c/o 5 Caledonian Road, London, N1 9DX, UK. Tel/Fax +44-(0)171 713 1269 For comprehensive information on the case and McDonald's (independent from MSC and the McLibel Two): http://www.mcspotlight.org/
Supporters LetterDear Friends,
The McLibel Trial began 25 months ago on June 28th 1994 and it's expected to continue into Winter 1996/7. In December 1995, it became the longest civil case in British history. For perhaps the first time in history, a multinational corporation has effectively been put on trial over its business practices - promotion of junk food, exploitation of workers and animals, advertising to children, and damage to the environment. The alternatives have also been successfully aired and defended. Despite the unfairness of the battle and the oppressive libel laws, and the Defendants' exhaustion, the general feeling of observers is that McDonald's critics have been completely vindicated by the evidence during the trial. The case is continuing to receive publicity worldwide, and the grassroots movement against McDonald's and other fast-food chains is growing in strength across the globe. Come along to our McLibel Gathering (see below) to hear the evidence obtained, and to mobilise for beyond the end of the trial.
Sunday 29th September 1996 - 10.30am to 8pm - Conway Hall, Red Lion Square,
London WC1 (nearest tube Holborn)
PUTTING THE CORPORATION
McDonald's witnesses have tended to be evasive but many have made admissions or ludicrous statements under questioning. The Defence case seems to have gone very well, although we have no illusions about a verdict based on a juryless trial and the UK libel laws. The parties will return to court in October 1996 (after the Summer recess) to present their closing speeches, lasting approximately 9 weeks in total. Why not come to Court 35 (Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2) and see for yourself? (Phone McLibel office to check when court is in session). The detailed Judgment is expected at the end of 1996 or early 1997. Whatever the verdict, the campaign will continue and we call for each and every McDonald's store to be leafletted on the Saturday afterwards (see 'Adopt-a-Store' leaflet).
"It's very encouraging to us to hear of concern, protests and publicity around the world about the case and the campaign. McDonald's had hoped for a quick show-trial against their critics in order to use any verdict as propaganda worldwide. But the tables have been turned and its McDonald's who are on trial - the truth behind their glossy image has been laid bare. This is a great opportunity for campaigners everywhere to raise all the issues about the company's business practices and to ask the public to judge for themselves."
This is an exhausting legal battle for Helen and Dave, but it's an excellent opportunity to step up the pressure and publicity against McDonald's at a time when the public are interested and concerned about the issues in the case. The trial is receiving publicity worldwide - for example, major articles, features, and interviews have recently appeared in the national media in Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, France, South Africa, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Trinidad, Russia, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Thailand, India, and Israel.
Although it's the Chicago-based McDonald's Corporation as well as McDonald's UK that's suing Helen & Dave, and despite the fact that there has been much evidence on McDonald's operations in North America, the Corporation is still trying to portray the case as "an English issue" (Walt Riker, Director of Public Affairs Communications, quoted in Oak Brook Press). This line to the media (trying to deny corporate responsibility for the embarrassing and damaging case) first surfaced in a confidential internal McDonald's memo in Australia last year: it stated, for example, "contain it as a UK issue", "keep it at arm's length - not become guilty by association", and in addition stated "we could worsen the controversy by adding our opinion". It is clear that now is the time for concerned activists to speak out and campaign - while McDonald's are on the defensive.
A wide range of organisations and groups - green, civil liberties, trades union, socialist, anarchist, animal rights etc. - have agreed to back the campaign. McDonald's brought the case against Helen & Dave in an attempt to silence their critics, but it has completely backfired for the company. But we mustn't underestimate the power of McDonald's to swamp the country and the media abroad with advertising and propaganda for the rest of the trial and afterwards.
For this reason, it's essential TO CONTINUE TO CIRCULATE AND DISTRIBUTE THE "What's Wrong With McDonald's" LEAFLETS WHATEVER THE VERDICT AT THE END OF THE TRIAL (15 pounds per 1,000 from 0115 9585666).
Over 1.5 million have been handed out in the UK alone since the writs were served and thousands of people have pledged to continue circulating the leaflets whatever the verdict. Protests and campaigns against McDonald's continue in over 24 countries. You can help by getting the leaflet into group mailouts, conferences, marches and meetings - as well as direct to the public on the streets. Every word in the available anti-McDonald's leaflet is true. The 12th Worldwide Anti-McDonald's Day is coming up (October 16th) - please picket your local store.
In the UK, we are calling on people to pledge to leaflet outside their local store at the end of the trial and on all future days of action (see "Adopt-a-Store" leaflet).
'McSPOTLIGHT' WORLD-WIDE WEB SITE http://www.mcspotlight.org/ Another nail in the coffin of McDonald's global censorship strategy McSpotlight is an internet-based library which makes available across the globe everything that McDonald's don't want the public to know. It contains 2,500 files (45 megabytes) of anti-McDonald's information and campaigning news from over 20 countries. It has been accessed nearly 3 million times since its launch in February 1996.
Please note: the McLibel Support Campaign is supportive of, but independent from, McSpotlight which is a project of the McInformation Network based in 14 countries.
McLIBEL LISTSERVER - The internet service which distributes the latest McLibel information to anyone's e-mail address. To subscribe, send the e-mail message "subscribe mclibel" to firstname.lastname@example.org Also please get involved with the independently organised initiatives below:
We must not tolerate the truth being silenced by censorship or legal thuggery. In the face of mass defiance, McDonald's will be helpless and their efforts will have totally backfired! Other corporations will then get the message not to follow in their footsteps, and it will be a victory for all movements for justice.
Mc Libel Support Campaign