Here are a few articles giving a Buddhist perspective on the Occupy movement. The whole thing is much more subdued here in Oz, so I don’t have any direct experience or stories to add. But I’d love to hear your experiences or thoughts in the comments!
What is clear, however, is that the Buddha consistently spoke for the responsibility of those in power to share their wealth and look after those in need. Violence in society is, in texts like the Cakkavattisihanada Sutta, firmly blamed on inequality cause by unchecked greed. Sound familiar?
Where the Buddhist approach differs from the more socially activist movement is, as always, in the depth of response. It is not just enough to blame the ‘other’. Yes, it’s been the 1% who have got obscenely rich. But it’s the 99% who have bought the gadgets, turned off our minds, and blindly let ourselves be led down the Walmart of temptation. Yes, the structures that have led to the current situation are wrong and must change. But we have to change also. This is why I love Ari Pliskin’s slogan: ‘We are the 100%’.
This is not a matter of blaming the victim. If our compliance has enabled the crisis, this means we have power: withdraw compliance. Step out of the illusory Tavatimsa heaven of shiny things, and into the human realm. Let your hearts be shiny.