About Our Strategy

Basic Income Action’s stated mission is to win a basic income for all by educating and organizing people to take action.

In moving from that broad mission to a specific strategy, we are inspired by recent successful movements for marriage equality and marijuana legalization. Ten years ago, those issues were considered impossible to achieve. But through smart persistent organizing, people were encouraged and motivated in increasing numbers. Marriage equality is now nationwide, and a growing number of states are revising marijuana laws and policies. We believe that basic income can follow a similar trajectory.

Goals

Our long-term goal is a basic income for all people around the world. We are based in the United States, so our task is to pass the laws necessary to provide every American with basic income as a right.

Intermediate goals are to win a basic income in states, cities, counties, and other jurisdictions. That’s how major changes normally happen in America, and it’s what we saw with marijuana and marriage equality. Intermediate goals can also include small or limited versions of basic income, like the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend. Our plan is to target jurisdictions that allow ballot initiatives, and places with forward-thinking elected leaders

Our short term goals are to win support from candidates and elected officials, and have them take actions such as expressing personal support, sponsoring resolutions, holding hearings, and introducing legislation.

The presidential election will be the main focus of American politics until November 2016, so another short-term goal is to get one or more presidential candidates to publicly declare their support for a basic income.

Targets

The people who have the power to give us what we want, long-term, are members of Congress who can pass a national basic income law, and the president who can sign it.

Intermediate targets are members of state legislatures and governors, and local government officials.

More immediate targets are voters who can get this issue on the ballot in states that have an initiative process.

Our short-term targets are elected officials and candidates for public office, especially in places where we have active chapters, and the presidential candidates, who will give this idea national exposure if they talk about it.

Tactics

  • Educate large numbers of people through an aggressive online outreach program, including blogs, email, social media, and web ads.
  • Local events: Meet-ups, signature-gathering, public talks, and so on, coordinating and promoting events through social media and other online activities.
  • We will produce videos of people telling their personal stories of what a basic income would mean for themselves and their family members.
  • We will conduct a national campaign that individuals and chapters can join as a way to pressure the presidential candidates to support basic income. An organizing tool will be a petition to the candidates, and we will seek meetings with candidates and campaigns to deliver the petitions. On several occasions already, people have asked Bernie Sanders about basic income, and he seemed receptive, but did not elaborate and the questioners did not press him. Our campaign will work to have hundreds or thousands of people asking the questions, seeking specific answers and actual endorsements from Bernie, Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley, and others. On the Republican side, Mike Huckabee favors a national sales tax with a “prebate,” which is like a complicated basic income. We will be contacting all campaigns and urging them to explicitly endorse a basic income. With these efforts, we will gain attention for basic income, while ensuring that the next president has heard about it.
  • Through local chapters, we will conduct local campaigns to achieve short-term goals, such as getting a resolution passed by a city council or getting local members of Congress to sponsor a national basic income bill. We plan to hold strategy sessions with the chapters, separately and to help them support each other.
  • We expect to focus especially on places that allow citizens to put initiatives on the ballot, particularly states on the west coast that already have chapters. Also Washington DC, where our friends include the activists who conducted the successful campaign in 2014 to legalize marijuana.