Interview with Planka.nu

The following is an interview with Planka.nu, it was carried out a while ago, but hasn’t been published before. I will use Planka and Piratbyraan as examples of how the Swedish movement has developed forms of struggle and organisation outside of the workplace. I was interested to learn that Planka are involved in parliamentary lobbying in tandem with direct action, not what I would have expected.

When and why did you form?

What is the name of your group?
Planka.nu
When and why did you form?
We formed in the autumn of 2001 as a response to the ever-rising ticket prices in the public transport system in Stockholm. It was also a result of the discussions connected to the summit protests, an attempt to bring global issuses down to a local level.
What do you see as the main achievements of your group? (i.e.magazines published, strikes involved in etc)
Our biggest achievement is that of opening up a new area of conflict. By organizing fare-dodgers (commuters who don’t pay for themselves in the public transport) we’ve taken class-struggle and the fight for commons into the public transport. Since our start we’ve organized several thousands of commuters in a fare-strike and we feel that by doing so we’ve not only put the question of tax-financed, fare-free public transport on the agenda but also politicised an activity that, before us, was only looked at as a security problem.
We’ve also been active in the new climate movement fighting against the plans for new highways around Stockholm – and trying to put the whole transport sector in Stockholm in a broader perspective of class and struggles around commons. By doing so we also hope to plant some of our ideas in the newborn climate movement, so as to push them as far away from green capitalism as possible.
Can you please give an account of your current activities and strategy?
We’re working really hard to broaden our activites. To combine more classic political work such as releasing reports, lobbying and working towards politicians, as well as keeping up our fare strike. In other words, to combine the best of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary work. Currently we’re working hard to put a climate smart and economically just transition of the transport sector in Stockholm on the agenda.
One of our recent actions was a response to when the politicians planned to spend NN millions on new high-tech barriers, claiming that it would stop fare-dodging. We made a short film from Lyon, where the new barriers was already installed, and showed how easy they were to dodge by. This got a big response in media and among the opposition. We are also working on a new report a the moment, named “At every cost?”, where we summarize the economic costs of NOT introducing tax-financed public transports.
We have also just released the website freepublictransports.com which was the main outcome of our participation in the european social forum in Malmö in 2008. The aim of the website is to be a meeting point for the global free public transport movement, a place to get in contact with other groups, learn from each other and co-operate in our struggle.
On the 7th of March 2009 we will take our first steps in co-ordinating actions around the globe as freepublictransports.com is hosting the free public transport day, a day that was first celebrated by Planka.nu in Stockholm on the 1st of March 2008.
For what reasons have you chosen these activities and strategy?
We feel that our double roles – the (professional) lobbyists and the extra-parliamentary leftists – is a good way to move forward. Because people have a problem to put a label on us they also have a harder time to resist our demands. Our controversial methods are a really good way of getting attention for the demands we present, which are very much possible to introduce in the current political system. But would still lead to concrete improvements in both the class and climate struggle.
What direction you would like your group to go in future?

We think we are going in the right direction, but one thing we’d like to put more effort behind is to spread our experiences and try to inspire and help with the start-up of similiar activities in other cities. Something that we hope we will accomplish with the freepublictransports.com project.Planka.nu

When and why did you form?

We formed in the autumn of 2001 as a response to the ever-rising ticket prices in the public transport system in Stockholm. It was also a result of the discussions connected to the summit protests, an attempt to bring global issuses down to a local level.

What do you see as the main achievements of your group? (i.e.magazines published, strikes involved in etc)

Our biggest achievement is that of opening up a new area of conflict. By organizing fare-dodgers (commuters who don’t pay for themselves in the public transport) we’ve taken class-struggle and the fight for commons into the public transport. Since our start we’ve organized several thousands of commuters in a fare-strike and we feel that by doing so we’ve not only put the question of tax-financed, fare-free public transport on the agenda but also politicised an activity that, before us, was only looked at as a security problem.

We’ve also been active in the new climate movement fighting against the plans for new highways around Stockholm – and trying to put the whole transport sector in Stockholm in a broader perspective of class and struggles around commons. By doing so we also hope to plant some of our ideas in the newborn climate movement, so as to push them as far away from green capitalism as possible.

Can you please give an account of your current activities and strategy?

We’re working really hard to broaden our activites. To combine more classic political work such as releasing reports, lobbying and working towards politicians, as well as keeping up our fare strike. In other words, to combine the best of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary work. Currently we’re working hard to put a climate smart and economically just transition of the transport sector in Stockholm on the agenda.

One of our recent actions was a response to when the politicians planned to spend NN millions on new high-tech barriers, claiming that it would stop fare-dodging. We made a short film from Lyon, where the new barriers was already installed, and showed how easy they were to dodge by. This got a big response in media and among the opposition. We are also working on a new report a the moment, named “At every cost?”, where we summarize the economic costs of NOT introducing tax-financed public transports.

We have also just released the website freepublictransports.com which was the main outcome of our participation in the european social forum in Malmö in 2008. The aim of the website is to be a meeting point for the global free public transport movement, a place to get in contact with other groups, learn from each other and co-operate in our struggle.

On the 7th of March 2009 we will take our first steps in co-ordinating actions around the globe as freepublictransports.com is hosting the free public transport day, a day that was first celebrated by Planka.nu in Stockholm on the 1st of March 2008.

For what reasons have you chosen these activities and strategy?

We feel that our double roles – the (professional) lobbyists and the extra-parliamentary leftists – is a good way to move forward. Because people have a problem to put a label on us they also have a harder time to resist our demands. Our controversial methods are a really good way of getting attention for the demands we present, which are very much possible to introduce in the current political system. But would still lead to concrete improvements in both the class and climate struggle.

What direction you would like your group to go in future?

We think we are going in the right direction, but one thing we’d like to put more effort behind is to spread our experiences and try to inspire and help with the start-up of similiar activities in other cities. Something that we hope we will accomplish with the freepublictransports.com project.

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~ by swedishzine on September 19, 2009.

2 Responses to “Interview with Planka.nu”

  1. Planka nu has become the center of an international movement for free public transport which has spread to New Zealand, U.S.A., France, Poland, and more…

  2. We just released our first English report. Check it out at: http://planka.nu/nyheter/2009/09/22/new-report-travel-doesnt-have-to-cost-the-earth

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