Max Shachtman


Comrade Trotsky’s Life Is Menaced

Murder Plot Exposed

(April 1938)

From Workers’ International News, Vol. 1 No. 5, May 1938, pp. 1–2.
Originally published in Socialist Appeal, Vol. II No. 16, 16 April 1938, pp. 1 & 3.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

An international assassin is en route to Mexico. He sailed early this week from the port of Galveston, Texas, for the port of Vera Cruz, Mexico, to carry out the mission assigned to him by his gangster overlords: TO ORGANIZE THE MURDER OF LEON TROTSKY.

In this country he is known to certain circles by the name of George Mink – known to the Philadaphia police as a petty larceny crook – subsequently known to the workers on New York’s waterfront as the financially well-heeled boss of the late “Marine Workers Industrial Union” organized nine years ago by the Communist Party.

Worried in Moscow

In Moscow, after the inevitable collapse of his “Union” he was known as an associate of Juliet Stuart Poyntz in the Red International of Labor Unions (the “profintern”), where he worked in reality as an agent of the GPU, especially charged with surveillance over American communists and other visitors to Moscow’s hotels. He is a relative by marriage of the Stalinist chief, Arnold Lozovsky, head of the Red International of Labor Unions prior to its dissolution.

In 1935, the New York Times reported in a dispatch dated from Copenhagen, Denmark, July 30, that “two Americans, George Mink and Nicholas Sherman, arrested two months ago, were condemned today to eighteen months in prison under the accusation of espionage.” The two had been apprehended in Denmark for their espionage activities in behalf of the GPU.

More recently, we learn from the charges made by Carlo Tresca, editor of the anarchist weekly Il Martello, who bases himself upon the secret investigations of the anarcho-syndicalists in Spain, Mink was engaged for more than a year in working as head of the murderous GPU in Barcelona, where under the name of Alfred Herz, he and his agents were instrumental in organizing the arrest and assassination of literally hundreds of militant anarchists, members of the POUM and of the Fourth International.

He Killed Berneri

It was “Herz” and his assistant, “Herman” (Nicholas Sherman?), who organized the foul assassination of the noble Italian anarchist leader in Barcelona, Camillo Berneri and his comrade Barbieri.

It was Mink, whose description tallies fully in every detail with that of “Herz” who told the wounded English militiaman, Parker, on April 31, 1937 – the very eve of the famous May events in Barcelona – that “in a few days we’re going to get Moulin and all the other goddamned Trotskyists.” Shortly thereafter, our comrade Moulin, leader of the Fourth Internationalists in Catalonia, disappeared and has not been heard of since.

It was Mink who was known throughout Barcelona as the man directly responsible for the arrest of John McNair, representative in Spain of the Independent Labor Party of England.

It was Mink-“Herz” who was responsible for the disappearance and probable kidnapping to Moscow of Marc Rein, son of Rafael Abramovich, Menshevik member of the Bureau of the Second International, and of Erwin Wolf, former secretary to Leon Trotsky.

It was Mink-“Herz” who, under the direction of Soviet Consul-General Antonov-Oveyenko, carried on a reign of terror against all those militants who refused to bow to the totalitarian power of Stalinism in Spain.

Preceded by Other Agents

Now this murderous thug is on his way to Mexico, and when this appears in print, will probably have arrived in the capital, where Leon Trotsky and his wife have been granted an asylum which has proved to be a bone in the throat of the Kremlin frame-up camarilla.

Mink has been preceded by a number of other Stalinist agents. More than a month ago we made public the fact, transmitted to us from France, that a certain Georges Fournial, member of the notorious Stalinist “International of Educational Workers” and known in Paris as an employee of the GPU, had arrived in Mexico on an obscure mission.

Subsequent to his arrival, there came to Mexico a well-known Stalinist spokesman, recently returned from Spain, where he fought the Spanish Civil War from a comfortable hotel room in Barcelona, “Captain” Ralph Bates.

Only a few days ago, finally we learned of the order given by the Communist Party in New York to a prominent fanatical party member who served, as Agitational-Propaganda Director for the party in New Jersey and prior to that in Pittsburgh, that she leave immediately for “work” in Mexico.

Why is Mink Going to Mexico?

Why this “concentration” on Mexico? Above all, why the dispatch of the international assassin of the GPU, George Mink?

He can have but one mission: to murder Leon Trotsky.

It has already been established officially by the Swiss police that one of the escaped murderers of Ignace Reiss, who went under the alias of Rossi, or Rous, but whose real name was Roland Abbiatte, had in his room when it was raided a map of Mexico City and its suburbs and a duplicate of his application for a visa to visit Mexico. The purpose of his visit was unmistakable.

So is the purpose of Mink’s visit!

The Stalin regime has cold-bloodedly framed-up and shot down the whole generation of Bolsheviks who made the October Revolution possible. The veriest handful of them are still alive in the Soviet Union and their days are numbered by the Borgias in power. Only Leon Trotsky has thus far been out of Stalin’s reach.

Now the long, blood-stained arm of the GPU is stretching out across continent and sea to put an assassin’s bullet through the heart of the great survivor of the October generation.

Let Stalin’s skulking gunmen bear this in mind:

And let them – and above all, their chief – bear this in mind, too:

Max Shachtman
Marxist Writers’

Last updated on 30 July 2015