Sunday, May 27, 2012

The potential legal hazards of non-hoarding

How much do I love Share Faire?

So much that seeing the police there did not dissuade me.

I am so law-abiding that I honestly thought they were there to make sure no one bothered us. After all,

Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble....


I had set out my books and was starting to put out my clothes when one of the staffers announced that the police had said that we did not have a right to be in the park (it's a public park) and that they would cite anyone who remained (there were no signs, no tents, no substances, and no dollars being exchanged). He said that usually they clean everything up at the end, but since the police were asking people to leave immediately, all the items would have to be left there. He also said that it was up to us whether we wanted to leave or stay and continue to share.

I didn't want to leave perfectly useful things to be disposed of, but I did want to hang around and see what happened. A few people left, one of them sharing her address as she walked by, suggesting a backyard share; unfortunately I didn't have a map with me so I wouldn't have been able to find the address.

After about ten minutes the police dispersed, and sharing resumed as usual.

I was pretty happy with both the speed with which the things I set out disappeared and the lack of things that I acquired. In the past I have acquired all kinds of things, from safety-orange yarn to canned goods to bomb-diggity tees, one of which I frequently wear dancing. This year I grabbed a couple tees to turn into bibs, some craft sticks to use as plant markers, and a pair of earrings I may or may not be able to clean up.

Probably the best thing about this particular event is knowing for a little while that we're all there, open to sharing, participating in the same experience, sidestepping capitalism, allowing one another to benefit and enjoy the things we don't need. I can talk to anyone there, while we are picking through bright sweaters and LP albums. A community springs up for an afternoon, disappearing at the appointed hour, and arising again in a few months for another round.

Update: EEMA's response.


  1. So, the cops were there to dissuade but didn't seem to care if people stayed? Was citing people an empty threat?

    1. I didn't actually hear or see an actual uniformed officer speak to anyone who was not an actual uniformed officer. Then they drove/biked off and didn't come back. Musta been.

    2. they cited three individuals


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