This is an archive of the former website of the Maoist Internationalist Movement, which was run by the now defunct Maoist Internationalist Party - Amerika. The MIM now consists of many independent cells, many of which have their own indendendent organs both online and off. MIM(Prisons) serves these documents as a service to and reference for the anti-imperialist movement worldwide.
The world according to farming equipment capitalists:
"American Farmer" is a video game that blatantly sells John Deere and only John Deere farm equipment. Whereas in most computer games there would be a plug for an artist studio or movie studio at most, the John Deere company features itself right on the box. Nonetheless we picked up this game to review with the hope it would not be mindless violence for its own sake, unlike 90% of video games available in the united $tates.
In the farming world according to John Deere, commodity speculation is built into life. The price for both grain and livestock varies so much from month to month that it is important to buy and sell at the right time. Livestock farmers must decide if they should keep feeding their animals or sell at prices that might increase drastically months later. Likewise grain farmers may want to spend money to build silos to store grain for sale at the proper speculative moment. John Deere makes no attempt to hide that under capitalism, farming success depends on speculation, not work.
According to John Deere, flowers and vegetables are hobbies which farmers can carry out in their spare time. Real farming in "American Farmer" requires John Deere equipment working on scores of acres of land growing grain.
On the question of chemical spraying, the eco-friendly option is generally three times more expensive and less effective than more economical means of fertilizing, weed control and pesticides. The ruin of one's business might mean that another farmer buys one's land, so costs brought about by environmentalism do matter.
Karl Marx already covered the distinction between speculation and actual productive labor. Though society needs grain and livestock, the more labor that goes into them, the more the supply increases and the price falls, so in effect the farmers' own labor turns against her. That is the cut-throat but dialectical nature of economics under capitalism. In "American Farmer," as in life, "hard work" is not enough, because a business farmer must also have basic skills common to the capitalist class.
The common petty-bourgeois fantasy about farming receives several hard blows and that is another reason to recommend the game. The petty-bourgeoisie may think it is possible to set up a farm and just "do the right thing" independent of the rest of society, but John Deere corporation correctly realizes that there is an economic system that no one escapes as an individual upon penalty of going out of business under capitalism. In this sense we share more in common with John Deere's view than the ordinary petty-bourgeois view. The proletariat agrees that it is impossible to "do the right thing" within capitalism and succeed.
An added attraction of this game is the hiring and firing of workers. It's easy to see how hiring workers can add to the farm's profits. The budget is a central part of the game and costs break down into labor, seed, livestock and fertilizer purchases among others. In the real world, the farmers would be sub-minimum wage Mexicans, but this game is a start on the question of labor and profits.
Happiness of the individual farmers in this game depends on hiring others to do the work and on leisure time equipment possession. So if a farmer does not purchase a backyard swimming pool and barbeque, the happiness rating of a family member may decline.
This player's spouse left quickly in the first game from having to work too hard without enough leisure time goods. This is a point about the family in capitalist society that is not unfriendly to Marxism. Young students likely to play this game may feel that it is impossible to form stable long-term romantic relationships because of economic power they lack; yet this game is about how even middle-aged people may leave a farm family simply because of the inept economics of the household or the perception of such. The brittleness of emotional relations is an ugly feature of capitalism that we are glad John Deere did not try to hide and in fact highlighted. Under socialism, we will continue to have confrontation of risk, more than under capitalism, but people will have guaranteed jobs somewhere and the economic gains to leave a household for another won't be as great as under capitalism. Thus in the short-run the family easily strengthens under socialism before disappearing in advanced stages of communism where the species regards itself as one family. Supposed "pro-family" advocates calling for monogamy and two-parent households raising children are only talking nonsense under capitalism.
The sound track, music and characterizations are quaint, so this game goes beyond selling John Deere equipment to the public. There are some bugs in the graphical interface even in version 1.02. Tractors running into places or things may end up causing the game to crash and that is not to mention there is no option for socialist revolution, only ornery workers who fail to perform. Nonetheless, as we expected, this game does look like a positive fount of enlightenment compared with the games acclimating oppressors to regular and spectacular violence.