- McLibel -

should we all sit back and do nothing?

Posted by: Cathy ( UK ) on August 03, 1997 at 23:23:59:

In Reply to: public fully realise these factors posted by Matt on August 02, 1997 at 21:44:39:

: Unfortunately Cathy you seemed to have completely missed the point of my argument. The point was that the public fully realise these factors surrounding McDonalds. They do not need to be told by uneducated anarchists.

Matt I don't think I missed the point of your argument, I think you've totally changed your tune. First time you said "the leaflet serves little more purpose than to make a number of unsubstantiated claims", then after I replied pointing out that these facts are not unsubstantiated you suddenly declare that the public already knows all these facts about McDonald's so don't need us to tell them. Which is it?

Is 'uneducated anarchists' supposed to be an insult? I wont take it as one since I'm proud to be a supporter of a system based on sharing rather than greed, and where people would have control of their own lives and communities. And as for being 'uneducated', I presume you mean not having been to university etc., and I happen to believe you can get a better education about life by living it rather than sitting in some institution. Anyway, I thought you said everyone already knows what anti-Mc campaigners are saying, so if you agree it's true how does that make us 'uneducated'.

: I also do not see 'activists' as an insult, although it is a word that I would apply to Hitler, the IRA, BNP, etc. So viewed from this perspective it seems by donning the mantle of 'activists' society has shunned you to a second class level.

What do you suggest, that we all sit back and do nothing for fear that people like you will call us names?

I find it hard follow your argument, perhaps because you seem to be swinging between whether the term 'activist' is an insult or not. If the general public views us as 'activists' that doesn't mean they see us as 2nd class citizens. What it means is they're making a distinction between 'activists' who are taking action to change the way things are, and 'themselves' who want to see change but don't believe that its up to them or that they have the power to do it. Often 'ordinary people' admire 'activists' for doing what they daren't or can't imagine themselves doing.

This is where the real problem lies. It's an effect of the culture we've been brought up in which encourages us to think that we cant and shouldn't try to change things for ourselves in the here and now. That other people will do it for us, we should rely on politicians to change things, or we should pray to our god who will make it all turn out right in the end - maybe in heaven if we repent enough.

People are increasingly aware that it is futile to appeal to politicians and gods too, but as yet still don't see themselves as having any role to play in bringing about a wider change. Unfortunately too many people seem to get trapped thinking that there's no hope of ever changing anything - 'that's just the way things are', 'that's human nature'. Part of the idea behind campaigns like the anti-McDonald's campaign is to let people know that there are alternatives to the way things are currently run, that it doesn't have to be like this. And also to try and get people involved in fighting for change even if only in a small way so they can see that their actions can make a difference.

Activists are just ordinary people who've decided they've had enough of the way things are and have decided it is worth trying to do something about it. If others admire what they're doing then it makes sense to get out there and join in, the more people that get involved the easier it is going to be to bring change. We all have the power to change things if we get organised, believe in ourselves and our own strength and start fighting for a better world.

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