daily basis which we all really need.. On days with longer opening times and on sales days the shops are so filled with people that one could think we are a society with a short supply. Instead of enjoying nature with the family, we are going shopping on the weekends. Steadily hunting for the cheapest and best sell and with blank nerves in front of the TV one is already checking what’s on the shopping list for next week. Excessiveness is spreading out. Buying is a mere replacement for real emotional fulfillment. Communication is more and more pushed into the background. If and when we do speak it is often only about things and our newest achievements. While this is happening we accumulate more and more things at home which nobody really needs. But the contentedness doesn’t grow with the aquisitions of these officially useful things. Everyone who rides the metro every now and then can see the unhappy faces and downward facing mouths of people - besides filled shopping bags.
Attention is paid to material things, not anymore to the individual or to others. This process of objectification seems to be the normal way of life for many of us. The majority of society only looks to the outside, many of us are not even able to look inside anymore. Social contacts and daily chats are are often only filled with talks about the Having and the Wanting of more new things.
But would they only realize how useless the wanting of more and more new things is. How much better do those feel who are happy with less and do not need the newest and best and biggest. When one is content within oneself the noise about “something” can become less and less important and the person can concentrate on the essential things in life.
A couple of requirements for the use of the “Free shop”
The promises of our consume society are shining everywhere in bright colors: products, buying, cheap, comsume ... more, faster, bigger. In the “Free shop” we are consequent and honest: here, everything is for free!
Not all people who use the “Free shop” understand our idea as an altervative exchange of things without such things as trade and money. That is the reason why we have some minimal rules for our work - in order for the shop to function. These rules are used to protect the project from abuse. We are not defining abuse as a criminal action which must be punished but as a consumer behaviour which we have been trained to by society and which has alienated people from their real needs. With our question ęDo you need this?ę we are only attempting to stimulate our users to think about whether they really need what they have chosen. Piling things is as out in the ęFree shopęas is bargain hunting. On the contrary, the shop is about liberating ourselfes from the capitalist mentality of accumulating and hording things. Actually there are many people experiencing some kind of liberation when they are giving away some of their accumulated things.
Another things we do not accept is the sale of things which have been brought to the ęFree shopę. These things have been handed over to the shop consciously by people who are not expecting anyone else to make a profit. Things which are taken from the shop are not sellable and should also not be exchanged with other similarily valuable things. If they are not needed anymore and they are still in a good condition then the best thing is to bring them back to the shop. If we do hear about a resale of things from the shop the person(s) will not be allowed into the shop anymore.
Keep your social card! For us everybody is equal. If rich or poor, if you are bringing things or taking them. We are not interested in how much you possess. We are only interested if you need something or if you want to leave something here in the shop. You can take what you need - you do not need to bring anything.! And if you bring more it doesnęt mean that you can take more. But you can always take what you need. You will be surprised. Save yourself the buying. Not everything must be new!
How is the Freeshop working?
Ρ You can hand over good things when the shop is open.
Ρ We only accept portable and things, that are ready for use.
Ρ Each visitor can take three things which he needs directly with him - for free.
Ρ You can pin up unportable or other things on our offers&wanted-chart.
Ρ The free-shop is a self-organised and anticapitalistic project. We are not a service-company and we want the users to help us in running the shop.
Some questions about the free-shop – FAQs
Why is everything for free?
The ęFree shopę offers an alternative to the capitalist buying economy. We do not want to have money in the shop because we think that it is in reality more important if the people need something. Money is a source of exploitation and suppression. But for us all people are equal. We want to free ourselves from the logic of money which makes us into non-thinking consumers.
Isnęt this a second hand shop?
No, we want to pass things on. Everything is self-organized. Some people bring things, some people take things. Some do both. This is not a business and we do not want to make a profit. The operations of the shop is not work for us. But besides that, yes, many things in the shop have already been used. But the people bring them here so others can use them now and because they do not need them anymore.
Is the shop only for the “Needy”?
No, the shop is for everyone. No matter how much money the people possess. We are only interested to know if the person really needs the thing(s). We see the shop as an alternative to our capitalistic society and want it to be for all - we are not the administrators of the emergency state of poverty which has been produced by the capitalistic socoety.
Who is involved in the “Free shop”?
Really everyone who comes. But there is also a collective of about 10 to 15 people which are taking care of the shop.
How do you pay your bills?
We try to get the least possible bills and to organize ourselves independently from money. The little money we need - for example to pay the electricity, water and heating - we pay with donations which we sometimes receive from our users.
What can one bring to the “Free shop”?
We only accepting things which are still functioning and which are in a good and presentable state. Everything should be transportable (so, no washing machines and furniture) and should be brought to the shop during our opening hours. In regards to clothing we only take clothes of the season. For computer parts as well as other special things we recommend a prior arrangement. For bigger things we have a notice board which you can use for your offers or needs.
Do you also take damaged things?
No, everything in the shop should be usable.
Join us and do it yourself
Self-organization is the main principal of our organisation. Our collective is organized equally and open. We decide together important questions and projects, independently from money constraints. Self-organisation also means that we are open to all people who want to join our collective, or who want to join our process of self-organisation, meaning who would like to take on the responsibility for our project.
We created an atmosphere in the “Free shop” in which it is possible for everyone to think about the nonsense of getting more and more new(er) things which are supposedly better. An atmosphere in which one can find people which think similarily and who might start something which can change our environment
The “Free shop” is a room where you can offer projects or workshops to others. Whoever has an idea can put it on the notice board. Everything is possible. Organize yourself and do something. Besides that can everyone, who feels like it, join our team. We are looking for members.
As long as the majority of society only complains about the bad conditions and keeps on discussing nothing will change. Everybody can do something and be active! Donęt just discuss but act!
Maybe you are from a different city or a different country? At this moment there exist similar free shops in many cities and countries. Itęs an expanding idea. Why donęt you just open another one. Experience shows that one can always find a room. In Potsdam, a housing society`s office offered a free room. Also cooperations with housing projects or “Kiezläden” are possible. As a last resort one can even obtain a rent, as was done in the Umsonstladen Hamburg for three years. We will support you in your efforts as much as we can.
Get together, do something! Donęt just do what others want you to do. Donęt let politics and the economy determine your life but determine your own life. If we change, if we demand things, if we do not just accept what others tell us - as to what is good and right, then a bigger change will happen. We need to send the message to the people `on topę that things shouldnęt and must not keep on going the way they have been. And we are attempting to free ourselves more and more- piece by piece - from the logic of work, the world of products and individualisation. Get out of your chairs and become active! Together for a better world!
The food-coop is a self-organised buying-group for biological food from the local area. The goal of this project is to organise a cheap and direct exchange of food with a personal contact to the producers. The motivation is not only the cheap price but also the direct and unestranged contact to the farmers, bakers etc..
So we order once a week together bred, milk, vegetables, cheese and other foods. The delivery is every week on friday directly in our small room in the free-shop. The less work we have to do is spreaded over the users. If you are interested in the food-coop you can come on friday in the free-shop and get more information. General information are availabel in the internet at .