January 25th, 2012
04:56 PM GMT
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – The secret of a good igloo is its spiral structure, with snow blocks slotting into each other to protect against sub -zero temperatures.
But here at Davos, the Occupy WEF organizers - who’ve built seven igloos as they settle into protests against the World Economic Forum - have found rising temperatures a greater challenge.
Despite the biggest snow dump in decades, one day’s five degree high collapsed an igloo while a protestor was sleeping inside. Apparently it only sunk five centimeters at a time, and created entertainment rather than panic.
I chatted with Sascha Müller, who heads up the Davos Young Socialists, inside one of the igloos, perched on two mattresses and a heat blanket. The temperature inside the igloos is mild, but the entrance tunnels need to be continually monitored throughout the night to ensure snow is not piling up and blocking off oxygen.
Müller is a third generation politician, with his father and grandfather both involved in Switzerland’s more centrist Liberal Party. His mother “has to say we are not allowed to talk politics at dinner,” he jokes.
The 24-year old, a Davos local, grew up with the World Economic Forum on his doorstep and says his political views were influenced by the influx of royalty, financial and political leaders from around the world converging on his town - amid increasingly tense security - which is also home to asylum seekers from Eritrea and Afghanistan.
His message: The world should deliver “one person, one vote, not one dollar, one vote.” This is not a challenge to capitalism - Muller has his iPhone and Canon camera at hand - but a call to try and fix it. “To avoid capitalism, you have to sit naked in a tree,” Muller says. “We know we are privileged, we are not revolutionaries, but we want to reform the system.”
Those attending Davos have “no democratic legitimacy,” according to the Young Socialists’ central secretary Kristina Schüpbach. And the group has plans to try and force politicians to recognize a concept dubbed the “one, two, 12” which dictates the highest paid executive in a company cannot be paid more than 12 times the lowest paid staff member.
From their chilly base five minutes walk from Davos Dorf train station, the protestors are already making contact with those they want to influence, seeking meetings with the WEF delegates which they hope will come to fruition.
Plus, WEF delegates are not averse to popping by: Robert Greenhill, the forum’s managing director and former president of Canadian International Development agency, dropped in to offer his snow-digging skills.
The executive helped build up one of the igloos before later tweeting: "Just down at #occupywef using Cdn skills to help their igloo. Different approach, same goal: improving the state of the world #wef.”
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