So how would you start building your Citadel?
During a well needed holiday and in aspiration to increase critical thinking, two people, father and son (called SoulexBoy and Soulexporter) came up with the Mindadel — a simple mind game starting with the question: “So how would you…”
The idea of the Mindadel is to philosophise on different scenarios. Anything is possible, everything goes, but that means that each (more or less realistic) argument can be met with a similar counterargument.
While playing this game with the simple subject “So how would you start building your Citadel”, the game became a lot more serious.
Several scenarios were discussed over the consecutive days.
How to save Ben Gunn from a totalitarian coup by the Church of fiat in the UK?
How to defend Citadel Island? (In this scenario some very wealthy Bitcoiners had bought up Cyprus)
The solution amounted to Stackmore convincing half the Turkish Maritime Force into joining us instead of attacking us.
A lot of Strategies and Tactical situations were explored between the two of us.
Strategy is putting down the long-term goals and how to achieve them.
Tactics are much more concrete. Oriented toward smaller steps. Tackle specific situations that come up along the way to the goal outlined in your strategy.
Bitcoin Plebs often talk about the meme-like Citadel when thinking about Strategy. A safe haven of self-providing and self-sovereignty, alone or with like minded people. We both love to see (and talk with) Bitcoin Plebs that are building in that direction in their own way. Some just stack Sats, others are creating a business, others just try to be more independent in their food production and so on.
So the one scenario we wanted to dive deeper into, started with the Strategy scenario: “So how would you start a citadel?” The physical aspect, the building of a place where we truly can be Sovereignabitches, but also withstand any (theoretical) adversary, even state players.
The fun part with the Mindadel game is that, since we are hypothesizing about the future, we can change the fictive past, correct the first actions taken. It’s possible to mind-raise any capital needed, such as in the scenario where we bought Cyprus. IRL my stack isn’t big enough to buy a parking spot, still work in progress. 🙂
The first idea Soulexboy came up with was to build a physical Citadel with a bunch of people. A one-man citadel is not really feasible, the walls would have to be manned, food production overseen and so on.
So we dove into a whole social analysis of how such a cooperation could work out. It was a fun exercise, but once adversaries started to show up in the equation, things started to change dramatically.
As fictive adversaries kept appearing, the defenses and architecture changed frequently. The evolution went from a portcullis to a reinforced fortress built into a mountain.
But however well built our defences, we quickly saw how even with an unlimited budget, a Citadel in hostile territory quickly escalated to an arms race. Since you have to plan for the worst and hope for the best, the worst quickly becomes a country turning upon the Citadel. We concluded that any country can always mobilize more (military or police) power than whatever budget a private entity could generate. This didn’t keep SoulexBoy from thoroughly enjoying thinking up strategic elements and weapons, but unless you can count on help from other states, a Citadel (small or even the size of a whole community) does not really stand a chance in defending itself using force.
Being the tactician in this game, SoulexBoy explained that there are, according to him, 4 different important warfare strategies/tactics:
Hit and hide (offensive)
Guerilla / Asymmetrical (defensive)
Trench warfate / Attritional (defensive)
Since we want to live our life in peace, we were only looking at the defensive strategies/tactics.
Putting all the Plebs in a centralized location, even if it was an island, ends up in a type of trench warfare. A battle of attrition, where the defenders can be outclassed, outnumbered and even starved. Also, no matter how we planned it out, when you are a minority, you might not like democracy.
The Guerilla Approach
“Guerrilla tactics focus on avoiding head-on confrontations with enemy armies, instead of engaging in limited skirmishes with the goal of exhausting adversaries and forcing them to withdraw. Guerrilla groups often depend on the logistical and political support of either the local population or foreign backers who do not engage in an armed struggle but sympathize with the guerrilla group’s efforts.
Guerrilla warfare is a type of asymmetric warfare: competition between opponents of unequal strength. It is also a type of irregular warfare: that is, it aims not simply to defeat an enemy, but to win popular support and political influence, to the enemy’s cost.
We took four main points into consideration when discussing this approach.
1. Bitcoiners are scattered around the world
A lot of us feel alone in our Housadels (Forgive us, we -del’d everything in our game.) Our own small place we occupy in the world, be it an apartment, a house or even a big estate. Unless you have a whole bunch of plebs nearby, the chances are you feel out of tune in your personal meatspace. Some Bitcoiners are preppers or gun fanatics, heck some might have a small armory, able to fend off a mob. But even that wouldn’t last long against a bigger, organized force.
2. Big enough area
Our planning for strategies and tactics means that we are in a state of defense against physical attacks. This defense has to protect our daily life, not define it. We don’t have a standing army and we have lives to live. If we grow our own food, that food would have to be grown on a big farmland, and/or employ technical equipment such as aquaponics/hydroponics. How is it possible to both protect and maintain this? Short version: it is hard when you’re alone.
3. Don’t be where an attacker expects you to be
This is a bit of a scary one, but preppers know this: when SHTF you have an option to bug in or bug out. The Pleb with the armory might very well build his bug in bunker, but when WWIII breaks out in your backyard this might not be sufficient. Even when it is only a police force representing a corrupt regime, the chances that we would outlast a siege seems minimal.
4. Intermediary tactic
Even if the Guerilla approach is the only tactic we considered between the two of us, we did recognize that this could only be an intermediary solution: all we want is to live in peace!
So, after having discussed many strategies, we came to the conclusion that one centralized location is good, but only when its size is big enough to sustain a high strategic advantage.
It became apparent that we needed to come up with a system where decentralized tactics are used. We needed more and smaller citadels, connected like a mesh network! And thus, the Meshtadel was born.
The Meshtadel was the next logical step for our housadels scattered around the world, the smallest unit of a Citadel, a Bitcoin household.
We realized: When the walls you erect around yourself for protection are built because of the fear planted in your mind, those walls form a prison and you hand the fear mongers the only key. Build bridges, not walls!
Playing out some scenarios
In our hypothetical game, a group of Bitcoiners decided to work together. Spread out over a whole region, each forming a back-up base for the others.
In the scenario where there was a complete meltdown of society, some Housadels grouped together as a Streetadel, using tunnels to move from one house to another, to flee or help defend.
In a scenario where a whole country decided to prosecute all Bitcoiners, the quest for refuge played out over an even bigger distance, so ideally our Meshtadel consists of locations across national borders.
A third scenario involved a communal mountain base as a Bug-out destination. A cooperative buy of a holiday destination, where all of them passed by at some point in a normal year to spend their holidays and help build up their safe haven for whenever disaster would strike. Complete with a bunker system built in the mountain with aquaponics, and redundancy all over 🙂
We played out different scenarios, and for each scenario we were able to dive into the past to prepare the best Meshtadel for each of the situations. We had scenarios with little money and ones where we were Saylors.
For each of these Meshtadel scenarios we dove into strategies, tactics, architecture, food production, and even politics.
Politics is not about how to make sure to get elected as leader, but rather how do you make sure that those who are in a Meshtadel can stay organized without a hierarchy?
This presented a perfect time to explain the concept of Dunbar’s number to SoulexBoy. It is only writing this article that we found a diagram, but it really calls to the concept of what we were thinking, so in all honesty we only now started using the labels Kin, Super Family, Clan or Tribe.
Ideally, a Meshtadel reaches a maximum of 150 people. If the population is getting close to that number, Clans or Super families should decide for themselves if they would like to start a tribe on their own, or with another group of plebs.
Splitting up is not saying goodbye forever. Meshtadels would still interact with each other. Some Meshtadels could just be Clans. Each group of people that wants to form a Meshtadel, would make up their own rules or agreements. In the end it all comes down to the level of trust.
The further you move away from the Core Relationships, towards the Casual Relationships the less trust there will be.
Trust is extremely important, because this is where the first three point we mentioned earlier come together:
Bitcoiners are scattered around the world—> This is why we want to organize
Big enough area—> Apparent from previous point, Bitcoiners are all over the world
Don’t be where an attacker expects you to be—> With sufficient trust, you can leave your home behind when the need arrives, and flee to another trusted place in the Meshtadel.
“But why not just unite and fight?” you might ask.
Well, in our reasoning because of two reasons:
We established it earlier: A single place of defence will become a prison if facing a ‘big’ attacker.
Even if you could win the first few confrontations, any violence (even in self-defence) will turn the narrative against you if the masses don’t understand your reasoning.
The long term goal is to gain the support of a critical mass of the total population. If enough people see that Bitcoin is as peaceful as it gets in the long run, some nations could become friendly/supportive enough to create a Bitcoin safe haven. But what happens if all hashing power and tons of Bitcoiners are located in the same place. This would be an ideal target for… well let’s call it an “accident with fertilizer”, a “misplaced EMP” or an “oopsie with the nuclear launch codes”. (Yes, we ran into this scenario in our Mindatel game)
To be honest, we consider ourselves already in a state of war, but not with conventional weapons. We are fighting for the moral high ground. Fighting with memes, Medium articles and Twitter threads. We leave those battles for the Toxic Maximalists, the Nic Carters, in short those with a smoother pen than ours. But any guerilla tactic should make sure to not lose any foothold in these areas.
A good example is the boobie traps the Vietcong used in Vietnam. SoulexBoy described some of those in the defense discussions, and Soulexporter realized when hearing those stories that one of the strongest weapons in existence is the demoralizing factor.
In a war where narrative and perception are the most important, violence should really be a last resort. For this reason our Meshtadel would be equipped with a well planned violence escalation. “Violence is almost never the answer, until it is the only answer… then you go all in.”
In the Mindatel we came up with “The Sniper Cameraman” which would thus be one of the newer military functions in a Meshtadel preparedness. 🙂 Instead of snipers taking out people (as evil as they might or might not be), a Sniper Cameraman would make sure to document any violent act committed towards the peaceful Meshtadel. So when the moment that violence does become the only answer, the narrative cannot so easily be turned against us.
Although these dramatical scenarios are fun to ‘play out’, I hope we will never have to put them to practice. It is better to have an option it turns out you never need, than needing an option it turns out that you never had.
Do we all have to instantly set up a bug out plan with pleb locations mapped out? No, not necessarily, but we should start building our Meshtadels. Real life connections to fellow plebs.
You can start building on your circular economy mini-network.
Make a chain of trust.
When you get to know a pleb with whom you feel like finding a long lost friend, your base for your Meshtadel is set.
We are busy building our own mini-network of pleb friends. And we are participating in an experimental effort to let self organized groups work together with their own Lightning Network nodes as well (Rings-of-Fire).
In the meanwhile, MaxBitbuybit was recently looking into a concept for his podcast with the aim of exploring with other Bitcoiners the skills needed to be self sovereign. Czino mentioned the Mesthadel concept and Max loved it so much that he baptised the concept: Meshtadel Monthly on his podcast, with SoulexBoy’s blessing of course. 😉
We strongly believe: "What makes Bitcoin to be Bitcoin is the people, the plebs."
And when plebs come together... together plebs strong.
Soulexporter was a Bitcoin Twitter lurker until he got (won) a SatsLedger for his son Soulexboy. This was the trigger for a father stacking Sats for his offspring, to team up with his son to explore together the rabbit holes that Bitcoin opened to them. From helping with (& participating in) the Bitcoin VoicePaper, teaming up with other plebs to start the Rings-of-Fire, to supporting the circular Sat-conomy and reviewing what they bought in SoulexBoy’s BXXI YouTube channel. Together they feel at home with their online pleb friends, with whom they hope to build the base for their own Mesthadel.