Survivalism as if self-sufficiency is an illusion.

How do I protect [my disaster supplies] from the unprepared and desperate have-nots if I don’t already have a fort-knox style bunker?

Obviously the first priority will be to avoid conflict in the first place, if possible. The cause of conflict in your question was a shortage of supplies, and the potential aggressors are disorganized. So the easiest way to avoid conflict in that case is to make sure that there are enough essential supplies to go around for your neighbours. . . . That’s why I think that community sufficiency is much more important than just self-sufficiency.

— Aric McBay on Strategies for shortages, from In The Wake: A Collective Manual-in-progress for Outliving Civilization

I often feel self-conscious reading (and liking!) a certain type of anti-civilization literature. I’m trying to come up with a concise way to explain the appeal without just making a joke out of it (crazy survivalists!). Part of it is this struggle to take care of oneself in a cooperative way. The whole anti-civilization argument, at least from the people I’ve been checking out, comes from the premise that civilization makes cooperative self-care impossible, because the civilized are always destroying and overshooting their (our) landbase and depending on imperialism to survive. It’s that situation where one competitive person can ruin a whole group’s attempt to use cooperation and consensus.

So there are a whole lot of ideas in there about resisting a hierarchical, destructive culture without creating a new hierarchical culture in its place.

One thought on “Survivalism as if self-sufficiency is an illusion.

  1. I haven’t read much literature on survivalism and self-sufficiency, but what I have read makes my mind a bit dizzy. While I agree with most of the premises about localized or community-level self-sufficiency (growing food locally, etc.), I have a difficult time envisioning what it will actually look and feel like when civilization crumbles under it’s own greed. I don’t doubt the fact that it will happen eventually, I just have a hard time imagining walking around in that world.

    I sat in on a class this term and heard alot of people say that when civilization does unravel, there won’t be enough resources to sustain the current population, so the fight for resources will be quite urgent. I also heard that definitions of resistance will change alot, because someone who is anti-violence right now might take up arms to protect their farms or gardens when it becomes a matter of life and death.

    Heavy stuff! I appreciate you raising these questions, particularly about avoiding the recreation of heirarchical society. Luckily, we have many examples of localized, land-based cultures to learn from and with!

Comments are closed.