The political economy of nationalism and racial discrimination

Francesco Macheda, Roberto Nadalini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nowadays, class consciousness among members of the Western working class seems to be obfuscated by their nationalist and chauvinist beliefs, as they tend to assume that they have more in common with other members of a nation, people, and/or ethnic group, rather than with other people in similar class positions and with similar economic interests. In this article, we argue that nationalist and racist ideologies can reproduce themselves in the consciousness of the working and capitalist classes because they are present in existing class relations, specifically because of the economic rewards that the members of the business community and white employees can reap as a result of their willingness to discriminate. From an historical materialist perspective, the failure of the labor movement to consistently fight racism can be viewed as the expected outcome of a racial segmentation of the labor market that rewards class compromise by both autochthonous workers and their employers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-348
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Labor and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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