Nico Hammann collected around 5,000 signatures for the Swiss basic income initiative helping it succeed in collecting the more than 100,000 signatures that were needed to force a national referendum on the issue. The initiative submitted the signatures to the federal parliament in Autumn 2013 and the referendum will take place in Autumn 2016.

Hammann sadly passed away 1st May 2015. Enno Schmidt, Hamman’s friend and fellow activist, has made an obituary film: ‘…For Nico’.  The language is German subtitled in English. Here are some extracts of Hamman’s words from Schmidt’s film:

“I’m a trained natural-stone tiler, and worked on building sites as a construction worker, as polisher. Then I got sick, suffered a hernia and was fired immediately. I had to find something new. This brought me to industrial building maintenance – I cleaned air-duct and was mobbed. I saw how badly people are treated, and labour laws simply misused. …When I started fighting back, I had a severe heart attack…….Then I came across Basic Income Guarantee.”

“One can’t point to someone and say: ‘Hey, you’re on welfare, and I’m not!'”

“But when they laughed and pointed at us, saying ‘These people and their crazy ideas!’, that just motivated me to collect more signatures. I wanted to show: ‘hey, things can be different! There are other ways.'”

About Toru Yamamori

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Toru Yamamori is a professor at Doshisha University, Kyoto, Japan.