| 28th June
1996 | Issue
WAKE UP! WAKE UP! IT'S
Would You Like Lies
With That, Sir?
The longest civil case
in British legal history, The McLibel Trial, celebrates its second
birthday today. It's a war of words between the $26 billion a year
corporation and two unemployed activists from London Greenpeace.
The defendants, Dave Morris, a former postman, and Helen Steel,
a gardener, are defending themselves without legal representation.
The McDonald's Corporation
is the world's largest food retail outlet, and spends over $1.5
billion on advertising and promotions every year. But behind the
slick image is the reality- profiteering from the exploitation of
people, animals and the environment and the creation of a junk culture.
In contrast, London Greenpeace
is a small, independent collective, active since the early 70's.
In 1985 it launched a general anti-McDonald's campaign, producing
the Fact sheet which is now the subject of the libel action. Best
summed up by its inventive chapter headings: "McDollar, McGreedy,
McCancer, McMurder, McRipoff, McTorture, and McGarbage", it accused
McD's of underpaying its staff, destroying rain forests, torturing
animals, corrupting children, and exploiting the third world. Charged
with "wrecking the planet for the sake of a fast buck", McD's sought
to suppress the leaflet, and intimidate its authors into silence.
This has backfired spectacularly, as over 1.5 million "What's Wrong
With McDonald's" leaflets have been handed out to the public in
the UK alone. After 28 pre-trial hearings, the trial began in June
McDonald's have brought
their big guns into the witness box - over a dozen executives from
Chicago and the UK, up to the level of President. They've been forced
to make many admissions and a great deal of secret information has
been unearthed. This has provided a unique insight into how multinational
corporations- who dominate the world's economy- achieve and maintain
their power. The shit has hit MuckDonald's very hard. They are desperately
backtracking members of the U.S. McD's board of directors have flown
to the UK to negotiate a settlement. The defendants refused to accept
their terms which included an apology! The defendants will accept
only if McCheesy apologises to those threatened with legal action
in the past and pay an agreed sum to a third party for the inconvenience
caused to the defendants.
No expense is being spared
by McD's in pursuing its case. One of its many witnesses from the
USA, David Kouchoukous, an environmental consultant, told the court
that McD's uses only 13.6 square miles of timber land a year to
supply its wor1d-wide business. Paul Preston, president of McD's
British subsidiary, told the court that he didn't consider his business's
basic rate of pay of £3.10 an hour to be low. He declined to reveal
his own salary.
'McSpotlight' is an online
library and campaigning tool, which makes available across the globe.
1,700 separate files containing everything that McDonald's don't
want the public to know. It was accessed over a million times on
the libel-free internet in its first month!
Ronald McGenocide and
his churns are claiming damages and costs from the jobless duo.
Most of these costs (estimated at over £35m) will have to be borne
by McDonald's anyway, as the defendants have no money. Court costs
how ever, will have to be met by the taxpayer. According to the
Lord Chancellor's department, the daily cost of providing a judge,
courtroom, ushers, stenographers and all the other paraphernalia
of a High Court action is £7,600. Assuming the case takes 300 days
in court, that means the total bill to be picked up by the taxpayer
will be nearly £2.5 million. Even if McD's can prove that it has
been libelled, will the company really get anything for its pains
apart from (battery) egg all over its face?
Children are a major
influence on household food purchases - an 'advertiser's dream'
in the words of one big retailer. Most of McD's advertising is specifically
aimed at 2 to 8 year olds to encourage children to ask their parents
to take them there. Geoffrey Guiliano, a Ronald McDonald actor in
the 1980's, quit and publicly apologised to kids everywhere. It
is not just in the high street that McD's are trying to get their
claws into the young. Hard-up schools are resorting to free educational
packs from McD's to teach children maths, geography and English.
The packs, have abundant references to the hamburger giant and have
been denounced by parents as a "frightening intrusion", and that
vulnerable children being brainwashed.
KROC OF SHIT
Ray Kroc, a humble milkshake
salesman, persuaded brothers Mac and Dick McDonald to sell their
company name to him in 1953. The first store of the McDonald's Corporation
opened in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois. McDonald's now has over
20,000 stores in 90 countries. The company claims it serves 2 million
people a day and that a new store opens somewhere in the world every
seven hours. The happiest part of this little tale is that Kroc
is long dead.
"Do you know where in
England McDonald's restaurants are?"
A typical extract
of 'geography." McFact Pack.
"I knew of cases where
employees in my store worked as much as 26 hours in a row... Every
time you were seen not smiling you were called to the corner and
told to smile." - Siamak
Allmi, McDonald's Training Squad, Colchester (UK), 1985 - 1987
"When you see the golden
arches, you're probably on the road to the pearly gates." - Dr.
William Castelli, Heart Specialist.
The company has tried
to deal with London Greenpeace in some very suspect ways. Sid Nicholson,
McDonald's UK Vice President, formerly in charge of Personnel and
Security, joined McDonald's in 1983. Prior to this he had spent
31 years in the police force, firstly in South Africa, and then
in the Met, reaching the rank of Chief Superintendent. Nicholson
further accepted that McD's hired two detective agencies to infiltrate
London Greenpeace, that the company's agents had stolen letters
and that spies remained in the group after writs were served on
the defendants in order to monitor their response. At one London
Greenpeace meeting there were seven private detectives and three
To cut a two year story
short, McDonalds are scum and deserve all manner of damage to be
rained down upon them. The verdict is due in February 97, so there's
plenty of time to take some quick dry cement down to their toilets!
WHAT U CAN DO.
* Go to watch the case
support the defendants:
"The best free entertainment
in London" according to Auberon Waugh. Court 35 High Court of Justice,
Strand, London 10:30am-1pm and 2-4:30pm most weekdays.
* Phone/fax McLibel Support
Campaign on (0171) 713 1269, or write to them: c/o 5 Caledonian
Road, London N1 9DX.
* Boycott McDonalds and
all Burger Chains and stop, or reduce, your meat and dairy intake.
* Imaginative direct action
against McDonalds. Occupy their stores and keep giving out the "What's
Wrong With McD's" leaflets... (available for £15 per 1000:
ring 0115 958 5666)
* Put downtrodden employees
onto the McDonald's Workers Support Group, c/0 10a Bradbury St.
London N16. (0181 533 7111)
* Protest against McDonald's
packaging and litter - join OPERATON SEND-IT-BACK 0115 958 5666
YOU DON'T STAND FOR SOMETHING, YOU'LL FALL FOR MCANYTHING!
A festival due to be
held on the 1st July at Dunaad Hill, Argyll, by Lochgilphead is
under threat. So what's new? This one has been granted an order
by the Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, under the Criminal
Justice Act (CJA), and will prohibit New Travellers celebrating
at the historic monument. Police fear that large hordes of people
would result in serious disruption to the local community. The monument
is the site of public right of access, but apparently the owners
of the adjacent land have withheld permission. We must speak with
one voice, we must keep our party spirit ... "Day by day the ancient
forests fall prey to the chainsaws for the money-men, while the
gutrock of the Earth is robbed of the oil and metals that are its
very substance" said Andrew Connell, spokesperson for the Gathering.
For more info contact 01324 861627.
PENNY FOR YER THOUGHTS!
The Brighton Evening
Argus is up for sale. SchNEWS felt that this warranted a re-opening
of communications with them: "We have so enjoyed our rapport that
we at Justice'? would hate to see the Argus fall into the wrong
hands. Therefore, we would like to put in a bid at this early stage
for your consideration on behalf of Justice? We bid 1p. I'm sure
you appreciate this is a fine offer considering the economic circumstances
and the quality of the product. Furthermore, we would be happy to
retrain any journalists in news reporting following your inevitable
downsizing." The Argus refused to comment. Ring them with your bids:
(01273) 544544. Back in the world of real media.
Happy Birthday 56A
They have been distributing
radical books and info for FIVE continuous years from their squat
in Crampton Street, London. They provide a space for people to pursue
projects, an archive of alternative info and a quiet place for people
to chill and read. Infoshops are common in Europe, America and Australia
* Belated Happy Birthday
to the Guilfin crew - on the case for SEVEN years!
* Check out your local
Free Information Network sheet for what's 'appening near you. Justice?
are putting together a list of regular FINs - send s.a.e. for a
copy (mark your envelope FlNquiry)
* Cothrom/Justice - our
Scottish sister paper - are still doing their bit. Contact them
with stamps for your copy. Solidarity Centre, 3 Royal Exchange Court,
Glasgow, G1 3PA
shuttlers have found industrial action to be a breath of fresh air.
They've been getting a bit (King's) Cross about being taken for
a ride instead of providing them. Tube drivers can be made to work
up to six successive Sundays, often travelling unpaid to start work
at remote depots. Drivers can spend five hours driving continuously,
shunting round and around, back and forth. They aren't paid for
their meal breaks. Overwork causes a high rate of stress related
illnesses, family problems, divorces and low morale among drivers.
Over 3,500 people are
killed each year in road accidents. Cars in the UK take up an area
twice the size of Birmingham. Air pollution allegedly causes 11,000
early deaths each year in the U.K. Our homes and countryside are
being destroyed by a mad road building programme. The present 24
million cars in the UK could rise to 35 million by 2025. Makes sense
to back up our train drivers, doesn't it? Three more strikes are
planned for next month (July 3rd, 8th and 16th) - support them by
having a lie in and skipping work or college on strike days, that's
the ticket! If you must travel use a bike or take the bus. Turn
up to any picket line, pledge your support and lets link the anti-car
and tube strike issues. Support the tube workers and strengthen
the anti-car movement, or else it may go off the rails completely.
RTS Street Party
* FESTIVAL OF RESISTANCE!
July 13th will see the masses partying for a car-free London. Kid's
area, art, magic, street theatre, instant beach, and a prize for
the best fancy dress! Call 0181 281 4621 for details. Tube workers
TOWN of the MONTH!
York crew have been up
to lots of good lately. Europe's most bicycle friendly city is host
to regular Shell actions, Critical Masses and McDonald's hits. This
month a Planning For Real Day discussed the practicalities of a
bender/permaculture community at a demolition site in Naburn, in
the South of the city. G'wan!
* Write and let us know
if your town/city deserves to be Town of the Month.
HAPPY B-DAY TO US!
WED JULY 3rd
It's two years since
a meeting in the Prince Albert pub by a bunch of local itinerants
formed the humble beginnings of the Justice? collective, which produces
SchNEWS. What's happened since has surpassed all expectations and
stretched and surprised all those involved. There's a special meeting
this Wednesday (July 3rd) for the many hundreds - of activists (read:
people who act) who have been involved along the way. It's at the
Unemployed Centre, off Carlton Hill (behind Amex) in Kemp Town.
Come old, come new. If you miss it, don't forget Justice? (685913)
meet there every fortnight.
Featuring films on. The Courthouse, CJ's, Bingo Hall Direct
Action Conference & the world-famous (!) Squatter's Estate Agency.
SchNEWS in BRIEF
39 arrests including
lots of Druids at Stonehenge after soaraway Solstice seekers get
carted away under the CJA
*** An RAC survey says motorists will
spend an average of two weeks a year in traffic jams by the year
2005. Derek Elsom, professor of Climatology at Oxford Brookes University,
predicts in his new book that the number of motor vehicles will
reach one billion by the year 2030.
*** NEWBURY UPDATE (01635 45544):
Yesterday saw an attempt to set up a new security compound at Newbury,
but a tricky troupe of trespassers with tripods saved the day. The
cosmic head gardener of the Go-Tan Digger community, one of three
nicked, has been sent down for 7 days for breaking bail. Write to
DOUG HOWSE, BICESTER PRISON, OXFORDSHIRE. Reliance Security hands
over to Pinkerton's (0181 539 4448) on July 22nd. The Highways Agency
said they would have to bring in even more security than before,
this being "the cost of democracy." Meanwhile, contractors Costain
have seen their share prices fall by half. Yip! On phoning the Costain
Offices (0171 705 8444) and singing "You're Goin' Down, You're Goin'
Down!" in a childish football manner, a Costain spokesman replied:
*** "Criminal Justice", a wicked play by the Banner
Theatre company about the CJA, is playing the Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
on Sunday 7th July. £5/£4 concs. 01705 863911
*** Help wanted for
a play on squatting to be performed in November (ish) If you can
act or offer any theatre skills contact Paul on 685 913
Nice One to Brighton Council (wot?!) who have tentatively given
the Dance Parade the go-ahead, providing they agree to push the
date back until the first or second week in September
Fairlie, one of the Tinkers Bubble Collective has written a book
entitled 'Low Impact Development', out in July, published by John
Carpenter, and available from specialist bookshops.
*** ON THE RECORD:
There are government plans afoot (oh no, not more government plans!)
to disclose details of the criminal records of individuals. Superficially
it may sound like getting a record will be a great way defeating
the Job Seekers Allowance, but it also has serious repercussions
for civil liberties. John Wadham of Liberty is not best pleased:
"There is no connection between what people have done in the job
being applied for .It would be a gross violation of their right
to privacy and would seriously damage their chance to build a life
having served their sentence."
SchNEWS Glossary of the
'90s is back! We wanna hear the best ones from all you Dime Bars,
Kettle Watchers, Energy Vampires, Blaggers, Blatters, and Woad Protestors.
But first, here's a few we came up with in the wee small hours of
FUN MUMMY Emerges from
crypt to have laugh on actions, but does nothing ostensibly useful.MEDIA
GATEAU Over-empowered media- tartMONBIOTISM A gratuitous and self-seeking
media circus (sorry, George!?). See Media Gateau.BLAGGABLE BUM Minute
quantity of communal Class B stimulant, requested by Fun Mummy during
Any more for any more?!!
SchNEWS is compiled in
a state of advanced torpor. We recommend it is read in the same
state, and that all vegetative corpses who read it stay within the
law. One day, we will wake to find it's all been a bad dream, and
that crappy laws weren't invented to be broken after all.
SchNEWS free! Just send 1st class stamps (eg 20 for 20 issues) or
donations (payable to Justice?) Mark 'Original' if you plan to copy:
SchNEWS c/o on-the-fiddle PO Box 2600 Brighton East Sussex BN2 2DX.
SchNEWS is free to prisoners tel/fax: (01273) 685913. email:
email@example.com e-SchNEWS: http://www.cbuzz.co.uk
Next Justice? meeting:
Henry Law 'The Price of Vacant land is Unemployment' - Land right
& use @ Brighton Unemployed Centre off Canton Hill behind
A speedy recovery to
Andre, the 17 yr old Russian student stabbed by tabloid-inspired
'patriots'. Get Well soon.