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+6 votes
while i am curious in general, i am particularly interested in how city folk see this.

as a former city-dweller (for 40 years, up until 20 years ago), i know how dependent on the state and large-scale economy cities generally are. waste management alone is a massive nightmare, let alone access to decent water and food.

so i wonder if, and how, urban @s are thinking more towards self-sufficiency in these times. clearly many (most?) city folk are not inclined to bail and head for the hills.

it ain't like country folk are all self-sufficient and free of the state and shit, but in my experience (aside from the rich fucks) there tends to be more of a mindset of taking care of your own needs, and understanding what is necessary to do so.

just thinking out loud here...
by (13.4k points)
i live in a city, but i've lived in the same place for basically my whole life. leaving here would be becoming a different person in a way that is anomalous for most city dwellers, i think. since most folks have to or choose to move around within a city or from city to city.

i have friends who are sure that the bay area/california is headed for economic disaster (long before the C19) and are planning on moving elsewhere before that happens. at some point i will talk to them about how/whether they think this plague changes anything.

none of this is an answer. don't have answers in me atm, i guess. so comment it is!
i was more just wanting to start some discussion, not really looking for an answer per se. though definitely interested to hear if there are any.

you point out how difficult it would be for you to leave your home. i totally get it. i lived in nyc for the first 30 years of my life, i didn't even like leaving the city for a day, much less consider moving out - that would have been inconceivable.

i try to imagine what i would do - or even feel - if i still lived in nyc today. even without covid. <shudder>
i appreciate the question overall, i'm not really changing a huge amount about my life in reaction to this except working a little harder on the self sufficiency aspect which is something i've been wanting for a while. Now i'm being motivated by external forces a little more aggressively. The thought of being isolated somewhere else while being sick is really scary, and the thought of a total systematic collapse when I'm used to eating pretty easily, out in the country surrounded by people who think very differently from me, is even scarier. You're right though that the isolation from structures considered to be more in line with "civilization" is pretty nice though, because in a city the dependency on other people is immediate and unquestionable.

I've been a little sad that it's going to be even harder now to find other people to share my life with, but i guess i just need to work on that gradually instead of thinking of "somewhere else i could go" which was always in the back of my mind before the virus crisis.
I live close to my university's campus (~5 mins by walking) together with most of my friends and others students from the same university. So my neighborhood is kinda like a student heaven with a small amount of local inhabitants. So while circumstances are actually neat for to create stuff like neighborhood solidarity since most people know each other unlike usual city anonymity, most if not all people went to their families, including my close friends - I stayed -. Hence the biggest thing this pandemic has shown to me that how my daily relationships are pretty much completely unreliable in times of crises, everybody is like kinda on her own. I do not know whether seeing this could lead to a change in my life, but it is good to know one's own conditions in a more transparent way nevertheless.
@nihilist: you hit on a major point imo, regarding what happens should you get sick. going into a hospital is basically saying goodbye to everyone you know, unless you recover and are released as "virus free". not the way i want to die, for sure.

@metalist: sorry hear that your relations there turned out to be so unreliable. that, in my experience, is the case everywhere. especially in a city, it is easy to form shallow (if useful, even fun) relations, and difficult to form deep, trusting relations. yet it can be easy to conflate them.

one thing i did when assessing various scenarios (particularly worst-case scenarios) coming out of something like this, is to think really hard about what is truly important to me in my life. (of course i did that long ago, leading to my leaving urban life forever, but always good to re-assess). the first thing i always come to is: i want an easy, reliable way to end my own life when i choose to. after that, i think about survival without the state and economics.
on your final point f@ could not agree more, and it reminds me (ha) of one of my favorite parts of bolo'bolo, which is the suicide pill everyone gets, to use whenever they choose. would make such a difference in how one goes about one's life, i think.

While I see your point funkyanarchy, I think current situation here seems to be a bit different. I consider my relationships with my close friends I mentioned as deep and trusting, for instance if I feel depressed or I do not know ill or something they would help me, talk with me, listen to me. So it is not like we are just having fun together. Rather the problem seems to be that we lack a common material infrastructure, some sorf of maybe a communal existence that would make feel safe and cared for. Otherwise we become so depended on the system and any crises as in this case made so many people just run away to their families in a somewhat childish manner, as if their families could protect them in a prolonged interruption of the system due to epidemic. 

@Metalist: lol, i think a lot of it is they are worried that they will never see them again due to the crisis and worries about their old age, even though coronavirus has been proven to be way more complicated than that.

It's funny every since i got converted into more of a dark-green cynical anarcho-nihilist point of view, i've integrated the concept of systematic collapse into my overall thinking about how i need to relate to other people and take nothing for granted. I never knew that neo-liberal capitalism would give me the impetus to start thinking along those lines on a silver platter! I always figured things were going to continue business as usual until the effects of global warming got more catastrophic.
metalist, i hear you, my bad for making assumptions about those relations.

the material infrastructure you refer to is, in some way, the very thing that underlies my original question. how can folks, esp in cities, survive and thrive without the state/economic infrastructure? for many, i suspect, thriving involves a substantial social life of some sort, which is in my experience much easier in a city. it's the survival part (in a city) that is unclear to me, at least long term.
Oh my goodness, the site is back :O Wowzers. The 'crisis' hasn't really inspired me to change. I don't live in a big city, but close to two of them. I don't mind the "lockdown" isolation aspect of it cause I'm a hermit and prefer to avoid areas with lots of people, like disco clubs or restaurants or wherever social people go congregate anyways. So it doesn't personally effect me as much as others because I've prepared for it my whole life lol. I do find it humorous that the more social people are following these lockdown and "social distancing" orders lock in step and getting really angry when one doesn't. I saw on @news like a month ago, some anarchists were demanding other anarchists to stay inside, follow the states guidelines and practice "social distancing" because think of the children or something like that. That made me lol out loud, so lolol. I guess I'm being a bit hypocritical, but oh well. It did catch me off guard because I didn't think many people would've fallen in line lockstep as quickly as they did without question. It blew my mind.

One benefit this it has helped with my anxiety issues not being as bad which is a plus, but it creeps back in at times The only thing I've thought of doing is starting a garden again, but I don't have the knowledge, skill set and abilities to do it on a larger scale needed to slightly become remotely close to self-sufficient. I'm too "co-dependent" on a various aspects of the infrastructure like grocery stores and stuff. I don't see that changing much because for the past 40 years or so I have been taught to depend on it. It's kind of a hard thing to break. I'd be fucked if the infrastructure totally collapsed. It's kind of ironic.

One bummer was my grandma died and the assisted living place she was staying at made it extremely difficult to even go in there and see her before she died. My mom got an exception the day she died, but prior to that, the assisted living place was treating people staying there like they were in a prison.

1 Answer

0 votes
Honestly, I wish it was. Well, it is inspiring in a hypothetical sense.

However, the reality is that as a lower-class family living in a huge urban center this crisis feels paralyzing due to the lack of economic resources that would be needed to suddenly move out of the city (or move at all), to gain land, etc. and how precarious our future access to those material/economic resources feels.

If I had land to run away to, though, I would!

That being said, if seen some shifts if friends/community members without children. More sourdough starters, gardens, etc.

And in my professional life, its been interesting to see people become more interested in seeking medical care outside of hospitals. Or rather, folks who had considered it before but not strongly, now feel much stronger. I think folks are also taking more medical care into their own hands because they are avoiding the hospital unless truly in crisis.
by (5.4k points)
interesting to hear that people are getting more hands on re: healthcare and food,

it speaks to the question of what really convinces people to change their behavior, and (for example) how long quarantining would need to continue for people to accept their new self-reliance as the new normal. but capitalism runs on convenience and changing that mindset seems like the hardest shift... meh. just pondering.

mostly, people learning how to do things for themselves is a good thing, no matter what.
"capitalism runs on convenience and changing that mindset seems like the hardest shift"


i'd add to that (what capitalism runs on) "work ethic".
you have inspired a conflict/new question funky. gj! ;)