The Basic Income Guarantee is a simple idea: income doesn’t need to start at zero. A good functioning society can ensure everyone a small, unconditional income large enough to meet their basic need needs, while everything else they make in the market after taxes is theirs to keep. With basic income no one is destitute, but everyone has incentive to earn more if they can. Once far out of the mainstream, the Basic Income Guarantee (BIG) is gathering strength politically around the world. The Swiss are voting on it. European Union Citizens are campaigning for it. And Americans are talking about it more and more.

The discussion of BIG comes to New York on the last weekend of February when the Fourteenth North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress holds events in three boroughs. All of the events will be covered by live streaming and interactive posting on Reddit and other websites, so that it will be possible to take part without being physically present.


Frances Fox Piven

1. The Congress will begin on Thursday, February 26th at the LIC Art Center / LIC Academy of Music in Long Island City, Queens with a public discussion entitled, “New Possibilities for the Basic Income Movement.” Speakers include Frances Fox Piven, author of Poor People’s Movements; Marshall Brain, author of How Stuff Works; Mary Bricker Jenkins, Willie Baptist, & Marian Kramer, of the National Welfare Rights Union; Alanna Hartzok, 2014 Democratic Nominee for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 9th District. This event is free and open to the public.

Willie Baptist

Willie Baptist

2. The main conference events will take place all day Friday and Saturday and half the day on Sunday at the Sheraton Times Square Hotel on 7th Avenue and 53rd Street in Manhattan. More than forty speakers will lead discussions with the audience of the three days. Speakers include Peter Barnes, environmentalist and author of Who Owns the Sky?, With Liberty and Dividends For All, and Capitalism 3.0; Ann Withorn, welfare rights activist and author of Serving the People and co-editor of For Crying out Loud; Jim Mulvale, Dean at the University of Manitoba and Vice-Chairperson of the Basic Income Canadian Network, Mimi Abramovitz, author of Under Attack, Fighting Back; Stanley Aronowitz and Bill Difazio, coauthors of The Jobless Future; Ian Shlakman, 2014 Green Party Nominee for Congress; and Eduardo Suplicy, former member of the Brazilian Federal Senate. The NABIG events at the Sheraton will take place as a part of the Eastern Economic Association’s (EEA’s) annual conference. Registration for the three-day EEA Congress is $110. Reduced price admission for low-income people and students is available (contact the organizers). Reporters with press passes reporting on the conference can bypass registration.


Marhsall Brain

Friday and Saturday night the Congress will be followed by a social gatherings at the Three Monkeys, 236 W 54h St., beginning at by 7pm each night. Admission is free, but food and drink are extra.

3. The Congress will conclude at the Commons Brooklyn on Sunday with an open meeting for anyone interested in a political movement for Basic Income in the United States. Everyone is welcome to attend. All points of view are encouraged. It will be an open discussion with no preset agenda and no list of speakers. Organizers invite everyone who is interested in discussing this issue is invited to come. Anyone who can’t be there in person is invited to participate online. The meeting will use an open format that gives everyone opportunities to participate actively, equally. Pizza and drinks will be served. The organizers will take up a collection to pay for them, but in the spirit of BIG, they will be distributed unconditionally—even to those unwilling or unable to contribute to the costs.

Alanna Hartzok

Alanna Hartzok

Opportunities to participate online:

Those who can’t attend the NABIG Congress in person can participate online in several ways. An independent group of bloggers from Basic Income Project, LLC will be covering the Congress. The broadcast will be live and accessible from during the event, and recordings will be available at that same address after the event has concluded.

There will also be a interactive live twitter feed to follow @USBIG hashtag #NABIG15, which will be used to connect the discussions of those both at the conference and unable to attend the conference. In addition, social media discussions will be congregated and made available via Storify throughout the Congress. Another way to participate from afar is to join the live Reddit feed, which will be continually updated, and monitored so that questions proposed from cyberspace can be relayed to the speakers in the room. This will connect the now 23,000 strong community of those interested in basic income on Reddit.

The easiest way for interested people who aren’t regular users of any of these sites to connect will be to watch the live stream of the conference at, and comment on it on the live Reddit feed.

The NABIG Congress an event page on Facebook will have links to all of these ways to connect to the Congress.

The organizers especially invite off-site participants to join on Sunday evening for the movement meeting, “Are we ready to start a political movement for a Basic Income Guarantee in the United States?” March 1, 6-9pm.

Event Calendar:

6:30pm to 9pm: Public Discussion: “New Possibilities for the Basic Income Movement” Location: LIC Art Center / LIC Academy of Music
44-02 23rd St., Studio 204 (second floor)
Long Island City, NY 11101

Friday, February 27, 2015

8am to 7pm: Sessions at the Sheraton Hotel, 811 7th Avenue, New York, NY
7pm until late: Social gathering at the Three Monkeys
236 W 54h St.,
New York, NY 10019

Saturday, February 28, 2015

8am to 6:30pm: Sessions at the Sheraton Hotel, 811 7th Avenue, New York, NY
6:30pm until late: Social gathering at the Three Monkeys
236 W 54h St., New York, NY 10019

Mimi Abramovitz

8am to 12:30pm: Sessions at the Sheraton Hotel, 811 7th Avenue, New York, NY
12:45-m-2:15: Lunch meeting: organizational meeting of the USBIG Network

6:00pm: Meeting: “Are we ready to start an activists movement for BIG in the United States?” the Commons Brooklyn.

Additional Information:
Press contacts:
By email: Karl Widerquist, conference organizer, <>
By phone: Michael Lewis, USBIG Committee, +1(646) 270-0911