Wal-Mart Monetizes the Occupy Movement

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This holiday season, buy the perfect gift for that loved one who took a stand against America’s plutocracy: a large print of the Occupy encampment at Zuccotti Park. The poster is “printed on Premium Heavy Stock Paper which captures all of the vivid colors and details of the original,” the print-maker writes. “Ready for hanging or framing,” it “would make a great addition to your home or office.”

An outdoors sign for Walmart is seen in Duarte, Calif. Tuesday, May 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

An outdoors sign for Walmart is seen in Duarte, Calif. Tuesday, May 28, 2013. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

It’s available online through Wal-Mart’s “Marketplace,” a section of the big box chain’s website that allows third parties to post items for sale.

The irony — a poster celebrating a movement that decried capitalism’s excesses sold by the retailer that the same movement pointed to as most illustrative of capitalism’s excesses — is lost on no one.

“Talk about co-opting the opposition,” writes The New York Times’ New York Today blog.

“Quite possibly the only thing funnier than being able to purchase a Ché Guevara tee shirt at a big box chain store would be the ability to buy a panoramic poster featuring Occupy Wall Street’s encampment in Lower Manhattan from that chain,” writes Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell.

Two years after the Occupy movement began and protestors decried big box stores that “bleed communities dry,” Wal-Mart continues to make headlines as a case study in our nation’s growing inequality. In the run-up to Thanksgiving, one Ohio location asked its low-wage employees to donate food to its other low-wage employees, and on Black Friday, Wal-Mart stores across the country were the site of massive rallies by employees protesting low wages .

See the Wal-Mart Marketplace posting here, and read more at Mediaite here.

John Light is a writer and journalist sometimes based in New York. He writes a lot about climate policy, both inside and outside of the US. He was a former associate digital producer for Moyers & Company. His work has been supported by grants from The Nation Institute Investigative Fund and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, and has been included in ProPublica's #MuckReads collection. You can follow him on Twitter at @LightTweeting.
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