If Jim Rawles allowed comments at his popular Survival Blog, the post, Community Crisis Planning for Societal Collapse, by J.I.R., would probably be over 1,000 by now.
J.I.R. starts out with a no nonsense look at how communities will function should an American collapse occur past the short-term. The need to establish rule of law, stockpile resources, and ensure critical functions are completed.
But the talk of confiscating resources hit a lot of raw nerves and rightly so. I’ll hit a few representative high points – the things that really get under my skin – and try to keep it in context;
If you let private citizens keep their food and fuel and other scarce resources and only confiscate and control corporate or “large retail or wholesale stocks” …
“If you let” citizens keep their property? Next is the delineation between private citizens resources and store owners things, though the “initially” is troubling:
You have to be careful which resources you initially confiscate and only gather large retail or wholesale stocks meant for re-sale. Anything owned by an individual for his own use is his property and must not be touched. Any critical and scarce commodity owned strictly for resale should be confiscated for the common good and held by the community. Make sure you provide a receipt to any owners you can locate or at least keep records of what is taken.
Needing to establish some sort of community stockpile is of course what would be needed long-term, but “ownership” still does exist and there is no point to pretending otherwise:
One of these choices might be to confiscate corporate property and redistribute it as needed for the common good. That specifically includes local merchants who hold stockpiles of needed resources meant for resale, such as gas station and grocery store owners. The whole retail system with [its] complex accounting and “ownership” laws are part of a finance system that no longer exists after a severe EMP event.
This next bit is actually bullshit – my brothers and I own land where we grew up and where we’d (try to) return to in the event of a collapse. We don’t live there, some of it is farmable, so we’re absentee landlords. It is not an “investment” in the finance sense, and anyone trying to take it, or those that did, would be on the receiving end of our hot lead:
Farmable land owned by a absentee landlord is easy; he’s not there and owns it only as an investment, therefore it now belongs to the community.
For this, all I have to say is, and “try it”:
You may also be forced to confiscate privately owned vehicles if yours are damaged or you need specialty vehicles (like fuel tankers, for instance). You need to work out a method of doing this without stealing. Any time you confiscate resources from any private citizen, you need to somehow reimburse them as fairly as possible. A better approach may be to exclusively hire them as the driver and let them retain ownership.
This next bit is fairly cheeky – confiscate these farmers’ property, but hire them to help with the process:
Co-ops and large commercial farms: These may have livestock and large amounts of feed grain and other dried foods on hand. … Seek them out and get their input and help to secure their food. You want to avoid spoilage and loss as much as possible and these people can help. Hire them.
J.I.R. has the right initial notion that communities will need to stockpile food/supplies, provide for rule of law and collective defense, but I think he sets precedents that prime the slippery slope of communism.
Readers of Survival Blog have responded and several letters have been published, and the author of the original article has responded a couple of times;
- Four Letters Re: Community Crisis Planning for Societal Collapse
- Six Letters Re: Community Crisis Planning for Societal Collapse
- Seven Letters Re: Community Crisis Planning for Societal Collapse
Not all disagree with J.I.R. (from the Six Letters);
I completely agree with J.I.R.: Long term, communities (a dirty word to radical individualists) must organize and work together. And so all of a sudden on a survivalist web site like yours, someone has gotten real and is talking about community, the dangers of anarchy, the rule of law, justice, the protection of the weak, and even redistribution of property. In other words, government, the very thing most survivalists demonize the most. This is unavoidable. No guns-based, hyper-individualistic strategy could ever work for long.
That’s why I’m a left-wing survivalist. To me, the key is cooperation and production. Though the old self-reliant American lifestyle was fading when I was a child in the 1950s, the infrastructure and social fabric that supported community-based self-reliance had not yet decayed.
Several replies mentioned the scenario from the excellent book, One Second After and that it was similar. Actually, it was different in the book in that a lot less was confiscated and things were more voluntary. There was a rationing system – you give your stockpile and you get a ration card, otherwise live on what you have. That’s better. But it was also a relatively small community.
Our “retreat” (the family farm, or perhaps “compound”) has enough land and water to grow substance crops for as many as we’ll allow on our property. There is also some game, but my guess is that if there is a real collapse, game will become thin pretty soon.
We plan on having enough for our family and close friends we plan on having here. Probably some won’t make it there (including me and my family), probably some we’d rather not have there will show up. Probably more than planned for, which is sort of figured into planning; it’ll be very hard.
My family, I’m sure, would not allow any land, vehicle, fuel, livestock, or other property to be confiscated. We’d be well armed, including scoped long-range rifles, and with a plan to defend. As J.I.R. notes (Six Letters);
Without some kind of redistribution of scarce resources and a working police department, nobody’s property is off limits. Most of the people in the community are going to be hungry very fast. Nobody just sits down and starves to death. They are going to attempt to find food or whatever their family needs. Hungry people loot.
That’s true. However, for most places, that will happen regardless. There will be too many people, not enough food. Period. And there is no way to help everyone, it just cannot be done (unless you have stored truly vast quantities of supplies, which is highly unlikely for most) without jeopardizing the lives of your own family or group.