Agenda for Change: The American Prepper Movement

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Last month when I posted Define the Prepper Movement With A Call Action, I did not know what to expect.  One part of me thought, okay, I am going to put this out there and be run out of town for expressing such crazy ideas.  The other part of me dictated that I post the article because I believed in it.  Not posting would be paramount to selling out to what was popular as well as profitable in the prepper blogging community.

Selling out is not in my DNA so I went ahead and shared the think piece by Richard Earl Broome, and much to my delight, it found a thoughtful and passionate audience here at Backdoor Survival.  I was pleased.

Agenda for Change American Prepper Movement - Backdoor Survival

The next question, of course, is where do we go from here.

In today’s think piece, Richard kicks things up a notch and suggests that we take some time to develop a mission statement for the American Prepper Movement.

An Agenda for Change: “Power to the Preppers”

Before anyone ever thinks about starting a movement, you need to look at previous movements that were successful and truly did drive change. Two that immediately come to mind are the Civil Rights and Anti Vietnam War movements. What made them successful?

At their origins both seemed to have disparate pockets of political activism, with members that seemed to be just fringe agitators. Over time these disparate pockets integrated and became more respected. As a result, the beliefs they represented became more forceful and powerful because each managed to achieve discipline within a common agenda of fighting against true injustice.

Once more cohesive, they also became increasingly focused and articulate with arguments that created a coherent and compelling agenda for change. Eventually, both had a seat at the national table and helped drive new laws, the Voting Rights Act of 1964, and a new national policy, the elimination of the military draft in 1973.

Why is it important for Preppers of all shapes, sizes and interests to try to find a common ground and organize a movement like this?

At present, Preppers are mostly dismissed as a group outside of the mainstream. Yet as a community, we are more knowledgeable and better prepared to meet the increasing level of threatening events facing us than almost everyone else. As a disparate group, with no common agenda that Preppers agree upon, we currently have little influence or power when it is most needed.

The American Prepper Movement must have a voice at the federal, state and local level with regard to policy, planning, budgeting and legislation. To achieve a seat at the table, Preppers need to become more focused, disciplined and articulate and represent a powerful voting bloc with a clear and coherent agenda for change that elected officials will respect.

What do you think needs to be a part of the American Prepper Nation agenda?

First, let us all accept the premise that there is a new global reality. Terrorism, cyber attacks, pandemic threats, etc., have reached all nations, and as we most recently witnessed with the Boston Marathon bombing last spring and now in France, this is no longer just happening somewhere else in the world. It is a clear and present danger to all of us. A war on all citizens is underway. We have squandered the time we had to prepare for it, so like our nation after Pearl Harbor some seventy-three years ago, we need to catch up and right now.

We are only at the beginning of a discussion about what I think is the critical Prepper Agenda for Change. Here are some ideas, most of which are from the readers of Backdoor Survival in response to my December 30th, 2014 think piece on Backdoor Survival, “Do Not Go Gentle Into the Night.” We seemed to think the Prepper Agenda for Change was in four categories:

–First, develop a mission statement that we all would agree articulates what the Prepper movement is really about.

The media tends to have a cynical view of prepping, which impacts the psychology of most uninformed audiences, and gives the impression we are all slightly odd and not to be taken seriously. Yet, you can go to and see very similar advice for the entire nation coming from FEMA. So we are, in fact, just doing what our government asks.

We also know that we can give better advice to our fellow citizens than the bureaucrats in Washington D.C. do, and on much a wider range of topics. We need our more informed, experienced Prepper voices heard.

A starting point would be our mission statement for the American Prepper Movement. How about we start a Proverb as our inspiration, and then the readers of Backdoor Survival can add their own thoughts?

Proverbs 27:12 “A prudent person foresees the danger ahead and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

–Second, what can we learn from others?

We created the Department of Homeland Security twelve years ago. The State of Israel was founded sixty-seven years ago. The State of Israel has been focused on the preparedness of their citizens since the nation was founded.

What policies should our federal, state and local governments adopt from Israel, particularly around citizen preparedness? We are not yet under a direct and constant threat as Israel experiences, but the threat to the USA is steadily growing. Now is the time to step back, re-examine ourselves, and start making bold changes.

For example, Israel makes civilian preparedness and resiliency part of their education curriculum. Students learn the importance of being prepared and have both historical lessons about terrorism along with “hands on” learning experiences to develop skills with first aid, CPR, chemical and biological weapons, the use of gas masks, and so on. High school students are expected to actively support the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), during an emergency.

Israel’s Home Front Command also uses consistent, straightforward messaging to the citizens of Israel about threats or possible events. Israel, with these policies, has achieved a genuine culture of preparedness.

So should the United States.

–Third, with all these kinds of actions we can begin to shift the psychology of Americans.

A recent article I wrote for Backdoor Survival was “Building a Culture of Preparedness.” I used the following quote in my article as a metaphor, to illustrate how our view of heath and fitness has changed over the last 50 years.

“If you have ever watched the TV show, “Mad Men,” on many levels it is both fascinating and a little horrifying. We did act that way. We drank too much, smoked, and ate whatever we pleased. Exercise was that occasional game of tennis or golf. This has all changed for the better. We pay more attention to diet, nutrition, exercise and avoid doing the things we know hurt us. Over time, as a society, we developed a culture of health and fitness. It took us years, but we made the cultural shift. What caused this was that we all raised our level of understanding about causes and effects and the ultimate impacts of poor choices about heath and fitness.

To achieve a similar kind of a societal-wide transition for better preparedness, by fostering the community discussions that I am proposing in this article, over time, could start to create and begin to build an overall culture of preparedness.”

We need to raise our level of national understanding about the importance of preparedness. If we are ever going to be truly prepared, this kind of a psychological shift by Americans is a fundamental requirement. Israel did it. So can we.

–Fourth, during future events Preppers more likely to shoulder most the burden of the threats to our safety because we, as a nation, allow others to remain less prepared.

Your federal, state and local tax dollars that go to emergency preparedness will be spent on those who are not prepared. Preppers will perhaps need, little to no help, which makes Preppers the ants paying for the grasshoppers.

If we, as a nation, will subsidize someone for putting solar panels on their roof to achieve energy efficiencies, why not advocate subsidizing Preppers for better overall preparedness? Shouldn’t Preppers get some sort of tax break for being a better-prepared citizen? Shouldn’t this be reflected in lower insurance bills for you?

A great side benefit if this actually happened would be the creation of a national standard for both individual and business preparedness. If this is ever created, the Prepper Nation definitely must have a voice in any kind of a preparedness standard.

Where do we go from here?

If we can agree on the basic tenets of a mission statement and agenda for change, we then have the fundamental pieces to begin to organize into a movement. With these we can start to address the simple; yet critical question: Where do we go from here?

Robert Kennedy one said:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts, will be written the history of this generation.”

Each of us needs to do our small part and write the history of the beginnings of the American Prepper Movement.

Richard Earl Broome –  All Rights Reserved
February 4, 2015


Richard Earl Broome is a contributing author and friend to Backdoor Survival. He has lived an extraordinary life rising from an Army private to an Army colonel who served on the White House staff for two Presidents of the United States as a member of their National Security Council staff.

He is considered a national expert on the subjects of crisis management, disaster recovery and survival. He is a frequent contributor of articles about the many threats facing our society, appearing frequently on radio shows to discuss issues such as pandemics, ISIS, and the cyber threat.

For more about Richard, visit my  About Richard page.  Also, note that his two books, Leaving The Trees and Good Crazy (Leaving The Trees Journey) (Volume 2), can be found on Amazon.

The Final Word

As with all things preparedness, at first blush the task of preparing a mission statement may seem overwhelming.  After all, there is not only the effort of putting pencil to paper, but also the coordination of missives coming from various age groups, economic strata, and geographical locations. Each will have their own special needs and their own special interests.

The challenge going forward is to set aside our personal agendas and move toward a common goal for all preppers.  I know from reading your comments that there are plenty of you set to lead and an equal number set to follow with gumption and gusto.  Everyone is important.

Now it is your turn.  Let us continue brainstorm together; comments are open.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Agenda for Change: The American Prepper Movement — 25 Comments

  1. Nice article… too bad that,in my opinion,the gubmint is almost as much a threat as outside influences. Preppers are considered odd, at best,through the active participation of the national media/ Hollywood crowd, who are essentially mouthpieces and propaganda factories for the government.The government does not want us to be independent,but actively dependent on them in every facet of our lives. Agenda 21, anyone?

    • Yeah, Rick, I’m with you on the .gov threat. I’d never apply for a subsidy going on tax records as being more prepared than my neighbor.

      Other than that, I agree with most of what Broome writes. As a writer myself, I’m going to have to put some thinking time into general mission statement ideas.

  2. I believe that anyone with common sense knows to always be prepared. Nothing is guaranteed. I’d rather be stuck with water, food, a way to make fire and the means to defend myself than not be able to. Weird, strange, out of touch with the times, maybe but that’s the way I believe! Keep Looking UP – that’s where the help and hope come from!

  3. I thank you for your informative articles. You, and your guest authors, along with your reading audience seem to have a better handle on what I perceive as our present dangers than do our government officials. You are getting the message out for any who want to hear. Hopefully you will be the agent of change for I fear the tipping point is near. Thanks again.

  4. At my kids school they have each child bring in a plastic baggie with a little food,water, and some hygene products in case of a school emergency. How about we have all businesses do the same for each employee on site? Businesses should be required by law to have on hand emergency supplies of water, food, and equipment for a three day stay. Some businesses have some, but a list to follow is better.

    • Let’s watch that ‘should be required by law’ stuff. Want to have inspectors coming around sniffing for miniscule violations, justifying their jobs? I didn’t think so.

      Having said that, I think any program, .gov or individually-sponsored, that makes businesses aware of their own interest in having employees ‘self-prepared’ is an excellent idea.

  5. A very thought provoking post! I’ve heard from a lot of our readers that they struggle with the stigma of being a Prepper, and with finding like minded people in their neck of the woods. The more we normalize “The Movement” the easier it will be talk openly and find others to work with. Certainly we’re all stronger as a group!

  6. You guys are making me nervous.

    “Power to the Preppers”?


    It’s all a quest for power?

    A power shared with other overlords?
    To fight over the spoils of taxation and rule?

    It seems that way.

    Spooky stuff. Especially this:

    “The American Prepper Movement must have a voice at the federal, state and local level with regard to policy, planning, budgeting and legislation. To achieve a seat at the table…”

    Run, turkeys! Run! It’s a dinner bell!?!

    But then, it gets funny, “a clear and coherent agenda for change that elected officials will respect.”

    Ha! As If.
    Looking for that kind of respect?… Psft!

    I’m reminded of a story about a house of ill repute.

    How about “we” don’t alll accept the premise that there is a new global reality?
    (That, The Feds are behind most, or all, of the so-called terrorist threats, the wars aren’t for spreading freedom, etc…)

    Just keep in mind that the old boss is the same as the new boss. ?

    Author John Whitehead talks about the need to, ‘Step Up’ in his articles. I think that’s where you’re all coming from.
    It makes sense.
    But, it’s no, Opt Out. (You’re familiar with Opting Out, right?)

    Prepping isn’t about changing things, IMHO. …It’s about life on the other side.

    Whatever direction you take, every single one of ya’s should read Claire Wolfe’s, ‘Rat’s’, Your guide to protecting yourself against snitches, informers, informants, agents provocateurs, narcs, finks,

    It’s easy to find online. I’d post a link but I think you can find it just as easy.

    Again, just thinking out loud here. A.k.a. a thought crime.

  7. Also, let me put it this way: If the Ron Paul liberty movement couldn’t budge the local political party machine, why in the heck does anyone think a prepper movement would?

    Did you test the waters?

    It’s filled with sharks!

    Better to tend your own garden. ? While Humpty and his bast$%&s fall from The Wall.

    • IMHO most preppers I know lean more toward the Libertarian mindset, the gov’t out of our lives, our property, and every other aspect of our lives, including the businesses we run or work for. We would NEVER ask for a subsidy, put our name on a list or sign a piece of paper stating our mission as a prepper. While some may like the above author’s writing, and maybe agree to one degree or another with his statements…I, for one, think he’s been employed by the gov’t far too long to really understand what the prepper movement is all about, it’s about SELF-sufficiency, about being able to take care of ourselves & our loved ones without the gov’t’s help…and sometimes in spite of it. To the gov’t, WE are the enemy, because we refuse to be dependent, to believe their lies, to bow to the mighty military/police state, and their fascist agenda (Monsanto anyone).

  8. I completely disagree with #2, as a supposedly “free” nation, I highly object to gov’t forcing any issue, much less putting on the “parent” role for our kids in school. We are not Isreal, nor will we ever be Isreal. I do not want my kids to see a threat around vevry corner. We are preppers in our household, and have a very small community of people we know who do likewise…and our kids know what we do and actively help, but under NO circumstances do I want the gov’t teacing (indoctrinating) my kids about how or especially WHY to prep! There is already far too much indoctrination going on already. I do not want more gov’t in my life, I want a LOT less! Gov’t has never been capable of doing anything efficiently, the last thing I want is more of my hard-earned money going to fund “programs” to teach, indoctrinate, or just plain push propaganda that everyone is the bad guy except out gov’t! I have a lot more to say on that, but I’ll get off my soap box for awhile.

  9. We certainly don’t want and need any government intervention, they have done more harm than good to our great nation.
    I agree, we are not Israel, we are America. Our great grandparents and parents have taught us to be independent and resourceful. This is where the prepper mindset comes from for me personally.
    My parents had a stocked pantry and varied skills and they passed those down to our generation.
    Most of my peers don’t have the same skill set as me, however, I try to help in any way I can to make them more self sufficient. Many of my gal pals are widows, I am fortunate to have a partner who is skilled in the ways I am not, therefore making us a knowledgeable team.
    This year for gifts, I am making family members bug out buckets and bags. As an extreme couponer, I will fill these bags and buckets according to the persons needs. They will only contain 72 hours worth of items, but I feel it’s better than nothing and will get them to think and add to the bucket or bag themselves.
    I don’t want to push my philosophy on anyone who doesn’t want it, but my family and friends think I’m really out there with my thinking, but I’m the first one they call for advice and help.

  10. With all due respect to both Gaye and Richard, I can’t help but view all this as an exercise in futility. If the population of American preppers is anywhere close to the estimated 1%, then there is still not enough to achieve any real change even if you could unify 100% of all preppers. As to the tax credits, I’m sure there are some fools out there who will bite onto that which shines and sparkles so, only to realize too late that there is a hook concealed inside. How much easier it would be for ‘officials’ to focus resources on the rebellious ‘sovereign citizens’ if they willingly identified themselves to receive a tax credit. Besides that, the whole notion of taking money from one to give to another is just the sort of communistic practices that many of us are vehemently against.
    I’m going off on a tangent here, but allow me to position myself upon my soap box. While recently filling out my annual assessment form, where I am lawfully bound to report all my property that is taxable, my fire was re-lit as it is every year. How is it right that a portion of the population that chooses to spend there resources to acquire property that helps them become more self sustainable (i.e.: a cow or two, some hay and grain to feed that cow, some chickens, goats, even if you have stored a few bushels of wheat, rice or other grain) is taxed just for owning that property because it has ‘value’. But the rest of the population is not required to report for taxation what they own in big screen TV’s, smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc. Personal property is personal property is personal property! why is my property taxable but tech property is not taxable?!? Grrr I say.

    • I don’t agree with everything in this article, but you should never underestimate what a small percentage of people can accomplish. Twenty years ago, the percentage of homosexuals (and lesbians) in this country was ONE PERCENT. Look at what they’ve done to the culture since then! (And currently I’ve read that the percentage of practicing homosexuals is merely two percent.) “Do not despise the day of small beginnings.” If they can effect such change (for the worse) then why not a small percentage of preppers?

    • Yesterday I re-activated a previous control on the backend of the blog. Too many valid comments were going to spam and were deleted automatically meaning they never appeared. This new control is also automated but puts comments in moderation instead of spam so I can approve them. It too is automated so I am unsure why some comments end up there and others don’t.

      I usually run through the moderated comments about 9AM Pacific and again throughout the day. Look at it this way: better to be moderated and approved then sent to spam and deleted. I hope this explanation is helpful.

  11. “Run, turkeys! Run! It’s a dinner bell!?!”

    I am embracing that statement because that thought has crossed my mind as well. That did not mean that I was not going to put this out there for discussion because having an open dialog on such issues is important so that we are all clear on our goals, even if those goals reside solely under our own roofs.

    I believe I speak a universal truth (within this group, at least) when I say we do not want to be squished into subservience, be looted by a gestapo type of militia, or rounded up and sent to Camp FEMA. I also believe that we all harbor similar fears and it is what motivates us to put up a defensive wall of preparedness. Perhaps that is our mission: to establish and maintain a defensive position against government interference with our personal lives.

    To the extent it is even possible in a public forum such as this one, know that your thoughts and beliefs are safe. Blessings to everyone that we will prevail.

  12. Excellent article from such an honorable and trustworthy man.
    I am willing to do anything…just have some limitations with my age and health. My first priority is to serve and honor the Lord…my family then what ever resources or skills will be dedicated to this effort.

  13. I think this was a very good think piece, but some of the commenters are right. I highly doubt there will ever be a national prepper movement, because most preppers are in it to be less dependent on the government, and almost every prepper I know will refuse to help the government or be influenced by it in any way. Just stepping up and identifying yourself as a prepper is a great way to get yourself on lists you don’t want to be on. When SHTF, do you want the government to know you’re a prepper? They will use the emergency to search your house and property for your stuff and take it for the useless dummies who didn’t bother to prep. So a national movement is only a good idea if everyone in it can be anonymous, which pretty much defeats the purpose. Why should they listen to us if we won’t identify ourselves, and why should we identify ourselves when they’ll most likely put us on a list we don’t want to be on?

    • I know the fear of being identified is a major concern, but both the civil rights movements and the anti Vietnam War movement had vocal leadership who carried the message for change. Many Americans who stood with them never did march, demonstrate or self identify in any way. The real power these movements had was that politicians knew they represented a large constituency of voters who were dissatisfied with government laws and policies.

      We live in a virtual world now and I see sites all over the Internet who feel as we do. All I am saying is that if this idea of a movement can coalesce into more of a political voice, perhaps we can direct things more.

  14. There are always people that only see the sky as blue and preppers are nutz! I don’t want anyone, esp government knowing I’m smarter than the average bear, they will know where to come and take my preps. Prepping is as individual as the person prepping. Common sense drives smart people but is not so common. Let the pieces fall where they will and may God direct us in the right direction.

  15. I also believe that any organized prepper movement should stay as far away from government as possible. Perhaps we could engender respect in a more subtle manner by volunteering to teach classes about the many interesting skills we’ve learned en route to self-sufficiency. If we keep the preparedness angle in the background and give the classes titles that attract interest instead of scorn, we would not only be teaching skills they may eventually need to have, but we may also spark a desire to learn more. I assume we’ve all had the experience of being so fascinated with something we’ve made or done by ourselves that we immediately jumped into another such project. It’s the prepper path. Some of our students would undoubtedly have the same experience. There are many places that look for people to teach new things, such as community centers, senior citizen centers, evening classes in schools or other places, possibly girl scout and boy scout troops, etc. A few carefully worded comments during the classes could maybe plant the idea that the day may come when they’ll NEED these skills.

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