In times of Coronavirus: UBI is an idea whose time has finally come

In times of Coronavirus: UBI is an idea whose time has finally come

The solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income. … We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education, instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be affected if poverty is first abolished.

Martin Luther King Jr., Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? (1968)

We hope this email finds you, and all those you care for, safe and well.

Many of us also have family, friends and colleagues in many different parts of the world and, coupled with the ever rising number of cases here in the UK/Europe/USA, the news about the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) across the global south, for many of us, will be even more worrying.

It is becoming more apparent with every passing day that the Coronavirus pandemic is holding a mirror up to every single aspect of human life and activity and that this scrutiny leaves much of humanity’s 21st century day to day behaviour sorely wanting. The ultimate damning evidence of this is the millions upon millions of our fellow sisters and brothers in the global south who don’t even have access to the basic protective shield of soap and water as this pandemic rages across the globe.

It’s not as if we didn’t know the system was long broken. We did. The evidence has been piling up for years and years. However, global inequality and the unstoppable ascendency of the tax evading greedy 1%; the harm of agribusiness and factory farming at one end and illegal poaching at the other; big pharma’s monopolies and the erosion of the primacy of publicly funded healthcare and research; and finally, ultimately, climate catastrophe; none of this was enough to force the hands of the political class, financial and corporate sectors to change course and ‘do the right thing’.
Continue reading

King Assassination Project (Working Title)

King Assassination Project (Working Title)

In summer 2018 we began filming for our ‘King Assassination Project’. The film will look at more than 40 years of controversy surrounding the case. More importantly – and uniquely –offers an opportunity to put the case that King’s assassination was a direct result of the threat posed from his latter years activity(1965-68) as he led the civil rights movement into anti-Vietnam War and Economic Justice coalition building.

We are indebted to the support of our friends and colleagues at Sands Films Studios, our production partners on this film, along with a number of major donors who have underwritten the first phase of production.

In April 2018, the world marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King and in summer 2018 we began filming for our ‘King Assassination Project’. The film will look at more than 40 years of controversy surrounding the case. More importantly – and uniquely –offers an opportunity to put the case that King’s assassination was a direct result of the threat posed from his latter years activity(1965-68) as he led the civil rights movement into anti-Vietnam War and Economic Justice coalition building.

It is the story of King we have never been told. It dives deep into the root causes, planning and aftermath of the assassination of one of the towering political figures of the 20th century; a story of resonance today for African Americans in particular and, in general for all those around the world who are concerned with social justice.

********

WHY MLK STILL MATTERS – AND WHY THIS FILM NOW

MLK is a man whose time is now.  His call for an end to poverty, racism and militarism is arguably way more prescient now than in 1967. This film would both bring a thorough and up to date telling of the MLK assassination as well as shed light on MLK’s relevance for today.  This project has grown out of our research on MLK as part of our collaboration with colleagues in the USA to finds ways to internationalise the work of Dr King at the end of his – in particular his Poor People’s Campaign and associated Economic Bill of Rights. Article written to mark 50th Anniversary

https://mlkglobal.org/2018/04/03/if-you-think-you-know-martin-luther-king-think-again/

 

 

The case for Universal Basic Income

But, after a Conservative government ended the project, in 1979, Mincome was buried. Decades later, Evelyn Forget, an economist at the University of Manitoba, dug up the numbers. And what she found was that life in Dauphin improved markedly. Hospitalization rates fell. More teen-agers stayed in school. And researchers who looked at Mincome’s impact on work rates discovered that they had barely dropped at all. The program had worked about as well as anyone could have hoped.

Mincome was a prototype of an idea that came to the fore in the sixties, and that is now popular again among economists and policy folks: a basic income guarantee. There are many versions of the idea, but the most interesting is what’s called a universal basic income: every year, every adult citizen in the U.S. would receive a stipend—ten thousand dollars is a number often mentioned. (Children would receive a smaller allowance.)

One striking thing about guaranteeing a basic income is that it’s always had support both on the left and on the right—albeit for different reasons. Martin Luther King embraced the idea, but so did the right-wing economist Milton Friedman, while the Nixon Administration even tried to get a basic-income guarantee through Congress. These days, among younger thinkers on the left, the U.B.I. is seen as a means to ending poverty, combatting rising inequality, and liberating workers from the burden of crappy jobs. For thinkers on the right, the U.B.I. seems like a simpler, and more libertarian, alternative to the thicket of anti-poverty and social-welfare programs. Continue reading

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights and Peace movement

King addressed the issue of the relationship between the struggles for peace and civil rights in his Riverside Church speech. He began the speech by addressing the criticisms of those who suggested that it was not his “place” to speak out against the war:

“”Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people,” they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known my commitment, my calling or me. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.” Continue reading

Martin Luther King Jr.’s Critiques of Capitalism and Militarism

America’s celebrations of Martin Luther King Jr. typically focus on his civil rights activism: the nonviolent actions that led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The last few years of King’s life, by contrast, are generally overlooked. When he was assassinated in 1968, King was in the midst of waging a radical campaign against economic inequality and poverty, while protesting vigorously against the Vietnam War. Continue reading