Taking Control of a Small Town or County
For the Purpose of Establishing a Unique
Survival Community - In Good Times & Bad.
Why Survival Groups Start, and How They Fail
The problem most survivalists face regarding their goal of self-reliance usually boils down to limited financial resources. We can obtain the knowledge we need to survive for little or no cost, thanks to the internet and websites like SSRsi.org, but when it comes down to purchasing the tools and supplies, few of us have cash enough to cover every scenario - or the space to store what we might acquire.
Enter Survival groups, Co-Ops and Communities. In theory, these are great ideas. Those of us who have attempted it however can tell you that the theory simply doesn't hold up. While costs are reduced, it is still prohibitively expensive - even foregoing the more technological niceties like X-ray or MRI machines and dental facilities.
While land may be found for the "perfect" retreat, it's never really perfect for every member of the group. People need to live where they can make a living. Chances are, wherever you locate a retreat, it's not going to be conducive for everyone to live there - or even near there - while the world continues to somehow muddle through with life as usual.
A successful group would need members covering an astounding spectrum of practical and technological knowledge and capabilities to survive catastrophic events, but many necessary specialties inherently lead their practitioners to dismiss and/or disdain the self-reliant or survival philosophy. You just can't find enough of them who recognize the value of our way of life to risk the peer pressure they would experience if it became known they were affiliated with us. It doesn't matter why this is so - it just is.
Then there are the personality problems that arise within every survival group. Issues of leadership and control, delegation of duties, religious and philosophical differences, racial and lifestyle hang-ups. The list is endless and tends to result in group dissolution or the type of extreme exclusivity that can only diminish the long-term survivability of any group which remains.
Finally, should the worst of catastrophes occur, there is a minimum number of people necessary to repopulate a nation (or world) without risking genetic degeneration. Sure, we all know that even the worst scenario posits a huge number of vagabond survivors - but what are you going to do with them, supposing you are even able to find them? How are you going to feed them, clothe them, house them, direct and control them?
In any civilization ending event, it simply will not be possible for most survival groups to withstand the onslaught of the unprepared survivors. Just because they are foolishly failing to prepare does not mean they are intellectually stupid. The world is filled with nasty little toys that may be used to breach your defenses, but there is only a three week supply (at best!) of food. You can bet that these desperate survivors will eventually be knocking at your door. You just can't get isolated enough that someone isn't going to find you - not in this or most countries.
Things As They Are...
Unless you are a hermit who's sole connection to the rest of the civilized world consists of a laptop and a satellite hook-up (I know there's a few of you out there), then you, like myself, live in a community of some sort. You go to work each day and have tens, hundreds or even thousands of acquaintances - few (if any) with whom you share your concerns, the details of your preparations, or your dedication to the self-reliant survival philosophy.
You recognize that most of these folks are good people just trying to get by in an increasingly difficult and complex society. No matter how many friends and acquaintances you have, though, you still feel something of an outsider. You struggle to maintain a positive outlook amidst a sea of mediocrity as you watch these folks chase "the good life" without a care for the possible consequences of their lack of preparation. You see a society increasingly dependent upon the government for more and more aspects of their private lives, and adamant that the government come to their rescue in times of peril or the aftermath thereof. You witness a government only too happy to comply - failing miserably - yet gaining more and more control over your life at the behest of those who cannot or will not control their own.
Much as those of our ilk hate to admit, there is a certain amount of interdependence required to maintain a civilized lifestyle in today's world. No matter how self reliant or how well prepared each of us becomes, the world is too compartmentalized, too manipulated, controlled, and too crowded to fend for your own in all but the most basic manner. Your independence is fragile in that it is a target of derision now - and will be a target of desire should things get out of hand. Your chances of standing against those who have nothing and want what is yours are basically slim to none.
What if you could live in a city or a county entirely populated by independent, self-reliant folks who shared your survival philosophy? What if this city or county was governed with this philosophy in mind, was capable of being defended - both strategically and logistically - from even the largest horde? What if this city or county was capable of supporting it's Citizens at almost the same standard of living you experience today (if not better), entirely independent of the outside world regardless of what may come?
What if it was absolutely free to join this community, provided you had the wherewithal to simply move there?
Things As They Could Be ...
To the best of my knowledge, such a place doesn't exist - but to a greater degree, it could. Certainly it would be difficult to exclusively populate a county with survivalists, but it would be entirely feasible to politically dominate such a county with a self-reliant dedicated core of individuals and families adhering to the survivalist philosophy.
According to the 2006 estimate of the total US population (300+ million), 220,602,975 of them were of voting age. Of this total, 67.6 were registered to vote. In 2004 63.8 percent of the registered voters voted in the Presidential election, while only 47.8 of them voted in the 2006 non-Presidential elections. Of those who vote, 99% of them vote for one of the two parties (split pretty much evenly), with the remaining 1% going to some third party.
In a community of 30,000, using the above voter demographics, this means about 74% are of voting age - 22,200. Of this number, only 67.6% can be expected to register to vote - 15,007. Of the registered voters, only a maximum of 63.8 percent will exercise their right to vote - 9575. Finally, of this voting block, only 50% can be expected to voted for any one or group of candidates - 4788 votes. (Only 3587 votes during non-Presidential elections and even fewer people turn out for, or pay attention to, local elections.)
This means that a dedicated voting block of 5,000 (maximum) voters should be able to win any election from the indigenous population, easily, during Presidential election years. Half that number would be enough to sway any result. During non Presidential and local elections, half that number would probably be enough to win and a mere 10% enough to sway any election result.
Always assuming that the right community could be found, and that this community could absorb the influx of an additional 5,000 voting age survival types (and their families), this community could become a better alternative to joining the standard survival group. Think about it - a complete infrastructure already in place, including the necessary non-survival oriented professional types, all gathered together in a neat package. With some gentle guidance, the non-survival types could easily be led to improve the survivability of the community without ever suspecting the reasoning or goals behind what changes might need to be made.
If the survival group wanted to, they could take over political control of the community in a matter of 2-10 years, depending upon the government structure, by dominating the elections. If they were to keep their survivalist affiliations secret, no one (except perhaps the incumbents) would even care. It would simply be "politics as usual," only this time the other guy won.
Please... 5000 Survivalists in ONE Community?
Sure. Why not? If the community is somewhat rural (which is what you want, anyway), then most of the folks living there are, basically, unacknowledged survivalists already. They may not call themselves "survivalists," but you can bet there are more self-reliant Citizens living there who are prepared to weather whatever common local perils tend to present themselves. If you don't make a point of being a dedicated survivalist, you will probably fit right in - better even than the weekenders, second homeowners and drive-by city dwellers that visit.
Chances are, in a rural community of this size, at least some of them ARE going to be dedicated survivalists. They simply may not have connected with each other. With the influx of similar minded folk, they are likely to appreciate and welcome the company (I know I would).
The beauty of this concept is that it is essentially no different than the way you are living now, except that it is in a more secure (and potentially much more secure) location. All it takes is moving there, finding a place to live and obtaining employment or starting/moving your own business. In a vibrant enough community, this is much easier than dealing with the headaches of joining a small (or even a large) survival group. It is something you can do on your own without needing to rely on a group of others to complete successfully. There are no personality conflicts and no leadership or trust issues to deal with. No contracts to sign, or other legal issues to deal with. No paranoia about the government (or anyone else) watching your group.
In the event of a catastrophe, you'll already be there, secure, with nothing to pack, nowhere to head for, and no traffic/mobs/checkpoints/hazards, etc. to contend with. What good is a ton of gear and ten-year-shelf-life food going to do if you have to try and pack it all up for the move to your group's survival site? Even if you stored your gear at the survival site - who's going to guarantee that you and your family will ever reach the site or, having reached it, that those already there are going to actually admit you in? This concept eliminates the need for financing big-ticket survival gear and provides a storehouse of goods (everything in town, basically) available in the event of a civilization ending catastrophe. It also eliminates the concern over paying membership fees and dues to someone you don't know or wondering what you are getting for the money you've spent.
Wouldn't it be better to be living at your survival destination already, with all your preparations in your own home? Your own home versus a campsite or a bunk in a shelter of questionable design or construction. Your own community where you know the terrain versus an unfamiliar, possibly destitute or hostile area. Friends, neighbors and fellow survivalists that you have grown to know and trust because you've lived and worked with and among them versus people you've rarely met and barely know aside from internet chats and the occasional face to face.
Once established in the community, members might take advantage of employee discounts available to fellow members as well as wholesale pricing to member business owners. In good times, the uninitiated are helping to maintain and improve community services. They are providing you with jobs, income, services and/or customers for your own business. In bad times, they will be looking to YOU for leadership, and they will be available to utilize for both maintenance and defense. The only time you might have to worry is when you are travelling outside your community.
Where to Find Such a Community
Likely, every state has one or more candidates - you just have to find them, The criteria are pretty simple:
With all, or most, of these capabilities, such a community should be capable of
surviving anything short of a direct hit/attack. You can't plan for chance, but
you can plan to optimize your chances.
While it seems like a big list to fill, such places do exist to a greater or lesser degree. I know, because I live in one. It's why I've lived here since 1998. It was quite a bit smaller ten years ago, but has filled out nicely. There is room for more. It meets ALL of the above criteria - including all but two or three of the bonuses (armory, large scale alt. energy, and maybe the silo's) - and then some.
With over 300 days of sunshine each year, the county should be blanketed in solar, but it's not. With readily available geothermal capabilities, only a few commercial and residential examples exist. With all the steady winds we get, few windmills exist. I believe this is due to the local environmentalist lobbies and a local government more interested in catering to the ski & tourist industries than the welfare of their citizenry.
So How Do You Start Things Rolling?
Obviously, someone has to find a place that meets as many of the above criteria as possible and move there. Then they need to get the word out to nearby survivalists interested. (SSRsi will be happy to list potential sites and contacts) Those who are interested and capable of moving there should then do so and set up whatever support group they can to assist others in their move. A 10-15% influx of survivalists (to the current local population) should be enough to exert dominant political control, but as little as 2% influx could change things radically in the self-reliant survivalists' favor.
Curiously, the hardest part will be getting the new survivalist members to become politically active in the community. Most survivalists that I know are fiercely independent and private individuals who shun the notoriety of public displays of... darned near anything. Though preferable, it isn't absolutely necessary to take control of the administration of the government of your new home. If you infiltrate/integrate with the business community, the medical, police, fire and emergency services communities, and vote as a concerted block at every opportunity, things may be directed satisfactorily. Or, at least, kept in check.
Independently, the new survival community members should develop emergency and catastrophic contingency plans. If it seems likely they will be adopted by the powers that be, then the plans may be submitted (anonymously, if necessary) to them. Many areas will already have these plans - or similar ones - on record, or held confidentially. It never hurts to duplicate their efforts, however. They're not survivalists.
You should guide the community (gently!) to adopt measures that result in completion of the criteria list, above. If gentle persuasion does not prove sufficient, you may need to either make it happen independently (expensive, but possibly lucrative), or run for office. It's okay to let the liberals and palm-squeezers run things as long as they run things the way you need them to. A good idea is to enlist the aid of a survival-minded social scientist and/or pick the mind of a sympathetic psychologist for tips on manipulating your "representative government" into believing they are doing what they want for their own reasons. Remember, force is always resisted. It is easier to find reasons for them to agree to - or even suggest - the changes you need, than it is to force them to make these changes.
Didn't You Say That You've Already Found the "Perfect" Location?
Well, yes. But it is not perfect for everyone and anyone. No place is. It's not even perfect for me. It's expensive to live here, though well worth it. The terrain is basically mountainous. The highest elevation is Grays Peak at 14,270 feet and the lowest is the North end of Green Mountain Reservoir at 7,957 feet. If you cannot tolerate or acclimate to an Alpine environment, then this place is not for you.
Too, there are alot of vocal, politically active, liberal-minded folks up here. No real harm, but not easy to stomach. The only newspaper and most of the local media are predominantly liberal, and not at all ashamed to flaunt it. There is much room for improvement and an alternate viewpoint (for any media types out there) would be received with a collective sigh of relief by many in the community.
There are hordes of immigrants - many of the illegal, Spanish-speaking variety, but basically from all over the world - of every color and creed. The community not only tolerates them, but welcomes them and provides all manner of services for them so they can afford to work the resort areas. If you cannot stomach diversity, then this is not the place for you.
There is a lively, ongoing verbal dispute between the liberals and the rather large (and again, diverse) religious community members - except for the Muslims, whom everybody seems to love and is afraid to criticize in even the slightest fashion. (Liberal media, again) Too, there is a surprisingly large alternative health/spiritual community. None of this is really a "bad" thing, but if religion and spirituality and the alternatives to conventional medicine or religion annoy you to the point of freaking out, then you probably won't feel as comfortable here as somewhere else.
Finally, it is a tourist destination. Denverites come here in the summer to escape the heat of the plains and foothills, and everybody and their brother comes here in the winter for the snow sports. Depending on the time of the year, it can get a bit crowded. (read: frustrating and sometimes irritating) Eventually they all go away, but if a catastrophic event occurs while they are here, we'll have to deal with them somehow. Putting them up is not a problem, but feeding them and controlling them might be.
On the other hand, it is one of the most beautiful places I've ever lived and still maintained the ability to make a living. There is plenty of opportunity for industrious and honest folks. There are jobs up here year round - the help wanted ads always seem to be more than a few pages long. Your best bet is to consider opening your own business (like I did), but you can always eke out a living by working for the resorts or other local businesses. The schools are pretty good - better than average - and most of the kids seem well adjusted and more mature than their counterparts in Denver. A good business venture would be to cater to the juvenile entertainment industry. The kids tend to get a bit bored, up here.
If you are an outdoor sports enthusiast, the lifestyle up here cannot be beat. Really, there's just not much better (provided you can handle the altitude). Denver is only 110 miles to the east and Central City (about half the distance) is one of two places you can gamble legally in the state. There are National Forests, State Preserves, Wilderness Areas EVERYWHERE, and lots of 4x4 trails, ghost towns and camping areas. The hunting and fishing are fantastic. There is sailing and boating on the reservoirs, canoeing and kayaking and rafting and tubing on the rivers. There's hiking and climbing and caving opportunities everywhere. A seriously fun place to live.
If all of this sounds good to you and you have the ability to relocate to the Colorado Rockies, check out the Summit County Survival Community (SC²) pages I've set up. If you have found a likely alternative and would like SSRsi to set up a similar set of pages for your site, contact MEG.
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