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   Chapter 14 14

Down with the Cities! By Tadashi Nakashima Characters: 26377

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07


Of all the occupations on Earth, the only one that allows us to be independent is farming. All occupations other than farming must depend at least upon agriculture, or else they have no source of life; for this reason independence is impossible. If, as a result of their contempt for agriculture, the other occupations try to become independent of it, their practitioners will soon die!

Agriculture is, at the least, none other than a "means in itself" for maintaining one's own life, so as long as one does not seek excesses such as convenience, extravagance, and ease, and is prepared for a life of austerity, it is possible to become totally independent.

What on earth do people mean, then, when they say, "It's impossible to get along just by farming. One can't keep food on the table by being a farmer"? It is one thing if one is referring to factories or apartment buildings in the concrete cities, but such a remark is quite incomprehensible if the speaker is a person who has the land which produces the food by which he can keep himself alive. But of course we know that these people mean it is impossible for them to acquire the trinkets and gimcracks and pleasures that urban extravagance offers.

The secondary and tertiary industries, in their infinite mercy, make their governments grant subsidies to agriculture, which is the only occupation on earth capable of independence, but this is nothing less than a clever reversal meant to pull the wool over our eyes. That agriculture must continually curry favor with others as well as suffer great difficulties is without a doubt because of the deception, dirty tricks, and schemes of Money (or the schemes and plundering of the money economy, known as the "market principle"), as characterized by agricultural subsidies. Could there possibly be any other reason?

I therefore believe that in order for agriculture to avoid the interference of the secondary and tertiary industries, it must first become independent of money. Money cheats the farmers; the devilish machinery of the money economy makes the farmers take on debts, and its phantom money (loans) make double plunder possible.

Note well that the ultimate cause of the farmers' privation lies in the exchange of food for pieces of paper, and that subsidies are mere bait to prepare for plunder.

Money: An Instrument of Plunder

The mint churns out tons of money, and with government bonds as the medium, wads of this money roll to all corners of the country (as, for example, the salaries of public employees and appropriations for public works projects). [51] Some of this paper money is saved, and some of it is used to buy food. If you take it to the store and throw it into a shopping basket, it changes magically into food. So there is absolutely no basis for asserting that money will not be used for the plunder of food. If there were no such plunder by means of money, it would be impossible for the city to survive for even a day unless it took food by force.

Let us assume now that part of that money which was saved is now lent out to the farmers in the form of agricultural loans. It will be immediately consumed by the purchase of machinery, fertilizers, and agricultural chemicals, whereby it is returned to the pockets of Capital; all that remains with the farmers are debts. And just as I pointed out before, these debts contribute, over a long period of time, to the plunder of agricultural products. In order to pay back their loans, the farmers must work themselves into the ground, continually offering great quantities of farm products to the city.

Money is none other than a weapon for the purpose of ripping off agricultural produce.

Control of Agriculture with Debts

During a meeting at which was discussed the internationalization of agriculture, Ibuka Masaru, the Honorary President of Sony, said that "Agriculture has only 1/1,500th the productive power of industry." Since money as well is produced at 1,500 times the efficiency of food, it too functions according to the same logic as industry does. (For example, let us say that you borrow money from the bank. If you turn out goods at the rate of several tens a minute, you can pay back the principle with interest in only a short time. Or, if you move several thousand units of your product around in a certain way, you can always pay back the money you borrowed for capital.) But Nature moves according to very slow rhythms, and agriculture is bound by the laws of Nature; to try and make agriculture move at the fast pace of money inevitably means that agriculture will be left behind. Should one borrow money in order to get started in agriculture, one will find that, even if the interest is half what it would be for business or industry (or even if one gets someone to pay the interest for one - for example, a subsidy), it will be quite impossible to pay back the loan by means of agricultural produce alone.

The same goes for dairy farmers in Hokkaido, for those who raise cattle, for those who raise broilers and laying chickens, for citrus farmers, for mechanized farmers, and even for the American farmer, the incarnation of the large-scale modern farming method (it is said that, as of 1985, American agriculture is 54 trillion in debt). And this is not the only way money oppresses agriculture, for it has yet to rout the farmer decisively. * * * If, for example, there is a bumper crop of cabbage, the total cost of harvest, sorting, packing, shipping and kickbacks at the market is sometimes far greater than the selling price of the cabbage. The more the farmers ship, the more money they lose, and so there are times when they plow the cabbage into the fields with a bulldozer.

The more the farmers work (the more food they offer the city), the more money they lose. Has there ever been such an idiotic system? And that is money economics for you - the devilish machine (the market principle) invented by the city.

It is quite true that, after a certain point, one needs no more agricultural products since stuffing oneself full might bring about digestive disorders. An excess of other products will not bring about indigestion, and as long as one has a place to put them, it is possible to have many in order to feed one's vanity. It is the market principle that takes advantage of this one weak point of agriculture.

The market principle - another way of expressing this is "business." For example, the price of eggs is not decided as a result of competitive selling on the market; in actuality, a few market big shots make the decision after seeing how many and what kind of eggs are being shipped into the market at Tokyo. Local prices are based upon the price in Tokyo, so when Tokyo gets a lot of eggs, the price in other places is low even if there are not enough eggs. Therefore the market principle is a business technique, the art of wheeling and dealing.

Back a hundred or so years ago, this was a tea-producing region. Every year at tea-picking time the broker would visit the farmers. "This year the price of tea is higher than ever. Give it everything you've got, and pick every last leaf."

Joyful at the news, the farmers would work their hardest, squeezing every last bit out of their tea fields. The broker, watching for the moment when the tea was ready, would run breathlessly to the farmers with a telegram in hand: "This is terrible! I've just received a telegram from Yokohama - the price for new tea has fallen to rock bottom!" Thus it was the simplest thing for the merchant to use business technique to deceive the farmers.

Thus the merchants, waving the golden banner of "market principle," used the necessity and preservability of agricultural products to their own advantage. We must not fall for such tricks. Food is none other than that which supports life. Even if the harvest brings in more than is needed, the food that ends up in the stomachs of the idlers must have, as that which supports their lives, a very great value. If, Mr. Ibuka, agriculture has only 1/1,500th the productive capacity of industry, then agricultural produce must have 1,500 times the value of industrial products, right? This is the true market principle, and the just appropriation of value. A proper deal would exchange 1,500 transistor radios at 30,000 each for one bag of rice.

Thus the market principle is a tricky scheme whereby the merchants do the same with the essential portion of agricultural produce (i.e., that which goes into the bellies of the idlers) as they do with the excess - they cause the price to hit rock bottom. In Nature, where there is no such scheming, there is also no market principle. No matter how many zebras there are, if all it takes is one to fill the belly of a lion, the lion will find infinite value in that one zebra.

Therefore, the market principle is the illegitimate child of the money economy. Merchants cannot carry on business without money. It is money that causes prices to nose-dive. With bartering, it is impossible to get a head of cabbage from someone without giving something fair in return. Getting that head of cabbage without giving something of like value in return is robbery, pure and simple. The techniques of business, then, are the same as the laws by which robbers operate.

We must get rid of the robbers. We must also get rid of the city, which inevitably brings robbers into existence. And we must get rid of money, which makes possible the functions and activities of the city. If we allow the continued existence of money, it will not only keep plundering agriculture, but it will also destroy us.

Getting away from Money: The Bagworm Revolution

Money makes us squander resources, destroy Nature, and contaminate the environment. These urban evils (the activities of the city) are all carried out "under duress" because of money. It is because of money (the pursuit of profit) that, even though there is absolutely no need, we continue to squander resources, strew pollution, and compete madly in the production of yet more. [52] It is because of money that we search desperately for more construction work to do. The purpose of public works projects is to "make the money circulate," but this cannot be done without destroying Nature. Money is trashing the Earth.

"Money is the root of all evil. Since money appeared, all of creation has been dark, and greed and evil have ruled the world." Shoeki was already saying this in the middle of the Edo Period, before the advent of industrial society.

Money is the root of all the above evils, and if we do not immediately (it may already be too late) banish it from the Earth, we will experience a most grave crisis, but since money is the life blood of the city, banishing it will require an earthshaking occurrence, and the useless softies in the city will not be able to bear it. They will put up a desperate struggle, and, using everything at their disposal (the cream of science and technology), they will try to preserve money. It is for this very reason that we will be unable to avoid disaster.

This is a despairing situation. We must despair of banishing money, and we must despair of avoiding catastrophe. Previously I examined this problem from a different angle, and said that we must not waste our effort trying to change something that is hopeless to change, but that we should begin by putting distance between ourselves and money. Should we continue to cling to, and depend upon, that which is a weapon of plunder and the ultimate cause of destruction, the plundering will become worse, and we will advance toward ruin with ever greater speed. Before anything else, we must cease our tightrope act. Getting away from money will not insure our safety, but we can at least avoid direct entanglement. The more we depend upon economic ties with the city, the greater is the danger, but the more distance we can put between ourselves and the city's poisons, the less chance there is of our being dragged directly into the morass when the city begins to disintegrate. To depend completely upon the city (listen up, you large-scale farmers!) while expecting at the same time to come out unscathed when the city falls is like hoping for safety in an airplane that is about to crash. When the city begins to disintegrate, shrink, and recede, pollution will lessen and Nature's power of recovery will awaken by the same degree. In time we will again have a livable environment.

Until that time comes, we must, without the help of the city,

establish ourselves so that we can survive without it. This is

the Bagworm Revolution.

City Prosperity, Country Destitution

Parting company with money is exactly the same as parting company with the city. In Chapter VI, I wrote in detail about this, but I would like to make some comments here on lessening one's dependence on the city, and increasing one's dependence on Nature. Here I offer some concrete proposals for Natural Cycle Organic Farming.

Until relatively recently, almost all Japanese farmers practiced self-sufficient farming; they had some domestic animals, returned the manure and their o

wn wastes to the Land, and fed themselves and their animals with the food harvested from the Land. If one farms thus, it is not at all difficult to be independent, and the blessings (i.e., interference) of the city are totally unnecessary. Even though these farmers are independent, they were poverty-stricken, but this was not at all due to the retrogressive and closed nature of self-sufficient agriculture. Their destitution was due fully to the high-handed plunder of the city. You critics out there! You must not evade the real question. If the farmers of both former and modern ages were destitute because of agriculture's retrogressive character, then why is modern petroleum-based agriculture, as represented by American agriculture, suffering under such onerous debts? There has never been any problem other than that which has always dogged agriculture: the plunder of the city. The problem is that the critics and politicians take for granted their right to fill their bellies without soiling their own hands.

Note that the proletariat and farmer literature of the recent past examined in detail the destitution, greed, and ignorance of the farmers, and wrote that almost all of it had been brought about by the high-handedness of the bourgeoisie and the evil landlords, but this is ridiculous. As I demonstrated in Chapter V, the true criminals are the vast hordes of non-tilling, gluttonous idlers, the proletariat writers among them. The landlords, who were held up for criticism as the bad guys, were merely the medium though which the city carried on its plunder. Such off-the-mark literary investigation does not even rate a snort.

If, as Shoeki wrote, we establish a system wherein emperors, scholars, and beggars all till the soil and produce their own food, then how can there possibly be "the glory that plunders," "the prosperity of the city," and "the destitution of the country"?

Independent Agriculture

Let us now imagine a kind of agriculture that is like the natural cycle self-sufficient farming of former times (the kind they told us needed nothing as long as they had salt), but which in addition is not the object of plunder. And, using this as a blueprint, let us see how we can establish it in this modern world, in which modern agriculture is flourishing.

Since I have some chickens, I will talk about this from my own experience of chicken farming. If one has chickens then rice is free, vegetables are free, potatoes and fruit are free; things we human beings eat - that which keeps us alive - are all free.

Since I produce rice to feed myself, I do not sell it, and I do not produce much more than I need. And of course there is no need to pile on agricultural chemicals. Even if for this reason the amount harvested drops a little, no one will complain. As long as I grow enough to eat for one year, it is not worth worrying about the amount of the harvest. If one applies poisons and produces so much poisoned rice that one cannot eat it at all, the final result is only damage to one's health.

I sell a few eggs. Since they are natural eggs, they have great value, sometimes selling for twice the market price. I feed the chickens many things that are ordinarily thrown away, so I spend about half as much as usual on feed. Even when the chickens lay fewer eggs than usual I always come out ahead. The money I get from these eggs represents what I described in Chapter VI: the smallest possible link with the meddling city. With this money I pay what I must, like taxes, contributions, education, and the like. When the cities perish I will no longer need this money, and I will not have to sell eggs any more. When that time comes I will substantially reduce the number of chickens down to where I can supply all their feed myself.

Every year I apply chicken manure to my fields to build up the soil, so my plants are highly resistant to insects and disease. Of course there are insects, and disease sometimes occurs during cold and wet weather. However, I have never lost everything to insects or disease, and for the past 30 years I have always had enough to eat.

Healthy human beings have resistance to worms, tuberculosis, tooth decay, and viruses, but sickly people are always suffering illness. We can observe the same phenomenon in food plants. If one raises the plants organically and supplies them sufficiently with the blessings of Nature (air, sunlight, water, the Land), one will have healthy plants that are highly resistant to disease and insects. Even if you lose 20 percent, the other 80 percent will survive. We need only eat this to insure our own survival. This is what I mean by self-sufficient agriculture.

We must also supply ourselves with farm implements and items for household use. Our forebears all did this, and that is why they apparently "needed only salt." In addition, almost all of these implements were made of recyclable materials like bamboo, wood, and straw, where they did not have to live in fear of running out of underground resources, and they did not pollute the environment in their manufacture. What is more, once these things wore out, they could be discarded just as they were, for they would in time decompose and return to the soil.

Is there any room in this kind of agriculture for contamination, destruction, and profligacy? What need is there of money, or of living in fear of the self-destruction brought about by money?

Become a Lone Wolf

To summarize: Independent farming signifies that which is independent of money, and independence from money is the same as independence from the city. Independence from the city means independence from government, from agricultural cooperatives, from the manufacturers and services, and, if we go a little bit further, independence from the consumers. The consumers are not being kind to the farmers by buying their produce; the farmers are blessing the consumers with what is left over after they grow enough for themselves. So if we stop giving food to the consumers, we will become independent of them.

The independence described above is independence from our immediate enemy, so our mission is clear. If one has the determination and resolution to carry through it should somehow be possible. As a matter of fact, though our numbers are still small, people doing just this are scattered throughout the entire country, so it is not at all impossible. Though difficult, one can in fact avoid the disaster assured by our present society of prosperity.

But there is one thing I would like to emphasize here, and it is that we must endeavor to achieve an even more difficult kind of independence. Allow me to explain.

First of all, independence from one's neighbors (this can be construed as independence from custom, from convention, and from history).

"Solidarity" and "cooperation" sound good, but in reality this means merely giving in to the meddling of one's neighbors, and what is more, those neighbors are repulsive cowards who have been dirtied by their toadying to the city. The "common sense" and "reality" that they value so highly are none other than the old customs that have been cultivated in order to make them nourish and preserve the city. Do you have the bravery to become independent of these shackles?

The farmer spirit is almost the same as the sycophant spirit. That spirit of sycophancy - it is licking the boots of the feudal lords, the landlords, the politicians, and the agricultural cooperatives; it is sucking up to the extravagant and self-centered city housewives, to the teachers, to the policemen, to the celebrities and writers and critics (just recall the servile fawning of the farmer who is asked to say something on television in front of some celebrities).

That spirit of sycophancy is directly concerned with the farmer next door. If the neighbor does it, I will too. "What? The neighbor got a new combine? Quick - call the co-op!" In the world there are legions of farmers like this. They must stay abreast of their neighbors in everything. They cannot stand to get behind their neighbors in rice planting, harvesting, contributions, or travel.

But it is not only their neighbors. They observe the movements of everyone in the neighborhood, worrying so much about getting behind that they are quite forlorn. This mental state has been brought about by the strong will to stay together with the other farmers, a strategy which was meant to help them bear the oppression of the city. It is not mistaken to say that this crisis mentality - the constant fear of falling out of step with the group and being trampled to death - has engendered this complex toward "the farmer next door."

Every farmer should become a lone wolf. Any farmer who is not prepared to become a lone wolf is not qualified to preach independent farming. Only a perverse person will establish true independence. "The neighbor planted his rice? Well then, I will wait another month before I plant mine." This kind of perversity will bring about true independence. As long as one produces food only for oneself, why should it be necessary to keep watching one's neighbors and worry about what they are doing? Even if you make a mistake and harvest only half of what you had planned, then consume that half and survive on it. If that is not enough, then eat wild plants. Independent farming does not necessarily mean following in the footsteps of large-scale agriculture, which produces an overabundance of contaminated food and makes great offerings of food to the city (in actuality, this is none other than urban-dependent agriculture).

Go ahead and laugh (it is the laugher who must expend the effort; the act requires nothing of me), but we must plant when and what we please. Still, this does not mean we should ignore the right time to plant. It does not matter if we have coincidental similarities with our neighbors. Perversity for the sake of perversity is not good.

If you want to reduce your acreage then do it without worrying about government policy. If you are producing enough rice for yourself, then there is no need for any more paddy acreage. Instead produce beans or potatoes, or whatever you like. But when you reduce paddy acreage, you must not consider taking subsidies for it. This is just a clever government device for shackling you. * * * But there is an unfortunate side to this as well: We must even consider becoming independent of our families.

Even a family is an individual subject to independence. It has a character with its own individuality. Even the education mothers [53] know very well that things never go the way they wish. "The neighbor has planted his rice," say Grandpa and wife, "so if we don't plant ours soon, we'll become the laughing stock of the county." And they keep harping on this. If one plants rice too early it will grow too quickly, and one is sure to be visited by blight, leafhoppers, and blow-downs. Yet, one's family members, in their drive to do as the neighbors do, continue to insist on early planting. But here is where one must firmly stand one's ground, and standing one's ground means independence from the family. No matter what Grandpa and the wife say, stand by your own beliefs. If they will not listen, then let them plant their own half early, and when their paddies are overrun with blight and insects, make sure they realize that it is their own fault.

Farmers should note well that true independence signifies an existence of splendid isolation in which one holds to one's own principles. * * * If in this way lone wolves (i.e., self sufficient, austere people of splendid isolation) populate the world, and if, no matter where one looks, there are only perverse farmers who do not toady to the city, then before we know it (that is, without the need for violence) and inevitably, the social revolution will have taken place. The city, on its way to deconstruction, will begin to shrink (the city will not be able to bear the food shortage), [54] and the secondary and tertiary industries will find there is no way to stop their decline. Therefore the pollution of the Earth - the waste, contamination, and destruction - will decrease precipitously, and we will be able to have a little hope for the future of humanity and the Earth. It is then we will realize that there is still a little hope of saving ourselves. When that time comes, we will want to tear down the now useless city buildings and return the Land to its original form, but we will find that tearing them down and discarding the waste requires vast amounts of energy, and that, no matter where we discard this rubble it will cover Land, so the city may just become a huge ghost town. Therefore we must now try to prevent its further spread.

The people will till the little remaining land, and will reproduce only as many people as that arable land will support.

Thus, if we take a cold, hard look at the future, we see that the only way for us to survive is to either exterminate the urban poison, or to eke out an existence as lone-wolf farmers.

Even if the city perishes, we must not let it take us down with itself.

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