Self Organizing Collective (SOC) – Sounds like a dirty word, doesn’t it? That’s what my first reaction was when I first heard the term. What the heck is a SOC anyway? Well, this is the new term used for a small community of people, usually 3 to 5 families, which have gathered together to form a self-sustaining and self-contained community. They are what used to be termed, in the “olden days” a small Settlement. They support each other with talents, resources, and experience, that individually they don’t have. They share in the various chores that are for the good of the community as their talents and resources permit. This allows for a fuller and more secure living arrangement for all, with fewer resources and aid requirements from outside sources needed to maintain a reasonable lifestyle. Sources of outside assistance may be questionable, as may of the quality of those resources obtained from outside sources also be suspect.
I characterize a community of Preppers that have banded together into a community as a SOC. In these communities, each family group has a wide range of resources, talents, and knowledge brought with them but they also have areas of specialty that they share with the community at large. For example, a family may have excellent farming skills and the ability and desire to teach these skills. They assist with the SOC’s common farming chores while instructing the members in the finer points. Another family has very detailed experience with baking and has the equipment for cooking, gathering seasonings, and growing herbs. Another family’s adults are very talented hunters and trappers. Another family specializes in mechanics and fuel, and so on through the community. Another family might have a medic or doctor. These special skills and service(s) are shared with the community. Consider that, under post-SHTF scenarios, money is meaningless. That means that the services and goods one may produce become the basis for trade using an “obligation” based system. More concerning “Obligations” based barter in a future article.
Individually these families may be missing the refinements and knowledge base of the others. They will survive but, the quality of life will be poor and they may be at risk due to missing skill sets. Over time the lack of specialized knowledge may become deadly through ignorance. As has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout history, there is greater safety and security in groups. Groups permit a division of duties that add stability and greater security. This statement should not be construed to mean LARGE groups. As common sense provides, the post-SHTF world will not allow a very large group’s security until the world stabilizes and relationships between groups and organizations have the opportunity to settle down and normalize.
Over time, our society has increasingly encouraged distrust of strangers and discouraged direct social contact. A divided society is easier to control. Most of today’s society struggles to find common ground with each other on a personal basis. Who can blame them? Our technology and “Me-ism” has effectively discouraged personal interaction. We struggle to find the common bonds that hold society together but, without personal interaction this is a tall order. As Preppers, we have a common interest. We have the drive and willingness to protect ourselves and our families against disaster and to do those things that will assure that safety. We dare to plan and implement those plans as needed, according to our own resources, against the possible days of great need. The formation of loose associations of fellow Preppers in advance of that need is only prudent.
Nothing says that interactions prior to the time of need must call for us to physically move together before the “balloon” goes up. It is my suggestion that you meet each other person-to-person at a neutral location to get to know each other. This is also the opportunity to get a reading on whether you are compatible with the others or not without exposing additional information concerning your location, level of preparation, etc. It is important to be prepared, and have planned for, joining together with compatible Preppers at Bug-Out time creating your new SOC in a BOL. Our ancestors in the Frontier learned this lesson well. While travel in a group may seem like a large target, a group is less likely to be attacked because they have better defensive resources to call on. Outlaws and Roamers don’t like fair fights. Stragglers and loners didn’t always make their destinations. Wagon trains had a better probability of safe arrival. Prearrange rendezvous locations. Plan identification codes for recognition of each other. Establish travel security and defensive action guidelines. Follow them.
My purpose in broaching this subject is to introduce the new term and to encourage my fellow Preppers to reach out and communicate with peers (within a reasonable geographic radius) around your home base. If you can set up contacts and a loose communications web within your area, the probability of making it beyond the SHTF disaster goes way up. It is by forming small SOC’s that we will be stronger and more survivable. Seek members whose skill sets complement yours. Try to round out the SOC with knowledgeable people and with needed equipment reserves. Plan what specialized items may be needed and assure that there is some redundancy in your SOC to obtain them. Work together to create a self-sustaining SOC once your Bug-Out Location is reached. Communicate!