New Obama-produced Netflix documentary makes a pitch for nationalism

For those unaware, American Factory is an Obama-produced documentary that was released on Netflix in late summer 2019.  Although undoubtedly those who rendered this documentary sought to show the pros and cons of Chinese corporate involvement in attempting to revive a factory in America’s so-called “Rust Belt,” specifically in Dayton, Ohio, the overall scope of what was conveyed in the movie and the timing of its release have only fueled support for President Trump's position on China.  Moreover, and probably unwittingly, the film has red-pilled more people over both the wider issue of China's growing influence in the world economy and the greater concerns over globalism in general and provided more evidence to support a nationalist policy position.

The documentary quickly struck my wife and me regarding the real clash emerging between the American and Chinese understandings of things.  First were the clear differences in corporate culture, where the Chinese believe in a dogmatic adherence to the corporation.  There truly is a corporate wholeness, with the expectation that all who work for the corporation are to subsume their being into the corporation, regardless of the cost.  Adjacent to this, though not unrelated, is the clear understanding that this is ultimately all about one thing: the nationalist interest of China. In every respect, the Chinese employees who were sent to Dayton were instructed that this was for that interest; it was really for China even more than for the corporation.  Indeed, throughout the documentary, this solidarity in thought and deed stand out.  The Chinese members of this corporation have this overarching unity for whatever the objectives the corporation demanded, but definitely with the greater objective of the national interest.  The message here is not globalist, but nationalist — it's Chinese nationalism, which demonstrates how our globalist-orientated masters in the West have miscalculated or deceived us, if not both.

Beyond this corporate clash of the more individualistic, old-school trade unionist–era mentality of the American employees and the much more corporatist and nationalist Chinese, there are also ethno-cultural conflicts.  Although there definitely are positive relationships built by many individuals of the two groups, there are also some clear distinctions — ones that hearken to another, older documentary, this time on Chinese involvement in Africa, called Empire of Dust.

In the latter documentary, there is an obvious case of condescension, often delving into ridicule, by the Chinese master toward the black African subordinates he supervised.  Mocking them for their indolence, inefficiencies, seeming paucity of intellect, and general backwardness was present — to the point where it would be deemed xenophobia, if not racism, if the words had come from any person of European background.  Fast-forward to the more recent American Factory, and what do we observe?  Almost identical statements by the Chinese about the Americans they work with.  In addition to such statements, they also call Americans self-absorbed flattery-seekers and foreigners (yes, even while living in the United States; to the Chinese, it is the American who is the "foreigner"), and, at one point, they call the Americans little more than donkeys who need to be led around (because, as it's strongly implied, they are just that stupid and obstinate).

The message rings out here: the old Chinese view of the Westerner being a barbarian has never left.  This is what your new Chinese masters think of you, and they say it with a smile.  Imagine what would be said if any white American said the same about either a Chinese or African person!

How does this all relate to globalism and its close cousin, multiculturalism?  On the one hand, dealing with the latter policy is the continued evidence that the more disparate people are from one another, the harder it is to assimilate them.  Just because we are all human beings, that does not mean we are all the same, with the same worldviews, cultural traits, or fundamental ethno-cultural proclivities.

Multiculturalism has never worked throughout history.  We are in the midst of a perverse cultural experiment that will never work on a grand scale.  This becomes very apparent in the movie.  Further, we see that globalism undermines one's national interest, regardless of the nation.

With respect to what is portrayed in this documentary, we cannot blame the Chinese; they are only taking advantage of the system we in the West have established, brought about by our elites following a course of neo-liberal excessively open free trade-economic policies.  Indeed, if anything, we maybe could learn a bit from the Chinese (as even many of the Americans in the movie admitted).  They take great national pride and seek to ensure that their people are put before all other people (granted, with some less than savory policies, too).

We were promised by our political and corporate betters that opening ourselves up would usher in a glorious New World Order that would engender greater peace and understanding (and that authoritarian states like China would become more like us, keen to embrace rule of law and more basic rights).  Yet if there is ever a message one can learn from American Factory, it is this: it was all a lie. 

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

For those unaware, American Factory is an Obama-produced documentary that was released on Netflix in late summer 2019.  Although undoubtedly those who rendered this documentary sought to show the pros and cons of Chinese corporate involvement in attempting to revive a factory in America’s so-called “Rust Belt,” specifically in Dayton, Ohio, the overall scope of what was conveyed in the movie and the timing of its release have only fueled support for President Trump's position on China.  Moreover, and probably unwittingly, the film has red-pilled more people over both the wider issue of China's growing influence in the world economy and the greater concerns over globalism in general and provided more evidence to support a nationalist policy position.

The documentary quickly struck my wife and me regarding the real clash emerging between the American and Chinese understandings of things.  First were the clear differences in corporate culture, where the Chinese believe in a dogmatic adherence to the corporation.  There truly is a corporate wholeness, with the expectation that all who work for the corporation are to subsume their being into the corporation, regardless of the cost.  Adjacent to this, though not unrelated, is the clear understanding that this is ultimately all about one thing: the nationalist interest of China. In every respect, the Chinese employees who were sent to Dayton were instructed that this was for that interest; it was really for China even more than for the corporation.  Indeed, throughout the documentary, this solidarity in thought and deed stand out.  The Chinese members of this corporation have this overarching unity for whatever the objectives the corporation demanded, but definitely with the greater objective of the national interest.  The message here is not globalist, but nationalist — it's Chinese nationalism, which demonstrates how our globalist-orientated masters in the West have miscalculated or deceived us, if not both.

Beyond this corporate clash of the more individualistic, old-school trade unionist–era mentality of the American employees and the much more corporatist and nationalist Chinese, there are also ethno-cultural conflicts.  Although there definitely are positive relationships built by many individuals of the two groups, there are also some clear distinctions — ones that hearken to another, older documentary, this time on Chinese involvement in Africa, called Empire of Dust.

In the latter documentary, there is an obvious case of condescension, often delving into ridicule, by the Chinese master toward the black African subordinates he supervised.  Mocking them for their indolence, inefficiencies, seeming paucity of intellect, and general backwardness was present — to the point where it would be deemed xenophobia, if not racism, if the words had come from any person of European background.  Fast-forward to the more recent American Factory, and what do we observe?  Almost identical statements by the Chinese about the Americans they work with.  In addition to such statements, they also call Americans self-absorbed flattery-seekers and foreigners (yes, even while living in the United States; to the Chinese, it is the American who is the "foreigner"), and, at one point, they call the Americans little more than donkeys who need to be led around (because, as it's strongly implied, they are just that stupid and obstinate).

The message rings out here: the old Chinese view of the Westerner being a barbarian has never left.  This is what your new Chinese masters think of you, and they say it with a smile.  Imagine what would be said if any white American said the same about either a Chinese or African person!

How does this all relate to globalism and its close cousin, multiculturalism?  On the one hand, dealing with the latter policy is the continued evidence that the more disparate people are from one another, the harder it is to assimilate them.  Just because we are all human beings, that does not mean we are all the same, with the same worldviews, cultural traits, or fundamental ethno-cultural proclivities.

Multiculturalism has never worked throughout history.  We are in the midst of a perverse cultural experiment that will never work on a grand scale.  This becomes very apparent in the movie.  Further, we see that globalism undermines one's national interest, regardless of the nation.

With respect to what is portrayed in this documentary, we cannot blame the Chinese; they are only taking advantage of the system we in the West have established, brought about by our elites following a course of neo-liberal excessively open free trade-economic policies.  Indeed, if anything, we maybe could learn a bit from the Chinese (as even many of the Americans in the movie admitted).  They take great national pride and seek to ensure that their people are put before all other people (granted, with some less than savory policies, too).

We were promised by our political and corporate betters that opening ourselves up would usher in a glorious New World Order that would engender greater peace and understanding (and that authoritarian states like China would become more like us, keen to embrace rule of law and more basic rights).  Yet if there is ever a message one can learn from American Factory, it is this: it was all a lie. 

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.