Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Note that the site is in archived, read-only mode. You can browse and read, but posting is disabled.


+2 votes
Recently I had an experience. There was a huge power cut in Turkey about three weeks ago. Around 50 cities, including Istanbul and capital Ankara, were out of power. It was like a breakdown situation for an industrial society. Then it hit me, i am completely unprepared. All i could do sit and wait until power come back. And what if it didn't come back? What would i do? Have you ever thought what would you do in a collapse-like situation, and do you feel prepared for it?
by (910 points)

3 Answers

+1 vote
yes and no.

i've mostly lived in rural places the last couple of decades, so i've experienced quite a few power outages - some lasted as long as a week, and a few in below freezing temperatures. most of those experiences i liked over all, despite a few different hardships.

i've thought about longer outages and how i (and others around me) would respond, but i haven't thought out in detail what i would do.

i feel prepared for it in the sense that part of me would like to experience it - for the thrill, for the unexpected, for the realization by probably a lot more people of how tenuous our living situation has become, the challenge, the creativity that might erupt spontaneously, for how it would force me to get more in touch with everything around me (my use and means of energy, people, the land, food, etc.), for the powering down, the lower intensity of electricity, the clearer skies normally muddied with artificial light.

and i feel unprepared in the sense that i have no plan, no real knowing of what would happen and what other "systems" might start breaking down as well.

the book "a paradise built in hell" by rebecca solnit chronicles quite a few "disasters" (earthquakes, power outages, floods, wars, etc.) where anarchic relationships manifested, and spontaneous projects took place while the hierarchical systems failed to function, and suddenly people had their routines and normal expectations completely disrupted.

i feel a little fear when i think about a collapse-like situation and the unavoidable pain that probably would come with it, but i tend more toward hope and excitement. i might sound delusional...oh well.

edited to add: i've never experienced a prolonged outage in a big city, and only for several hours in suburbia. i imagine different challenges and surprises depending on the place where one lives.  i'd want to embrace the situation and look for anarchy amidst the turmoil -  but it probably won't come easy.
by (8.5k points)
edited by
+2 votes
i am probably more prepared than most. I live in an area completely without infrastructure, so I have to provide for my own water, electricity, etc. I am far from being fully self sufficient, but I could easily survive for a few months minimum, with no needs from the civilized world. and I know where I would head once my supplies ran out.

I was a teenager during the NYC blackout of 1977 (carbon dating myself, yes). While there was some looting (I got a standing fan from a neighborhood appliance store, for a girl I had a crush on), I would have to say that my hood was more like a community that night than ever. Everybody was kind of looking out for everyone else. I have great memories of it.
by (13.4k points)
+3 votes
I'm inclined to feel that one cannot 'prepare' for such a drastic change in what one may do. That is, one may be able to get some food together, gather tools and skills, but I don't think one can prepare for what's not quantifiable. Maybe it looks like this: Those you love telling you to go fuck yourself because getting food from the cops after freezing for days is a higher priority than your love, your kinship, your affections, your history together. The razor-edge of a moment can be excruciating beyond anything one can imagine sitting here in comfort: safe, disarmed, satiated with sex, food, and maybe some booze.

For myself, I try to acknowledge thoughts and images of social- and eco-breakdown which arise, often suddenly, without warning. I'm more keen on my immediate place, emotion, and breath. Sometimes such thoughts linger and I then try to analyze some, and then a bit more as they continue to well up.

One of the central themes where I find myself a repeat visitor, pivots itself upon some notion of certainty...somewhat in the same regard your question does. Why do I feel it necessary to be at all certain?

If such an event arises, all I can say in this place and time is that I'll react/respsond as I do so at that time and place. At the end of the day...or night...I cannot know. Que sais-je?

To be unhesitatingly in love with this very moment is difficult enough that, really, it is sometime unfathomable to maintain a notion of 'future,' whether I, or anyone else, may judge it  'good' or 'bad.'

Here, I feel, there is a wagon-load of possibilities rather than a meager handful of certainties.

Edited for a little extra. And again to clear up language my weary eyes and hands didn't grasp last night. ;-)
by (7.5k points)
edited by
i agree, af. of course nobody can be fully prepared for the unknown. the best i could do is be prepared for what i can reasonably expect (needing water/food/shelter, a means of defending myself, etc), know that the unexpected is inevitable, and have strategies for dealing with the unexpected.

knowing one's home area really well can obviously be a huge benefit: it can help one better understand what might be expected, as well as how to best deal with various unexpected events.