“Basic Income would allow us to gain a social base that is essential to defeat fascism”. Interview with Daniel Raventós

12.05.2021 - Barcelona, Catalonia - Daniel Raventós

This post is also available in: Spanish

“Basic Income would allow us to gain a social base that is essential to defeat fascism”. Interview with Daniel Raventós
(Image by Daniel Raventós)

Laure Vega conducted this interview for Catarsi magazine.

We begin, as always, with a brief explanation of what Basic Income is and its defence from a republican perspective: Basic Income is a public, monetary, unconditional and universal allocation. It is the shortest definition of all. The most important thing, what differentiates it from the existing misery in the Kingdom of Spain and here in Catalonia, the Minimum Vital Income and the Guaranteed Income of Citizenship, respectively, are the conditions of access and, of course, that these two are not universal.The Basic Income has two big questions. The first is, is this proposal fair? And the second, if it is fair, how can it be financed?
The first is the great battle, which is why more and more people see it as an attractive proposal from different perspectives, beyond the strictly economic one, such as the feminist one. There are justifications not only from republicanism, but also from theories of liberal justice. Philosophically, academic liberalism is different from political liberalism or the praxis that really exists around this thought. I am a supporter of the justification from republican freedom, which, in short, would be the conception that a person cannot be free if he or she does not have a guaranteed material existence. That is why a poor person cannot be free. It is not that he is not free, but that he cannot be free because he is poor and depends on others to be able to live socially. Moreover, the poor – as some republicans have dealt with very well – are afraid, and fear is no friend of freedom. Within republicanism, with its 2,400 years of history, there are obviously differences. There is oligarchic republicanism and democratic republicanism; my defence is from the latter. Oligarchs and republicans agree on the conception of freedom, but for oligarchic republicans freedom is only for the rich, since they have a guaranteed material existence and do not depend on others to exist socially. Women have historically depended on someone, so have workers, servants… therefore, they are not free.

A very interesting debate arose in the Second Spanish Republic about women’s suffrage, as there were women republicans who did not agree with granting it at that time. Their conclusion was that they should vote against women’s suffrage, because “Spanish women today, the vast majority, do what their confessor tells them, and their confessor is a fascist Catholic who will tell them to vote for the right”. But it so happened that no matter how much their confessor told them this, not all women – far from it – listened to him.

In short, the republican justification of the UBI is that, given the current social and economic conditions, as long as it is at least equivalent to the poverty line, it would be the floor that guarantees this material existence necessary to be free.

Do you think that Basic Income would operate today from a logic similar to that of all those communal goods that guaranteed a certain autonomous basis? Understanding that in places like England the commons were linked to the exercise of liberties through the Charter of the Forest, inseparable from the Magna Carta.

Of course it can be understood in this way. Guy Standing, among others, is working a lot on the issue of the Charter of the Forest and is a strong supporter of UBI.

It must also be understood that UBI alone cannot solve all problems. This is something that is also often said: “UBI yes, but the problem of housing, public services, etc. are being left aside”. Of course, UBI alone cannot solve all the socio-political problems, it obviously has to be accompanied by a whole series of measures that we already know about, such as public health and quality education, among others. In other words, UBI would be part of a much broader economic policy.

Another of the criticisms that are often made of Basic Income is that it does not affect the inequalities that exist in the productive sphere. In this sense, it is interesting what you say in The Material Conditions of Freedom about the possibility of it operating as a resistance box that allows intensive labour struggles to unfold.

Exactly, some of us have defended this question, which goes back a long way. For example, in the Basque Country, it was in the Basque Country that the longest strikes traditionally took place. Basically, there is a reason: the majority union ELA, a radical left-wing union, realised that if it did not set up a resistance fund, it would not be possible to go on strike for long periods of time because people could not sustain them. So the debate was raised: a resistance fund to do what? Well, precisely to sustain long-term strikes. The idea is that UBI, in this sense, could also operate as a resistance box in the case of long-term strikes, which is what the big unions do not understand.

One of the criticisms they make against UBI is: “it is true, we recognise that UBI gives individual power to the worker, but this individual power – and here I don’t know what kind of somersault they are making – does not translate into an increase in collective bargaining power”. If people individually are more protected, what is it that makes it so that they can’t agree? Before UBI they could and after it they couldn’t? This is a tremendously weak argument. And it is precisely one of the questions that interests those of us who come from the republican-socialist tradition. UBI increases the bargaining power of many social sectors, including that of many women who depend materially for their existence on the person who is sometimes their aggressor. Many women, when they return to live with their aggressor, are asked in the shelters why they return and among the many answers one of them is “what am I going to live on? It is a very clear answer.

When I defended Basic Income, at the beginning, more than 25 years ago, among politically very diverse sectors of young people, they found it very interesting. They said that with the UBI they wouldn’t take a shit job because they would have the freedom to say no. They would have the freedom to say no to it.

Note that in republican terms it is forbidden all over the world to sell yourself as a slave, because in republican terms this is inadmissible and there is still a certain tradition in the constitutions, traditions of important struggles like the Mexican and German revolutions, the Spanish republic, etc. On the other hand, labour law is much more modern and makes a completely unbelievable fiction. I am Telefónica or Banco Santander and you are Laure Vega, a young girl looking for a job. It turns out that formally we are the same. You and I sign an employment contract under certain conditions assuming that you are free, as if there weren’t two hundred thousand people behind you, in the same situation as you, ready to accept the job and preventing you from saying no. With a UBI you obviously have bargaining power. With a UBI obviously your bargaining power and that of all workers increases. Returning to the issue of trade unions, it is also argued that employers would reduce wages if Basic Income were to be implemented. The answer is simple: wouldn’t the workers have more bargaining power to fight and prevent it? Isn’t there a law that fixes wages? Don’t the bosses always try to reduce wages directly or indirectly, with or without BI? Wasn’t it said before, and should it be said now, class struggle?

Following on from the criticisms or fears it arouses, one of the recurrent arguments is, along the lines of Rawls’ example of Californian surfers, that people would not work. In fact, UBI is often contrasted with guaranteed work. What do you think, would people not work and, in any case, would it be a problem?

The fact that many people don’t want to work in certain jobs is positive for me, because it means that they are freer to decide. Once, when I was arguing with Eduardo Garzón, a supporter of guaranteed work, he went so far as to say that small businesses would not be able to hire workers because they would not accept the conditions. Well, is this a problem? That Sánchez Llibre says so would seem normal to me, but what problem should the left have with a worker refusing to accept certain conditions?

Freedom increases for a large part of the population if they don’t have to accept junk jobs. None of the UBI experiments have shown that there is a substantial abandonment of wage labour. Those who say that wage labour, not work in general, would be abandoned have neither empirical reason nor evidence to prove it. Moreover, there are many cases where experiments show the opposite, it turns out that people are doing more and more things. Why? Because they are freer, because they feel better, because they can decide much more autonomously. All the experiments speak of an increase in mental health, which is very reasonable, because if you free people from the anguish of everyday material existence, hell, it is normal that they are predisposed to do more things and feel free to do activities that they had not even thought of doing before. This was seen, for example, in Namibia, where the entire village of Otjivero-Omitara was pilot-tested for UBI. It was impressive. People explained it in interviews in a fantastic way. Before, it had not even occurred to them to open a small business or to engage in more artisanal production.

I have no doubt whatsoever, with UBI people would be freer to choose other types of work, i.e. between waged or occupational work, domestic or reproductive work and voluntary or militant work, everyone would be freer to choose according to their preferences. With UBI, people would be freer to choose the proportion of time devoted to different types of work. At present this freedom is non-existent or residual because the vast majority of the population is not rich and therefore has to work, i.e. they need a salaried job to survive.

Right now, in certain militant milieus, the debate is opening up around the idea of “the worse the better”, considering that the subject who finds himself in a situation of greater dispossession will be the one to lead the revolutionary struggle. In this way, they read Basic Income as a way to appease this possibility.

On the contrary, anyone who has studied a little bit of history of the great revolts within capitalism of the last century and a half – although there may be exceptions in certain places – can observe that the struggles are after a certain bonanza, because people feel secure in their existence and want more. Recently, the application of austerity measures has shown that people were willing to accept very hard working conditions, worse than before, because the worst situation is to remain unemployed. “Madonna, madonna, madonna, I’ll stay as I am”, to put it in obscurantist language. Any worse situation, and not just wages, but also longer hours, more control, more precarious conditions… but at least, as long as I could sustain them, it meant a source of income. The struggle does not correspond, historically, to worse living conditions. The current crisis is, in this sense, quite exemplary. The great economist Michael Kalecki explained it very well, in a nutshell he argued that the bourgeoisie was politically very interested in not having full employment, and of course it is in its interest from an economic point of view, because the more people are employed, the more people can buy products from the markets, but at the same time, if all or the vast majority of people are employed, and we are therefore close to full employment, people have more bargaining power and feel stronger to get, for example, higher wages. Hence this economist spoke of the disciplining effect of unemployment. UBI breaks this disciplining effect.

In this logic of chronic unemployment, in order to do away with the reserve army, there are those who think that an alternative to the UBI is guaranteed work.

Yes, thought flies. And there is good, mediocre and lousy thinking. Like culture, which is non-genetic information transmitted between brains, and some is excellent, some is bad and much is execrable. Science is as much culture as bullfighting, Beethoven’s ninth symphony is as much culture as tarot. But there is deplorable culture and there is culture of marvellous excellence. Like the thought that flies. Let me explain. Guaranteed work ends up becoming forced labour. UBI would give people greater freedom to do what they want, that is, from a strictly philosophical and republican point of view: Leave the people alone, don’t tell them what they have to work on with this “the people’s assemblies will tell the people…” bullshit. And, let’s suppose, that one doesn’t want to work, even if he is told to do so by the people’s assembly or the southsuncord, what does he have to do, starve to death? Then you end up giving a conditional subsidy. We start all over again and again. That’s why the advocates of guaranteed work are in favour of conditional subsidies and not of the UBI, because with the latter they would run out of money.

Guy Standing, who was more provocative and without any foolishly academic considerations, put it very clearly: guaranteed work, but of whatever you want. And if, Guy said, I want to be a minister, am I guaranteed a job or do I have to sweep the streets?

This is only from a philosophical and political point of view, because from a technical point of view, guaranteed work in the Kingdom of Spain is simply madness. We (Jordi Arcarons, Lluís Torrens and I) did the numbers, based on the ten euros per hour initially proposed by the advocates of guaranteed work in the kingdom of Spain (world record unemployment for many years in the OECD) and of course, people who are not currently unemployed are paid much less and, obviously, they should be free to apply for this guaranteed work. We were making these calculations in the best of times, now in 2021 it would be ridiculous, even more absurd. It would mean between 13 and 14 million jobs. Then the advocates of guaranteed work (sic) went down from ten euros an hour to seven and, of course, it is no longer so interesting.

On financing, since you mention it, what is the possibility of materialising the Universal Basic Income at the Catalan level?

The people in Catalonia who advocate a socialist republic have an additional good reason for independence precisely because we could then finance the Universal Basic Income. Apart from this, it is true that the best way to be able to finance the UBI would be to have, in the case of Catalonia, total control of personal income tax and the entire tax system. When we carried out the study for Catalonia, we assumed that there was this control although, although it is a fiction, from an economic point of view it is real as it is income that is generated here, but from a political point of view we know for a fact that it is much more complicated. Therefore, fiscal sovereignty is necessary, but it is also true that by forcing things a little, it would be possible to finance a UBI in Catalonia, but not only through personal income tax, but also through other taxes, as Lluís Torrens pointed out in his article “La Renta Básica, el repartiment del treball i el capital social” (Basic Income, the distribution of work and social capital).

What about Maximum Income?

The Maximum Income is gaining more and more momentum. Saez and Zucman, in their latest book The Triumph of Injustice, explain the fiscal history of the United States and, through many studies, defend the efficiency of a wealth tax of 75-80%. It is not strictly a Top Income, but it is close. Moreover, they base it on what happened in the US in the 40s, 50s, 60s of the last century, as well as in the UK, where the richest had marginal rates of 90-93%. We can say to those progressive parties in the kingdom of Spain that show resistance: We know that you are not as left-wing as the presidents and governments in the USA during the 40s, 50s and 60s, in the middle of the Cold War, or in the UK, a communist country for many years as everybody knows. That what Saez and Zucman are proposing seems radical to so many grateful and not exactly oceanic-minded advisors and bureaucrats is understandable given the environment, but are they not even capable of accepting what Piketti is proposing, which is extremely moderate? Anyway…

Taxation by scale?

Exactly, what Piketti is proposing is a scale of the following type: whoever has 100 times the average wealth will be taxed at 10%; whoever has 1,000 times will be taxed at 60%; whoever has 10,000 times will be taxed at 90%. It goes without saying that these taxes would not exactly be a Maximum Income, but they are on the right track.

The Maximum Income is not simply a tax collection, it has an important redistributive aspect in the sense of limiting wealth. This is what they wanted in the US in the 40s, 50s and 60s, and they got it.

On 4 March we saw a rally by employers, claiming to be a “power” and demanding that political representatives put an end to the protests. How do these big fortunes operate unconstrained by the idea of republican freedom?

For those of us who are socialist republicans, it is the big fortunes that are really a danger to the freedom of the majority. Of course, it is not the only danger. There are poor people who attack women and, obviously, they are attacking their freedom and their lives. There is no doubt about that. But I want to focus the argument very directly. In Republican terms, large fortunes are incompatible with democracy. Until relatively recently, democracy was always understood to mean the government of the free poor, as it was defined 2,400 years ago. We would now say it differently, we would say that democracy is the government of the entire population regardless of their fortunes, but fortunes cannot exist because they are an attack on this freedom. This has even been said by non-republicans. The Nobel Prize for economics (the popular name for the prize awarded by the Bank of Sweden, which is not a Nobel Prize but that is what it is called) Joseph Stiglitz, a moderate economist – left-wing but moderate – says it clearly. Large fortunes are an attack on democracy and, consequently, an attack on freedom.

Do you think there is a misunderstanding about the definition of Democracy and the use of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, as opposed to the so-called bourgeois Democracy?

When we of my generation were still very young and living in a dictatorship, certain people on the left said “Dictatorship, not even the dictatorship of the proletariat!”, but they said it of course in the sense of defending democratic freedoms. But it came from a historical misunderstanding. Let us see. Marx was well acquainted with the history of the Roman Republic and spoke of dictatorship in these historical terms. Dictatorships can be subdivided into sovereign dictatorships or commissariat dictatorships, as my teacher and friend Antoni Domènech liked to specify. Sovereign dictatorships are those in which the dictator or dictators – or those who live close to him – are not accountable to anyone. The dictatorships of Franco, Stalin and Hitler were sovereign dictatorships. But in Rome there was the figure of the dictator who depended on the Senate. In certain times of crisis, the Senate, for a limited period of time, granted the dictator the possibility of doing more or less what he considered convenient, but always bearing in mind that he would have to be accountable to the Senate. It was therefore a commissariat dictatorship. Marx, the classicist and in the language of the 19th century, is thinking of a commissariat dictatorship. A revolution is an extraordinary situation and there is no doubt that Marx thought that the working class should take extraordinary measures which would mean many new things. What is a revolution if not an extraordinary situation? Marx was not too keen on talking about what was to come, he considered that people would already find the solutions. Defining the solutions fifty or sixty years in advance is of no use. Of course it did not cross Marx’s mind that the dictatorship of the proletariat, the commissariat dictatorship, was even slightly less democratic than the more democratic democracy under capitalism at that time. Neither Marx nor any revolutionary of the late 19th and early 20th century.

The link between socialism and democracy is fundamental. Attic democracy had an obvious class character. We are talking about 2,400 years ago, so let’s put it in context and not be facile critics. Women at certain radical moments had a voice, but no vote, and neither did slaves. Slaves were considered instruments that spoke, little more than animals. Aristotle was an enemy of democracy, although very even-handed. His political work is also a critique of the society he lives in, the democracy of the free poor. And what he wanted was for the rich to have more control, more protagonism. That is why he made a brilliant proposal among others: that the poor should not receive the misthos (the public salary that one of the most radical moments of democracy had instituted for attending the assemblies and being able to participate in the resulting orders) and that the rich should be penalised if they did not attend the assembly, in order to change the class character of democratic institutions. As a realpolitiker’s proposal it was great for his purposes.

Democracy and socialism have always gone hand in hand. The Stalinist regime overturned everything, with barbarities that no socialist republican could have imagined only a short time before. No one has ever done so much damage to communism as Stalin.

The question of bourgeois democracy is another of the great muddles. Antoni Domènech wrote an article that should be read by anyone who uses this concept in a recklessly casual way day in and day out. The article was entitled “‘Bourgeois democracy’: a note on the genesis of the oxymoron and the need for the gift”. Simply to learn.

You mentioned Aristotle and he was precisely pointing to the freedom that technological progress could mean when he said “If every instrument could do for itself, receiving orders or anticipating them, weavers would weave alone, plectros would play the zither alone, masters would need no assistants and masters no slaves”.

Yes, one of the factors that has increased the number of supporters of UBI in recent years are those who have signed up to the proposal because of what we could call “the dangers of automation”. These are contained in the famous Oxford University papers, which have since been followed up, according to which a large part of jobs will be replaced by machines in the coming years. They were talking about jobs that were not necessarily low-skilled.

And this is one of the problems that the republican socialist advocates of UBI, who are the extreme economic left, have encountered, among others with the economists of the Austrian school and with the advocates of guaranteed work, who say that no, more jobs will be created – as they maintain has always been the case – than will be eliminated. In short. It is a blessing that there is robotisation as long as it is for the benefit of the population. But it is not. Productivity is for the benefit of the owners. That is why we are saying that the owners should not have so much power with the introduction of a Maximum Income, precisely because of issues like this. That things can be done in three hours instead of three days is fantastic. The problem is whether this will become hell for those who lose their jobs and with it their wages, their only livelihood.

In relation to domestic work, reproductive work, there are positions that are very critical of Marx – who at some point defended the idea that women should not be part of a labour market that he considers exploitative – and who see that the Basic Income could mean a retreat of women to the domestic sphere, considering that access to the sphere of salaried work is a conquest of a certain freedom.

This argument, twenty years ago, would still make sense. Roughly speaking, there are very few feminists who still cling to this, because there is an argument that I think they have never answered. Women are doubly exploited. In the labour market and in domestic work. Once, at a congress of the Basic Income Earth Network, a feminist attendee said the same thing you asked me and then Philippe Van Parijs answered her: “And what is the problem? If you are exploited in both places and you can decide not to be exploited in one place, what’s the problem? Either there is no problem, or that feminist’s argument is flawed. What remains is perhaps something like this: “yes, but socially the pressure will be on women and not on men to leave their jobs and take up domestic work”. Yes, but let’s not ask from UBI what it cannot give. UBI does not solve all past, present and future problems. It is a measure, not a cure-all.

For me the point that needs to be remembered more often than I would think necessary is that Basic Income, by itself, cannot solve all problems. BI cannot by itself prevent the exploitation of large multinationals. Nor can it prevent, by itself, the situation of average inferiority that most women suffer in relation to men. UBI is an economic policy measure, not the only one. And, obviously, discrimination against women has to be tackled with specific policies. It would be a different matter if UBI were to make the situation worse. For me the interesting thing is: ask women. It’s like those who say that work dignifies, you say that as a university professor, how come workers don’t say the same thing? It seems ridiculous to me. In the UK, in Holland and in the United States, people who are paid very well – I’m not just talking about people who are paid shit – even brokers (who for them are workers!) say that their work is useless. “We just want to make a quick buck so we can do more interesting things in life,” said one. Most people do not consider their work to be useful, not that it is dangerous or poorly paid. “I do this job because the alternative is to have no money”. David Graeber’s definition of “bullshit jobs” is a good one: he doesn’t mean that they are jobs – although some of them are – with bad working conditions, but completely useless jobs that are done to make other people feel important and that, if they disappeared, the world would be a little better off.

The last usual criticism of the anti-capitalist spaces towards the UBI, through the idea of “reform or revolution”, they consider that this measure cannot be promoted because it is within a logic of reform of capitalism and….

Reform is welcome! It is an elementary question, to implement reforms at certain moments is the result of an impressive struggle: How did we achieve the eight-hour working day, how did we achieve the right to organise, how did we achieve the abolition of slavery, how did we achieve the vote for women? With struggles and deaths, unfortunately.

For me, as Rosa Luxemburg said, reform (worthy of the name) and revolution go hand in hand. This does not mean that every reform means revolution, it means social mobilisation, organisation, collective consciousness… in short, all these things. Between social reform and revolution there is, thought the great revolutionary, an indissoluble link. And there can be glorious revolutions that later turn into nasty dictatorships, as historical experience has unfortunately taught us in the 20th and 21st centuries.

In the past we have seen how RB was more or less defined in the programmes of different political candidates, depending on how far they were from power. Podemos, which raised it as a banner, now defends the Minimum Vital Income. Do you see real possibilities of articulating a movement that can fight for its application now that the CUP has included it in the investiture agreement?

My hope lies with the citizens. My experience over many years with political parties does not give me much hope, at least not with certain institutional political parties.

What I have no doubt about is that if an organisation of a certain institutional importance like the CUP, and hopefully others too (I may be naïve, but I don’t lose hope with Podemos in this sense), does a well-explained job, which doesn’t look like demagogy or hot air, things can expand. Not 25 points, but 4 or 5. This already happened to 15M; at the beginning they had six hundred thousand demands. Not even God knew what they were saying, only the idea remained that they were against everything. But the movement learned quickly. I think it was on the first anniversary that they already made a programme of only five points that included UBI, and this programme became better known. 15M was great, but it ended up the way it did. What I want to say is that it is necessary to focus on a few axes. Another thing is the programme, but the programme is not known by the bulk of the population. When I documented myself to write the article in Sin Permiso about the different positions on the UBI, I couldn’t guess who was saying what until I looked at the programmes and saw what the CUP said, what the Comuns said and what Esquerra Republicana said. It is necessary to explain well what Universal Basic Income is and what Maximum Income is, the idea that with large fortunes there is no freedom and, therefore, large fortunes are incompatible with democracy. It is worth remembering that Podemos has lost its fever because, after the first moments in which it made an impeccable defence of the UBI, the new advisors were against Basic Income, despite the fact that it was and is repeatedly defended by many people affiliated to the party. Hence my hope that this party will once again defend Basic Income, even if it has to go over the heads of current advisors.

Do you think that the re-publication of Antoni Domènech’s book, El eclipse de la fraternitat, reopens certain debates from the democratic republican theory on the definition of democracy and freedom within the left and that it places us in a profitable framework for the defence of UBI from this logic?

I would like to, we shall see. Anyone who believes that politics can be done without taking history into account is mistaken. History must be approached in order to learn, otherwise it is all nonsense like Adam Smith was a liberal. I am a professor in an economics faculty and there you can ask almost any professor, “Do you know that Adam Smith was not a liberal?” and they will be surprised to answer, “If he was not a liberal, what was he?” How could he be a liberal if he died before the birth of liberalism? I think that’s a pretty compelling argument, at least for those of us who don’t believe in the supernatural. The eclipse of fraternity makes it exquisitely. I think that everyone who reads Toni’s book is fascinated precisely because it is a very topical book from which one can learn a lot. If I had to summarise an important part of the content of this marvellous book in a few words I would say: good historical-philosophical-political republican documentation of the following fact: the history of humanity is a history of oppressions and dominations, but it is also a history of the struggle and resistance against these oppressions and exploitations.

On the lessons of the book for today’s left you ask, there is so much to say. Toni always said that those political formations (and this was at the time about Podemos) that think they are Adamites are lost. Although he recognised certain merits in other aspects, he was particularly interested in this one.

And on the defence of UBI, with Toni, so to speak, although it is not literally so, we reached a kind of agreement: he would defend Basic Income if I defended Maximum Income. He saw UBI as a very interesting measure, but he couldn’t stand the non-republican ways of defending it, which were very deficient. He found them very innocent and without the slightest politically interesting nerve. And very much in the air of academic fashions.

The maximum income could not be more republican, since it attacks the backbone of economic power that republicanism wants to break. Republicanism is not too concerned about inequalities. What republicanism cannot accept are inequalities that affect the freedom of others, and this is where property, as property has historically been configured, comes in. That some 150 companies, 147 to be precise, around the world control and decide 40% of global investment and finance… is republicanly unacceptable for freedom.

Some of the discussions I had with homosexual colleagues of mine were that yes, homophobia in certain places means discrimination, an attack on freedom and even on life. That is indisputable, but the world has not been shaped historically and institutionally from heterosexuals against homosexuals, it has been shaped from the rich against others. Could it have been different? Surely, but that is how history has been, not how it could have been. Counterfactuals, by definition, cannot be proven. Therefore, what republicanism does not accept is the attack that these fortunes represent against the freedom of others. The UBI does not put an end to all inequalities, but it establishes a base from which to be free, along with other measures such as the Maximum Income. UBI is a measure that ends poverty at its roots and is a way of gaining a social base. If not, this social base will be won or neutralised by the Francoist extreme right represented by VOX and sectors of the PP. True, VOX’s votes do not have a homogeneous base, but they come partly from poor people. The left has to demonstrate that with its policies people live better than with those of the right; this was already known in the 20s and 30s of the last century. Basic Income is one of the most important ways to win a social base which is indispensable to defeat fascism, without any doubt. Which, given the current circumstances in the kingdom of Spain, is no small thing.

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