- McLibel -

Let's expend our energy on something more worthwhile

Posted by: Jane ( UK ) on July 29, 1997 at 01:46:12:

In Reply to: (slagging off match continues) posted by Frank Dobbie on July 28, 1997 at 22:58:26:


I think you need to stop and think about who has a weak case, and to remember that it was you who dragged the debate down to a personal slanging match. My first reply to your posting was a positive suggestion for you to take some action to remedy what you viewed as a problem i.e. that McSpotlight pages on Nestle were a little brief. Your reply was totally negative and consisted of slagging off anti McDonald's campaigners and included an extremely insulting remark about McLibel leaving children to die, which was totally unwarranted and really did make me question your motives.

I personally agree it would be good if there was more information about Nestle on site, but for it to get there someone has to compile it. If you feel so strongly about it why don't you do that. The reason I used the phrase 'which you say is very important', was not because I don't see it as an important issue, but because IF YOU DO then surely you would want to take the opportunity to put the case. As regards your other questions yes I do see the Nestle campaign as important, no I don't view it as more or less important than the anti-McD campaign. All struggles against oppression and injustice are equally important. At different times in my life I get involved with different things, but that doesn't mean I'm deciding that other issues are less important.

The reason I questioned your involvement with the anti-Nestle campaign is because in my many years of campaigning it has invariably been the case that people who criticise you for campaigning on one issue, and say that instead you should be campaigning on another, are doing absolutely nothing themselves about any issue. If you are involved in the anti-Nestle campaign then I'm pleased because I'm always glad when people take action to expose the evil business practices of multinationals, however I really find it hard to understand that you can't see the damage that McDonald's is doing to the world.

: > The fault of dying children lies not with the McLibel campaign but
: > with Nestle and other companies like them. They are the ones
: > carrying out the deeds that kill. Not McLibel.

: An interesting statement there. Now try this one. 'The fault of
: cruelty to chickens lies not with McDonalds but with Sun Valley, they
: are the ones carrying out the deeds that result in cruelty, not McDonalds".

Very different, McDonald's ask Sun Valley to rear and slaughter chickens for them, therefore, as the Judge ruled they are 'culpably responsible' for the cruel practices. Same way as if you hire a contract killer to bump someone off you can be done for murder even though you didn't do the killing yourself. McLibel didn't ask Nestle to kill 3rd World children.

You're right I didn't like your point, as I've said I think it was stupid and insulting, but if you think I've misunderstood it perhaps that's down to the way you expressed it.

: The Nestle campaign has been running since the early 70s and it
: *certainly* won't get anywhere with irrelevant distractions as
: McLibel sucking up resources.

Don't quite see how McLibel is sucking up resources, the two campaigns are run independently.

: And there was I thinking that he'd found 3 minor parts proven,
: none of which were entirely earth shattering, the vast majority he
: found libelous and now you engaging in semnatic acrobats to try and
: prove he actually meant something different.

The vast majority of the claims made in the leaflet were proved. The judge ruled as facts that:
McDonald's food is high in fat and salt and low in fibre.
That anyone who eats it on a regular basis has a very real risk of heart disease.
That McDonald's food is not nutritious and it's deceptive if they try and promote it as such.
That McDonald's exploits children with its advertising techniques.
That McDonald's is culpably responsible for cruelty to animals
That McDonald's pays low wages and thereby helps to depress wages in the catering industry
That McDonald's is strongly anti-union
That the compay only uses a small amount of recycled material in its packaging.

Do you care about any of these issues or not?
If you think none of them are earth shattering revelations, i.e. we all knew them anyway, then aren't you concerned that McDonald's was allowed by the UK legal system to bring a case against two campaigners alleging they'd been libelled over these very criticisms. Bogging them down for several years in what must have been an extremely stressful experience.

In reality the only issue the defendants really lost the verdict on was rainforests, which is pretty strange considering McDonald's admitted that they used beef from former rainforest land.

The campaign is continuing, McDonald's have now conceded defeat and given up on any attempt to stop leafleting or to demand costs or damages. Despite what you say they did originally claim costs, damages and an injunction, and it's only because of public outrage and mass defiance of their activities that they've given up on this.

: >> A campaign against a burger company or one against a company
: >> which kills children? There's no contest, the McLibel issue pales
: >> into insignificance when compared with real world issues of today
: >> and is just an unneccessary distraction.

You're right there is no contest. They're both equally important and rather than having battles between campaigners we should be having battles with all multinationals. They all do real damage. McDonald's included.

: > Especially in countries like Brazil where large numbers of indigenous people > still live in forests, so when forests are destroyed so are their lives and > communities.

: ..and McDonald's are doing this? Oh of course not, that's what the
: judge concluded. Think about it next time you have a corned beef
: sandwich.

I don't eat corned beef, or any type of beef for that matter. McDonald's may not be doing it directly but evidence in the trial showed that they were buying their beef from areas where the forests have been destroyed to make way for cattle ranches. In my book that makes them responsible for the destruction.

: In actual fact the
: issues raised in this campaign are nothing more than attempts at
: gaining a cloak of respectability for a campaign that is really more
: about diet and what has been referred to as 'food fascism'.

what was that about trading insults and slanging matches?
try putting your arguments instead.

: The low pay and anti-union issue was bogus from the start since Steel
: and Morris, as militant vegetarians, had targetted McDonalds as the
: biggest supplier of beef to the public.

Do you know them? Aren't you making assumptions about their motives, just as you complain I allegedly did about yours (I was actually questioning your motives)? Even if they are both 'militant vegetarians' (which I must say I've never heard them described as before) why should that mean they don't care about low pay and trade union rights. The 3 issues are perfectly compatible to hold as a set of beliefs. I haven't repeated word for word all of what you said as it continues in the same vein, making assumptions about peoples motives in fighting the company and alleging people don't care about the workers and its all secretly about forcing others to be vegetarian. And by the way, McDonald's don't create jobs, they destroy them. When they move into a neighbourhood, small cafe's etc, who employ more people per volume of food sold, close down because they can't compete against McD's advertising budget.

The issues of what is wrong with the company are set out on site, and I've set them out in my messages. If you have some EVIDENCE that these are not sincere, as opposed to just personal prejudices, then perhaps you'd like to say what it is. I can tell you that I'm sincere in fighting against the company on all of the issues, and I don't have any secret hidden agenda. Nor have any of the other anti McDonald's campaigners that I've met and got to know.

: If your concern is indeed for the 'rainforest', I suggest you address
: the logging companies who are doing *far* more damage to the rainforest
: than McDonalds in areas like the Philipines, Indonesia and Borneo,
: and the corned beef companies in the UK who switched production from
: Argentine pampas raised beef to Brazilian beef as a result of the
: Falklands War.

Have campaigned against the logging companies too don't worry.

: As for 'low pay' and lack of union recognition, I take it you'll all
: be picketing IBM for union recognition and, on behalf of those
: hundreds of thousands who work in quite atrotious conditions for even
: less pay that a burger flipper - in the NHS? No? Why not?

Sorry, why is it you assume that I haven't been on any pickets in support of union recognition? Again isn't that exactly what you accused me of - what do you know about what I've been doing? I've been on plenty of picket lines in support of workers fighting for better pay or for union recognition.

The campaign against McDonald's is going to continue for as long as they're exploiting workers, children, animals and the environment and pushing junk food. Which no doubt means for as long as they're in existence. It's pretty futile for you to try to stop the campaign, McDonald's didn't succeed and neither will you. I suggest that if you still can't see that people are justified in campaigning against the company, you just get on with fighting on the issues which you consider are most important. That way you won't be wasting your valuable energy, or ours.

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