Inspired by the popular initiative for a basic income in Switzerland — where citizens will vote on a basic income on the 5th of June — the group Omnibus for Direct Democracy has joined forces with several basic income advocacy groups to launch a campaign for a basic income referendum in Germany.

An important difference between the two countries, however, is that Germany does not currently permit referendums at the federal level. The main goal of Omnibus for Direct Democracy is to reform the German democratic system so that citizens can introduce and vote on national referendums — as reflected in its slogan, “Wir wollen abstimmen” (“We want to vote”).

“The idea to combine the demand for the introduction of plebiscite with the demand for a basic income. Both demands share the same idea of man and trust in fellow citizens” explains Reimund Acker of Netzwerk Grundeinkommen (BIEN Germany).

More specifically, the campaign aims to collect 100,000 signatures on a petition demanding the right of referendum so that the German people can have the opportunity to vote on a basic income. The petition is to be presented to the German parliament on May 30.

As of May 20, the petition has obtained over 90,000 signatures.

In addition to Netzwerk Grundeinkommen, the Berlin basic income group Bürgerinitiative bedingungsloses Grundeinkommen e.V.Michael Bohmeyer‘s crowdfunding initiative Mein Grundeinkommen, and Götz W. Werner’s Unternimm die Zukunf all support the campaign.

The Omnibus in Bern, Switzerland.

The Omnibus in Bern, Switzerland.

Since March 18, when the campaign was launched, activists have made use of Omnibus for Direct Democracy’s iconic double-decker bus to spread information and publicity throughout Germany. The OMNIBUS visits about 100 cities per year to educate the public about direct democracy. Now it raises awareness of basic income as well.

The OMNIBUS is currently making its way to Bern, Switzerland, where it will be loaded with informational pamphlets from the Swiss popular initiative for a basic income. These pamphlets will be delivered to parliament along with the petition signatures at the end of the month.

On May 29 — the day before the pamphlet and signatures are to be delivered at the Reichstag building — the largest poster in the world will be brought to Berlin, where it will cover the Straße des 17. Juni, a majposter-geneva-420x214or street in the center of the city. This record-breaking poster, created by Swiss basic income activists, asks “What would you do if your income were taken care of?”

The presentation of the poster will be followed by a party featuring talks, music, and food and drink.

For news and updates, see the official website of the campaign: www.wirwollenabstimmen.de (german)


Omnibus featured image photo credit: OMNIBUS für Direkte Demokratie gGmbH.

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About Kate McFarland

Kate McFarland has written 512 articles.

Former lead writer and editor of Basic Income News.