by Robin Ketelaars
Matthias Dilthey called for a day of basic income in 2006, which unfortunately received little support at the time.*
The first week of the basic income was held in 2008 and was designed as a sub-project of the EU-funded “Basic Income on the way to Europe.” This was initiated by Günter Sölken, from an idea the Basic Income Network Germany (Netzwerk Grundeinkommen) had proposed. It happened with the support of Basic Income Network and Social Cohesion Austria, BIEN Switzerland, Attac branches in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, along with the help of many independent basic income initiatives in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In 2009, a significant expansion took place. A call started from various initiatives, and finally 247 organizations and over 2,800 individuals participated. In Germany a website was developed to showcase the activity and creativity, with countless ideas, suggestions, and planned actions, under the editorial supervision of Martina Steinheuer.
The 4th International Basic Income Week was held 19 to 25 September 2011 with a focus on “Basic Income in Europe“. In Germany and Austria, there were about 100 events and activities: discussions, workshops, readings, theater and film screenings, exhibitions, etc. The fifth International Basic Income Week happened 17 to 23 September 2012 with the focus on “Ways to Basic Income”.
In 2013, the year of the European Citizens’ Initiative for Unconditional Basic Income, “Basic Income a Human Right“, a further internationalization of the 6th week of basic income took place. The Netherlands organized the “Week van het Basisinkomen” but not much action was involved, we were all too busy collecting signatures for the ECI.
In 2014 a Basic Income Week website was set up in English to further internationalize the event by Robin Ketelaars. Manja Taylor handled promotion and activities.
Unconditional Basic Income Europe (UBIE) adopted the 8th International Basic Income Week in 2015 as a key item to organize every year by all countries individually. Also at the 15th Annual North American Basic Income Guarantee Congress, International Basic Income Week was adopted as a way to publicise UBI.
That year, 19 countries participated with live events: Belgium, China, Danmark, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Malawi, Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Sweden, Swiss, Zimbabwe, Spain, South Korea, Hungary, USA. A further eight countries participated on the internet: Australia, Brasil, Bulgaria, Finland, India, Italy, Mozambique, New Zealand, Zambia, South Africa.
9th international Basic Income Week had the motto “Basic income goes worldwide”. In 2016 Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) contributed to the week´s further globalization by starting a group on Slack for better collaboration. Jenna van Draalen from Canada and Christof Lammer from Austria were among the promoters of the IBIW along with many more UBI activists. Themes for other yearly events can be found on basicincomweek.org.
International Basic Income Week is a self-organised participatory week. A lot can be done, from spreading the news to friends to organising your own event with films, speakers or creative action. We can help with finding presenters and promoting your event with our shared Basic Income Week website. We welcome new participants who can share time, money or ideas! Get in touch with your regional group or the international coordination team, and let us know what you decide to do! This year there was the start of the Videothon Playlist.
From 2018 onwards there have been three synchronised events.
1) Make a photo and share it on social media with the hashtag #countonbasicincome on the Wednesday
2) Come and socialize, organize a #basicincomebeer on the Friday
3) Since 2019 the #basicincomemarch is part of the week on the Saturday
Basic Income Marches
In April 2019, social worker and co-founder of Basic Income NYC Diane Pagen and 2020 candidate for U.S. Congress James Felton Keith came together to organize a public event in a show of force and inclusion for basic income.
2020 saw a huge growth in support for basic income in the United States. It was important to provide different ways for the community to celebrate. All sorts of events, live and online, from a film screening, panel discussions, to a Year of Basic Income Livestream event featuring commentary from Andrew Yang, Andy Stern, and over 10 Mayors from Mayors for a Guaranteed Income and more, marked the important progress made in 2020.
With COVID measures in place, city organizers got creative. From art installations, to bike and car parades, to street corner protests, Income Movement in the US built tools to make it easy for organizers to plan amazing, highly successful events while allowing for safe social distancing for community members. Many people who did not go on the streets posted a photo with the hashtag #talkonyourwalk and held Zoom sessions with shoes.
This year’s motto for International Basic Income Week is ‘Forward to a Better World!’
You can follow #basicincomeweek on the web
* Basic Income Week website
* Twitter: @basicincomeweek (for sharing)
* Facebook: basicincomeweek (also for adding events)
* Insta: @basicincomeweek
*The Basic Income March website (organizers can add your march to the calendar)
Future plans? Who knows? We hope that with BIEN’s support we can involve more countries in India, Africa, Asia and Latin America this year.
How can people contribute to or participate in IBIW this year?
Organize events and spread the B-word!
Social media activists wanted for @insta and other media outlets
There is a Slack group where activities are discussed which you can join: the Basic Income Outreach Group. Please let us know if you want an invite via the contact form.
We’re always on the lookout for more ideas!
*) Basic Income Day
In 2014 a website promoting Basic Income Day was started by Robin Ketelaars.
“If everyone is his own king, nobody has to be the king of the other.” This sentence by Michael Sennhauser (Swiss Radio DRS) in the review of the film Kulturimpuls Grundeinkommen by Daniel Häni & Enno Schmidt and the film scene at Basel SBB train station inspired the crowning of the first 500 heads 1 May 2009 on the market square in Lörrach. Since then, we want to unite with everyone who burns for an unconditional basic income to trigger a wave of change.”
The action was followed up in 2014 by Sylvia Mair and Oliver Der as a Basic Income Day on the 1st of May. This was supported by Scott Santens, a Basic Income activist from the United States, and other activists in Europe and the US.
The website is in use for more “basic income days”.
Human Rights Day is celebrated annually across the world on 10 December. In 2013 we participated by showing the world through our profile pic that an Unconditional Basic Income is a human right. The action this year will take place 4 to10 December.
International Women’s Day on 8 March could also become a “Basic Income Day”.