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French intellectuals swing behind rail strike

As France’s rail strike  entered its second week over 150 intellectuals have swung behind the workers and their demands for a fully integrated publicly owned rail system.

Doctors, lawyers, economists, mathematicians, linguists, historians, scientists and sociologists have called on the government to suspend parliamentary proceedings on the bill, which started Tuesday, and “start a debate on the situation of rail transport in France to permit the development of a unified public service rail system,” according to the declaration.

“This so-called “reform” is part of the liberalisation of European transport and seeks to submit rail transport to the logic of the market even though the failure resulting from opening up competition in freight is obvious,” according to a declaration of support, published in the French communist daily newspaper Humanite,

“In defending the public rail service, railway workers are protecting what must be considered a common good. This is not a “corporatist” movement to protect so-called ‘privileges’. It is the interest of all, and it is an ecological necessity to ensure the public transport system is functioning properly.”

Competition would “increase the risk of delays and accidents in the name of profitability,” the declaration argued. A year ago, on 12 July 2013, 7 people died following a derailment of a train in the commune of Bretigny in the southern suburbs of Paris. The inquiry that followed found that the reason for the derailment was poor maintenance of the tracks.

Rail employers and the government were also accused of trying to stir up public anger against the strikers whose action has affected high school exams that started this week.

The strike  is one of the longest in years in France.

President Hollande’s Socialist government has said it would push ahead with the reform to prepare for EU-inspired deregulation. However, he said he was “no strike-breaker” and would not force unions to end the strike, which he said they had a constitutional right to carry out.

Unions want train operator SNCF and rail infrastructure company RFF to be fully merged into one entity, as they were prior to 1997. They also want the state to take on €40bn (£32bn) in debt owed by the firms.

Merging the two companies would avoid problems in the future such as a high-profile mix-up in May, when SNCF acknowledged that it had ordered 2,000 trains that were too wide for many station platforms. The embarrassing error arose after the RFF transmitted faulty dimensions for its train platforms to the SNCF, which was in charge of ordering the trains.

List of signatures

Clémentine Autain (porte-parole d’Ensemble!)

Ana Azaria (présidente de Femmes Egalité)

Nicolas Benies (économiste)

Christophe Benzitoun (linguiste)

Sophie Béroud (sociologue)

Michel Bianco (conseil d’orientation Fondation Copernic)

Martine Billard (co-présidente du PG)

Frédéric Boccara (économiste)

Paul Boccara (économiste)

Alain Bonhomme (Inspecteur général honoraire des affaires culturelles)

Claire Bornais (mathematicienne)

Anne Bory (sociologue)

Martine Boudet (professeure de lettres)

Ali Boulayoune (sociologue)

Claudy Bouyon (linguiste)

Claude Calame (anthropologue)

Bernard Cassen (secrétaire général de Mémoire des Luttes)

Christian Celdran (administrateur civil honoraire)

Vincent Charbonnier (philosophe)

Pierre Concialdi (économiste)

Eric Coquerel (secrétaire national du PG)

Philippe Corcuff (sociologue)

Jacques Cossart (économiste)

Pierre Cours-Salies (sociologue)

Isabelle Coutant (sociologue)

Thomas Coutrot (économiste, Attac)

Alexis Cukier (philosophe)

Monique Crinon (féministe)

Guillaume Dautel (inspecteur du travail)

Marielle Debos (politiste)

Claude Debons (retraité SNCF)

Christian Delarue (Mrap)

Christian De Montlibert (sociologue)

François Denord (sociologue)

Jean-Michel Drevon (enseignant)

Emmanuelle Desjean (cadre territorial)

Paola Diaz (sociologue)

Yves Dimicoli (économiste)

Paul Dirkx (sociologue)

Aurelien Djament (mathématicien)

Denis Durand (économiste)

Cédric Durand (économiste)

Philippe Enclos (juriste)

Jean-Baptiste Eyraud (Droit au Logement)

Eric Fassin (sociologue)

Jean-Michel Faure (sociologue)

Sonia Fayman (Cedetim)

Fabrice Flipo (philosophe)

Gérard Filoche (Bureau national du Parti socialiste)

Anny Fradin (biologiste)

Pascal Franchet (vice président du CADTM France)

Jean Gadrey (économiste)

Sandrine Garcia (sociologue)

Véronique Gallais (co-fondatrice de l’association Action Consommation)

Florent Gaudez (sociologue)

Elisabeth Gauthier (Espace Marx)

Bertrand Geay (politiste)

Susan George (écrivain)

Jean-Luc Gibelin (commission santé du PCF)

Jean-Luc Godet (physicien)

Nicolas Gregori (psychologue)

Jean-Pierre Guelfucci (physicien)

Caroline Guibet-Lafaye (philosophe)

Fabrice Guilbaud (sociologue)

Françoise Guillou-Pinlet (paysagiste)

Ozgur Gun (économiste)

Patrick Hallinger (Convergence Nationale de défense des services publics)

Jean-Marie Harribey (économiste)

Henri Heckert (sociologue)

Georges Hugot (géomorphologue)

Sabina Issehnane (économistes atterrés)

Lucien Jallamion (République et Socialisme)

Michel Jallamion (président de Convergence nationale de défense des services publics)

Fanny Jedlicki (sociologue)

Esther Jeffers (économiste)

Gisèle Jean (ex directrice d’IUFM)

Anne Jollet (historienne)

Marie-Pierre Julien (sociologue)

Pierre Khalfa (co-président de la Fondation Copernic)

Bernard Lacroix (politiste)

Rose-Marie Lagrave (sociologue)

Jean-Paul Lainé (enseignant)

Pierre Laurent (PCF)

Frédéric Lebaron (sociologue)

Jacques Le Bohec (professeur en sciences de l’éducation)

Catherine Leclercq (sociologue)

Hervé Le Crosnier (informaticien)

Serge Le Quéau (membre du CESER de Bretagne)

Thierry Lescant (Sud santé sociaux)

Claire Le Strat (déléguée générale de la Fondation Copernic)

Gilles Lemaire (Aitec)

Laurent Lévy (avocat)

Wenceslaz Lizé (sociologue)

Vincent Lhuillier (économiste)

Corinne Lucas-Fiorato (professeur de civilisation italienne et romane)

Jean Malifaud (mathematicien)

Marc Mangenot (économiste)

Myriam Martin (porte-parole d’Ensemble!)

Olivier Masclet (sociologue)

Gustavo Massiah (économiste)

Christiane Marty (chercheuse)

Lilian Mathieu (sociologue)

Gérard Mauger (sociologue)

Jean-Luc Mélenchon (coprésident du PG)

Julian Mischi (sociologue)

Catherine Mills (économiste)

Philippe Nabonnand (philosophe)

Mustapha Nadi (physicien)

Delphine Naudier (sociologue)

Christian Navarro (enseignant)

Frédéric Neyrat (sociologue)

Marie-Sol Ortola (professeure de civilisation espagnole)

Francis Parny (vice-président du Conseil Régional d’Ile de France, PCF)

Willy Pelletier (coordinateur général de la Fondation Copernic)

Roland Pfefferkorn (sociologue)

Jean-François Pélissier (porte-parole d’Ensemble!)

Josiane Pinto (psychologue)

Louis Pinto (sociologue)

Vanessa Pinto (sociologue)

Christian Piquet (porte-parole de la GU)

Claude Poliak (sociologue)

Christopher Pollmann (juriste)

Bernard Pudal (politiste)

Frédéric Rauch (économiste)

Fanny Renard (sociologue)

Monique Rigal (enseignant)

Daniel Rome (Attac)

Christine Rosemberg (ingénieure d’études CNRS)

Jean-Paul Scot (historien)

Claude Serfati (économiste)

Patrick Silberstein (médecin généraliste)

Arnault Skornicki (politiste)

Eric Soriano (ethnologue)

Valérie Soumaille (enseignante)

Philippe Sultan (haut fonctionnaire)

Claude Szatan (militant associatif)

Lucie Tanguy (sociologue)

Annie Thébaud-Mony (sociologue)

Marie-Pierre Toubhans (porte-parole d’Ensemble!)

Christian Topalov (sociologue)

Pierre Torasso (mathématicien)

Maryse Tripier (sociologue)

Aurélie Trouvé (Attac)

Christophe Ventura (Mémoire des Luttes)

Cécile Vignal (sociologue)

Louis Weber (Savoir/Agir)

Françoise Willmann (professeure de civilisation germanique)

Karel Yon (sociologue)

Malika Zediri (APEIS)


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Writer on Europe's Left, trade union and social movements @tomgilltweets or @revoltingeurope


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