Basic Income at the World Social Forum Aug 9-14 in Montreal

[The following information is courtesy of Luc Gosselin, of Revenu de base Québec.]

In recent months, Revenu de base Québec (RBQ) and the French Mouvement français pour un revenu de base (MFRB) have joined forces to design and prepare a program on basic income (BI) for the 2016 World Social Forum (WSF2016). They have participated in meetings of three committees (Economy, Health and Cultural events), finding in all three a general interest in and support for BI. RBQ and MFRB have both been communicating with groups advocating for a BI elsewhere in the world as well. WSF events gather tens of thousands of participants. Typically, about 80% of them come from the host country. The entire Forum will be multilingual.

This is a great opportunity to advance basic income in Canada. We invite all of you from the basic income movement in English Canada to join in helping to create a strong BI program at WSF2016.  In the Canadian movement, there is an expertise unique in the world with respect to the anticipated (and proved) benefits of BI on the health of populations. The dynamism of Canadian grassroots activism also provides a strong example to follow.

It’s important to point out here that the WSF is an entirely open process; the organizers have given it as horizontal a structure as possible; their function is mainly to provide a space for our content. 

Main projects by MFRB and RBQ

A Grand Conference

Friday 12th August: 6PM – 7.30PM 

Venu: Concordia University - Pavilion Hall H-110

Given the importance of the movement worldwide, basic income could become the subject of a major keynote panel of the WSF2016.

Four people who are authorities on basic income, Nicole Teke, Marcus Brancaglione, Karl Widerquist and Rutger Bregman will form the panel of this conference. Ms Nicole Teke is the public relations coordinator of  MFRB and active in the European BI movement. She will be the animator of the conference and give testimony of the state of BI in Europe. Mr Marcus Brancaglione is president of the Brazilian association ReCivitas that, since 2008, has been leading an experiment with BI in Quatinga Velho, a city in the state of Sao Paulo. Mr Widerquist is a well known and respected academic who has published extensively on BI and is co-chairman of Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN). Mr Rutger Bregman is a historian and a redactor at the online platform De Correspondent; the English translation of his last book, Utopia for Realists: the case for a universal basic income, has had rave reviews.
Registration here.
Two Action Convergence Assemblies

1- Basic income : from realist utopia to public policy

Wednesday 10th August: 4PM - 6PM 

UQàM – Room A1824 (Pavilion Hubert-Aquin)

If the debate on basic income has been steadily progressing in terms of general principles, it deserves yet to be developed in terms of the political process which could lead to its implementation: the convergence for action topic is appropriate here and now.

The aim of this assembly is to gather activists from all horizons in order to carry out a reflection on the methods and actions concerning the transition of basic income from realist utopia to public policy implementation. The possibilities range from municipal policy to international politics, but also with experiments and synergies to create among the diverse actors of the civil society.

The 2016 World Social Forum is the perfect occasion to think and debate around the possibilities of action.

Registration here.

2 - Income, a non-medical remedy?

Thursday 11th August: 4PM – 6PM 

Venue: UQàM – Room A1824 (Pavilion Hubert-Aquin)

Assembly of health practitioners, poverty alleviation workers, advocates of basic income, as well as anyone interested in the link between income and health, with the purpose of finding points of convergence and means of collective action.


Two workshops

1- Discussion on the equitable sharing of wealth

Thursday 11th August: 1PM – 3PM 

Venu: UQàM – Room A1825 (Pavilion Hubert-Aquin)

Can a universal basic income be implemented without its corollary, namely a maximum wealth? Considering the explosion of inequality and the tax competition between states, the implementation of a « floor » and « ceiling » on income and individual capital is a promising idea that goes in the direction of greater social and economic justice.


2- Ğeconomicus: a game on the creation of money

Wednesday 10th August: 1PM - 3PM 

Friday 12th August: 1PM – 3PM 

Venue: UQàM – Room A1825 (Pavilion Hubert-Aquin)

Ğeconomicus is an Economics simulation game enabling to discover the influence on monetary creation based on exchanges. The players buy and sell their economic values in order to create new ones. The time is an important factor of the game, at several levels, especially related to the cycle of life of human beings and values. The interest of the game is above all to compare different kinds of currencies, following the concept of free currency, as it is shown in the « Relative Theory of the Currency ».


“Créathon”: Creation Marathon on Basic Income

Wednesday 10th August: 1PM - 6PM 

Thursday 11th August: 9AM – 6PM 

Friday 12th August: 9AM – 5AM 

Venue: UQàM – Rooms A1824 and A1825 (Pavilion Hubert-Aquin)

Under the name "Create-A-Thon", the first hackathon style creative marathon on basic income was held in San Francisco in November 2015.  Finland had a Basic Income Hack in March 2016, and Los Angeles held a second Create-A-Thon in April. MFRB and RBQ are organizing the same kind of event for WSF2016, using the same format. It too will be multilingual.

The Creathon will take place over two and a half days. It will gather creative people from different backgrounds - artists, activists, programmers, etc.- who have in common a focus on the basic income concept and who will work together to produce some products. For example, nine creations about BI were developed at the San Francisco’s event, among them videos, websites, a list of one hundred objections to BI and their answers, and a citizen’s proposal to the City of San Francisco.

By opening up such an event to other languages and countries at WSF2016, we will give it a scale that only a World Social Forum can provide, a scale commensurate with the global debate that is taking shape around basic income. 
Registration here.

Please take a look at the WSF2016 site. It’s buzzing with energy and full of activities.  It's very easy to design and add your own activity and we hope many of you will do so.

You can't come to Montréal in August? There are numerous ways to participate from afar.  Before, during and after the event, WSF2016 has organized a web of extensions. It's simple to join in from wherever you are. 

MFRB and RBQ want to hear from our Canadian colleagues, and to work with you on creating a successful global discussion on basic income here in Canada.

We must be part of it!

Contact: [email protected] ℅ Luc Gosselin