Urban Survival: Is Your Government On Your Side?

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Pablo Edronkin

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The belief in the democratic system along with patriotism give strength to this supposition; however, the way un which the international financial crisis is being managed seems to prove that sometimes there are exceptions.

One would think that only dictators could do harm to people, but democracies can do so as well: it is only a matter of thresholds. In other essays I have demonstrated that the interests of individuals and major organisations - especially governments - tend to diverge, particularly in times of crisis when the survival of the person and his environment - family and friends - is at stake as opposed to what it is the survival of a state or government. In such situations, surviving at the level of people contradicts what means to survive at a political or geopolitical level. Example: The trench war between 1914 and 1918.

In principle and under environmental circumstances close to an ideal, the interest of citizens and state tend to coincide; however, when confronted with a dire emergency from which it can get out sacrificing people or their properties, a state will act in such a way. If this were not the case, then concepts such as war, internal commotion or state of exception would be alien to our culture. Forced recruiting and forced labour are not so strange even in allegedly free societies, and severe contradictions abound: A seventeen year old soldier sent to kill in a war will probably not be legally able to purchase back home the weapon that he or she I issued by authorities because of age limitations and nothing more.

But even if we don't reach such extremes there are many examples that prove that governments may act in a very damaging way against people: The limitations related to extractions and the movement of money in bank accounts in Iceland, in 2008, are of such nature that they are causing the bankruptcy of individuals that have no conceivable responsibility in the decision making process that led to the financial crisis that hit the world and that Scandinavian country in particular. Any state is willing to sacrifice any number of citizens to survive; that shows that under extreme circumstances, the state becomes the virtual enemy of its own flock.

The effect of hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the U.S. Gulf Coast a few years ago is yet another example; rescue operations were well beyond what should be expected for several reasons, but mismanagement was not the only one. Proof of that is easily seen if we consider that years after the event the area remains devastated and at this point any management defect would have been corrected if those able to change the course of thing would have decided to take action in such a direction.

People, corporations, political organisations and others find themselves managed or ruled by a state thanks to a common agreement and it is good that things are run in that way. But as a survivalist you have to prepare yourself not for good times when things work as they should, but for situations in which they don't. Thus, to assume that the state will come to your rescue in the case that you find yourself in serious trouble may not be a correct reasoning in all cases; you can only hope for that if your interest are not against those of the state. You have to seriously consider this as a part of your training in urban survival techniques.

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