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McLibel Support Campaign
P R E S S . R E L E A S E . 01/02/01
McDonald's and Vegetarianism - Same Old Exploitation
Some years ago McDonald's began introducing McVeggie burgers into its stores in various countries (including a whole range of vegetarian food in India), often on a trial basis. This is no surprise as the corporation has been heavily targetted all over the world for many years by a wide range of movements, including the opponents of animal cruelty. It now seems that they plan much more extensive availability and marketing for the McVeggie burger product, including in the US. But is this something to be welcomed, ignored or derided?
McDonalds' always have been and always will be dedicated to the accumulation of profits for their shareholders - profits from the systematic mass exploitation of workers, from evironmentally- destructive and anti-social agribusiness, the promotion of mass-produced and processed junk food (including meat products) wrapped in wasteful and damaging packaging materials, and the mass manipulation of people (including kids) through marketing.
Part of its marketing strategy since the mid-1980s has been to try to neutralise public criticisms and opposition by trumpeting a few cosmetic changes to its menu or practices, and by 'sponsoring' or allying themselves with various high profile events and organisations (relating to the environment, dietary health, litter, children etc).
McDonalds' selling of veggieburgers just means that they believe that there is a market to exploit and control - that is vegetarians. They wish to exploit this market, as well as exploit those who eat meat. Capitalism works hard to ensure that all human needs can be reduced to a market to exploit, rather than allow or accept people's efforts to fulfil their own needs (by growing, preparing or cooking, or sharing the food they eat). Vegetarians have an impressive tradition of self-activity and concern for the wider issues of eating food - this means that the vegetarian tradition contains strong tendencies to inspire and educate people about the need to oppose exploitation in all its forms, and to see that there are real alternative solutions to the problems we face in society.
Attempts by McDonalds' (and other capitalist organisations) to encourage vegetarians to become passive consumers of their products can therefore be seen as a direct challenge to the independence, integrity and humanity of those who oppose animal cruelty.
Meanwhile McDonald's continues to be the world's largest single user and promotor of meat products, and therefore responsible for animal cruelty on a huge scale.
In the same way, the Corporation continues to be responsible for a wide range of oppressive and exploitative business practices in its pursuit of ever-greater profits and influence.
Rather than be impressed or conned by any new, standardised, mass-produced Corporate product, let's continue the search for alternative solutions and methods which will empower people at the grass roots and promote a vision of a future without the current mass exploitation and oppression of all people, animals and the environment.
McDonald's must be abolished.
It has been suggested that if people wish to put 'demands' to McDonalds, they could demand that every store be turned into a public toilet - a facility sorely needed in every high street. We say, let local communities decide!
Meanwhile, we should do our utmost to expose the obnoxious and fundamental realities of all institutions based on profiteering or domination, and let the public draw their own conclusions about how to help reclaim control over their lives and communities.
This is what the global anti-McDonald's campaign has generally been about - focussing on McDonald's as a symbol of the whole profit and power mentality and how it affects our day to day lives. That is why we fought so hard in the McLibel battle.