David North (socialist)

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David North
Chairman of the Socialist Equality Party
Assumed office
August 2008
National SecretaryJoseph Kishore
Preceded byPosition established
Personal details
Born1950 (age 70–71)

David North (born 1950)[1] is an American Marxist theoretician. He is the national chairman of the Socialist Equality Party in the United States (SEP), formerly the Workers League. He served as the national secretary of the SEP until the party's congress in 2008.[2] North was the principal political and theoretical leader of the International Committee of the Fourth International during the organization's split with the Workers Revolutionary Party in Britain. North is also the chairman of the International Editorial Board of the World Socialist Web Site, the voice of the ICFI. He is also an author of several books and articles on the history of the Socialist movement. He delivers lectures in politics[3] and the history of Marxism.[4]

Political career[edit]

Born in 1950, North studied history in Connecticut, and became politicized by leftwing movements in the United States in 1968.[1] He stated that he was influenced by the Vietnam War, but also by the historical experiences of World War II, fascism and The Holocaust.[5]

As an American Trotskyist,[6] North is a longtime leader of the Socialist Equality Party (SEP).[7] North is chair[8] of the editorial board of the SEP's associated publication the World Socialist Web Site,[7] which has a readership of 250,000 people each month.[1]

North has defended the view that Trotsky represented a Marxist alternative to Stalinism, and therefore states that the collapse of the USSR does not mean that Marxism is a failed project.[9] Summarizing these views as described in North's book The Unfinished Twentieth Century, sociologist Charles Thorpe writes that North "makes a powerful case that, to paraphrase Faulkner, these debates and experiences are not dead; they're not even past".[9]

According to political scientist Emanuele Saccarelli, North has argued that contrary to modern academic traditions, Marxism is not defined by academics, but instead by Marxist organizations and Marxist struggle.[7] He writes that this tradition is represented above all by the Trotskyist opposition to Stalinism and its contemporary continuity in the Socialist Equality Party.[7]

Speaking about the 2016 United States presidential election, North told Neues Deutschland that Donald Trump "embodies a cross between all the criminal and immoral features and machinations of the real estate, finance, gambling and entertainment industries".[1]

In 2017, North alleged in an open letter that changes to Google's ranking system and search engine, called Project Owl, demoted left wing news sources including the WSWS.[8] When contacted by the New York Times, Google would not comment on the WSWS.[8] North told the Times, "I’m against censorship in any form. It’s up to people what they want to read."[8]

Interviewed by journalist Chris Hedges in 2018, North stated that while middle class groups promoted identity politics as a response to social tensions and poverty, American workers were not racist and "have a deep belief in democratic rights".[10] North stated that the 20th century problems of war and fascism remained real threats in the 21st century.[10]



  • Trotskyism versus Stalinism (1987) ISBN 0-929087-20-8
  • The Heritage We Defend (1988) ISBN 0-929087-00-3, 539pp., a history of the 4th International ([1])
  • Perestroika versus Socialism: Stalinism and the Restoration of Capitalism in the USSR (1989) ISBN 0-929087-39-9
  • Gerry Healy and His Place in the History of the Fourth International (1991) ISBN 978-0-929087-58-0, a critical assessment of the political career of Gerry Healy, longtime leader of the Fourth International
  • The Crisis of American Democracy (2004) ISBN 1-875639-36-5, lectures delivered at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, an analysis of the 2000 and 2004 US presidential elections
  • Marxism, History & Socialist Consciousness (2007) ISBN 1-893638-03-0
  • Leon Trotsky & the Post-Soviet School of Historical Falsification (2007) ISBN 978-1-893638-02-0
  • In Defence of Leon Trotsky (2010) ISBN 978-1-893638-05-1
  • The Russian Revolution and the Unfinished 20th Century (2014) ISBN 978-1-893638-40-2
  • The Frankfurt School, Postmodernism and the Politics of the Pseudo-Left: A Marxist Critique (2015) ISBN 978-1-893638-50-1
  • A Quarter Century of War: The US Drive for Global Hegemony 1990 - 2016 (2016) ISBN 978-1-893638-69-3

Lectures and other pamphlets[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Vesper, Karlen (2 January 2018). "Socialism is coming back". Neues Deutschland. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  2. ^ Socialist Equality Party holds founding Congress
  3. ^ "The Crisis in American Democracy..."
  4. ^ Preface to a D. North lecture "Marxism and the Trade Unions"
  5. ^ Maloney, Devon (26 November 2017). "Socialism or Barbarism: Reflections on Global Disorder with David North". The St Andrews Economist. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  6. ^ Patenaude, Bertrand (2011). "Review". The American Historical Review. 116 (3): 900–902. doi:10.1086/ahr.116.3.900. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d Saccarelli, Emanuele (2017). "Book review: The Frankfurt School, Postmodernism and the Politics of the Pseudo-Left: A Marxist Critique by David North". Critical Sociology. 43 (4–5): 799–802. doi:10.1177/0896920517699161.
  8. ^ a b c d Wakabayashi, Daisuke (26 September 2017). "As Google Fights Fake News, Voices on the Margins Raise Alarm". New York Times. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  9. ^ a b Thorpe, Charles (2017). "Radical Intellectuals, History, and the Soviet Union". Journal of Historical Sociology. 30: 86–91. doi:10.1111/johs.12146.
  10. ^ a b Hedges, Chris (5 February 2018). "The Bankruptcy of the American Left". Truthdig. Retrieved 28 November 2018.

External links[edit]