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Do not give in to Evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it

Sunday, March 8, 2009


From Global Guerrillas, as cited by Mike here:


This may fill in some gaps for people thinking about surviving the future intact.

How do you manufacture a strong community that protects, defends and advances the interests of its members? You build a tribe. Tribal organization is the most survivable of all organizational types and it was the dominant form for 99.99% of human history. The most important aspect of tribal organization is that it is the organizational cockroach of human history. It has proven it can withstand the onslaught of the harshest of environments. Global depression? No problem.

If you are like most people in the 'developed world,' you don't have any experience in a true tribal organization. Tribal organizations were crushed in the last couple of Centuries due to pressures from the nation-state that saw them as competitors and the marketplace that saw them as impediments. All we have now it is a moderately strong nuclear family (weakened via modern economics that forces familial diasporas), a weak extended family, a loose collection of friends (a social circle), a tenuous corporate affiliation, and a tangential relationship with a remote nation-state. That, for many of us, is proving to be insufficient as a means of withstanding the pressures of the chaotic and harsh modern environment (D2 in particular).

The solution to this problem is to build a tribe. A group of people that are loyal to you and you are loyal in return. In short, the need for a primary loyalty to a group that really cares about your survival and future success.

So how do you build a tribe? A strong tribe, in this post-industrial environment*, isn't built from the top down. Instead it is built organically from the bottom up. A simple tribe starts with cementing ties to your extended family, a connection of blood. The second step is to extend that network to include other families and worthy individuals. A key part of that is to build fictive kinship, a sense of connectedness that leads to the creation of loyalty to the group. That kinship is built through (see Ronfeldt's paper for some background on this):
  • Story telling. Shared histories and historical narratives.
  • Rites of passage. Rituals of membership. Membership is earned not given due to the geographic location of birth or residence.
  • Obligations. Rules of conduct and honor. The ultimate penalty being expulsion.
  • Egalitarian and often leaderless organization. Sharing is prized.
  • Multi-skilled. Segmental organization (lots of redundancy among parts).
  • Two-way loyalty. The tribe protects the members and the members protect the tribe. If this isn't implemented, you don't have a tribe, you have a Kiwanis club.
The development of fictive kinship will likely be key to the development of resilient communities (as it is already for global guerrillas). We can already see this process at work in the UK's Transition Towns movement with their story telling, honoring elders, re-skilling, and leaderless approach (see the 12 steps).

*Nationalism is a form of fictive kinship manufactured/bent to serve the needs of the state during our industrial phase of economic organization.


Anonymous Rollory said...

Nationalism is not fictive. That's a liberal claim, an assault on the very basis of a nation. Nationalism is based on extended kinship just as much as a tribe is. A non tribal nation is more accurately called an empire.

March 9, 2009 at 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Rollory said...

I should add to my previous post that there is nothing "fictive" about kinship in the transition towns mentioned in the UK. The populations involved will be largely English - other ethnic groups already have their own kinship networks.

March 10, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

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