Tuesday, July 12, 2005

An addition to my wish list


The ice-pick used in the assassination of Trotsky may be for sale. And, hey, I have a birthday coming up in only four months. If you really love me ...

It's not an "icepick" of the type you're probably envisioning -- a little instrument used for smashing up bits of ice to put in your drink. It's an "ice-pick" used in mountaineering -- a pointy hammer for digging divots out of the ice to facilitate climbing. In 1940, Mexican Stalinist (and Soviet GPU agent) Ramon Mercader struck Trotsky in the head with it, bringing the career of one of history's most effective revolutionaries to an end.

So why do I want the damn thing? Well, okay, I really don't. If I had the money laying around to buy it, I'd do so and donate it to the Trotsky museum operated by the Old Man's grandson, who's been a bit snarky about it being up for sale in the first place.

And why's a libertarian anarchist like me interested in the career of Lev Davidovich Bronstein, street general of the Russian Revolution, founder of the Red Army, nemesis of Stalin and ideological father of today's "neoconservatives" (and neo-"libertarians," although most of the latter display an appalling ignorance of their own ideological provenance)? To be honest, I don't know. I don't labor under any illusion that Communism would have "worked" if only Trotsky had won in his struggle against Stalin for control of the USSR's direction, or anything like that.

I guess the allure of Trotsky for me is the mystique of the "lost causer" -- I have a natural empathy for those who will go down with a ship they believe in rather than surrender to the pirate captain who sent that ship to the bottom.

That, and the ice-pick, having proven its utility, could come in handy again some time against lesser crania.

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