The Occupy movement may be dead, or it may not, but irony will never, ever die. In a spectacularly brazen display of co-optation, the corporate retail behemoth Walmart—inarguably one of the entities most responsible for the unflaggingly aggressive ongoing campaign to throw the American Working Class into serfdom—is selling panoramic photos of the Ur-Occupy encampment at Manhattan’s Zucotti Park, via its online marketplace. The retailer of the prints is listed as The Poster Corp, and their publisher is named as Lieberman’s—that’s their watermark faintly visible on the images reproduced below.
Occupy has generated plenty of irony before, visible from wherever you stand with respect to its objectives. There was a deep and regrettable irony in the proliferation among Occupiers of those Guy Fawkes masks from the film version of V For Vendetta—products manufactured in Asian sweatshops under license from the Warner Bros. corporation. There was an altogether more vicious irony in the senselessly brutal police response to the movement—somehow Tea Partiers who showed up to protests openly brandishing loaded firearms and calling for the President’s death weren’t enough of a potential risk to public safety for police to bat an eyelash, but peaceable demonstrators camping out in public space to call attention to economic injustice needed to be subjected to repeated violent invasions by militarized cops? But does Walmart—the company that recently drew fire for running a canned food drive to benefit its own impoverished workers—profiting from the sale of images from this genuinely populist anti-corporate uprising not take the prize?
Not ironically at all, but quite fittingly, Occupy itself recently released a t-shirt to benefit Black Friday strikers. Wouldn’t it be something if they got a piece of the posters being sold via Walmart and used that money to help organize retail workers? The very idea is surely pure fantasy—it’s so doubtful that Occupy is getting any of that poster action that it hardly even seems worth asking.
“The Revolution Will Not Be Privatized” may, alas, have been a premature slogan.