The authors of The Communist Manifesto made it clear that the struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. In substance, working-class politics is international yet workers have to first settle the fight within the framework of the nation-state. It can be said that the tradition of workers’ movement could not explicitly resolve the contradiction between its need for a national form of struggle and its desire to unite and form the international working class. Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were writing during the high noon of colonialism and factory-based production, Lenin was thinking about Right to Self-Determination of nations during monopoly capitalism and imperialism, and communist leaders of colonized countries were essentially leading peasant struggles against the Empire. The question of nation, nationalism, and working-class politics in all these instances became a tactical question of class alliances instead of a sustained theoretical inquiry into the nature of relationship between workers and the nation form. Some attempts were made in the writings of Etienne Balibar, Immanuel Wallerstein, and, to an extent, Benedict Anderson but it must be said that there is an urgent need to rethink and theorize more robustly about nationalism and working-class politics in the current times when working-class politics is at an ebb and a majoritarian form of nationalism is in ascendance globally.
This panel is an attempt both at retrieval as well as setting in motion a discussion on new nationalism from the perspective of the working-class as it is constituted in contemporary times. Papers in this panel, therefore, confront the questions of nation and workers at multiple levels. First, they critically examine the discussion on nationalism within the many traditions and geographies of working-class politics. Second, they study the rise of new nationalisms globally as well as in distinct national conditions in relationship with the workers’ movements globally and locally. Finally, they also examine the relationship between the new economies (digital, gig, AI etc.), new forms of work, and new nationalisms.
Please send 350 word abstracts and author details to Mithilesh Kumar, firstname.lastname@example.org by 15th October 2020.
NOTE: Papers presented in the panel will be considered for publication in a Special Issue of Journal of Labor and Society.
MIthilesh Kumar, PhD
Christ University, Bangalore, India