Well, I heard about the McLibel case while I was a trainee lawyer working for a large British solicitors' firm. It interested me because it combined my interest in the law with issues I feel passionately about.
So I started going to meetings of the McLibel Support Campaign in early 1994 and quickly became involved in the Campaign.
Very soon after I started going to meetings, I became heavily involved. The McLibel Support Campaign office was being set up at the time so it needed a co-ordinator. I volunteered to take on that task and it quickly became a full time job. By the time my two year contract with the law firm came to an end in September 1994, it seemed the natural thing to come and work for McLibel full-time as a volunteer. That's what I have been doing for the last two years.
Well, the McLibel Support Campaign was set up shortly after the writs were served on Helen and Dave in 1990 and it's there to generate solidarity and financial backing for Helen and Dave and also to continue the campaign against McDonald's that was started by London Greenpeace in the 1980's.
Fundamentally, the anti-McDonald's movement around the world is a grassroots movement, and we are supporting and assisting that movement as well as helping Helen & Dave in their courtcase against the company
|There's about 15 to 20 people who are closely involved in the McLibel Support Campaign on a day-to-day basis, then there's about another 90 to 100 people in London who help out with with different tasks from time to time. Beyond that there are thousands of people in this country campaigning against McDonald's with whom we are in touch. We also have support groups in several other countries and we are in touch with supporters campaigning against McDonalds around the world. Fundamentally, the anti-McDonald's movement around the world is a grassroots movement, and we are supporting and assisting that movement as well as helping Helen & Dave in their courtcase against the company.|
The reason we're doing this is because fundamentally we feel that McDonald's is a bad thing in the world - they are exploiting people, animals and the environment. Also, the fact that they're trying to silence their critics through this legal action makes them particularly obnoxious to a lot of people. I think these two aspects are why the Campaign has been going from strength to strength over the last five years.
The reason we're doing this is because fundamentally we feel that McDonald's is a bad thing in the world - they are exploiting people, animals and the environment
Yes, well, I think it's a unique opportunity really. I think this situation will only occur once in my lifetime: having a multinational company in the dock being forced to justify what it does around the world, and with its top executives being cross-examined on oath by campaigners.
The McLibel Support Campaign has been funded entirely from donations from members of the public. Just ordinary people sending in whatever they can afford to make sure that the Defence is funded and that the campaign against McDonald's continues
|The McLibel Support Campaign has been funded entirely from donations from members of the public. Just ordinary people sending in whatever they can afford to make sure that the Defence is funded and that the campaign against McDonald's continues. There have been a few well-known people who've given some money, such as Linda McCartney, who gave a thousand pounds a few years ago, but the vast majority of donations have come from ordinary members of the public.|
Well, over 5 years Helen and Dave have spent about 30,000 pounds on legal costs and we've probably spent half as much again on other campaign expenses. So not a lot of money really, considering how much McDonald's spends on advertising and promotions. It's also about equal to the amount that McDonald's is spending on the case in a few days.
No. All the people who work with the Campaign are doing it for free as volunteers because they feel it's important. No-one in the Campaign is paid.
|The 30,000 pounds has mainly gone on the expenses in getting witnesses to court (though none of the witnesses have been paid for giving evidence) and on paying for the official court transcripts. Then there's administrative expenses on top of that. However, none of the money has gone on paying salaries to any people who are involved in the campaign because everyone is working as a volunteer.|
The 30,000 pounds has mainly gone on the expenses in getting witnesses to court (though none of the witnesses have been paid for giving evidence) and on paying for the official court transcripts
Well, we produce a lot of campaigning leaflets and detailed summaries of the evidence in the case. There are many people who write to us or phone asking for information and we send off information packs to them, and we also handle bulk orders for "What's Wrong With McDonald's?" leaflets. In addition, we have a range of merchandise which we sell on stalls and by mail order. Many journalists call us wanting to interview Helen and Dave or do various stories for the TV or print media, so we co-ordinate that and make sure that they're fully informed of what's going on and organise interviews when appropriate. Now we're also linked up to the Internet so we're receiving e-mails, keeping in touch with people that way and with the people running the McSpotlight website. We also do a lot of outreach work by having information stalls at indoor and outdoor events (such as festivals), and by sending speakers to address conferences, group meetings, etc.
We respond to any requests for information or bulk orders for leaflets from the public and we also keep in touch with journalists by sending out press releases and so on. In addition, we handle any requests for interviews.
No, not from this office, not by the Campaign. There are lawyers who help Helen and Dave on an informal basis, but they don't work out of this office. Helen & Dave do the vast amount of the legal work and preparation themselves.