While claiming to support social and environmental goals, leaders failed to challenge the excessive corporate powers that undermine those objectives.
Global Protest to Fight Inequality Rejects Davos Elite’s ‘Great Reset of Capitalism’
While the annual gathering of the 1% had to move online, young activists from around the world showed up to flip the script and demand real solutions to inequality.
Research & Commentary
January 24, 2021
by Jenny Ricks
This week, Davos is unusually quiet for the time of year. The conference center on the Swiss mountain resort that hosts the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual gathering of the 1% is empty of the world’s richest and most powerful. The private jets are not polluting the skies. Champagne corks remain unpopped.
The pandemic has moved their meeting online this week, with a planned face-to-face meeting in Singapore in May.
The WEF continues to meet as the pandemic devastates the world. The jarring realities of the “haves” and the “have nots” has provoked increasing anger, but so far precious little change. In fact, while the majority of the world struggles with rising hunger, how to earn a living, and keeping themselves and their families safe and healthy, billionaires have continued to profiteer at record rates.
While U.S. billionaire wealth has grown by over $1 trillion since the pandemic started, millions of people experience crisis levels of hunger and unemployment. The pandemic has exposed more than ever just how unequal our world is, and how much our leaders have failed their people.
The WEF, in its attempt to read the room, is calling for “The Great Reset of Capitalism.” Even the 1% know that neoliberalism has failed people and the planet. But no one wants the “great reset” they are envisioning. Instead, what is happening is a “great resistance” to extreme wealth and all that it represents — greed, corruption, racism, patriarchy, and inequality.
Despite the severity of the second Covid wave in so many countries, the determination to protest is strong. More than ever, people are coming together in one massive movement during a week-long Global Protest to Fight Inequality to demand solutions that work for the 99%. People on the frontlines of inequality are cancelling Davos and its empty rhetoric.
People know Davos is a symbol of a failed era, one that we need to leave behind as we talk of what “recovery” from Covid-19 must look like. Instead, globally, we as Fight Inequality Alliance are demanding a People’s Recovery Plan, as well as national demands of our governments. Watch and their message of determination and hope in this short video:
The pandemic supercharged the inequality virus that has plagued our societies. We will replace this system with one that works for all and build societies based on equality, dignity, and our shared humanity. In around 30 countries, from Kenya to the Philippines, South Africa to Mexico, India to Chile, we are rising up around the world to protest being exploited, abused, and cheated. We can do so much #BetterThanDavos.
We kicked off the week of global protest over the weekend with actions in several countries and by projecting an alternative Davos message onto the conference center where the WEF usually takes place.
The projection features young inequality activists from Kenya, the Philippines, the UK, and Mexico rejecting the Davos script and replacing it with real solutions to inequality the world needs to hear. We have to let go of the old ways and imagine the new. Our message to “abolish billionaires” rang out on the mountaintop to the world.
People on the frontlines of inequality know better than to bet on the promises of billionaires and of a rigged system. The people’s solutions — our solutions — are #BetterThanDavos. Through protest, rallies, concerts, stunts, caravans, petitions, music, poetry, dance, and more, this week will help us create a loud message of both resistance and hope — towards creating the system change we need.
Many protests have moved online, and some are offline where it is possible to do so safely. The pandemic has changed our methods, but not our determination or our goal.
We cannot continue the cruelty of the current system where billionaire wealth continues to explode, while billions struggle to survive. The way out of this mess begins with organizing from the grassroots, with alliances that bring people together to tackle the structural roots of the problem and build mass pressure for change. It starts with all of us.
Jenny Ricks is the Global Convenor of the Fight Inequality Alliance. Their Global Protest to Fight Inequality will continue through January 30. For actions in your country and other protest materials, see: www.fightinequality.org. Follow the Fight Inequality Alliance on twitter, Facebook and Instagram.