The claim that the festival is “a celebration of unchained and independent Asheville” is insulting in light of the escalating process of gentrification and the criminalization of people of color, youth, the poor and homeless that is currently under way. This very process is clearing the path for “local and independent businesses, crafters, artists, restaurants, breweries and nonprofits.” Every time more “green” condos, boutiques and art galleries go up, so does our rent, and it becomes that much harder for the local working class — whose cheap labor makes this economy function — to survive.
They attempt to manufacture a tourist-friendly image of Asheville as a playland for the rich, while concealing the reality of the class violence such an endeavor entails.
The organizers of the Big Love Fest assert that living under a more localized capitalism is equivalent to being “unchained and independent." Such hollow marketing attempts only distort what we all already know: that the self-determination of all people based on human need and not a for-profit economy controlled by a local elite is the only thing that can bring us closer to the freedom their rhetoric hints at.
They propose that ethical consumerism will bring change as they profit from the niche-market they've created. We say abolition of class society (the dictatorship of the rich) is the only road to any change we’re interested in — the change capable of empowering autonomous communities and paving the way for true independence.
— Nathan Strong