Discourse for the Budapest Conference
At the end, an essay (much longer than it should have been and far beyond the range my English could reach).
from book: What we learned from the practice of Basic Income — A compendium of Writings and Data (Translation by Monica Puntel, Leonardo Puntel, Carolina Fisher and Revison by Tracy Halls. Art by Júlia Cristofi.)
Basic Income as Freedom
I am the president of ReCivitas and one of the co-responsible members of the pioneer Basic Income experience in Quating Velho, in Brazil. It is an independent pilot project, which directly paid 30 Brazilian Reais to approximately 100 people, within a community without any setting whatsoever conditions for 5 years.
The experience’s main differentials are as follows:
-The fact that it was financed with resources donated by people from all over the world and paid directly to each person in the community.
-Having its eligibility self-sustained by an assembly via direct democracy.
-Besides and above all, it was a social Project that was published and enabled independent academic studies about unconditional basic income practice.
However, its main standpoint is that despite being an experience about basic income, this was definitely not a social experiment within its classical sense, but, above all, it was a pilot project with a much bigger goal which was to set forth by a small real and practical unconditional basic income model, one which was highly replicable.
It was a project committed not only to the community human and pedagogic development, but to the society as a whole. It had to deal with more than inconvenient arguments or data — with a fact. There were people in a whole community getting a basic income without any restrictions, and they were doing very well and having a better life, such facts were witnessed not only by scholars, but by the beneficiaries themselves. Some of them were quantified and qualified and that reveals not only a better community in terms of materials and productivity, but more politically involved after the introduction of an unconditional basic income paid by equal members, not by a superior authority, not by a specific nationality, but by human beings, paid from one person to another, by the real citizens of the world.
But why is it that few people have heard of Quatinga Velho? There are many reasons for that, but this is not the forum for that discussion. We might have not struggled with the same energy to suitable publish our accomplishments and our studies as we did to effectively pay the basic income. It might be that in a world where people’s values are not measured by their individuality, but with the adding up of their consumption and electoral weight, 100 people is not enough to be regarded as a human sample to be considered relevant; I sincerely do not know. Independent studies were carried out and were the basis for our own critical reports presented as a paper for both, the BIEN-Munique congress in 2012 and the ISTR-Siena in 2013. We might have not advertised our studies enough, but we did publish them. By means of our site recivitas.org, you can find and download them (in Portuguese and in English). The studies and the links to the studies which have our publications as references or our field experience that led to the study, from which we establish a dialogic relationship with the production of our critical knowledge.
For this reason, I chose to bring up no news reports or former data, but a new perspective, one which has not yet been addressed regarding the changes triggered by the introduction of the basic income: a report of not only the community life, but the revolution of the understanding that the basic income provokes upon those who experience it; on the other hand, not just as mere spectators, but as its accomplishers and responsible. I decided to reveal how thorough the transformations promoted by the basic income can be shedding light upon the development of those who also experience the basic income practice in its hardest dimension, owing. Yes, owing, despite being voluntarily accepted, it still corresponds to the fundamental right to the vital minimum income which we still universally lack.
I hope I will not let down those who expect colder data. I know how much the presentation of data is important, especially because I started the pilot-project; there were neither data nor references available, except for only some theoretical information. I also hope I will not put down those who expect a more comprehensive account of the whole story with its difficulties, drawbacks and victories. I know how significant it is, but after years of experience and sometime of silence about the project, I judge it to be paramount to firstly inform about the transformation cases. If I could go back in time and only had enough time or chance either to hand myself, or the data or the report of my empirical knowledge as the learning experience I had lived, I have no doubt, I would certainly choose to report the vast experience, even knowing that my readers would want much more the data.
For this reason I bring you the witness of what I have lived, not only as someone who studied, published, planned, raised funds and carried out a project, but as someone who has had the privilege of working at the same time in the field. Both with the community, supervising and paying the basic income, and with the society and those in power so as to raise funds and the necessary support so that the project would not die. And so that there is not a single doubt, it died. After months of agony, it did not finish, it died. As true utopias do not finish, they only die to rebirth even stronger and in new places.
That notwithstanding, we cannot talk about basic income without at least trying to understand that for those who have everything basic income does not mean anything, but for those who have nothing it is somehow everything. So, the lack of it is not the end of a study, but the loss of many lives; lives that were not only not lived in plenitude, but were killed by the lack of the minimum guarantees of dignity and subsistence. Therefore, this is the dimension and depth of the word experience that I bring today and I apologize, in case it is too heavy with meanings, and also feelings. In the real world they cannot be detached from each other; they constitute the reality as the meaning of life.
The transfer of income is usually thought as the remedy for the economic issues of poverty and extreme social imbalance. However, one of the lessons learned from the Quating Velho pilot project is that the unconditional basic income is not only an economic instrument of public policies for the distribution income, but before that, it is an instrument that restitutes natural rights and the fundamental freedom protection against the exploitation of alienated labor regarding the symbolic and real violence. The basic income is, above all, an instrument of liberation from governmental dependency and political servitude and thus, of political-economic empowerment, especially for the more unprivileged and marginalized individuals, as it is a constitutional provision, the fundamental principle of new social contracts explicitly consensual.
When poverty could be seen as a natural or predominantly economic phenomenon is gone. Nowadays, poverty, more clearly than ever, is a geopolitical issue. It is not that one day poverty had been only socioeconomic, no, it is not that. But it has never been so explicit that it is not merely a state of relative lack of economic conditions, but it is indeed, much deeper and more comprehensive than that, it is the deprivation of fundamental freedom of all sorts: political, economic and cultural. It is not a state of inequalities of economic powers; it is much more than a state of inequality of particular wealth. It must be understood that private property and wealth are legitimate and are built up in a scenario of peace and productivity, but the political or economic power is only built with inequality of authority upon common asset, with threats or direct assault against people, or against all that they need to survive freely and naturally, that is, their vital or their environmental means.
Poverty is, therefore, the result of a regular and systematic destitution of not only the natural rights of self-preservation and self-determination, but also, the right to the self-conception of fundamental and inalienable freedoms. It is the institutionalization of the replacement of natural rights by laws, by arbitrary and artificial regulations and the enforcement of supremacist and disconnected ideologies of necessary and generational orders of life that produce not only poverty, but economic, political and cultural poverty such as the deprivation of the necessary conditions of life and freedom. Poverty is made of deprivation, segregation and discrimination of products not only in a poor economy, but from an expropriating culture and policy. The political-economic power reproduces poverty in all dimensions to gather domain and servitude, for that reason, freedom that does not emancipate, does not liberate. The kind of freedom that does not empower is not freedom, it is a liberal discourse.
The reduction of freedom to the neoliberal concept of choice between the preconceived alternatives and the reduced and predetermined realities not only kills freedom as political and economic empowerment; it kills freedom as the innate means to define the history of our own private and common lives. Liberal reduction of freedom wipes out each person’s natural rights to conceive their own the free for their co-existence according to their own values and meanings. It exterminates free time and space that are absolutely necessary for the movement of freedom and consensual manifestation of communal life. It slays the possibility of birth of free states and peace among all beings who are equal in sensibility and intelligence, not opposing to serve all types of violence, whether as aggression or deprivation, but recognizing the universal right to life as all vital and environmental means for all beings governed above all, by the harmony of their freewill forces, which in particular, are usually somehow equal.
Poverty is not something which happens, but it is something the State cultivates as an economic policy; it is the condition of deprivation of fundamental liberties for which people are reduced to objects of employment, studies, social benefits, military recruiting, sacrifices to myths objects and without whom the totalitarian governments and monopolist corporations would never have managed to perpetuate their unsustainable military and economic wars against humanity. The violation of freedoms, the primary source of poverty and violence, is not a product of chance, it is not circumstantial, it is indeed a phenomenon of the power relationships. From the human standpoint and its rights, it is a crime produced and fed by the economic-political powers and their corporations. Powers which find in poverty an army of marginalized people that serve not only as employees to their dirtiest and most undignified jobs, but also as political servants and religious fanatics.
The lands and territories where the deprivation of vital and environmental means is a rule, where the objective subtraction of necessary liberties is the norm, are not only the cultivation of power under the rule of money as a means of poverty for others, but it is where the culture of violence is enclosed; it is where enemies are reproduced and where the false legitimacy of the delegitimizing State as monopoly of violence is produced.
It is not a coincidence that poverty and violation of freedom are geo-referenced; poverty and violence as systems of cultural disintegration and economic and political alienation are the product of apartheids between peoples and individuals deprived of fundamental freedoms such as land, territories and common assets. People who are vulnerable not only are enticed to fanatical political and economic fundamentalism, but also religious.
Freedom is empowerment and poverty its denial
The product of land and territorial segregation, discrimination of natural rights such as the ownership and control over common assets of those people who understand themselves as subjects of the world against the rest and those taking control over resources as they’re mere objects to be used by them, a subject of studies, as corporate objects and for ideological sacrifice; whether for political, economic, military or religious purposes. Lives, whose losses are not completely ignored and overlooked, are imposed as acceptable or even positive for the sole benefit of corporate ideological myths. Lives, which are not measured by their quality, but are accounted for by their usefulness and exchange in the perverse accountability of the supremacist and their followers.
Don’t be mistaken, the worlds obviously have owners, for each one of the fences, guns and rules that are set forth against you and which have not been brought up from the ground like trees and have not fallen from the sky like water, for each decision you did not make on your own, you did not even take part in the decision making process, but it still directly affects you, there is at least one person who is taking over and controlling your destiny over your head, in a world which is not only his/hers. Is it a conspiracy? Of course it is not. The owners and the controllers of political and economic power do not do anything behind your back. They do all that without any embarrassment, straight-faced and sometimes even with your consent and commitment. They do not conspire, because it is not necessary to conspire against alienated people.
Poverty is a state of exception; it is a process of disintegration and reduction of life that leads not only to the perpetuation of totalitarian governments and monopolist corporations and their economies, but the reproduction of the whole relationship of authority such as power and violation of freedom of others. However, if we are attached to totalitarian and imperialist states we are not necessarily deprived nor alienated from our most fundamental cognitive abilities that can set us free. We must understand that we have not only our political and economic rights forged, but before that, of our most fundamental freedom to be able to manifest, express and conceive which has been hindered by the symbolic and factual violence. We have been trained since our childhood to suppose that our pre-conceptions and ideologies transmitted by those who took over the world first are our own views of the world, and not of their world, which had been imposed as the sole possible world.
We must wake up and understand this reality forgery by the behavioral conditioning of children and adults destroy the possibility of self-knowledge and self-affirmation of peoples and individuals. We must wake up from this lethargic and subservient state and break away from the concentration camps of labor, properties, and knowledge as well. We must be aware and trespass the borders of knowledge so that we can get hold of our free thought. We must face the supremacists and their prejudice that holds back our ability to react as if it were an associated consciousness, as humans. We must get rid of the chains that we supposedly believe to be part of us already and that attach us to this platonic cave where we are doomed to watch our own life history go by as if it were someone else’s show until its end.
Supremacist cultures often adopt absolute ideas so thoroughly that they lose track of what they call reality, Science or truth regarding their own faith and absolute certainty objects, even in the face of the denial of other people and societies. It is the state of collective unconsciousness that hinders the restitution of particular entities and reintegrated communities. On top of that, our passiveness in the face of these aggressors and takers is our acceptance of the denial of our right to self-conception which constitutes our major framework and obstacle to freedom as humanity
It is our conformity with the violation of these human rights that leads to the path to idolatry to power and its suppositions of legitimacy of values and monopolist states imposed by force. Self-conception alienation is a violence which deprives us from the fundamental freedom that not only systematizes poverty as a system that exploits servile labor, but systematizes servitude (supposedly) volunteer as a civil obedience to a counter-fait political power, as if it represented the rule of law.
The humanitarian and ecological disasters are not mere side effects of an unfair or non-solidary socio-economic system; on the contrary, it is the product of financial and governmental economic-political power games. Our main omission crime as a society in the face of violent, intolerant and supremacist power is not to react, not to mobilize to prevent that they impose themselves upon any human being or form of life. Thus, as we cannot make anyone like or love us, we cannot make anyone hate or despise us either. However, loving or hating us, nobody has the right to choose who will live or who will die, to choose what people need to survive as individuals and their different ways of life guided by their freewill, respecting their freewill, or likewise, the peace ensured by the diversity, and not by the imposition of violent and depriving monopolies.
We will never know real freedom until we build a humanity that goes beyond abstraction among similar beings. Humanity is not a condition similar to a discourse, but it is composed of acts that establish the guaranteed human rule of law. Systems capable of recognizing and guaranteeing life and freedom of those people close, equal and known to us, but also of those who are far, are strangers or unknown to us. In the globalized world, the concept of proximity and similitude is so obsolete and inefficient as our walls, borders and nation states that are only sustained spreading poverty in all senses to harvest violence and perpetuate fighting terror.
Either, we recognize and guarantee our universal rights out of the written rules, or the causes and consequences of these crimes against humanity are not to be limited to political willingness or lack of willingness and its social non-solidarity. We can “play dead” to the segregated and apartheid in the world, but the result from systematized deprivation of freedom and fundamental rights of peoples and persons, sooner or later will break out in revolts, wars and marches as a consequence upon all of us — even for those who think of themselves as omnipotent and invulnerable from the most basic needs. In reality, it is necessary to put a lot of effort to go on not willing to see the network of life that connects entropically not only the planet’s ecological events, but the social and human relationships in the world. It is almost impossible to look at the world map and not see that not only poverty, but the vulnerability of rights and freedom are connected and are moving from the peripheral areas of the systems towards the centers, where power lies.
Those who are segregated and apartheid from the most fundamental human and natural rights and the refugees and marginalized have nothing, not even a place where they can rest their heads on, not only because their countries are poor and unstructured and are at war or because their governments are incompetent, corrupt or even genocide. This accounts only for half the history, the other half, and more important sets people on their knees in face of maniacs and idolaters for power and sacrifices; the other half of the history of peoples who we can never forget; not everybody is born landless or without an income due to survival incompetence of their ancestors, on the contrary, exactly because their ancestors had properties and an income necessary for the development of their capacities, that cannot be taken as a pacific appropriation. This is a supremacist myth. Nobody manages to get a monopoly of common properties, vital necessities without much violence against other living beings.
If our ancestors, especially peoples and individuals slaughtered by famish or arms could tell us their own stories, we might be able to understand that we are (except for very few exceptions) descendants of expropriators by the appropriators who imposed their possessions and values by force as much as these violent appropriators — if not their heirs by genes and cultural adoption. We would be able to better understand the connections between the violation of fundamental freedom, poverty and war. We would better understand the forgery of our rules of law and peace as the denial of natural rights and the culture of denial of the crimes against peoples.
If you think that when I am talking about peripheral areas of the economic-political systems I am only talking about those marginalized citizens and refugees of the third world, of those who are not sufficiently white in the world? I would like to remind you of something very important that I learned while travelling and witnessing and asking for the basic income; nobody is white enough to enter the club of 1 per cent. As the humanity in general, very few of us are Caucasian, pure or sufficiently not black. As obviously as there are those who are black, but our human identity is being grounded by solidarity, not by what we really are denied; in the face of our discriminated rights and common and natural assets segregated by imperialist forces.
Do not challenge our potential; we will recognize ourselves as a human community as much as peoples of a territory have one day recognized themselves as a nation put together by the imperialist oppressors, sympathetic and fraternal in the deprivations of their most basic needs. Have no doubt about it! We will emerge from the barbarian of the imperialist denial of our natural rights towards the universal guarantee as the social responsibility of the universal guarantee of our vital and environmental means. It is inevitable that this path toward freedom, evolution and revolution of peoples as a humanity will continue its track through difficult ways. For that, the more one renegades, reprimands or hides all that is vital; they will only increase the unconscious perception of their deprivation. Yet, if this brings along a sense of emptiness and existential outrage, the concept of their fundamental and universal needs becomes even more certain.
When people or groups are not entitled to the pacific appropriation of vital means, the lack of a basic income can configure as a governmental crime of subsidy to salaried slavery and even as a crime of manslaughter of those who dispose of subservient labor or compensation assistance to survive. However, the lack of an initiative to provide a basic income independent of national borders or policies, the lack of international programs aiming to provide the minimum to unprivileged populations without the negative intermediation of corrupt governments and corrupt financial systems, is at least a strategic mistake that call for itself the responsibility to promote, guarantee and defend freedom and human rights.
It is obvious that the duty to provide the basic income is the hands of governments. The basic income is neither an international nor a private duty, but it is the duty of those who have control over the territory and its inhabitants and the commonwealth. It is the duty that no power can disclaim liability to fulfill with all resources and revenue from public and natural properties that are enough or not to supply the basic needs of all. However, nobody can prevent people to assume, voluntarily and mutually, the responsibility to supply the basic income where natural resources are not enough or are private. Unconditionally guaranteeing means so that people can survive independently of ways of exploitation and submission is much more efficient and sympathetically; it is more intelligent than having to afford the economic and human costs of wars and humanitarian disasters generated by the social gap of deprivation and omissions. No government should be entitled to deny the distribution or redistribution of the necessary means to life and peace as this asset does not belong to them as a possession to be denied or deterred, but it is a duty to simply supply the social dividends to their true owners and sovereign: the people. Likewise, there should never be any hindrance to prevent peaceful society from promoting this right. On the contrary, it is the Governments´ duty to provide and protect all these rights. Governments do not have the right to deprive people from their common properties, nor, consequently, of their basic income; and much less prevent or assault peaceful associations from providing it with its own private resources.
Nobody has the right to exterminate by shooting or starvation another human being or a whole population on behalf of a flag or to exclude them. Nobody can be made to share their wealth and private property, but all that is or belongs to nature as vital also belongs to all human beings. All forms of life are not to be taken and consumed, but to be enjoyed and preserved, especially for the next generations to come. So, when we say that governments do not have the right upon life and freedom of peoples we must not be hypocrites and ignore that these rights are outside the control of common properties and basic income. We cannot talk about basic income without dealing with the natural right to common properties alienated as possessions of state nations and private international corporations.
Inasmuch as power being the violation of freedom does not exist without the inequality of authority upon the common asset, freedom as a constitutional rule of law does not exist without a balanced political and economic participation in the vital, environmental and social means. There is simply no justice without the balance of powers among equal people regarding their duties and rights upon the common asset or likewise, equal guarantees of fundamental freedom to establish peace negotiation and association. Freedom as a common property and also its basic income; factual rights and not merely written rights.
IV Experimental Models
The construction of Peace and humanity should no longer be limited to rhetoric; it should immediately be the real guarantee of freedom as a social contract, as an experience. But how can we move from discourse to action? How can we constitute a basic unconditional, guaranteed and universal income, one which is independent of the desire of the owners of political and economic power and their servants?
Roughly speaking, my proposal is the constitution of small communities, completely horizontal, open and connected so as to form a network of social security without borders and which are directly financed by funds created by association of citizens, not being restricted to a venue, but by social investors from all over the world. Investors who can invest directly in the real economy of these communities, villas, cities with an enormous human capital and potential of development, instead of investing on bankrupt governments and rotten banks. Present poor and unprivileged communities, but which, in the long run, could not only pay their own basic income, but also become investors or providers of basic income in other places in the world. People and societies which, in the face of the old and unsustainable violent and monopolizing possession systems would finally be able to conquer back what effectively is theirs; recover the control of their land and territories and consequently, their political sovereignty as a people with overall direct self-determination rights.
My proposal is that we use as object criteria those people from the most unprivileged places, and it is not by chance, the lowest cost of living and who urgently need the basic income more than anyone, as they are encountering the danger of economic, political, military or religion servitude. That we indeed begin the experience of the basic income in a large scale, not centralized and vertically, but in a diversified and open way to communities all over the world, so that we can trigger a strategic expansion of a network of basic income which is not only universal, but cosmopolitan, starting from the most vulnerable places to those which are the most empowered. That will not prevent people from financing their own basic income in a mutual regime. However, as a pacification and liberation project, not only as a social security system, but also as a preventive and anti-violence one, capable of protecting these societies, for that, the basic income needs to be thought of and regarded as universal
I propose that we create financial lines to new experiences of the basic income throughout the world, acting as communities free from interests that are not ours as natural people and not as representatives of financial or academic governmental powers. We need to increase our empirical and scientific knowledge regarding the basic income, but we cannot afford to wait for the immature markets and governments disguised as a science through academic papers committed to the interests of their bosses and not the society’s.
Regarding the financing, I propose a combination of the reimbursement of common asset and the socio-voluntary redistribution of income. I propose we create financial funds that operate in venues which are completely poor so as to reinstate the common wealth, subtracted capital, and which, at the same time, can play the role of catalyst of the necessary setting up of a new social contract established between all dwellers as a social responsibility to pay for their own basic income according to their capacity. A commitment which will be agreed upon voluntarily as a corresponding duty to the right of the basic income. The duty to contribute equitably with the necessary funds so that at the due time will pay the basic income independently and self-sustainably, when everybody is committed to contribute proportionally with the same percentage of their income. So, nowadays, those who have nothing to contribute, will not contribute with anything, but as their income prospers, they will start contributing more and more.
I propose, however, an experimental basic income model which is really representative of citizenship, in a network, decentralized and directly financed by social contracts without intermediaries. Strategically geo-managed in the fight against economic poverty in all its senses, but above all as an aggression and form of deprivation of the vital and natural means that should be recovered or compensated by public properties and with the basic income.
V Experimental Studies
I do need to say that I have no doubt that we need experimental models with scientific assessments, but these experiences cannot be detached from the real world. They cannot be laboratory social experiments with human beings
We need knowledge producers committed to the anxieties, doubts and needs of populations and societies and not to their private bosses or governments. We need independent studies that respond to our questionings and not the questionings of bankrupt states and parasite financial markets, who are concerned about producing new shams that substitute the precarious rights, compensation programs and assistencialism and of course the stupid and unworthy jobs — if not menial.
We need scientists who are independent from the framework of neoliberal assumptions and values, who do not pretend to be uninterested robots or detached from the needs, vulnerabilities and interests which are more than evident for human beings. We need social scientists who do not question people and communities’ needs and natural capacities; social scientists who will not will do the dirty job of questioning, even if subliminally in their methodologies, human rights and the inalienable natural rights to which there is no questioning, not because of ideological or moral fundamentalism or supremacy, but due to generational need, as not only the ideal and moral lack in conceptual freedom to be conceived, but the rational being himself/herself lacks in vital basic conditions to materialize his/her own overall potential.
People who have been deprived of the minimum vital means cannot be reduced to being objects of study; they should be the subjects of a construction, above all the pedagogic construction of knowledge. Knowledge is not power, knowledge is freedom and responsibility. Placing us to be studied does not set us free from the crimes of omission. Making science being apart from its objects of study is not only making an inhuman kind of science, it is making an obsolete science, a science deprived of the most recent findings about the uncertainties of the phenomena in our universe, the observer’s deep relationship and interference in the trajectory and the history of the observed, and vice and versa. Therefore, if the studies I have published so far led to the wrong impression, they were about basic income experiments and not basic income experience, they were above all social interest public policy pilot projects and I would like to apologize for not being absolute crystal clear regarding my intentions and studies.
I am not a relativist sort of person, nor do I question the right of doubt, but there are some issues that we ask ourselves concerning the basic income that reveal much about our conditioned and servile prejudices and thoughts than about the people we tend to reduce to abstractions in our studies. All doubts are valid, but to question the need of something we know to be of no use except for sensibility or reflection is either intellectual dishonesty or open segregationism. I assure you that it is useless to observe the deprivation of others, it is necessary to share the pain and the fear of the deprivation. As much as it is necessary to experiment hunger to understand why we need food, it is necessary to experiment having the tree of knowledge to really know what an apple is.
I do apologize and I want to make sure I correct myself if I did not express myself suitably. The truth is that as a pioneer of the basic income, rejected or not, still, I feel responsible and wish to say with all possible words that if the project ended it means I failed. I never promised the Quating Velho community to last forever, I have always been sincere whereas the resource limitations were concerned, but if the project died, it is due to my incapacity to support it, as I have never desired it to finish. If I could go back with a basic income not only unconditional, but guaranteed, I would certainly do it. My dream was not to prove anything to anyone, but to build a basic income model that would plunge, to reach as many as it could. It would be a dream to fly as long as it would be possible, but at least flying. I do apologize, above all, to those people in Quatinga Velho for not getting there earlier, but also for not being able to maintain the pilot project longer.
Thus, the main lesson learned did not come from the ascension and development of freedom in Quating Velho, but its fall. It is from the acknowledgment of responsibility that I affirm that we need more people available to set up their policies such as social technologies aiming to set free and to empower people and individuals. We need more free thinkers who desire to build up new a knowledge, a new science — free, practical and humane, freedom-oriented, inasmuch as it demands a libertarian and cosmopolitan spirit of the guarantees of freedom and knowledge as basic rights for self-determination.
Knowledge is subjective, but Science is dialogic. If knowing is always objective and experimental, its communication depends on the conscience of those who know not only what they wish to communicate but to whom and why. This does not always mean what for. Thus, as we should not hand our lands to the rulers and their power states and corporations, we should not renounce our rights to know about the world which is not intermediated from its interests. We need to take over our common and private assets; we need to take possession of our own experiences as passive subjects and not as passive objects of studies or education.
We cannot waive, transfer nor get alienated from trying out the basic income as subjects. We are not and we cannot accept to be classified as mere dependents of assistencialism governmental benefits; being taken as hostages of servile exploited labor and used by the neo-enslave markets; for such, we cannot let them reduce us to mere objects of observation, study and education in a life time experience which is ours and not of any of the power intermediaries. We need experiences with basic income aiming at the peoples and individuals´ needs. Mainly focusing on those people who already know, from their own experience the need of a basic income: the unprivileged, marginalized and refugees. Those who are nowadays more deprived among us from their fundamental freedom and dignity.
We need to socially formulate our own concept of things as subjects capable of not only controlling economically and politically our private and common lives, but to conceive our ideals, values and judgments as a society which is aware of what we experiment really corresponds or not to our ideals and expectations. Therefore, that we might build up without any doubts, egoism or being menial, our experiences of basic income not only with science, but aware aiming to get hold of our knowledge and our own living experiences as much as we are equal in authority and freedom.
We are entitled to the property and its natural resources; we are entitled to find out by ourselves if the fruit of all trees, above all, the knowledge trees are good or bad according to our own peace experiences and freewill. For that reason, when I say we need to try out the basic income experience, I am saying that we need to set us free from this alienated knowledge prejudice, where the empirical knowledge is given by the report of authorities who took over lands, lives and live by eating the apples, and not only that, they live above all, forbidding others to assume a free life and the fruit of its natural fertility as the sensitive knowledge. My friend, if you would like to get to know the power of the basic income do not ask anyone to pay you one, get ahead and make it happen as someone who sponsors it, someone who pays it and reflects upon what you can learn with this responsibility.
I believe, therefore, the main question one should ask us regarding the basic income experience is what are the goals of its makers and those who are responsible for it?
Or more straightforwardly, whom are these studied directing to? The people or the governments and markets. We must not be naïve or try to escape like ostriches from all the political involvement that surrounds the production of knowledge.
We must not take for granted the real goals behind the studies, the human goals that move human beings and which cannot be unconsciously reduced to a neoliberal and hypocrite state as if it were a natural condition or the human destiny. We need to question without being scared and unbiasedly what the fears and desires that move those who have so much social and human public responsibility for themselves are. We need to question who the masters or the causes they respond to are. Otherwise, we run the serious risk of abandoning a libertarian and freeing practice in the hands of a Science which is not committed to any social or human values, one which is literally sold to private, state and private corporate interests; overly committed to the capitalist interests in the worst possible sense these words can take. Namely the reactionary sense of preservation of a status quo whose labor dogmas have not left either time or space for any sort of freedom
Of course, this is not a specific problem regarding the basic income, but of Science, however, this is not important. We cannot lose the sense of the basic income for nothing that is supposedly an absolute value or absolutely relative against universal necessities. If it is necessary to put at stake the scientific dogmas so as to destitute the supremacist prevalence of ideologies that are supposed to be the image of the real against the right and freedom and generational order of life, then, this is even better. We cannot go on pretending that science is impartial and supracultural, as this is false and hinders the conscious scientific production itself. This is the denial that science as any form of knowledge is only established under certain pre-established concepts and is reproduced as a whole knowledge, not only abstract logical and apart from the world, but as a reconnected and dialogic science.
No matter how much one tries to imitate the scientific production as if it were “art by the art”, it is not the love of knowledge, nor of studying (even less the object of the studies) which motivate research and experimentation. It is naive and hypocrite to try to understand the production of knowledge as if it were a mere instinct and drive to acquire knowledge. Being taken by this social representation game is almost as dangerous as it is to suppose the political representatives represent interests other than theirs, or hierarchically imposed against them. Therefore, as we pretend the kings of any kingdom, including the knowledge kingdom, are naked, we run the risk of having the whole academy reduced to the same inhuman paradigm of politics and economies as well as scholars as mere ideology reproduction instruments
If basic income is the demand for the reimbursement of political and economic rights, it is also the demand for the reimbursement of the concept as well as free and consensual understanding, above all regarding the epistemological certainties and suppositions. Experiences are to be studied, but, by what kind of social science? A science which is bonded to what kind of paradigms?
Those who produce Science and do not ask themselves “what for?” and “who for?”; those who produce science and feel like artists and can afford to be apolitical or to sell themselves commercially are not scientists nor artists. Don’t be mistaken, slavish workers are bonded to the exploitation system due to the privatization of the vital means and not by the guarantees of their natural rights. They work for the maintenance of their supposed private perks and not for the rights of everybody.
Something is obvious. There is no Science without awareness. There is no knowledge without thoughtfulness regarding the world, not as an object, but as a network of beings endowed with the power of their self-determination. Those who dedicate to study the practice of the basic income without willingness to understand even its epistemological power of liberation, firstly need to break free from the goals of their partners and learn a bit more regarding the dimension of poverty in its human condition. It is necessary to sleep over these issues, if they are identified with the living needs of common people or how the authorities’ wish — which by definition are never deprived of resources, but withhold it as a definition of power.
As for us, like commoners, we must not get in the trap of experiments which are not targeted at making the basic income happen, as this is the history of our own lives. It does not matter if those who do not identify themselves with people or common sense do not consider our relevant experiences or look down on the results we reached. What we cannot accept the untruthful arguments from government and market representatives that we cannot establish the basic income before it goes through their strict tests and get approved by them. I wish they had all these precautions against the production and usage of bombs and financial traps.
No. No, we cannot be fooled. Those who have the power (except for the standard deviation), when they want something, they do not wait; they simply play upon those who are willing and can play. If political and financial decisions were guided by scientific studies or reasoning, that is, by the common citizens, we would not have so many white collar criminals and wars around the world, likewise, we would not have to deal with natural and humanitarian disasters still caused by them.
Yes. After 5 years of experience in Quatinga Velho I still defend more intensely the basic income, but my voice is not of a mere spectator or a scholar, it is not even the voice of an activist any longer. It is the voice of those who need the basic income now and are voiceless. It is the voice of all of us, so that we realize we need it for yesterday and we still are not aware of that. No, I do not speak as an authority, but as someone with the same level of authority, therefore as a human being. For that, don’t get me wrong, I do not speak as a black, Latin, mixed race, marginalized or segregated person just like a rhetorical resource. Not only do I voluntarily sympathize with the deprivation of the unprivileged as I identify myself with them, for it was among them that I found our human condition in all its likelihood levels of vulnerability built by inclusion and affirmation, not by exclusion or denial.
I found my own freedom, when I tried to set people free from their material deprivation. The meaning of freedom, not as a means, but the search, as the revolutionary struggle for freedom. Nowadays I still struggle to recover the Quatinga Velho project, but also, I still hope it is one of the precursors of what I see as a network of basic income free from geopolitical borders and knowledge. I dream of a basic income and I see it as the fundamental principle of a new economic system, something like a constitutional device of new libertarian territories which are founded on the democratic and citizenship plenitude. Basic income democracies are performed by the right to allocate funds that will enable the basic income with the overall freedom of economic representation for all, and not by voting or representation,
I conceive the basic income completely unconditional; it is to be given by people alike in terms of authority, and not as a concession of a higher power over its submissive dependents. A basic income directly provided from one person to another and understood as both, the social guarantee of the right to life as well as the social dividend of the natural and human heritage. Therefore, I see the basic income not only as a political-economic revolution, but a revolution of social values and control upon the common asset which nowadays is state and privately-owned. I see the basic income being born from the rupture of cultural bias towards the reintegration of political and economic rights within the effective overall guarantee of civil and social rights.
Thus, I conceive the fight for the basic income as not only the movement to abolish the political and economic servitude, but also the psycho-cultural alienation. It is a movement of freeing not only classes and genders, but a whole new and deprived generation from their natural heritage, literally, due to the lack of space and free time in a world taken patriarchically by all those who violently took over the planet in the first place.
I am not only sure, but I do recommend the basic income, it is an ideal that should be experimented and known by all of us at all levels: from our own neighborhood in the country all around. It should be a practice capable of trespassing all borders, impairments and ideological suppositions so as to constitute real human rights in the role of full citizenship. The basic income is an instrument to ensure freedom, and also, a liberation instrument to all of us, which is noticed and urgently necessary for those peoples and individuals who are more unprivileged and vulnerable, but still, it is necessary for all of us, and for that, it must be supported at all instances and in all genuine initiatives.
Indeed, there are people and place that need the basic income more urgent than others, but there is no demand for the basic income that is more or less legitimate or necessary. There are no shackles that will remain unbreakable in this enormous chain which helps set all of us free. If men and elephants in a circus knew that after becoming adults the same chain that kept them as children would not hold them anymore, we would not only have the basic income already, as we would have direct democracies in the dystopias places of the world.
The basic income should not be the object of requests, but of demand, as it is a necessity which is as ancient as imperialism, democracy and philosophy and it will only appear as a social and libertarian conquest, not because I believe in peace revolutions, but revolutions, for the basic income in inherently revolutionary. Owing to that, I would like to conclude this discourse with an image or allegory with which I usually identify myself with what I have learned with the Quating Velho experience, I believe, the basic income means to me as much as the sunlight means to the philosopher, not by chance the beggar Diogenes of Sinope especially when facing the powerful Alexanders in life. The meaning which I freely translate by:
“Don’t try to give or take from me what is not yours to be given or to be denied, but what is yours as much as it is mine”.