Ever since Occupy Wall Street’s dramatic Nov. 15 eviction, the group has recommitted itself to global outreach. While the OWS motto has always been “Occupy Everywhere,” there was previously an unspoken preferential goal to, first and foremost, protect their respective parochial camps. With those villages now razed to the ground by police, Occupy is free to wholly focus on issues of international solidarity.
Occupy already exists in places like Spain, Australia, Nigeria, and Denmark, but now media attention is shifting away from Wall Street and Oakland to these countries where acts of solidarity have been playing out for months, but got little play when competing with the dramatic police actions on the US coasts (even though, comparatively, US protesters didn’t have to deal with things like being shot at by police with live ammunition.)
Protesters recently announced their intention to visit the World Economic Forum, an annual gathering of the rich and powerful, that kicks off this Wednesday, which also happens to be the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution.
Camp Igloo includes two heated teepees and a field kitchen alongside the ice houses to shelter about 50 people in the frigid temperatures, Reuters reports.
“It is the decisions of the few which have led us into the crisis of recent years and now the same people are posing as the solution to these problems,” David Roth, president of the youth wing of the Swiss Social Democrats, told reporters at Camp Igloo, near the Davos train station.
“This is the wrong solution as it is undemocratic and cynical. Democracy is not only the right path for the Arab states but is also urgently needed again in the West.”
The Swiss campaigners invited activists from around the world to join them at the camp, being set up with permission in a car park outside the tight security cordon that surrounds the World Economic Forum meeting.
Now that most of the major camps are gone, US Occupiers are also free to focus on global acts of solidarity. I recently sat in on a meeting where activists discussed their intentions to raise money and travel to Latin America and Spain to participate in the resistances there.
In addition to travelling the globe as ambassadors of Occupy, protesters also have actions planned for the upcoming anniversary of the Egyptian revolution in chapters such as Detroit, Portland, and New York City*.
Portland’s flyer for the event reads, “Come rally with #OccupyPortland as we peacefully reflect on our fallen brothers and sisters across the world then peacefully celebrate our freedom and struggle of decolonization with a march around downtown Portland.”
Detroit also has an event planned for Jan. 25 at Grand Circus Park with a march scheduled to the McNamara Federal Building to “protest U.S. military aid to Egypt’s brutal and oppressive military dictatorship.”
Egypt is the second largest recipient of US aid after Israel, receiving $2 billion annually. In 2010, $1.3 billion went to strengthen Egyptian forces compared to $250 million in economic aid.
Last year, Congress passed legislation that says the money can only be released if the White House certifies that Egypt is complying with democratic principles, but it remains to be seen what the standards for “democratic principles” are.
For example, Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel-Prize winning diplomat who was a high-profile player in the Egyptian uprising, announced earlier in the month that he would drop his presidential bid in protest over “the military’s continued hold on power nearly a ear after the ouster of the strongman Hosni Mubarak,” the New York Times reports.
“The former regime did not fall,” Mr. ElBaradei said in a statement, arguing that the military council that took power in the name of the revolution had instead proved to be an extension of the Mubarak government. “My conscience does not permit me to run for the presidency or any other official position unless it is within a real democratic system.”
As the Armed Forces’ blatant violation of “democratic principles” continues, Occupy and Egyptian freedom fighters recognize this injustice and share a sense of solidarity in struggle.
*This is by no means a full list. These are simply planned solidarity events I’ve heard about.
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