Realistic Prepper Advice
How to survive when Civilization Disappears but the Government Does Not
Follow me on Twitter: @FromKulak
The Problem of the Political
In my Last post: The Problem with Prepping, I went over how prepper culture is defined by post-apocalyptic pastoralism… How the common dreams of the prepping community, whether it be the ubiquitous zombie apocalypse, EMPs, Solar Flares, Super-Plagues, or even the popular conception of Nuclear Armageddon, are defined by a collective wish for a RETVRN to simplicity.
Almost all post-apocalyptic fiction is a psychological escape from the problem of the political into a dream of a simpler, if more dangerous, world where the unending economic, regulatory, tax, and social burdens of late-stage bureaucracy and the managerial totalitarianism, which still has the nerve to call itself “liberal democracy” when anyone with two eyes can see its openly hostile to any civil liberties or majoritarian people’s will any 19th century Liberal or Democrat would recognize as such.
Preppers are fundamentally right about the problems, unsustainability, and fragility of the current system… but are utterly delusional about what’s likely to succeed it.
Simply put the wish that in a suitably apocalyptic disaster, the state will recoil away into non-existence and leave people to fend for themselves (at which point the prepper will presumably thrive) has basically never happened.
The World is so Much Worse than Preppers Imagine
Russia in the 20th century endured basically the worst things you could possibly imagine doing to a nation.
A catastrophic military defeat against the Japanese; a failed partial revolution in 1905 and rolling civil strife afterward; a world war which they lost so bad their government collapsed into revolution; a world war they continued to lose so badly the government collapsed again into another revolution in October after a summer of failed revolutionary attempts; a failed peace treaty with Germany that led to them losing even more; a final treaty that amounted to them catastrophically losing half the empire; purges; 4 years of terror and civil war; purges; Stalin; purges; millions already dead then millions more in Holodomor; purges; an invasion of Poland; purges; a failed invasion of Finland; purges; Invasion by Nazi Germany; the horrors of the GOD DAMNED EASTERN FRONT; the hell of fighting all the way to Berlin and winning; MORE PURGES; and then purges, purges, and purges right up til the death of Stalin.
Oh and during all of this they were trying to implement an impossible anti-productive economic system which made profits… Ie. Being productive, exercising initiative, and improving your life, as well as Property Ie. Having responsibility over something… Illegal. And would shoot you if you did anything that in any other economy would be normally called productive economic activity…
And then in 1957 less than a decade after the last purge, this hellscape of a society was the first one to reach space with Sputnik 1.
I don’t care how pessimistic you are about human nature or politics, you are not nearly pessimistic enough.
That the leadership of a country could wake up every day for 30 years from 1918 to 1948 and seemingly ask themselves “How can I destroy my country and people today?” Kill millions in doing so, pervert every natural social and economic relation, actively criminalize productivity, and then leave the entire country open to the German invasion in the midst of a world war… IN TWO SEPARATE WORLD WARS! (seriously look at the details of how Germany and Russia signed the treaty of Brest-Litovsk… its wild)
And then for that country and government to not only somehow be functional at the end of it, but so functional it won the war for Europe and the first round of the space race… that’s a horror I doubt the most pessimistic science fiction writer could come up with… George Orwell recoiled that a totalitarian state could make a man believe 2+2=5… But even the nightmarish end of 1984 was too optimistic! Orwell died in 1950! He never lived to learn that, having made man believe 2+2=5, the totalitarian state could then force him to perform novel feats of engineering and physics all whilst engaging in the double-think.
Simply put dear reader, the government isn’t going to collapse, under any circumstance whatsoever… not unless someone makes it.
This is The Problem of The Political. A political order can only be forced out and dissolved by another political order.
To quote Mao: “Political Power Grows out of the Barrel of a Gun”. If you or yours aren’t wielding a gun to establish and maintain a political order, even a small one a local mafia or militia, then you have no political power, and someone else will necessarily be wielding a gun to establish a political order over you. A political order that in any of the collapse scenarios preppers are concerned about, you almost certainly won’t like.
This is the problem with so many preppers: they imagine they can flee civilization, hide in the woods, then reemerge after their despised urban enemies have finished killing each other and wiping out their contradictory corrupt system… What happens when the killing continues for 30 years! What happens when your enemy’s political order lasts 70! If you fled into the woods at 18 when the communists came to power 1917, you’d be 90 by the time the Berlin Wall fell, and 92 by the time the Soviet Union collapsed.
Ie. Unless you planned to kidnap guys and girls to forcibly mate with and continue your feral bloodline, you and your family will just be dying out slowly and miserably in the woods instead of tragically or gloriously in some purge or battle.
However, with some reasonable preparedness, and clear thinking, you can survive, thrive, and possibly achieve divinity in the next crisis of the ages.
Real Prepper Advice
There are basically 5 scenarios in which civilians drastically lose their liberties, lives, and fortunes:
Civil War broadly defined: regime change/guerilla campaigns/insurgency/ complete loss of order
domestic outward invasion/war
economic sanctions/blockade (externally or internally imposed).
and as we’ve seen recently… there's a 6th condition:
Disease outbreak and public health totalitarianism (i.e. Soft Communist Revolution)
Anyone one of these 5 (6) conditions can be caused by or cause economic collapses, and there are numerous examples of all of them resulting in things such as: mass starvation, breakdown in healthcare, concentration camp style detainment of populations, ethnic cleansing, mass enslavement, government by terror, conscription, press gangs, banditry, confiscation of wealth.
Even undisturbed Countries like America and Canada implemented Concentration camps for “foreign Aliens” during their world wars, and given what happened to POWs and detained civilians throughout the world as the regimes detaining them fell… not even getting into the ones the governments of the world consciously decided to murder them… it is very doubtful interned Japanese Americans or Canadian Ukrainians would have been fed had the worst paranoid fever dreams proved correct and Emperor Hirohito or Kaiser Wilhelm’s troops started landing in California or Nova Scotia.
Then of course there are examples like Vietnam, Eastern Europe… the entire history of China… the ongoing death of Yemen under Saudi/American blockade and airstrikes, where even food and medicals are withheld… The cascade of Nightmarish civilizational breakdowns that can occur WHILE you are suffering under totalitarian and imposing governments are endless.
Of these 5 however, the worst is number 1: Communist Revolution. And for that reason we’re going to assume that’s what you’re dealing with.
Not just because I hate communists which, yes, but because inherent in every communist revolution are the other 5.
Communists inherently wage civil war on their population, whether they find organized resistance or merely normal unorganized human resistance. When “property is theft” and the communists are the government, the government is inherently coming to take your property… even if you plan to go along with them, this will inevitably mean commissars showing up at you’re door to inform you that your house is not your house, your extra bedrooms are now the people’s and they’ll be deciding who they place there (inevitably criminals and regime sycophants who hate you even if the regime forgives your former class indiscretion, see Dr Zivago) or that your business is not your business, your jewelry or cash or gold stash now belongs to the state… and of course violence, if you hesitate in handing these things over or try to quickly make away with any of your business’s valuables.
All of these are inevitably enforced with violence and escalating violence if you try to get away with anything you might hide, because I don’t know, food supplies are breaking down and you might have to trade those jewels for a loaf of bread some day.
Any Communist Revolution, even if unresisted, is civil war from any natural rights perspective, since systematically stripping people of their property is a state of War, See Hobbes.
Likewise all communist revolutions are, and have always been, basically declarations of war upon their neighboring states (who have family and business ties to the country, and don’t want their property nationalized) in addition to all the “World Revolution” ideology which necessitates undermining neighbor states. Some combination of civil war Foreign military campaign, and invasion by foreigners, most likely all 3, is almost 100% inevitable in any communist revolution.
Finally, Economic Sanctions, externally and internally imposed, are inevitable in any communist revolution both because no one’s going to trade with a state that’s just nationalized all the property and wealth in it, and also foreign governments will be imposing explicit sanctions since it’s such a hostile regime, but also because communism is itself a system of economic sanctions. When you outlaw trade for profit, or as economists call it: Trade…. You screw the economy and cause a breakdown in the internal trade system (who’d have thought?).
So for the purposes of our prepper thought experiment, we’ll be assuming a communist revolution, in fact, we’ll assume your current society is suffering through the Russian Revolution. That you will suffer through all the lawlessness following the Russo-Japanese War, the failed revolution of 1905 the decade-plus of rolling political murder, and the bellicosity of world war 1, and then the government will collapse lawlessness will reign, multiple sequential revolutions will occur each with their own outlook on the war and their own set of shibboleths they’ll gladly shoot ordinary citizens for defying… And THEN the civil war will begin, warlords will rise, and the fate of not just one nation or empire, but dozens will be decided with millions of lives hanging in the balance.
And your objective is to survive and prosper across almost 30 years of this if you live in Ukraine and oh ya, potentially 70 more years under the Soviet Union and a second world war.
Now if that sounds daunting and unpleasant, it is. The life expectancy stats for Russia in the early 20th century tell a dark tale:
Under 45… For over 50 years.
In spite of this however the Russian population in 1900 was 73 million, in 1930 it was 100 million, in 1960, 116 million. SOMEONE was having kids between 1900 and 1945 and some of those kids were living, even if the average child born in 1900 didn’t make it to 1945… nor the average child born in 1920.
Eras like this are not uncommon in human history, as already hinted at the Top, Germany went through it’s 30 Years War in the 1600s along with a good chunk of Europe, most of Europe (and Germany) would endure similarly during the 20th century (though few as bad as Russia and Ukraine). And you can go through the list of other countries that have had decades-long blood times, many fairly recently. China was seeing people die by the 10s of millions as late as the 1970s!
If this sounds like a complete nightmare you want no part of… Good. That brings us to Prepper advice #1:
#1 The Single Most Important Piece of Prepper Kit you can Have is a PASSPORT
Having access to a passport has saved more lives in more warzones and revolutions than all the bunkers, weapons staches, plate carriers, and iodine tablets in the world.
And it’s truly incredible how many people have spent thousands of dollars on firearms and other kit but haven’t taken the 2 hours to get one.
There are many ways to escape a country descending into madness. None are as cheap and Immediate as a plane —or prior to that: Train— ticket elsewhere.
Everything we’re about to discuss can and has been overcome by hundreds of thousands of people who simply bought a ticket, had their documents in order, and left for greener pastures.
A Modern plane ticket can be bought mere hours before departure, costs a few hundred dollars, and will get you thousands of kilometers out of harm’s way, but you need a passport to use it!
They check your passport upon leaving, and if you don’t have one they won’t let you board to leave… Likewise getting into a foreign country is very dependent on that passport. Theoretically, if you can point to political persecution or risk of genocide or war countries are geneva required to let you in… LOL Ya, and theoretically YOUR government is supposed to protect your liberties, I wouldn’t gamble on the beneficence of someone else’s.
This is why in most circumstances getting out should be done early as possible, best case you’d establish some right of residency in a second country well in advance, ideally with some political insulation from the first so you won’t be extradited or reported on if the regime decides to single out you or your people (if you are a US citizen this is easier said than done)… however, merely getting into any other country is enough to survive the very worst things that can happen…
But getting a passport takes time and a functional bureaucracy… one of the, seemingly intentional, effects of passports and other permitting systems is that at a time of crisis, they become shockingly difficult to get. On an ordinary year getting passports for yourself, your spouse, and your children, is merely an ordinary pain, akin to a driver’s license renewal… but as systems of governance fail and as the need expands, actually getting one becomes nigh impossible… Hell ask a Canadian who had to merely RENEW a passport in the midst of COVID, delays could take 6-9 months, and if the state was actually collapsing that 6-9 months would quickly stretch out to years or indefinite. If your country lets you pay extra to renew for 10 instead of 5 years that 50-100 dollars extra might save your life
If the government falls or chaos erupts expect that many nations will still basically honor an old pre-collapse passport as a solid piece of documentation which at least at the time of issue was accurate and respectable, meanwhile, expect them to treat anything that could actually be issued by any successor semi-government no one recognizes as worse than dirt.
Anarchonomicon is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Now you might contend, as I’ve heard many prepper types do: “I’d never leave, this is my homeland! I’ll fight to the last to live here free and proud. If I’ll be fighting the rest of my life then by God I’ll do it!”
If that’s the case you 100% need a passport (or ideally twenty) and several other means to get out of the country, for you and your family… Not only because otherwise, your family becomes a point of leverage whereby you can be threatened, but also because any effective resistance in the 21st century is dependent on being able to play multiple jurisdictions against each other and manipulate the gaps between states.
Think of the Vietnamese exploiting the interplay of a North Vietnam without US ground forces, as well as neighboring Laos and Cambodia, whilst within South Vietnam they often had to resort to vast miles-long networks of nightmarish tunnels to transport troops and weapons anywhere; Think of the IRA playing off a militarized Northern Ireland, the sympathetic but uncooperative republic of Ireland for training and easier logistics, the less militarized UK for wider operational range, and the US where the sympathetic ex-pat community made acquiring arms and training a triviality; think of the Medellin Cartel (Escobar’s Cartel) operating and making allies across Columbia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Panama, and the US in a farcical game of cat and mouse in which they were simultaneously being hunted by th US DEA and armed by the US CIA.
If you’re the kind of person who’s not just going to surrender your liberty and fortune and flee, then being able to manipulate international borders becomes a doubly important skill.
But what if you can’t get out? What if you miss the point where passports and papers are even get-able? What if you find out your or your children are to be drafted for some hell march the second you present ID at a checkpoint or within the week when the press-gangs get to your house?
All warfare, which is to say All Political Conflict, is defined by attack and mobility, in the modern tactical space this gets called “fire and movement”, but this is a far more fractally applicable concept, holding true at the individual, tactical, operational, strategic, and geostrategic levels.
And the movement is far more important than the attack or “fire”. Many an army has been tickled to death by faster lighter forces… Few have ever been outmaneuvered and then won simply by the quantity of firepower.
The first ancient kingdoms were able to form because of the range of the chariot and the transportable calories that grain represented allowed large forces to travel dozens or hundreds of miles.
Romes's Legions are esteemed, but the key to it’s empire were the roadways and logistical capacities they developed for their army, as well as the dominance their ships achieved on the Mediterranean with the death of Carthage.
The Knight’s of Medieval Europe owed their dominance to the great warhorses and advanced stirrups they employed, whilst the Mongol Empire was carved out by the great nomad horse archers and their herds of nomadic animal wealth.
Likewise, the British Ships of the Line allowed them extraordinary dominance of the waves and everywhere within reach of them… Whilst their American successors threaten all the world whilst laughing at the prospect of invasion because of their nuclear-powered sea-based battlestations: Aircraft Carriers and Submarines, that can sustain themselves almost infinitely whilst threatening everywhere with missiles and airstrikes.
Simply put in any conflict whoever’s more mobile controls the engagement. They can wait, harass, strike at moments of weakness, hold off at moments of strength, leave, and harass other targets of import to draw their foe out…
If you are stationary or merely less mobile then you are inevitably at your opponent’s mercy.
Mercifully with the right preparation an individual or small group can be just as much, if not more, mobile than even major militaries manage.
If you don’t have a passport or air travel is shut down, or your country is barring exit… Flight won’t be available to you unless you’re vastly better at forging and manipulating credentials than I am, or you have your own private aircraft and are capable of smuggling and/or evading radar.
Simply put if you’ve waited too long to get out, or you’re trying to do something deep into the social upheaval of our hypothetical Communist Revolution… you’re going to have to do it by land or sea.
And you’re going to be doing it against at least 1 regime trying to stop you, and probably multiple overlapping regimes who even if they’re mutually hostile, will be equally hostile to civilians trying to enter their region uncontrolled or trying to leave their sphere of influence.
The most immediate point of reference is, of course, the current US border or Mediterranean where South American and North African migrants often cross multiple borders and multiple governments before crossing one higher security border… but whilst these are good examples to think about to see what advanced technology and techniques are deployed, the real point of reference are historic warzones and Border disputes like the Warsaw Pact’s iron curtain, or the Hard border’s around Isreal/Palestine, which in both instances were often guarded with Shoot to Kill orders for anyone trying to run the divide.
Expect at least border checkpoints, patrols, and probably intermittent air patrols trying to keep you from escaping. But realistically expect inland Checkpoints, perhaps large force deployments, and in the modern world probably a whole host of high-tech sensors and static security systems.
However, most of this can be surmounted with a few hundred to thousand dollars in any small town.
#2 Have Vehicles of Multiple sizes and Redundancy
This [border] fence business may well be designed, and may well be used, to keep Americans in.
-Ron Paul, 2011
The ordinary Westerner can buy what they need to slip out of a country probably within a few miles of their house.
The most basic vehicle you need is of course a car. If you don’t have a license or don’t know how to drive, learn and get one.
depending on where you are there might be thousands of miles between you and the border you need to cross, or there might be thousands of miles, another country, and then thousands more to the border of a country that borders another country, that won’t immediately comply and assist the regime you’re trying to flee.
You should map this out from where you are well in advance!
I’m in Canada, worse I’m in Ontario… Basically, there’s no scenario in which regime change happens, totalitarianism arises, or, in our scenario, communist revolution occurs, that doesn’t immediately involve the US. Most likely messed up things happen in the US consuming and fueling what’s happening in Canada, or potentially Canada being used as a trial ground for social controls the US regime would like to implement but is too fearful of their population to try without a test, See lockdowns.
If totalitarianism comes to my homeland (err…well… more so) I wouldn’t just have to get across the border into America, I’d have to get through America to the Mexican border, through the Mexican border, and then possibly further south into Central America… but its actually vastly worse than that.
Ontario is surrounded by the Great Lakes. The only ways to the US directly from Ontario are Across bridges, 1-2 ferries and one lonely road that might as well be a bridge for all the rivers, rock, and trees that surrounds it. Oh and the rivers between the Great Lakes, the St Claire, and the Niagara, are already 2 of the most heavily policed and patrolled waterways in the world.
If those entry points are shut down, you are either boating or you have to go through Manitoba or Quebec… Which as I saw during Covid 100% can and will shut their borders with Ontario at the drop of a hat.
There’s exactly one road from Ontario to Manitoba to get any other vehicle between the two provinces you’re bushwhacking along fire roads and abandoned rail lines, and Most all the border of Ontario and Quebec are dominated by the Ottawa River, on whose bridged the province of Quebec set up armed checkpoints to enforce lockdowns.
This is my map of routes by which I could hypothetically get out of Canada if Western regimes went communist.
All of the routes involve traveling thousands of miles, and at least one basically guaranteed checkpoint or hard border. Most of them however involve 3 or even 4-5. The Least politically dangerous route is also potentially the most physically dangerous: boating the North Atlantic in what probably won’t be a pleasant summer month… and the most obvious overland route requires almost ten thousand miles of travel through 3 countries, just to get to the first country that isn’t in some form of tight political union, such as NAFTA, with my country… Ie. I’d probably have to go even further to get to a country that would let me fly internationally to somewhere non-communist.
I strongly encourage you to do this exercise and map your routes out for yourself in your country. Plot out what it’d take to get to multiple other countries that aren’t military or economic treaty partners with your country… If you’re European this basically means outside the continent: North Africa or Russia and then even further.
Also, Remember you have to cross the international class divide as well: First world to Third World, or in reverse Third world to First… Ideally… otherwise you risk being tracked down by your regime’s allies or dying of mere diseases of poverty as part of a refugee wave that overwhelms neighboring states.
Take a serious look at each border you might need to pass. Use Satellite maps and histories, swing by the nearest ones next road trip, and just look at them… do a scenic drive along roads that follow closely to the border, do a day trip and shop across the checkpoints, and see how comprehensive or not the challenge is.
You can actually buy books that are entirely about individual borders.
Some unemployed writer will hike or motorcycle the whole thing and wring their hands about how Border Security is destroying the liminal culture between the two countries… it’s often insufferable writing. But you can find books like this for a good chunk of the world’s borders and the writer will specifically focus on the geographic oddities and the specific nature of the security of the border, and often have a very curious eye for smuggling stories. For America’s borders, there’s Borderlands: Riding the Edge of America and Border Patrol Nation, and for the Canada-US border specifically, there’s Northlands.
however simply getting out of one country is the first hurdle, let’s start there.
If you are in a regime with lax border enforcement, a large border, or simply a corrupt culture it may be possible to actually just drive across the border if you pick a suitably out-of-the-way spot or have enough to bribe a guard. Before 9/11 there were defunct rural roads and fire routes that crossed the Canada-US border with not even a security Camera paying attention.
I heard of one couple fleeing drug charges in the US who were able to get into Mexico (around 2015), with an outstanding warrant, simply by driving to the San Diego-Tijuana border and going through the normal border crossing… At 8 pm Saturday night at the height of tourist season. The guards just waved them through with the window up when they saw they were white.
This trick apparently works in lots of second and third-world countries, I read of a Russian lawyer who’d fallen afoul of Putin that did the same thing, but in Moscow airport on Christmas Eve.
But if you are not blessed with a vast expanse of unmanaged border, or a sufficiently corrupt and incompetent functionary class… You’re probably going to have to ditch your car near the border.
Hiking 50km (31.25 miles) in a day is considered the mark of a very fit hiker with good kit, in easy terrain. I’ve never done it.
I always got a late start or developed blisters or decided it was far enough and time to break camp before that. Even on just days about town in a new city walking all day, my pedometer only ever reached about 35 km (21.8 miles).
For reference, the SAS selection course, in which is enrolled the cream of the British army, ends with a 40-mile (64km) overland trek (+ navigation) with a 55lb pack, that must be completed in 24 hours… After that, they ship you to Jungle Warfare school.
So assume for any overland hiking you’d make vastly less progress than that.
By contrast, with a bicycle amateurs can bike 100-160kms (60-100 miles) within a day… I did it in an afternoon last week.
moderately strong Canoers can cover 24 km in a day over the water and short kayaks are similar to the canoe, but long sea-kayaks can travel at 6-7 km per hour and cover 70-100 km in a day… This is how the Aleuts covered the north pacific.
In a real SHTF scenario for many people the only way out will be mounting bodily powered small vehicles (canoes, kayaks, Bicycles, cross-country skis) to their car… Driving as close to the border as they can get… And then ditching their vehicle to continue by bike or water with whatever kit they’ve prepped with.
This probably will resemble less the hardcore prepper camping most people imagine, and more a long-range camping weekend such as backpackers and canoe trippers take (bring lots of water)
But it is very important to be prepared to do this kind of thing in all weather... if you live in an area where it snows half the year, and you don’t have cross-country skis or suitable cold weather gear, or you’ve never gone winter camping and don’t know what can go wrong (bring your stove fuel in the sleeping bag with you, it will freeze otherwise) then you’d be completely screwed if the purges started in the wrong season… or worse you’d be forced to flee unequipped and then wind up frozen to death like some German trying to desert from Stalingrad or those illegal Immigrants who froze to death on the Dakota-Manitoba border.
Likewise, you should generally be able to use your kit in adverse conditions… if you’ve never been camping when the frost snapped it down to near freezing in rain, or haven’t hiked the high desert on hot days…then those are things you’d probably want to experience before you NEED to risk it, as both are easily deadly with some common mistakes, and the last thing you’d want is to need rescuing and have to decide between the conditions and surrender.
Remember I said you might need to do this multiple times… at multiple checkpoints?
If you’re a family of 4 you might need a Car that seats 4, a bike rack for 4 bicycles… 1-2 canoes, and then drive thousands of kilometers to an international waterway load up the family and bikes in the canoes, cross (probably in a rainstorm at night to avoid aerial and river patrols), and then bicycle through the night, find a car to steal or purchase a new car (plus bribe to wait 2-3 days and then report it stolen so you can keep the plates)… And then enough money to purchase (or steal) replacement bikes, possibly more canoes, and repeat the whole thing 1000-2000kms further along.
That’s unpleasant and costly, and a great effort… But it doesn’t actually require any extraordinary skills, fitness, or wealth… individually any of these are common things for families to do… It’s only in the combination and under the threat of a regime that they become akin to the Odyssey or the holy family’s flight into Egypt… Ie. Doable.
Likewise, the expense is not prohibitive… Or rather, if I’m telling you NOW to prepare it shouldn’t be prohibitive.
I’m not going to give you financial advice, there are tons floating out there, but Life does not stop with civilization does… And financial or personal problems you have now will continue and escalate. Even if you’re credit rating is tier one now, expect it to evaporate.
If you actually want to “Be Prepared” you should aim to have a reliable vehicle, bicycles, bike rack, and most likely some version of aquatic transport… BEFORE you need it, and before our hypothetical communist regimes “Bails-in” your saving account to the bank and the bank to itself (look up “bail-in”, your government is already discussing this). You’ll also want your camping kit, a camping shower, and other toiletries (so you don’t have to stay in hotels that may be required to interrogate you or log ID), and some form of hard asset: foreign currencies in cash, gold/silver, jewelry, etc. that can easily be traded and concealed on your person.
Note: Cryptocurrencies are great, but must be paired with something else, as they aren’t common enough yet to be able to bribe a random border guard or person off the street with Bitcoin.
Fortunately, however, none of these are odd or uncommon purchases, indeed most middle-class people aspire to just such an assortment of outdoors and lifestyle trappings. Some of you readers are already finding they’re more prepared than you think.
As for Major Sea travel
Skippering a civilian cruiser, whether a sail-yacht or power-yacht (Ie. a Boat that you can sleep on) is a relatively expensive skill to get, on a par with owning a car and driving, and is challenging, requiring a quite considerable bit of intelligence and judgment… However, this is easy to overstate.
It is very possible to get yourself and a 30-45 ft ship, to a point where you could sail it across an ocean… for under 100k or even 50k… Indeed I often sea 20 something influencer-nomads who’ve gotten their’s for mere thousands or hundreds of dollars (and a few who got them free if they’d take them away) poured 10-20k into them… and then left from the US to the Mediterranean, or circumnavigated the globe… Now it takes a lot of skill and judgment to do that. But this is hypothetically the route that gives you the most freedom, the potential protection of maritime law (which even communists sorta-respect), and a way to actually slip the bonds of all states into glorious 100-country-bordering international waters.
So maybe give it a consideration, there are lots of multiday sailing or boating courses you can take for a few hundred dollars to get your feet wet.
Also, this continues the theme that many middle-class purchases are a form of major functional prepping… no wonder the middle-class is the one every government wants to crush.
Also also: The exact same principle that applies to cars and smaller muscle-powered vehicles applies triply to boats and yachts…
larger Boats are easily detectable by radar and thus it’s very hard to illegally cross into a country without detection… And in the world of swimming a 10km swim is considered akin to a Marathon… far shorter than the 12 MILES most countries heavily patrol and control the seas for…. However small crafts (Canoe, Kayak, windsurfer) can and do go vastly further… and if need be a combination of a wetsuit floatation device, dry bag with food and water, and fins might just let you do a 20 km hell-swim if you positively have to… Though obviously, this is more applicable to inserting into a country than fleeing one… since once you’re on the sea you’re hopefully scot-free in the wide world!… unless your “sea” is the Great Lakes.
Finally, powersport vehicles like Motorcycles and Snowmobiles can combine the range and speed of a car or truck with the versatility and off-road potential of a bicycle.
However, they can also be death traps… I’ve known countless people seriously injured by both. And most other powersport vehicles are far less fast or versatile than those examples… Though theoretically any could have some application if that’s what you have on hand.
Transnational Criminal organizations are using all of these RIGHT NOW to outwit and defeat some of the most advanced security states ever built.
Whether it’s by car, motorcycle, bicycle, canoe, raft, boat, narco-submarine, or good old-fashioned leg power… Transnational criminal organizations are smuggling people, drugs, and arms via these methods and profiting.
In a crisis, you should be able to do the same with your valuable cargo.
And then you should be able to keep doing it…
#3 To Defeat a Police State, become a Criminal
In any conflict with a totalitarian or collapsing state, the above is the most important aspect. To defeat a prison nation one must first be able to escape it.
Once able to access the outside world the inside world stops being “the world” it becomes just another place that can be liberated, defeated, or conquered. For Alexander conquering the Earth was an impossible dream, akin to conquering all of existence… For a space warlord in the year 10,000 on the outer reaches of the galaxy, it might not even warrant a footnote… something that might happen multiple times in the back and forth of a campaign.
And going from being locked into one nation vs able to access the world you turn from one into the other.
In James Clavell’s novel and film King Rat a corporal in a Japanese POW camp in Singapore… not even from the major nation ( the rest of the POWs are British, him American) he winds up ruling the camp as a king through his various criminal schemes because he’s able to control the smuggling in and out of the camp.
Clavell was himself a POW in the eastern theater of WW2 and this experience overlaps with many accounts of various wars and experiences. In personal and fictionalized accounts of WW2 and other major conflicts, one of the most consistent reoccurring themes, one of the undeniable truths about civilian and often military life… is the people who survive and thrive, the people who make it through almost anything, are the criminals.
Art Spiegelman’s Maus explores this, as Spiegelman recounts his father Vladek’s tales of survival and the often really distasteful conspiring and scheming he does to get through the camps… This is also a running theme in Clive Barker’s Damnation Game and of course, this is a running theme in current events.
One need only look at the headlines to see St. Petersburg gangsters thriving so much in the collapse of the USSR that they become the government, IRA networks turned to drug smuggling, narco-traffickers becoming terrorists, and then warlords in the Chaos of South and Central America.
Simply put if you intend to survive, which over any length of time or intergenerational concern inevitably will mean prospering, thriving, and gaining for yourself a political order that aligns with your interests…. you’re almost guaranteed to be involved in some form of organized crime.
I’ve avoided holocaust references in this because Americans over-study it and overanalyze it and latch onto narratives…. but one thing Americans and most of the world never study is the founding of Isreal and just How it was that a despised minority went from reeling from one of the worst genocides in human history in 1945 to founding their own state for the first time in 2000 years just 3 years later in 1948.
Of course, the reason it’s not studied is the regime really doesn’t want you to know the answer: Terrorism and International Criminal Conspiracy.
Zionists formed a major international movement to get Jews to the British Mandate of Palestine, and then to fund and carry out a terrorist campaign against the Palestinians and the British.
This isn’t a criticism of Isreal… It’s basically an axiom that literally every political order must be founded on either terrorism or the military force of an established political order that did.
Governments have legitimizing narratives for why they deserve to rule… An American will cite democracy or the constitution, a British soldier in the early 20th century the empire or civilizing mission, A Palestinian their people’s historical residence on the land, and Israelis their biblical residence… All of these are highly debatable and largely meaningless because every governing claim is fundamentally just a pretty collection of words with which to organize violence.
Structurally a government is no different than a protection racket operating at scale, just as gangsters like Al Capone demand tax from brothels, numbers games, and smuggling operations in his “territory”, and will send goons to brutalize anyone who doesn’t pay up, so do Governments demand tax from businesses and civilians operating in their territory and send IRS agents and tactical teams if you refuse to pay.
Never forget the unstated iron axiom of all governance: “And those who resist will be shot”
If you refuse and refuse to pay Al Capone, or the Irgun, or Hamas, or the IRS you will be assaulted at your home, have property stolen or damaged, and possibly be dragged away to be imprisoned and do slave labor…..And if you resist and try to defend yourself from your assailants then you will be shot.
Thus if you disagree with the political order ruling over you or if it declares war on you, your family, your property, and your liberty… You must stand ready to answer in kind.
Sure you could flee and accept living 2 or 3 social classes down in whatever country you can flee to… but of course if everyone did that the world would simply be ruled by the most brutal, and all liberty and property rights would die… Human liberty demands resistance and better lives and greater profits are to be had in effective resistance.
We’ve just discussed how to smuggle a person and or family out of a country, the same methods can be used to smuggle a person or goods IN.
This is the backbone of all resistance movements. If you can’t smuggle people and goods into or out of the country you’re trying to influence, you’re dead in the water… but likewise, if you CAN smuggle people and goods in and out, then your movement or simply your network of friends is set to grow, prosper and succeed. Authoritarians are big on controls, edicts, and restrictions…. Communist states 1000x moreso… This is what makes them so terrible, it’s also what allows resistance and criminal movements to survive… No sooner has a substance or goods been criminalized, or blockades set up, than it becomes profitable to smuggle through the blockade, likewise no sooner have people been forbidden to enter or forbidden to leave a country than a market arises to get them in and out.
To Be Continued…
This is by no means exhaustive, there are countless very important lessons from the countless state failures, “decolonizations”, civil wars, world wars, communist revolutions, famines, terrorist campaigns, and criminal networks.
Stop watching Zombie movies to imagine a catastrophe or crisis and start watching the thousands of war movies that depict the 100s of times it’s happened, many of them in our lifetimes.
Your power fantasy of thriving whilst the world falls apart shouldn’t look like Mad Max, it should probably look like American Made, Lord of War, Narcos, War Dogs, or any of the countless stories of REAL PEOPLE who ventured into some of the worst warzones in the world, and thrived… who became little Napoleons with little empires! (and yes the war on drugs in South America has been one of the bloodiest and most prophetic wars for what a US collapse would look like, not least because of the mix of criminal elements, similar ethnic mix, and mass civilian gun ownership)
Read fewer books with titles like SURVIVING DOOMSDAY if you want prep, and start reading books like Crime and Punishment in the Russian Revolution… but most importantly, start reading true crime books, the unpopular true crime books, the boring complicated ones that don’t make women who fantasize about serial killers feel funny feelings.
If you really want to be prepared, start reading books about extortion rings, protection rackets, smuggling networks, cartels, terrorist insurgencies, and money launderers… these are the skills that actually let one resist a state that goes communist and thrive in a society that’s collapsing.
I once had a friend whose family had survived multiple regime changes in their African country, made it to Canada, and then suddenly got rich when one of their uncles won the lottery multiple times in a row… Their uncles had obviously been laundering the money they smuggled out. I said as much to my friend before I caught myself… He just looked at me:
“Oh. That makes way more sense.”
These are the skills people have used to survive national and even civilizational collapse... and these are the skills they will continue to use.
Stay tuned next time for when I bring things full circle and really dive into traditional doomsday prepping and some of the unusual prepper advice you get out of the synthesis of these two worldviews.
You will be surprised, scandalized, and maybe put on a watch list.
See you next time!
Anarchonomicon is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Follow me on Twitter: @FromKulak
Follow me on Twitter: @FromKulak