2008 was definitly the most active year in the history of Planka.nu (we started in 2001). We decided early on to broaden our perspectives and push harder for free public transport as one (out of many) solutions to the climate crisis. During the year the Swedish left party as well as the newly formed climate alliance “Klimataktion” started to support the idea of free public transport. Planka.nu was also one of the founding groups – together with among others Friends of the Earth and The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation – of the “Klimatstart” network working against the planned city highways around Stockholm.
On the first of march the free public transport day was celebrated for the first time with a big demonstration in the subway in Stockholm arranged by Planka.nu and “Öppna Stockholm” (= Open Stockholm). After the demonstration activist bags were handed out to all the participants and free public transport activists travelled around the public transport system in Stockholm and made it free for a while by opening all the turn-stiles.
Later on during the spring, we participated in the climate crashes arranged by the climate action group “Klimax” and we arranged a anti-highway weekend together with Friends of the Earth and the youth section of The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. During the annual political spectacle “Almedalsveckan” – where all politicians and lobbyists in Sweden meet up and hang out – we joined forces with “Klimax” and did a lot of actions against the car lobby. Among other things we disturbed their meetings by playing up highway noise in authentic volume outside, something we also did outside the Swedish parliament, to protest against the planned highways.
In the late September we participated in the European Social Forum in Malmo where we held a meeting entitled “Building a public transport network”, which was visited by people from several different countries. After that meeting the idea to start an international network for free public transport activists started and in November we released Freepublictransports.com. At the same time we released the report “Travel doesn’t have to cost the earth” (in English soon) were we presented five concrete measures to make the transport sector in Stockholm climate smart and socially just.
When the local politicians who runs the public transport in Stockholm wanted more money to buy the same barriers as they have in Lyon in France to “stop the free-riding” we went to Lyon and filmed ourselves free-riding there. Then we showed up outside city hall and handed over the film of us free-riding on the same day as they were going to take the decision on whether to fund these new barriers or not. It was that days biggest news in local media, and half a year later, they haven’t said anything more about these barriers.
After that we went to the UN climate meeting COP14 in Poznan, Poland. It was very interesting and fun to see that process from the inside, even though the (non-existing) outcome was a disaster. The best thing we got out of that trip was a lot of new international contacts: the polish young socialists, other activists, researchers and lobbyists.
During 2008 we also continued to pay the public transport tickets for paperless immigrants, finally published our big media archive on our website, expanded our library for in-service training, debate free public transport with the liberal party, celebrated the first of may with the revolutionary syndicalist union SAC, arranged music clubs with Spiderdogs, lost every game in the freedom soccer cup, printed a lot of different stickers, bags, t-shirts and flyers…