THE OCCUPY movement, which went global after protests against Wall Street last year, is camping in igloos to bring its argument with the super-rich “one per cent” to Davos.
It is a reminder to the leaders of finance and industry at the World Economic Forum of the resentment that is leading to questions about the future direction of capitalism.
“At meetings the rest of society is excluded from, this powerful ‘one per cent’ negotiates and decides about the fate of the other 99 percent of this world,” says David Roth, “Camp Igloo” organiser and head of the Swiss centre-left’s youth wing.
“The economic and financial concentration of power in a small, privileged minority leads to a dictatorship over the rest of us. The motto ‘one person, one vote’ is no longer valid, but ‘one dollar, one vote’. We want to change that.”
Roth’s group has set up camp in sub-zero temperatures and snow to “occupy” the WEF in a car park just outside the security cordon around the meeting that has become a byword for globalisation.
He is seeking dialogue with the WEF but few of the 2,000 visitors are likely to sees the camp by the train station, many preferring to travel by private jet or helicopter from Zurich. A one-way trip costs SwFr5,100 according to a WEF handout.
Police arrested two men suspected of scrawling “SMASH WEF” on the walls of the Swiss National Bank in Zurich last week. They also stopped an unauthorised anti-WEF demonstration in the capital Berne on Saturday.
In its Global Risk Report earlier this month, the WEF showed it is well aware of the Zeitgeist, warning that a backlash against rising inequality risks derailing the advance of globalisation and threatens growth worldwide.
City A.M. Reporter