Una sola multitudine: Struggles for Basic Income and the common logic that emerged from Italy, the UK and Japan

by toru yamamori [St Edmund’s College, Cambridge]

Summary: “All of us are guaranteed to Basic Income without any condition!” This is the demand called by various names: Basic Income / Renta Basica, Citizen’s Income / Reditto di Cittadinanza / Guaranteed Income / Revenu Garanti /  Revenu D’Existence / Allocation Universelle, etc. Michel Hardt and Antonio Negri describe this demand as one of three programmes of the multitude. This paper is written as a response to the three following situations:

First, critiques against Hardt and Negri do not understand this demand properly. Second, while recent developments within academic literature concerning this demand should be welcomed, the fact that one of roots of the demand is radical grassroots’ movements in 1970s is usually ignored with a few exceptions. Third, while experiences of Lotta Feminista, Autonomia Opereia and other spontaneous movements in Italy are recognized as an example of people making such demands among participants of this conference, experiences outside of Italy are might not recognised as such.

The argument will go as follows: I will start by introducing current academic discourses on this demand (Section 2). This will help to point out misunderstandings within the critiques against Hardt and Negri.  Then the argument by Hardt and Negri will be introduced with a brief reference to struggles in Italy in 1970’s (Section 3). Then some points of scepticism concerning Basic Income are overviewed (Section 4). Is Basic Income the cunning of Empire? It might be, so the context of the introduction of Basic Income is crucial. Thus we can learn from the struggles for Basic Income. I will look at the experience in the U.K. (Section 5), and in Japan (Section 6).


CV: Toru Yamamori is a research associate at Capability and Sustainability Centre, St Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. He is an associate editor of “Basic Income Studies”, and a member of “Basic Income Earth Network”. His academic specializations are economic thought and social policy.