Editorial note: The subject of the short article below by the Venezuelan anarchist group El Libertario is of particular salience, as Maduro’s attack happens to parallel recent developments here in the U.S. where top Democratic politicians and the Chelsea Manning prosecution have both used the term ‘anarchist’ to slur their opponents.
As for the strike prompting Maduro’s outburst, a piece in Venezuela Analysis provides some context:
President Nicolas Maduro, the self-appointed “President Worker ,” continues his campaign of criminalization against the SIDOR strikers. In a ceremony held at the Campo de Carabobo on Saturday October 5th, he showcased a group of armed workers to face down what he has called “economic warfare.” As could be seen on state television, groups of workers from Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and CORPOELEC, sporting uniforms of blue and red shirts, raised their rifles at the event.
The head of state criticized SIDOR workers for initiating the strike in the steel mill. He called the union leaders driving the strike in SIDOR “anarcho-syndicalists and populists” for demanding wage increases that the government claims it cannot afford. He warned that if the group does not call off the shutdown, he will take the mill “with the support of the people.”
“You are with the people, or you are with the oligarchy; there are no half measures,” he added. His declaration came in response to the shutdown led by workers of Siderúrgica del Orinoco (SIDOR), who are demanding the renewal of their collective agreement, already due three years ago, among other labor claims. President Maduro has insisted that the workers are be being manipulated by imperialism, as part of the “economic war” against his government.
Meanwhile, Wills Rangel, chairman of the Federation of Petroleum Workers of Venezuela, attended the event and declared that the working class will incorporate the Bolivarian militia “from now on.” Rangel assured Maduro that he can count on “this army of workers and employees” to deepen the fight against the “economic war.”
Working translation by Steven Fake. Corrections welcome.