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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  • Edward Moriarty

    They sold Sam Walton’s soul, why should this surprise us.

  • Anonymous

    What?!? And what self-respecting, and otherwise respectful supporter of Occupy would set foot in a Walmart? I don’t get it.

  • Anonymous

    Given the poverty of his soul, it was a bad bargain at any price.

  • anonononononon

    no different from people purchasing the guy fawkes mask to protest…putting money in the pockets of Time Warner.

  • Kevin Schmidt

    …and Amazon.

  • http://www.google.com/ haydesigner

    Sold *online*… not in a store.

  • http://www.google.com/ haydesigner

    To be fair, it was other employees of the Ohio location that asked their fellow employees to donate food to other employees that seemed to be having problems affording food. Not the store itself or store management.
    (The point is still basically valid, however.)

  • LOVEBIRD1103

    Sam Walton was a kind and generous man. He always had time to talk to the associates. He always stressed the value of the associates, and the customer was always right.

  • Tanya Vudler Casale

    This just illustrates how complicated and interdependent our world is. It is difficult to extricate oneself even from that which one most strongly opposes. In the case of the poster it is at least obviously ironic, and easier to stay away.

  • http://www.google.com/ haydesigner

    Really? You down-voted me because I pointed out that one doesn’t actually set foot in a Walmart? *smh*

  • Pierce Pyrite

    Oh, they’re going after that anti-capitalism dollar. Very big dollar there. Good market.


  • Robert L

    Beverly, I’m a Walmart Associate. The people that are promoted to managerial positions at Walmart would never be any kind of managers in the real working world. They are completely unqualified to be managers and their lack of qualifications shows in how they manage the stores. Walmart stores are shabby looking, the Associates have screwed up scheduling, and we all know about the pay issue.

  • Anonymous

    How about Walmart selling a poster of employees paying for Walmart food with food stamps?

  • Anonymous

    Wal-Mart will never sell in stores or online my book ‘Occupy Walmart,’ which is more threatening to their bottom line than any poster of Zuccotti Park.

  • http://Beaufishblues.wordpress.com/ leah #lovemyplanet

    When meaning loses it’s purpose we know the end is near

  • oshaunasy

    Sam Walton is dead and his store is now under the command of greedy relatives and corporate hacks. If setting precedent to lower wages across the nation and off-shoring manufacturing jobs to China is kind and generous, I’d hate to see this mega corporation on a bad day! I’d also like to see how this generosity will feed its underpaid workers once the Walton’s congressional buddies slash food stamps.

  • Anonymous

    Why are you yelling? When someone is a manager that means they get paid a flat fee no matter how many hours they work. Guess how Wal-Mart uses that.

  • Anonymous


  • Anonymous

    Read a little about Sam Walton. He was pretty cool.

  • Anonymous

    Same thing happened with McDonalds.

  • http://www.google.com/ haydesigner

    Fair. As in sharing the whole truth.
    Not just selectively sharing part of it in order to inflame.