About once a month or so, I see posts made on various survival-related online forums by people seeking to either form a “survival community” or join an existing one. Here’s a hard truth these people need to learn — there just ain’t no such thing (for the most part).
Now, before my inbox explodes with emails from people who wish to argue the point, let me at least define a couple terms and state my case.
This is how I define a survival community: An established parcel of land, with existing structures, occupied solely or at least mostly by survivalists or preppers who have banded together to work with each other towards some degree of self-sufficiency. The way they are often portrayed by people who post about their plans for creating such an animal, they talk about hundreds of acres of both wilderness and tillable land, raising livestock, tending massive gardens, an established leadership structure, homeschooling for the kids, and of course the requisite security components (vast armory, trained soldiers patrolling the grounds, etc.). Think a hippie commune but with guns.
This differs from the much more common retreat group. A retreat group I define as being a collection of family and/or friends who have a spot of land somewhere they may visit from time to time as recreational property but also with some sort of plan to “get together” if something major were to happen. The land could be jointly owned, old family property, or perhaps an individual has the title but allows the remainder of the group access to it. There may or may not be established structures on the property. The group may rarely get together as a complete unit. Some of the group may not even really be considered preppers, but they are included in any overall survival plans because of their connection to the group. Think of a hunting cabin with acreage where family and friends go in the summers to ATV and winters to snowmobile.
Of all the thousands of people I’ve met online and in real life, I can count on one hand the number of people who have an actual survival community set up. I could count the number of people whom I truly believe have an established survival retreat group on all of my appendages with a few to spare.
Lots of folks like to dream about survival communities and that’s not inherently bad. But, if y’all are waiting (and hoping) to join one so you’re “set” if the feces hit the rotary air movement device, think again. That’s just not gonna happen.
There are all sorts of issues that come into play when you talk about these survival communities. Operated as described above, which is admittedly a pie in the sky description to begin with, it is pretty much doomed to failure. See, here’s the thing. Survivalists are generally, by their very nature, individualistic and kinda hard-headed. We don’t like being told what to do, do we? In fact, many of us downright chafe under authority. We like to go our own way, do our own thing. Getting a big group of us together to work on a project, especially a really long-term one, amounts to the old “too many chiefs, not enough indians” problem.
Plus, many of these so-called plans for survival communities have lists of desired occupations, don’t they? Gotta have a doctor or two, a few nurses, some combat hardened vets, a mechanic or three, farmers, ranchers, teachers, et cetera, ad nauseum. It just isn’t anywhere near realistic to somehow manage to get all these people together, most of whom probably haven’t met before, and put them in a room and expect them to all get along, agree on most everything, and start working on a major project.
How do you decide who leads such a community? Is it the person who contributed the most funds? What if that person develops into a raving lunatic under the pressure of leadership?
Many of the people who have these vast plans for a survival community have not one clue what it would take to actually get one running. They don’t understand just how much work it would be just on a day to day basis, let alone after all the external support services cease to exist.
I’m not saying it absolutely can’t be done. I know folks who are doing it. But, it wasn’t an easy road by any means and I’m double darn sure they aren’t looking to increase their membership right now. To join an existing community like that involves an extremely extensive vetting process. It isn’t like you can fill out an application, go through a thirty minute interview, and you’re in. We’re talking several months, at a minimum.
Instead of hoping to find an established community where you can live out your days, focus on your own immediate survival needs. Get together a retreat group if you’d like but don’t count on any of them riding in like the cavalry if the balloon goes up. Make your own plans, stick to them, and get prepared. Remember, the only person you can really, truly count on is yourself.