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News ::
08 Sep 2002
details on the days coming up- and why.
by McLibel Support Campaign 1:44pm Wed Sep 4 '02
address: 5 Caledonian Rd, London, N1 9DX, UK. phone: +44-(020) 7713 1269 mclibel (at)

1. World Anti-McDonald's Day - Wednesday October 16th
2. This year McDonald's workers call for joint action
3. The Global Campaign
4. What's Wrong With McDonald's?

for widespread distribution..

McLibel Support Campaign / London Greenpeace 5 Caledonian Rd, London, N1
9DX, UK. Tel/Fax +44-(020) 7713 1269
Email: mclibel (at) Internet
McInfo list: send blank email to or visit:
September 2002

1. World Anti-McDonald's Day - Wednesday October 16th
2. This year McDonald's workers call for joint action
3. The Global Campaign
4. What's Wrong With McDonald's?


Wednesday October 16th 2002 will be the 18th annual Worldwide
Anti-McDonald's Day [UN World Food Day] - a protest against the promotion of
junk food, the unethical targeting of children, exploitation of workers,
animal cruelty, damage to the environment and the global domination of
corporations over our lives.

The 17th annual day of action was held on Tues October 16th 2001. Last year
we had reports of local protests all around the globe, including from
Australia, Phillipines, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Malta, Israel, UK,
Greece, Italy, Russia, Croatia and USA.

In 1999, when we had specifically monitored where the October 16th protests
took place, we heard of 425 protests and pickets in 345 towns in 23
countries. Millions of leaflets have now been handed out in over 27
languages worldwide since 1990 when the McDonald's Corporation took legal
action against the McLibel 2 aiming to suppress the original London
Greenpeace leafletting campaign. This surely demonstrates the determination
of community activists to ensure that the public have the opportunity to see
through the glossy marketing propaganda that big business continually forces
upon us.


This year we are very pleased to announce that the growing international
network of McDonald's employees - the McDonald's Workers Resistance,
established in 2000 - is calling for McDonald's workers around the world to
take joint action on the same day, October 16th. Workers could phone in
sick, hold partial walk-outs and go slows etc, and send messages of support
to protestors outside stores.

MWR say: ' It will be the first ever co-ordinated, international, worker-led
mobilisation by the McDonalds workforce. October 16th was chosen because
since the mid-1980s it has been the date of world anti-McDonalds day. So,
simultaneous to our actions, people who do not work for McDonalds but are
opposed to its labour practices, cruelty to animals and destructive
environmental impact, will also be engaged in actions at McDonalds
restaurants all over the world. We hope that all actions can be mutually
supportive. '

The Glasgow (Scotland) MWR branch is demanding that:

' All those employed by McDonalds, anywhere in the world, be allowed to
organise themselves as they wish and that they be allowed to conduct the
business of their chosen
organisations on company premises, be allowed to display notices in staff
areas and generally circulate information without hindrance. That this right
to organisation and
free expression is not dependent on the number of people involved in the
organisation and that no person shall be prejudiced against for involvement
in such an organisation. This demand applies to those employed directly and
indirectly by McDonalds and so includes, for example, those employed to make
happy meal toys or company packaging. Our lives may be very different but
our struggle is the same. Finally, we ask McDonalds to make explicit that
they do not own their employees and that they have no right to
dictate what we can and cannot believe or express at any time. '

If you would like to know more about MWR, please visit

ANY DAY THAT WEEK)? And please send us a report!

Please copy the 'What's Wrong With McDonald's?' leaflet at: [or use latest text

* * * * *


Food is central to our everyday lives, yet we have virtually no control over
its production and distribution. The food industry is dominated by
multinational companies who for their own profits exploit consumers,
workers, the world's natural resources and billions of farmed animals. The
way we eat, and even the way we think about food is being manipulated by
these powerful institutions and their sophisticated marketing campaigns.

To understand the reality behind the propaganda, we can focus on McDonald's
- one of the most powerful, influential and well-known global companies.

Despite its strenuous efforts, McDonald's is widely despised, and its
'reputation' - along with that of the food industry in general - continues
to sink ever further.

As well as the mass distribution of leaflets by thousands of local activists
around the world, especially on the annual October 16th Anti-McDonald's Day,
the global campaign against McDonald's has continued to grow over the last
two or three years:

- many determined residents' campaigns against new stores, including a
successful 552-day occupation of a proposed McDonald's site by residents of
Hinchley Wood, S.E. England, campaigns against drive-thrus in Canada, and
protest blockades in Voronezh (S. Russia) and Eastern Europe
- mass anti-McDonald's protests by french farmers, including a 30,000-strong
- new efforts by McDonald's workers to organise together to stand up to
their bosses (eg. in the UK, France, Russia and Canada)
- protests at the Sydney 2000 Olympics against McDonald's mass use of
refrigeration chemicals linked to global warming
- an ongoing international scandal over extreme labour exploitation in China
for the production of McDonald's 'happy meal' toys
- global controversy over their sponsorship of the United Nations Childrens
Fund. A jury of 800 UK parents awarded a special 'pester power' title to
McDonald's for the way it markets its Happy Meals at children
- controversies over their involvement in schools and hospitals
- McDonald's USA sued and forced to apologise and pay out millions of
dollars for deceiving their customers by not revealing beef extract was a
content of their supposedly vegetarian french fries
- a lawsuit against US junk food corporations McDonald's, KFC, Burger King,
and Wendys on behalf of millions of customers mislead by the systematic and
unethical promotion of unhealthy food products, and as a result suffering
from obesity, heart disease and a range of other serious health problems
- growing concern throughout Europe and the US about the threat to human
health posed by beef-related diseases (such as BSE) and genetically-modified
animal feed
- food poisoning scandals in South America (Argentina and Chile)
- a scandal after releasing a new sandwich called the "McAfrika" in Norway,
one of
the world's richest countries, at a time when 12 million people are facing
starvation in southern Africa.
- controversies over McDonald's hypocritical professed 'concern' over animal
cruelty and general corporate responsibility
- McDonald's increasingly identified by a wide range of protestors worldwide
as a symbol of modern capitalism
- recent successive falls in their global profits and corporate closure of
many stores (eg a third of their stores in Turkey)... US Chief Executive
admits that 2001 was the "most challenging" year in McDonald's 47-year history.

Meanwhile, the McLibel case continues to generate bad publicity for
McDonald's. The defendants Helen Steel and Dave Morris are currently taking
the British Government to the European Court of Human Rights over oppressive
and unfair UK libel laws. Many damning legal rulings were made against the
company: exploiting children with their advertising strategy; deceiving
consumers by claiming their food is nutritious; promoting food linked to a
greater risk of heart disease; paying low wages; and being responsible for
animal cruelty. But the defendants are arguing that, to protect the public's
freedom of speech, corporations should not be allowed to bring such cases
against protestors at all.

- McLibel Support Campaign, London England


Feel free to amend, add local contact details, print out, copy and distribute:


McDonald's spend well over $2 billion every year worldwide on advertising
and promotions, trying to cultivate an image of being a 'caring' and 'green'
company that is also a fun place to eat. Children are lured in (dragging
their parents behind them) with the promise of toys and other gimmicks. But
behind the smiling face of Ronald McDonald lies the reality - McDonald's
only interest is money, making profits from whoever and whatever they can,
just like all multinational companies. McDonald's Annual Reports talk of
'Global Domination' - they aim to open more and more stores across the globe
- but their continual worldwide expansion means more uniformity, less choice
and the undermining of local communities.

PROMOTING UNHEALTHY FOOD McDonald's promote their food as 'nutritious',
but the reality is that it is junk food - high in fat, sugar and salt, and
low in fibre and vitamins. A diet of this type is linked with a greater
risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Their food also
contains many chemical additives, some of which may cause ill-health, and
hyperactivity in children. Don't forget too that meat is the cause of the
majority of food poisoning incidents. In 1991 McDonald's were responsible
for an outbreak of food poisoning in the UK, in which people suffered
serious kidney failure. With modern intensive farming methods, other
diseases - linked to chemical residues or unnatural practices - have become
a danger to people too (such as BSE).

EXPLOITING WORKERS Workers in the fast food industry are paid low wages.
McDonald's do not pay overtime rates even when employees work very long
hours. Pressure to keep profits high and wage costs low results in
understaffing, so staff have to work harder and faster. As a consequence,
accidents (particularly burns) are common. The majority of employees are
people who have few job options and so are forced to accept this
exploitation, and they're compelled to 'smile' too! Not surprisingly staff
turnover at McDonald's is high, making it virtually impossible to unionise
and fight for a better deal, which suits McDonald's who have always been
opposed to Unions.

ROBBING THE POOR Vast areas of land in poor countries are used for cash
crops or for cattle ranching, or to grow grain to feed animals to be eaten
in the West. This is at the expense of local food needs. McDonald's
continually promote meat products, encouraging people to eat meat more
often, which wastes more and more food resources. 7 million tons of grain
fed to livestock produces only 1 million tons of meat and by-products. On a
plant-based diet and with land shared fairly, almost every region could be
self-sufficient in food.

DAMAGING THE ENVIRONMENT Forests throughout the world - vital for all life
- are being destroyed at an appalling rate by multinational companies.
McDonald's have at last been forced to admit to using beef reared on
ex-rainforest land, preventing its regeneration. Also, the use of farmland
by multinationals and their suppliers forces local people to move on to
other areas and cut down further trees.

McDonald's are the world's largest user of beef. Methane emitted by cattle
reared for the beef industry is a major contributor to the 'global warming'
crisis. Modern intensive agriculture is based on the heavy use of chemicals
which are damaging to the environment. Every year McDonald's use thousands
of tons of unnecessary packaging, most of which ends up littering our
streets or polluting the land buried in landfill sites.

MURDERING ANIMALS The menus of the burger chains are based on the torture
and murder of millions of animals. Most are intensively farmed, with no
access to fresh air and sunshine, and no freedom of movement. Their deaths
are barbaric - 'humane slaughter' is a myth. We have the choice to eat meat
or not, but the billions of animals massacred for food each year have no
choice at all.

CENSORSHIP and McLIBEL Criticism of McDonald's has come from a huge number
of people and organisations over a wide range of issues. In the mid-1980's,
London Greenpeace drew together many of those strands of criticism and
called for an annual World Day of Action against McDonald's. This takes
place every year on 16th October, with pickets and demonstrations all over
the world. McDonald's, who spend a fortune every year on advertising, tried
and failed to silence world-wide criticism by threatening legal action. Many
were forced to back down because they lacked the money to fight a case. But
Helen Steel and Dave Morris, two supporters of London Greenpeace, defended
themselves in a major UK High Court libel trial. Despite all the cards
being stacked against them, denied Legal Aid and a jury trial, Helen and
Dave turned the tables and exposed the truth by putting McDonald's business
practices on trial. Some damning judgments were made against McDonald's and
protests against the $40 billion a year fast-food giant continue to grow.
It's vital to stand up to intimidation and to defend free speech.

WHAT YOU CAN DO Together we can fight back against the institutions and the
people in power who dominate our lives and our planet, and we can create a
better society without exploitation. Workers can and do organise together
to fight for their rights and dignity. People are increasingly aware of the
need to think seriously about the food we and our children eat. People in
poor countries are organising themselves to stand up to multinationals and
banks which dominate the world's economy. Environmental and animal rights
protests and campaigns are growing everywhere. Why not join in the struggle
for a better world. Talk to friends and family, neighbours and workmates
about these issues. Please copy and circulate this leaflet as widely as you

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