Around the Nation
Tue December 17, 2013
Now You Can Buy Your Occupy Wall Street Poster From Wal-Mart
Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:44 am
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And finally this hour, an unlikely twist in the story of Occupy Wall Street. For the past several years, the movement has critiqued everything from the structure of banking to low wage pay. Well, now, you can own a part of Occupy. It's a large panoramic poster of protesters camped out in New York's Zuccotti Park. And as NPR's Margot Adler reports, you can only buy it online at Wal-Mart.
MARGOT ADLER, BYLINE: The publisher of the poster is Lieberman's, a wholesale supplier of art posters. Wal-Mart is selling it online in two sizes for about 52 and $42. The one customer review so far on the Wal-Mart site gives it five stars for incredibly irony. But Ed Needham(ph), who was part of the Occupy press team and a long time member of Occupy says none of this is surprising.
ED NEEDHAM: You can buy Occupy music. You can buy Occupy artwork. You can buy many different books about Occupy. You know, Occupy philosophy by folks like Noam Chomsky. I mean, if it's out there, chances are, you know, Wal-Mart might be selling it.
ADLER: Now, none of these stores are selling these items because of Occupy's philosophy.
NEEDHAM: You know, I think they look at, can we sell this and can we make a profit?
ADLER: It's ironic, he says, it's fun. He doesn't think we will see an Occupy fund at Goldman Sachs, but he says this all proves how much Occupy has permeated popular culture from politicians using Occupy phrases during campaigns to Occupy being featured on the HBO show "The Newsroom" to this well-known phrase.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We are the 99 percent.
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: We are the 99 percent.
ADLER: People may not agree with some of Occupy's actions, Needham says, but income inequality is now part of the national conversation. The photograph was taken by Tom Sheckles(ph) of Moorestown, New Jersey, who told The Village Voice he had no idea. But many of his photographs end up at stock agencies like Getty(ph) and All Posters.
Recently, the magazine Ad Busters has been fighting over the selling of another Occupy poster. This of a woman dancing on the Wall Street bull. When Chick Rivera(ph) became an image in a T-shirt, many '60 activists thought it made the era into a music and fashion statement rather than a movement of political ideas.
But lots of Occupy people seem to say just let the ideas percolate no matter how and like this Occupy chant...
UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Right now the world is possible. We are impossible. Right now the world is possible.
ADLER: Maybe that is how you get ideas out in this culture. We wanted to know how many posters Wal-Mart had sold. Wal-Mart wouldn't talk, but referred us to their statement that they provide a broad assortment of products to serve a diverse customer base. As for who else is making money on the poster, Ed Needham says, not Occupy.
NEEDHAM: That's OK. You know, Occupy doesn't need money. We're not here to make money.
ADLER: But a lot of people and companies are. Margot Adler, NPR News, New York.
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