I.W.W. member, and martyr of our class, Henry Bordet of Holtsville, California succumbed to injuries and illnesses on February 7, 1911 received in the Spokane Free Speech fight, including from police beatings and brutality.
‘Fellow Worker Bordet Has Died That Others May Live—Killed by Hired Sluggers of the Master Class.’ from Industrial Worker, 1911.
‘A WORTHY APPEAL’ from Industrial Worker. Vol. 2 No. 45. January 26, 1911.
A short time ago, Local No. 437, at Holtville, Calif., sent an appeal through the ‘Industrial Worker’ and ‘Solidarity,’ calling on the working class to send assistant so that we could send Fellow Worker Henry Bordet to the hospital.
The funds are not coming in fast enough.
Fellow Worker Bordet, as we have stated, was almost murdered in the BULL-PEN in Spokane during the Free Speech Fight there a year ago. Fellow Worker Bordet served 30 days on bread and water—about 4 ounces of bread a day—and the authorities let him remain in jail for 21 days without action of the bowels, which is enough to kill any man that breathes. Not only that but while incarcerated in that unimaginable hell-hole, Fellow Worker Bordet contracted the tuberculosis, which will take him fast if we don’t do something quick. He also contracted the appendicitis, for which he was operated on in a Portland hospital. The wound has never healed, and it is now a running sore. During his incarceration he was kicked in the genital organs by the brutes in blue that represent LAW AND ORDER and for which he had to be operated on in the hospital at Portland. In this condition he was forced to leave the hospital.
Can you imagine the condition Fellow Worker Bordet is in? We are doing all in our power to make it comfortable for him, but he MUST have medical attention. Only $30.00 has been sent so far to aid Fellow Worker Bordet Now something must be done. We are putting up a tent for him, because he must go to bed and stay there. He is failing gradually. When he entered the Spokane jail he weighed 145 pounds, and now he weighs less than 80 pounds.
Now, wake up, fellow workers, members or not, as it is your duty to assist Fellow Worker Bordet. He gave his health and happiness and was ruined in your fight. He fought the battle of the working class for freedom. Are you going to help him after he has given his all?
Fellow Workers, let’s do all we can to relieve the suffering of Fellow Worker Bordet. Just think how much we could do if we all do a little. A few cents each would work wonders.
Send all contributions to Secretary No. 437, I.W.W. Box 341, Holtville, Cal.
‘DEATH CLAIMS BORDET’ from Industrial Worker. Vol. 2 No. 49. February 23, 1911.
A Fighter Has Died as a Result of Police Brutality—Hanging Would Have Been Preferred.
I left Holtville (No. 437) Monday, after staying there for a few days. But I wish to speak of is Henry Bordet, the man who was so savagely abused in Spokane by the police, at the time of the Free Speech Fight. If some of the murderous lickspittles could see the result of their work their very souls (if they have souls) would be blighted by the sight.
When one thinks of Bordet lying on his deathbed, can he help but revolt against the damnable system that allows a brute to tyranize over a fighter for the right, like Bordet, and through blows and exposure condemn him to torture such as is the lot of few men to suffer.
Far better for him if they had hanged him in jail in Spokane. The awful torture the man has endured can hardly be conceived. When I saw him the power of speech was gone; his throat was paralyzed so that he could swallow no food, AND THE MAN WAS ROTTING TO DEATH.
I think Bordet will be dead before you receive this letter. I hope so. But the fight he has fought for liberty will be remembered; the fight will not die with him; rather, it will receive added impetus. The fight will go on, and the grist of this man will stand as an example to us. With an almost inconceivably horrible death staring him in the face for months, he uttered no complaint. His thoughts and words were of the cause he was dying for, and the fellow workers who were caring for him.
If Bordet had been killed in jail a war of protest would have swept over the land that would have went down in the pages of history. But instead he dies in a far-off corner, with only a few friends with him, and his passing goes almost unnoticed.
But—is it not infinitely worse to kill Bordet by months of horrible torture than by a blow in jail? Will you workers stand for the fighters being killed by torment surpassing hell itself and do nothing?
Let his name be placed with the greatest martyrs to our cause, to be the battle cry flung at capital entrenched behind its deathdealing police. Let us hurl his life’s story against the sanctimonious tier of the subsidized press. Let his name be on the lips of every fighter. Far more pitiful and more brave is Bordet, dying by inches in obscurity, than any far-famed martyr that ever died with a noose around his neck.
REMEMBER BORDET. KARL MOORE, Local No. 437 Holtville, Cal.
‘NOTICE’ from Industrial Worker. Vol. 2 No. 49. February 23, 1911.
No more contributions are necessary for the relief of Henry Bordet at Holtville, Cal. Local No. 437 wishes to thank all those who so generously assisted in making things as comfortable as possible for Fellow Worker Bordet before he went to his last resting place and away from all the suffering which he endured. There is $15.90 more on hand than was used and this amount will be returned to the locals contributing. SAMUEL TREGONING, No. 437, I.W.W.
‘RESOLUTION’ from Industrial Worker. Vol. 2 No. 49. February 23, 1911.
Local No. 437 Pays Tribute to the Dead.
Fellow Worker Bordet Has Died That Others May Live—Killed by Hired Sluggers of the Master Class.
Whereas, Holtville Local No. 437, I. W. W., is called upon to pay its respects to our fellow worker, Henry Bordet, who died February 7, 1911, after suffering the terrible tortures as a result of the police brutality which had been practiced on him in the Free Speech Fight in Spokane, Wash.; and
Whereas, The only crime that Fellow Worker Bordet had committed was the one against capitalism of wanting to tell the truth and have those rights that have been guaranteed to him, as well as the rest of us, by our forefathers; and
Whereas, Fellow Worker Bordet has died as a direct result of kicks and beating by the Spokane police; therefore, be it
Resolved, That we hold the police and hired thugs of Spokane city as the murderers of our friend and fellow worker; and be it further
Resolved, That the charter of No. 437 be draped in mourning for 30 days and a copy of these resolutions be sent to the ‘Industrial Worker’ and ‘Solidarity’ for publication.
SAMUEL TREGONING, OTTO THIELICKE, EARL E. ROBBINS. GEO. T. EDWARDS, THOMAS RYAN, Committee.
The Industrial Union Bulletin, and the Industrial Worker were newspapers published by the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) from 1907 until 1913. First printed in Joliet, Illinois, IUB incorporated The Voice of Labor, the newspaper of the American Labor Union which had joined the IWW, and another IWW affiliate, International Metal Worker.The Trautmann-DeLeon faction issued its weekly from March 1907. Soon after, De Leon would be expelled and Trautmann would continue IUB until March 1909. It was edited by A. S. Edwards. 1909, production moved to Spokane, Washington and became The Industrial Worker, “the voice of revolutionary industrial unionism.”
PDF of full issue January 26 issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/industrialworker/iw/v2n45-w97-jan-26-1911-IW.pdf
PDF of full issue February 23 issue: https://www.marxists.org/history/usa/pubs/industrialworker/iw/v2n49-w101-feb-23-1911-IW.pdf