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(en) Ireland, Anarchist Workers Solidarity #89 - Swedish and Finnish Commuters Take Direct Action for Free Public Transport

Date Fri, 09 Dec 2005 17:09:47 +0200

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 campaign.
> 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 state?

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.

For related articles see Anarchism, ecology and the environment
This page is from the print version of the Irish Anarchist paper
'Workers Solidarity'. http://struggle.ws/wsm/paper.html

We also provide PDF files of all our
publications for you to print out and distribute locally

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the Ainriail list http://struggle.ws/other/ainriail.html

This edition is No89 published in Sept 2005

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