1. TyrannusRex

    TyrannusRex Active Member

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    Establishing a Small Government Post-Apocalypse

    Discussion in 'Research' started by TyrannusRex, Mar 23, 2017.

    What would be the best way for a leader (essentially a monarch and their governmental advisors) to unite several small groups of survivors in a post-apocalyptic setting?
    My first thought would be hope, because in this situation, if everyone works together, they actually have a chance to rid themselves of the big threat (that caused the apocalypse) and begin constructing a new society under this leader's guidance.
    That's just me; what do you think?
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I'm stuck on "monarch". How did he become a leader?
     
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  3. Mental Landscaper

    Mental Landscaper New Member

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    In a post-apocalyptic world, the survivors would be focused pretty heavily on survival. They wouldn't take pointless risks, waste resources, or go out on a limb if it meant leaving themselves vulnerable. This means that if you want to bring groups together, you need to have a rational explanation.

    The leader should phrase his plan in a way that maximises every group's chances of survival - whether that's through simple resource comparisons ("They have food but no water, and you guys have water but no food. Together, you both win.") or appeals to fear ("If we stay scattered in small groups, the [bad guys] will pick us off one by one. Our only chance is to band together and present a united front.") or, if the apocalypse wasn't that long ago, appeals to the survivors' memories of the time before it all went to hell ("Only a decade ago, we were neighbours. We had no problem living in peace and working together, because the world allowed us to. Now the world is broken and scarred, but we don't have to let that dictate our behaviour. We can rise above the horror. We can be people again."), the point is that every group needs to have a good, solid, logical reason to unite.

    As for the actual government, considering this new nation will be constructed of multiple low-population (I assume) groups and factions, it would make sense for there to be one or two representatives from each faction who meet with the leader, who acts as a mediator, and argue for their groups' needs. The leader doesn't take any particular side, they just facillitate the discussion and help guide the members of this apocalypse council to decisions that benefit the most people.

    That's just my take at a glance. I feel like hope could be an important part of it, but only if it's intrinsic and not the basis for the union. If I read about a leader walking into each camp and saying "let's unite because hope", I'd roll my eyes so hard they'd rob the Earth of angular momentum, slowing its spin and causing a whole apocalypse of my own.
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, I think something concrete would make more sense than hope, but it kind of depends on what the theme of your story is, what resources are available, etc.

    And, like @ChickenFreak, I wonder about the "monarch" designation. Do you mean that she was a monarch before the disaster and is trying to rally her people? If so, she may be able to depend on her previous authority - in a crisis, a lot of people will WANT to be led, and if they're used to being led by her, they'll probably continue to look to her. Of course, that will depend on the state of the society prior to the disaster...
     
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  5. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting question, @TyrannusRex .

    How far past the 'apocalypse' is your story set? Do the survivors personally remember the time before the apocalypse? Or are they basically starting from scratch, with no memory of anything beyond how they are living now? Do they depend on storytellers to keep their past alive, or do they have access to books, writing materials, etc?

    I think the situation will differ, depending on whether your people are 10 years past the apocalypse or 200 years past the apocalypse.

    If the time is short, most people are going to remember what 'government' looks like. They'll either want to recreate it, modify it, or change it completely, but the previous system of government is likely to be the model.

    In some ways, that will be more difficult for your leader to work with, especially if the old system of government was responsible for the apocalypse. There are likely to be prejudices, grievances, anger, selfishness and former status that are 'leftovers' from the old system.

    If they're all starting new, however, the leader can perhaps appeal to the sense of collective gain and mutual benefit. Each separate group has skills and resources the other groups need. Or whatever.

    Another thing to consider is language. Do they all speak the same language? I think the situation might be different if it happened in the former USA—a large territory where everybody speaks the same language—than it would if it happened in former Europe or Africa or Southeast Asia, where languages differ a lot between relatively small countries. A lot of this will depend on how scattered the groups are. Is it a matter of survivors from a mid-sized town returning from a few years in the surrounding countryside ...or has enough time elapsed that people from many different places have congregated near one another, because of resources like water, shelter, food, etc?
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
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  6. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Religion. People flocked to religion after the fall of Rome and true kings would have been blessed by the religious leaders. So who was really in charge?

    Also scapegoating. The poles bombed a German outpost, forget all of this infighting and focus on the real outside enemy. Hitler will protect you.

    Apocalypse is a frame of mind. To 500AD former romans, they were in the apocalypse. Same with the 1930 post WWI German.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  7. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    No. Popes spent half a millennium trying to establish themselves as arbiters of morality after the fall of Rome, and even then they weren't entirely successful; William the Conqueror only got his marriage blessed by Rome (prior to this he had been anathema) when he promised to bring those heathen (well, Orthodox Catholics as opposed to Roman Catholics) English under the influence of Rome. And Robert the Bruce survived excommunication in his successful attempts to win the Scottish crown.

    Bear in mind, too, that the papacy had half a millennium of organization-building prior to that particular apocalypse to get ready for their role as leaders of society.
     
  8. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    Education
     
  9. TyrannusRex

    TyrannusRex Active Member

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    Several points to address, without going into insane story detail:
    1. I said that the ruler's power was like that of a monarch. She's essentially got the rule because she was part of a powerful order before the apocalypse, and the former head of the order (posthumously) appointed her as their replacement; the outsiders/survivors see that she and her companions are members of this order, and respect their authority in the absence of actual government. Additionally, these "leader" characters will have already struck a great blow to the people's common enemy by killing its leader.
      (I should make a note here that this is a modern-day fantasy. This order is a secret society of magic-users. The outsiders have heard rumors of them, however, and are surprised to find they are true.)
    2. The people, even the members of this order, have forgotten nearly everything about their former lives. Those in the order only vaguely remember life before joining, and the "common" people only know that they've been fighting this threat for a while, barely scraping by. So the goal here would be to build a new, peaceful society from their worn-out, war-torn one.
    3. Though it's not mentioned anywhere in the story, this is set in the eastern US, in a small Appalachian city.
    4. @jannert You make a lot of good points that I should address in a second post.
     
  10. badgerjelly

    badgerjelly Contributor Contributor

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    Education is the base of any society.

    You may find it useful to read The Republic by Plato to begin with.
     
  11. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale 13th incarnation of the Buddha of Revenge Contributor

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    The Postman, by David Brin, has the MC uniting various small towns by re-establishing neutral communications between them and helping them to unite against the feudalist baddies. The movie kind of sucked, but it did remove some of the weirder elements of the book.
     

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