Up to this point, the conflicts and battles with other people have all been essentially tribal in nature. Reflecting on the likes of The Governor and Negan, or even The Hunters, they all represented oppositional tribes. Their numbers were never higher than a couple hundred though. In this way, the survival that has been experienced by Rick and his people is more like the earliest settlements of hunters and gatherers, the very beginnings of civilization. While these groups offered opportunities for politics and some broader concerns to emerge, they remained essentially tribal in nature.
Everything Is New Again
This is the essential cycle that The Commonwealth breaks. It is not another opposing tribe where every individual has a distinct voice. It is a new society composed of almost 100,000 people. There is a clear system of government, a tiered culture defined by status and wealth, multiple locations of settlement, and even sports leagues. It is a paradigm shift, every bit as important as the first cities of mankind in places like Mesopotamia. If Kirkman and Adlard intended to mirror the construction of civilization, then they have reached the single most critical turning point.