OccuList: Protesters sought to sell Occupy Wall Street merchandise for profit

Matthew Boyle | Investigative Reporter

A cache of private emails among Occupy Wall Street protesters shows they planned to sell protest-themed merchandise in order to raise money to support their anti-capitalist cause.

An online merchandise marketer named Kristen Harrington emailed left-wing activist Justin Wedes on September 25 indicating she was helping put together a merchandising effort to raise money for the protesters. “We spoke on the phone this evening regarding fundraising,” Harrington wrote to Wedes. “This is a link to my store(just set up today) at cafepress.com.” Wedes is a leader of the “OurSchoolsNYC” movement.

As of Monday, Harrington’s Café Press online store was advertising thongs, dog t-shirts, hoodie sweatshirts and other merchandise for sale, all emblazoned with Occupy Wall Street catchphrases.

Harrington described the company that was manufacturing the merchandise.

“This company has a home office in San Mateo, CA and 2 other offices in KY and NC,” she wrote. “I am not sure exactly where the shipping is done out of. I have designed this merchandise myself and have marked the prices up from cafepress’s by $9.17 across the board.

“All profits will go to fund the occupywallstreet demonstrations.”

In followup emails, Wedes and others appear to embrace the use of capitalism to support their anti-capitalist efforts. Wedes forwarded Harrington’s email to the entire listserv and asked: “Any objections?”

Just two activists responded, and their only concerns appeared to be a desire to ensure merchandise was made in the United States, and that the funds raised from Occupy Wall Street merchandise sales would actually go to them.

“Do we know them and is the $$ really coming to OWS?” one protester, whose name ws listed as “grimwomyn,” wrote.

In another apparent breach of anti-capitalist purity, an activist named Harrison Schultz wrote that his YouTube video of the protests had attracted so many viewers that his “Google has invited me to monetize my clips.”

“Moreover,” Schultz added, “my boss, from a publicly traded marketing company who thinks we’ve all done a killer job, has offered to help me learn how to use adsense to make some cash for the occupation.”

He signed the email “In solidarity, Harrison.”

These emails on the private Occupy Wall Street listserv first surfaced on the conservative Big Journalism website. Site editor Dana Loesch reported that the emails show MSNBC host Dylan Ratigan and many other media figures advised the anti-capitalist protesters about how to behave — a collaboration that appears to be an egregious breach of journalistic ethics.

The Daily Caller will continue digging through the emails throughout the day. Stay tuned for more updates.

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