Swedish and Finnish Commuters Take Direct Action for Free Public Transport
scandinavia / denmark / iceland |
community struggles |
Thursday December 08, 2005 21:28 by Oisín Mac Giollamóir - WSM - Workers Solidarity
In Stockholm, Gothenburg and Helsinki commuters are taking the initiative in the fight for decent, free public transportation. Here Oisín Mac Giollamóir interviews Anna from the planka.nu campaign.
Swedish and Finnish Commuters Take Direct Action for Free
In Stockholm, Gothenburg and Helsinki commuters are taking the
initiative in the fight for decent, free public transportation.
Buses, trams, commuter trains and subways are necessary for workers
to get around in society. A campaign, planka.nu, has been set up in
Sweden and Finland calling for free public transportation. Here
Oisín Mac Giollamóir interviews Anna from the planka.nu
How did planka.nu start?
It started as a small campaign initiated by the SUF (Syndicalist
Youth Federation) group in Stockholm after an increase in fare
prices. We made posters and flyers and arranged mass protests in the
subway. We also started "P-kassan" - the freeriding insurance.
You pay a small amount to join the insurance fund after which if you
get caught freeriding your fine is paid.
How is this campaign run and structured?
In the campaign we practice direct democracy in meetings, there is
no committee where anyone has more power than anyone else.
What has been the reaction of the media and the
The reactions have been stronger than we expected, freeriding
seems to be a very controversial method of engaging in politics.
Maybe because it's so simple, everybody does it at least sometimes. I
think that planka.nu focuses on this common phenomenon and that
really scared the politicians. Some of the media loved us and at the
same time other media refused to publish the website address
www.planka.nu or even mention the word "planka". All the local
planka.nu groups - Stockholm, Gothenburg, Östergötland and
Helsinki have been reported to the police but freeriding isn't
illegal so nothings happened.
Where do you see this going in both the short term
and the long term?
So far we've been successful in bringing this issue from the
bottom of the list of political problems. For years it wasn't even
considered political and nobody wanted to talk about the relationship
between social welfare, income and the ability to travel between city
and suburbs, to work and to school etc. We're aiming for free public
transport and we're still a far way from it. We've yet to see what
we're going to do about it next.
What is the role of the SUF in this campaign? What
advice if any would you have for others who are campaigning around
the issues of public transport?
The only thing left over from the time when planka.nu was an SUF
initiative are the anarcho-syndicalist values. SUF has no role in the
campaign. The most important advice is definitely don't underestimate
the media, don't be afraid of using it, and remember: You can do it!
United we stand strong.
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