Letter from a German train driver

19 October 2007

The WSWS received the following letter from a German train driver in response to a leaflet issued by the Socialist Equality Party of Germany. (See “Support the German train drivers’ struggle against Deutsche Bahn!”)

Dear all,

I have read your leaflet and I am convinced, and in agreement with its content and arguments. As a train driver for Deutsche Bahn, formerly Deutsche Reichsbahn (in East Germany), with 34 years of service, I have gone through a lot. But what is taking place here, and at Deutsche Bahn, is not a so-called free, democratic, Western world anymore, but rather an extreme capitalist, exploitative empire that borders virtually on slavery.

For over two years we have had to work on the basis of a shift system bordering on the absolute pain threshold. Nine hours travel time, 13.5 hours in a shift are common, four nightshifts one after the other, one day free, then another four nightshifts, one day free, three long day shifts of up 12 hours, then just two days free—as a consequence there is inevitably no time left for family, friends, hobbies...

My request to you: send as many of your leaflets as possible throughout Germany, perhaps the entire working population and unemployed persons are waiting for a signal. I have carried out many discussions with passengers and repeatedly hear quotations from your leaflet. The time is now developing for a revolution here in Germany, like never before in history.

With militant greetings,

H.S.