Manuel Rey was born in Spain in 1888. A sailor, he moved to Cuba in 1905, and then to the United States in 1914. Rey, an anarchist organizer, joined the I.W.W. and was active in the Marine Transport Workers Industrial Union in Philadelphia. One of those charged in the 1917 I.W.W. raids, though already in jail, he was sentenced to 20 years in Leavenworth, where he wrote this. His sentence commuted in December, 1922 and he was deported early the next year. He would later return illegally with the name ‘Louis Raymond,’ was active in New Jersey anarchist circles, where he edited the newspaper ‘Freedom. Comrade Rey died in New York in 1990 at age 101 years old.
‘Love For the Ideal of the Revolutionary World Proletariat’ by Manuel Rey (Prisoner in Leavenworth) from One Big Union Monthly. Vol. 1 No. 6. August, 1919.
I love the ideal as a felon before the scaffold loves his life! As the bee loves the beautiful blooming flowers…and as the demimondaine loves her charms and jewelry…!
I love the ideal, as the poet loves his fame…as the warrior loves his loot…as the just loves his virtue, and as all the birds love all the flowers, the trees and the forest.
I love the ideal as Galileo loved the truth, as F. Ferrer loved his ideal, as Joe Hill and F. H. Little loved the O.B.U. (I.W.W.), as the Chicago Rebels (martyrs) loved their principles; and as all the true lovers of liberty have loved and still love their great principles and ideas…
I love the ideal as the marine loves the seas, as the virgin her chastity, as the slave loves his freedom, as the capitalist god his charity, and as the outlaw loves his surroundings…!
I love the ideal as the miser loves the gold, as the blind loves the light, as the moors love their paradise…and as the martyr loves his cross…!
I love the ideal as the blood-thirsty executioner, when he goes on the scaffold, loves to chop away the heads of his fellow brother man!
I love you…for since I was a mere boy I have learned to defy the scaffolds and the dungeons, too, and learned to fly on the wings of my thoughts…yes, on the wings of you, you the most beautiful ideal of all!
I love you for the love of living…for without you there only remains a dead living skeleton, that we still call life…!
I love you, as I love Land and Liberty, the emblems of love, equality and fraternity!
I love you…as I love the light that enlightens the darkness of ignorant minds.
I love you… you the one who carries with you all that is noble and human, looking at men without shelter, and in place of a friendly name you give him the heart of a worker and the name of a brother, as the rebel worker gives his life for the noble cause…!
If the ideal for those who live on the fruits of the workers toil; —I mean the plutocrats, and of humankind; —is nothing but a mere phantasy…for them; for me, it is the sublime love, and the scent of my sad life! For without an ideal I don’t care to live in this cannibalistic society…
The ideal is my belief, and my charm, and my religion; it is the life of my existence … and the torch that lights my heart…and makes my life worth while living…For without the ideal, life is nothing but a chain—and a graveyard with great links, and a world of traitors, plutocrats and exploiters of humankind. But when the lights of sweet life go out…we all…fall and sleep…between graveyards and crosses, between stony walls and dungeons…!
Oh, beautiful ideal, with all your mighty power of freedom and right, come and open the doors of my heart…! for yours is my existence…and yours is my pulsation, that with volcanic violence is agitating my loving heart, which is longing for your loving art!
I love you for your greatness, as my dear mother used to love me years ago and as I still love her. To me, you are my all, but could I compare you with Mother Earth at all? For in Mother Earth there is nothing of ruin that I know…! For after all she equally feeds…us all…and as a Good Mother Earth she eats us all, too . . . but without you, you the ideal of the world proletariat—without you…I cannot live at all…for men without ideas of an ideal, are nothing but dead living skeletons.
One Big Union Monthly was a magazine published in Chicago by the General Executive Board of the Industrial Workers of the World from 1919 until 1938, with a break from February, 1921 until September, 1926 when Industrial Pioneer was produced. OBU was a large format, magazine publication with heavy use of images, cartoons and photos. OBU carried news, analysis, poetry, and art as well as I.W.W. local and national reports.
Link to PDF of full issue: https://archive.org/download/sim_one-big-union-monthly_1919-08_1_6/sim_one-big-union-monthly_1919-08_1_6.pdf