George Novack

George Novack (August 5, 1905, Boston, Massachusetts July 30, 1992, New York City) was an American Marxist theoretician.

He attended Harvard University for five years, though without earning a degree, and was on a successful track in the publishing business when the beginning of the Great Depression radicalized him. He joined the Trotskyist movement (Communist League of America) in 1933 and was a member of the National Committee of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) from 1940 to 1973.

In 1937-40, Novack served as the secretary of the American Committee for the Defence of Leon Trotsky. This body initiated the celebrated 1937 Dewey Commission that inquired into the charges made against Trotsky in the Moscow show trials, and found them to have been a complete frame-up. He played a major role in the defense campaign for the 18 SWP leaders imprisoned in World War II under the Smith Act.

Novack produced a number of books on various aspects of Marxism: An Introduction to the Logic of Marxism, America's Revolutionary Heritage, Democracy and Revolution, Empiricism and Its Evolution, Humanism and Socialism, The Origins of Materialism, Polemics in Marxist Philosophy, Revolutionary Dynamics of Women's Liberation, Existentialism vs. Marxism and Understanding History, Marxist Essays.

Novack remained a member of the SWP until his death, although he withdrew from regular political activity after the death of his wife, Evelyn Reed, in 1979, living quietly in a New York senior citizens' home.


  • Novack, George and Mandel, Ernest (1973), The Marxist Theory of Alienation, 2nd ed., New York: Pathfinder Press 
  • Novack, George (1975), Pragmatism versus Marxism: An appraisal of John Dewey's philosophy, New York: Pathfinder Press 
  • Novack, George (1979), The Origins of Materialism, New York: Pathfinder Press 
  • Novack, George (1981), Genocide against the Indians: its role in the rise of U.S. capitalism, Pathfinder Press 
  • Democracy & Revolution 1971
  • Understanding History 1972
  • Humanism & Socialism 1973
  • America's Revolutionary Heritage 1976
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