In the first three lines of their song No More Heroes, 1970’s punk band The Stranglers ask the rhetorical question:-
Whatever happened to Leon Trotsky?
He got an ice pick.
That made his ears burn.
Three lines referencing a day in 1940 when Trotsky received a fatal ice pick wound. A soupcon of punk prose from the pen Hugh Cornwell and his band; who I was lucky enough to witness live last night in Leeds.
Hearing these lines yesterday evening, sang with the unbridled aggression customary for this genre of music, I felt compelled to make today’s blog topic the incident that led to the death of the celebrated Marxist revolutionary and theorist.
Trotsky, the founding father and first leader of the Red Army, is possibly best known to many as the second best selling Marxist revolutionary face on a t-shirt, after Che Guevara.
The ice pick attack on the Ukrainian born revolutionary took place in Mexico City, and was undertaken by a recent acquaintance, Spanish Communist Ramon Mercarder.
Mercarder gained the trust of Trotsky and his family after telling Trotsky’s spouse “They’re nice shoes Mrs Trotsky! Are they from Pavers?”
This affable, although insincere, comment (in reality he hated her shoes) ingratiated him to Trotsky and his brood. Subsequently, they welcomed him into their family bosom with open arms. He’d have preferred to be welcomed into the family arms with open bosoms, but it didn’t hinder his sinister agenda.
It was a costly error by the Trotsky’s, as it turned out Mercarder was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He wore sheep’s clothing as he found them cheaper and more comfortable than those designed for a wolf. I’m unaware if it can classed as cross dressing, however, he sounds a right chuffing weirdo.
No one knows definitively why he took Trotsky’s life. Some speculate it was after Trotsky made disparaging comments about his sheepskin waistcoat. Others say he was working as a Stalinist agent contracted to kill Trotsky after a dispute between the two. There are some say he was told to do it by his hair stylist Guido.
Ramon Mercader in a rare photo where he’s not wearing sheep’s clothing ……… and his hair stylist Guido
Mexican authorities set up their version of the US’s Warren Commission (who investigated the JFK assassination) to investigate this murder. They concluded that Mercarder acted alone. This was despite compelling eye witness reports of men acting suspiciously with other ice picks behind the picket fence close to where Trotsky’s attack took place.
Was Mercarder a patsy?! Who knows? Who cares? Whose cat it that dumping in my garden?!!
If he did do it one thing is clear about his motives for this murder. They were none of the above, apart from possibly him being an agent acting on Stalin’s orders.
Trotsky had fallen out with Stalin on the grounds that the bureaucratic structure of the Soviet State impeded worker control and the true revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat. He also criticized the methods of what he saw as a totalitarian regime suppressing dissent in the pursuit of ideological goals. Trotsky felt this perverted rather than upheld the work of Marx and Lenin…………… He was also furious that his moustachioed leader had damaged the Alexander Borodin record he’d lent him.
Likewise, Stalin disliked Trotsky on the grounds of Spartak Moscow and FC Zenit St Petersburg.. To be fair to the Soviet State leader, it was Trotsky’s own fault for forgetting Stalin’s half time Bovril on both occasions.
I have titled this blog No More Heroes. This is to reflect Trotsky’s mention in the punk song I alluded to above. It is not to say he was my hero or I advocate his ideology, because I don’t.
I’m highly indifferent about the subject of politics. If I was equating it to religion I would say I was agnostic ……… If I wasn’t equating it to religion I would say they are all shite.
In No More Heroes, The Stranglers also question :-
Whatever happened to dear old Lenny?
The great Elmyra
And Sancho Panzo?
I’m not sure lads, but if you ‘Ask Jeeves’ I’m sure he’ll oblige.