Despite expressed rejection by the German public, it was decided two days ago that the German national railway company, Deutsche Bahn is to be partially privatized.
German Railways is the world’s second largest transport and logistics network and the largest rail transport company in Europe.
The planned privatization was subject of a highly controversial political discussion in the country. Deterioration of service, discontinuation of the less used lines is feared by the public as well as the loss of work places.
The voices of the Deutsche Bahn workers were barely heard. They demand the democratization of the union. Trade unions need to move from unions of uniformity to entities of diversity. Many railway workers and most of the public are opposed to the driving idea behind these and similar developments- maximizing economic profits. They want to keep the railway a social network regarding the train as a public good to be used and administered on the basis of grassroots democracy. The understanding is that decentralized non-hierarchical systems do work. The many opportunities of decentralized networks need to be realized.
In discussions at conferences as well as in pubs or when chatting on the streets people talk about global capitalism, not local governments, that is the driving force behind the current, unwanted developments.
What needs to be clear in this and like debates is that our participation gives the consent. We should ask ourselves what are we willing to do ourselves? Are we willing to run the system? Freedom and responsibility goes hand in hand.