As we noted in part one of this series:
“To put it simply, America is nearing a checkmate scenario. Like the final torrid maneuvers of a rigged chess match, we have been pressed, manipulated, and attacked into the last remaining corner of the “grand global chessboard” left to us; centralized control of all social and economic power into the hands of an unworthy elite. If we continue playing the game by their rules, we will lose. There is no doubt. There have been many solutions presented to us in the past to combat this development, but nearly all of them function within the constraints of Federal politics. Working within the system has earned us no quarter, and frankly, no results. Our only recourse (and, frankly, the best recourse all along) is to STOP relying on the rules of their game, and to walk away from the chess board completely…”
Ideally, it would be grand if enough Americans across this nation would decouple from the fraudulent fiat system so that they and their communities could be sufficiently strong, independent, and resilient enough to weather the coming storm and walk out the other side free. Whatever our individual circumstances, wherever we are, we should work toward that goal; decentralized and sovereign – starting with ourselves, then working outward to galvanize and steel our families, our close friends and distant relatives, our neighborhoods, towns, counties, and then, of course, our states.
Through this effort, we greatly improve our own chances, and equally important, the chances of our communities and our country. It is not only for us to save ourselves, but also to restore our Republic, from the ground up.
We also need to face the reality that an economic collapse is very likely to come before such a renaissance of preparedness will see the light of day. We must accept that in many parts of modern day America, we will not be able to wake up enough people in time to prevent a U.S. version of what we now see in the riots of England, as well as what we saw here in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but on a national scale – unprepared people who are desperate and scared, or those who are willing to take advantage of the situation to loot, rob, rape, assault, and even kill their fellow citizens.
Some might say that in times like these, uncertainty reigns supreme. However, for those of us in the Liberty Movement, who have spent years carefully tracking the negative progressions of our economy, our government, and our culture, the future is disturbingly clear. We’ve all noticed the turning of the tide, in financial sectors, in political attitudes, in social interaction, in law and law enforcement; our country is, indeed, eroding before our very eyes. It is degrading into something unrecognizable; something monstrous. The pace has quickened, especially in 2011, and those who have chosen to “wait out” the storm in the hopes of a comprehensive top down solution are becoming more and more disappointed and disenchanted.
This is not to say that astounding strides have not been made. The Liberty Movement has an incredibly strong and decisive presence on the internet and in our society today, something that we could not boast three years ago. Efforts to educate the public on globalism, central banking, and economic collapse have brought substantial results that are visible now even in the so called mainstream. However, root problems of centralization and fiscal instability remain. These problems will never be undone unless we are first honest with ourselves.
The painful reality is that right now the general populace is urbanized, collectivized, and addicted to the speed and ease of technological amenities to the point that many cannot live without them. This simply will not do.
It is historically evident that in every modern economic collapse, city dependent cultures are far less resilient than farming cultures. During the hyperinflationary crisis of 1920s Wiemar Germany, Austria, and Hungary, those tied to city life, indeed, went hungry, while those in the country had food. In fact, with extreme currency devaluation, farmers no longer had any incentive to trade food for worthless fiat money, and thus stopped supplying large population centers altogether. Though just as “poor” as any city dweller, farmers were able to live on their own produce and labor, and began bartering with their rural neighbors. People trapped in the dregs of metropolitan dependency did not have that option, and desperately hocked grand pianos and the family silver for mere sacks of potatoes. This has happened over and over again, with Argentina being the most recent example of a sophisticated modern nation suffering hunger in its cities during hyperinflation.
America is truly on a similar path, and the outcome will undoubtedly be the same…
While awareness is growing, a primary focus or framework for activism is still elusive. The movement seems to be pulling itself in too many directions at once in search of answers, and without a foundation for proactive measures. Many participants and activists feel isolated from one another, or even surrounded by less prepared swaths of the American public. Organization is limited primarily to interactions on the web, and face to face cooperation is rare. If a full spectrum economic collapse were to occur today, or even a moderate breakdown, we would NOT be ready for the panic that would follow. This is the bottom line which we must acknowledge if we are to finally move forward.
Political and legal recourse has so far failed to produce tangible results, and is unlikely to do so before a serious crisis unfolds. So the question is; what solutions are left to us?
At Alt-Market and Oath Keepers, we believe that the best solutions are those which can be implemented by each individual American without reliance on legislators, bureaucracy, or political solutions alone. While we do encourage people to take back their towns, counties, and state governments, kicking out the corrupt oath breakers and replacing them with solid liberty advocates, we must also work outside the political sphere, taking personal responsibility to strengthen ourselves and our communities by private action and free association.
The Founders never intended that we simply sit around and wait for “officials” to save us. We must work both in the public and in the private arenas. We certainly don’t have time to wait for lawmakers to find their sanity or their honor, and so, in many respects we must walk away from the rigged game entirely, and take matters into our own hands. This means first and foremost decoupling from the broken mainstream financial system, and building networks for Alternative Markets as well as for mutual defense in the event of disaster.
First steps towards this end include relocating away from areas with a high potential for danger. Of course, in any region, prepping with food storage, survival gear, and a personal garden is essential. Ideally, your neighbors should also be aware, prepared, and already involved in food production and barter. You should strive to build such robust community wherever you are (even if in the city), but country settings definitely offer greater opportunity. Rule #1: Go where the food is! Regardless of the state you live in, get out of the city and into a rural area.
Next, a community’s proximity to urban environments must be considered. Many rural retreats are still vulnerable to being flooded by unprepared city dwellers in search of food at the onset of collapse. James Wesley, Rawles, of Survival Blog, refers to this as the “Golden Hoard”, and advocates living at least one tank of gas distance from major metropolitan areas.
Just as there are better places to live in each state, there are also better states to live in; what we call “Safe Havens.” Rural states with low population, abundant water, plentiful game, natural resources, fertile farmland, and defensible terrain, along with a relatively self reliant population, can rightly be considered safe haven states. These states will fare better than others in adapting and overcoming in the face of any crisis.
Many fantastic efforts have been launched over the past decade which follow this concept. One is the Free State Project, which eventually selected New Hampshire, and another is the Wyoming Free State Project, which was started by Free State Project participants who opted out of East Coast relocation. There was also the Montana Alliance for Liberty, started by folks who likewise declined to consider New Hampshire. I (Stewart Rhodes) was also in the Free State Project but likewise opted out of the East Coast states and moved to Montana in 2005. And now Alt-Market’s Brandon Smith is moving to Montana. In the past year Pastor Chuck Baldwin, the 2008 Constitution Party presidential candidate, along with his son Timothy Baldwin and their families, have moved to Montana, with the same goals in mind. In response to Pastor Baldwin’s effective championing of Montana, many others have followed him by moving there. Most recently, influential survivalist author James Wesley, Rawles has promoted the concept of the Northern Rocky Mountain U.S. (Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, eastern Oregon, and eastern Washington) as being the “American Redoubt” – a refuge in time of coming trouble, and likewise has renewed interest in relocation to that region.
All of the above projects provide a solid framework for those seeking refuge amongst like-minded people. Our goal is to learn from, provide support for, and build onto these existing projects until full fledged large scale liberty minded communities become a reality. While some people might feel perfectly comfortable in their current location, or have an existing community to work with, many other Americans out there do not.
The Safe Haven State Project (alt-market.com/safehaven) is designed around helping those people to relocate to counties or cities within states that have elements of protection and survival not readily available in other places. Here are some of the finer points of this project:
1) Safe Havens will be organized and promoted through the networking capabilities of Alt-Market.com. Coordinators will be made available who already live in safe haven areas that will help you with information on the region, housing availability, job availability, etc.
2) Initially, the project will focus only on a few areas of a few states. For now, our efforts will be centered on Western Montana (where we both reside). As more people in states suited to the project volunteer to help with coordination, greater numbers of safe haven areas will become available. And, of course, if anyone is interested in Wyoming, we will send them to the good folks at the Wyoming Free State Project.
3) The core purpose of Safe Havens will not be to build voting blocks, or to effect change through legislation, though those methods will be taken under consideration. Instead, Safe Havens are almost entirely about community building. This means that our area of networking will be tight (within a few counties, instead of spread out across the entire state). People relocating should be within easy driving distance of each other, so that barter networks can be constructed and mutual defense is made practical. Eventually, a few counties could turn into a dozen, and a dozen could turn into a full state, depending on the circumstances.
4) Safe Havens are meant to consist of a large number of people, with a diverse membership, living in relative proximity. Safe Havens are NOT compounds, communes, or any other such nonsense that requires too many people in too small an area with too many rules. A Safe Haven will not be dictated or micromanaged through pyramid structures, military hierarchy, or “community tribunals”. It is a designated area of free cooperation, not a creepy village of collectivists ruled by herd mentality. White robes and funny tasting Kool-Aid will not be made available…
5) Barter markets will become a foremost concern. A community entirely dependent on the mainstream financial system cannot be realistically considered a safe haven. Therefore, active organization of barter and trade will be ongoing. This trade will include goods and services, anchored by silver and gold (and perhaps copper) as a common currency. A weekly or bi-weekly marketplace will eventually be arranged (think “market bazaar” or farmers market).
6) Meet-ups will be a common occurrence in order to maintain market stability as well as to create opportunities for building relationships. The method of these meet-ups will likely vary.
7) Volunteer coordinators will help relocators to the best of their ability, however, the Safe Haven Project is not an employer or a nanny, and cannot provide guaranteed employment or housing. We are here to make your move smoother, and to introduce you to the area as well as other participants, but there will be no hand-holding.
Sincere commitment is essential. Our limited number of coordinators restricts our ability to help people who are not serious about relocating. Now is not the time for wishy-washiness…
9) There are certainly many arguments (usually erroneous) against the idea of community building. Most of these have been covered and refuted in great detail in the following article:
The combined establishment of Safe Haven States, along with alternative markets and barter networking capability, could be a powerful step forward for the Liberty Movement that would attract many free minded Americans and inspire coherent working communities based on Constitutional principles and the support of individualism, not to mention non-coercive, truly free cooperation. This would provide not only the foundation for mutual defense, but also insulated, localized economies, shielded from financial chaos. The positives are many. The negatives are few. And, most people are tired of waiting around for someone else to solve their problems for them. Safe Haven Projects give activists an environment in which they can take legitimate steps towards determining their own destinies, as well as an opportunity to meet many others who are pursuing the same end, building a better country from the ground up, with their own two hands.
Stewart Rhodes can be contacted through the Oath Keepers website.
For more information on Alt-Market’s Safe Haven State Project, visit the Safe Haven web page here (still under construction):