The heavy stuff - MWR

A series of more theoretical texts by McDonalds Workers Resistance.

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

On their website, the texts were introduced as follows:

Welcome to the masochist palace and to all the most tedious stuff we've ever written. We hope this will explain where we're coming from and answer some of the questions we get from people who call us 'McWankers resistance' (we do masturbate lots).

"Yet my mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted, and thoughts ran into me, that words and writings were all nothing, and must die, for action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing." (Gerald Winstanley)

McDonalds Workers Resistance FAQs

Workplace group McDonalds Workers Resistance answer frequent questions "'cos some of the questions we get asked are really shit...".

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

Here are the MWR Frequently Asked questions. Hopefully these will clarify a few recurrent points and be of general interest. If you're thinking of e-mailing us to shatter our illusions through brilliantly, not to mention smugly, observing that if McDonalds 'is as bad as you say then why do people work there? Ha, got you there!' then please read some of the stuff below before making a tit out of yourself (not the first one, it shouldn't be there).

Q. If a good cook could cook cookies how many cookies could a good cook cook?
A. If McDonalds cooked cookies and got a good cook cooking them then the good cook could cook a lot of cookies but at the end of the day neither the cook nor the cookies would be very good.

Q. Is McDonalds really such a bad job?
A. Yes. Even compared to other shitty capitalist employment “opportunities” it is dispicable. It is totally degrading and dehumanising, there is a ‘procedure’ for every tiny action to make our role almost completely robotic. The pay is infamously poor, bad enough, according to the high court, to depress wages throughout the catering sector. Management is frequently very autocratic, the company likes to employ ex-military personel because they bring “a sense of discipline”. There are no overtime payments or any rights beyond those legally constituted. Hours are often unsociable. The work is sometimes relentless and employees are expected to ‘hustle’- basically run about like fuck for 8 hours (or 10, or 12...). Because of the pace of the work cuts and burns are very common, most people who have worked there for a few years will have at least one permanent scar. We are bombarded with inane company propaganda and are expected to comply with company stipulated ‘appearance requirements’. Theft of wages (clock card entries being altered by managers to save on labour expenses) is rife and is tolerated by the company- widespread frauding of employees wages to save the company money is NOT an offence that leads to dismissal, taking a drink without permission potentially is. Hours can be cut (completely) with just 10 days notice (often, in practice, much less). Even when your shift finishes, incredibly, you are not free to go and are obliged to stay on should management demand it, which they almost inevitably will. The UK crew handbook states “due to the nature of our business, on occasions you may be asked to continue working past your normal finishing time; you will be released (sic!!) as soon as the need for your services has past.” You can’t even go to the toilet with out first obtaining permission. If a shift is unexpectedly quiet and staff are not totally rushed then some staff will be told to go home, if they insist on working their full shift they will often be assigned the most unpleasant cleaning tasks to encourage them to rethink. At other times every day off will be disrupted by a phone call from a stressed, sometimes even tearful, manager begging you to come in and work. The obsessive cost cutting and incessant prioritisation of profit has enormous human costs.

Q. If you don’t like it then why don’t you quit?
A. We need the money. Of course, we could quit and try Burger King, KFC, GAP, a BT call center, Wetherspoons, but none of them would represent a great improvement. Some of us have quit but others have chosen to stay and fight to change things. None of us plan to work for McDonalds for ever, but at present the alternatives are also shit. Over the last few years there has been a great increase in ‘McJobs’- low paid, unskilled, short-term work in the service sector. If you don’t have many qualifications, or if you can’t work full time, then it can be difficult to avoid these jobs. One of the reasons workplace exploitation continues is because we are encouraged to think our frustration is a personal issue- don’t like McDonalds? Quit and try Burger King. Still shit? Quit, work in a pub. Don’t like that? Try a call centre. Try another call centre, work in an office... This can go on indefinitely until we recognise collectively that our frustration is not a personal issue, is not even a question of a particular job, but is an effect of a social system that exists in opposition to our pursuit of happiness.

Q. If McD’s is so bad, why do people work there?
A. Perhaps because they’ve a ‘poor employment record’, no qualifications, or they can only work at particular times because they’re studying or have kids. And McDonalds probably isn’t the very worst job in the world- you can get some great banter with your co-workers and it can SOMETIMES fit around other commitments. But just because we can think of a few examples of worse exploitation doesn’t make McDonalds exploitation okay! To say a job is okay because you know of a worse one is like saying having your hand scalded is okay because having your fingernails pulled out is much worse!

Q. I worked at X and it was just as bad. So, why McDonalds?
A. Because that is where we happen to work. Had we worked in Burger King, on a building site, in a call centre, a hospital or an office, we would probably have done something similar. The problem is not just McDonalds or even McJobs, we are against the very idea of wage labour- of having to self yourself to survive in order to make other people rich. All workers in all industries should organise against their bosses.

Q. So, why don’t you join a trade union?
A. More than any other corporation on earth McDonalds is notorious for its obsessive, determined and frequently illegal attempts at obstructing trade union activity within its workforce. After the legendary McLibel trial, the high court determined that McDonalds was “antipathetic” towards trade unions. No shit. Tactics used to fight trade unions have included, in France, framing crew member Hassen Lamti for armed robbery, before offering him a bribe to renounce the union. Around the world McDonalds has been responsible for a mass of illegal dismissals of trade union activists. In Canada they made workers lie outside in the snow in the shape of a “no” (to unions). Other anti-union campaigns have involved an “anti-union slide show”, a visit from a top baseball player, a bingo night... They are prepared to engage in lengthy, obstructive legal battles, and frequently shut down whole stores should trade union recognition become unavoidable, in Puerto Rico they pulled out of the whole country following a dispute and opened some years later with non-unionised labour. In the past they have used lengthy polygraph tests (lie detectors) to screen for union sympathisers. They employed John Cooke to “keep the unions out”, he stated in an internal memo that “we do used polygraph tests in a Gestapo type manner”. According to Cooke, “unions are inimical to what we stand for and how we operate. They peddle the line to their members that the boss will be forever more against their interests”. Read the rest of this article with our reasons for prefering loose non-membership organisation to traditional trade unionism.

Q. What’s this “wage labour” you’re always going on about?
A. We use ‘wage labour’ to talk about the system of employment where most people have to do work, usually for a company, in exchange for pay. In this system, capitalism, we have to do things, not because we think they are useful, because they help ourselves or others, or because they are enjoyable, but simply because they are profitable. The system of wage labour is supported by governments who make great efforts training people for work, trying to force benefit claimants into employment and sometimes using violence (the police) to break up strikes and ensure the system continues. So, we recognise that our interests are opposed to the corporations that need us to work for them and the bosses that we are supposed to obey, but also the governments and politicians that try to ensure the whole thing keeps running.

Q. You people don’t even want to work, do you?
A. No, we do seem to have a strange aversion to wasting our lives doing useless things just so that some shareholder can get one of those garage doors that opens as he drives towards it. But we have no problem doing things that we think are useful. None of us grudge the huge amount of time we put into MWR because we think it’s worthwhile. We’re not lazy (well maybe a bit), but we’re not stupid either.

Q. But if everyone had your attitude surely the economy would fall apart?
A. Thankyou, our point exactly.

Q. Capitalism’s not great, but was the Soviet Union any better?
A. Fuck no, that’s not what we want!

Q. So, what do you want?
A. A diverse pluralistic society based on co-operation. Where work is performed because it is useful, not because it makes money. A society that is ecological and sustainable, is communist in the sense of sharing and working together, and anarchist in refusing hierarchies and grand bureaucratic orders. A world where everything we do, every minute of our lives, will be valuable.

Q. But it will never happen will it?
A. Sure it will. It may seem absurd to talk about revolution but all the alternatives assume the continuation of the present system... which is even more absurd. See ten reasons to expect revolution...

Q. I’m a McDonalds manager, my job’s shit as well, why are you having a go at me?
A. We’re not really and it’s good you recognise that your job is shit as well. You are a skivvy, a totally expendable slave. You are exlpoited and you have to sell yourself just to make a profit for McDonalds. Fair enough, we understand that. However, sometimes some of the things your job requires you to do (if you’re a salaried manager, hourly paid managers are usually just crew members who wear shirts) will bring us into conflict. You have to try and ensure that we make as much money for the company as possible, obviously this is not in our interest. If you’re fucking about and not doing your job properly then perhaps we are on the same side, if you’re going to the lengths of fucking about with our clock card entries to save on labour costs then you deserve a kicking. Ultimately all McDonalds low level employees have the same interest because we would all benefit from destroying the economy, but in everyday incidents this is not always apparent.

Q. If you did your jobs properly, wouldn’t you get promoted?
A. Yes... but no thanks. Floor managers get even more shit than crew members, still get abysmal pay and still have to work their asses off to make people they never meet rich. Salaried managers have also got really shit jobs, the work is simultaneously stressful and mindless, and worst of all it can require people to be actively involved in enforcing the exploitation of workers.

Q. Why didn’t you work harder at school?
A. This whole argument is idiotic. People do crap jobs, not because of their personal deficiencies, but because capitalism requires these jobs be performed. If everyone doubled their performance at school then people would still work for McDonalds. Open your eyes, break with your individualistic conditioning and learn to see things as social rather than purely individual problems. And of course, lots of people work at McDonalds while they’re at school/ college/ university.

Q. Do you really think students working part time are going to care about any of this?
A. Well plenty do. Students working at McDonalds tend not to be studying economics at Harvard. The students involved with MWR recognise that although they will end up doing different jobs these too will probably be tedious, pointless and exploitative. Students actually have a bit of a history of rebelling... And obviously only a fraction of McDonalds employees are students.

Q. Aren’t McDonalds workers just kids, wont they all get other jobs soon?
A. Well all sorts of people work for McDonalds, older people, people with families, as well as ‘kids’. Most McDonalds workers are young and then they get other jobs, often different versions of the same shit (for example, we know lots of workers who’ve left to work in a call center). Few jobs are for life these days so observing that McWorkers will probably get other jobs later is pretty irrelevant. For many young workers McDonalds is an introduction to a lifetime of wage labour. And just because something doesn’t go on for ever doesn’t mean that it should be tolerated- prisoners? Most of them get out eventually. Pensioners? They all die eventually. There are so many excuses to justify exploitation and wasting your life - ‘it’s only for a bit’, ‘it could be worse’ - and it’s possible to accept these excuses until it’s too late. And McDonalds and similar employers provide a function, started in school, of training young workers to accept discipline, to subordinate their lives to the economy.

Q. The turnover at McDonalds is so high and the company is so militantly opposed to workers organisation, isn’t it just impossible to organise in McDonalds?
A. That’s just a cop out. Sure it’s difficult, we know that only too well, but it’s not impossible, we’re proving it’s not impossible. And when we see that garment workers in Bangladesh, sex workers, even prisoners, manage to organise then we know that we can certainly go from strength to strength.

Q. Why do you do things anonymously?
A. So as not to get sacked and especially so as not to endanger the jobs of friends who have more at stake than us (ie families to support). McDonalds has a long, really incredible, history of doing really wierd things when people oppose them. Like in France they framed a crew member who was a trade union activist, Hassen Lamti, for armed robbery and then offered him a bribe to renounce the union. They have been found guilty of illegally dismissing trade union activists on numerous occasions. And we’ve had letters about really scary stuff, like someone claimed they had their flat broken into, someone else reported serious threats of physical violence. For a long time all our mail was going missing. There was no mail at our PO box even when we sent it ourselves. Normally you would think there was some problem at the post office or something, but here there is a precedent. Indeed, stealing other peoples' mail would be behaviour entirely in character for McDonalds. It emerged during the McLibel trial that McDonalds had paid 7 "enquiry agents" to infiltrate London Greenpeace. Two of these agents, Mr. Bishop and Mr. Allan Clare, admitted, in court, to stealing mail belonging to London Greenpeace. Mr. Clare also admitted to breaking into London Greenpeace by swiping the locks with a phone card. While Mr. Roy Pocklington followed members of the group home to find out their address and in an especially distasteful incident, he provided a parcel of baby clothes for Mr. Morris' (one of the eventual McLibel two) son, in "an attempt to discover Mr. Morris' address". All this information comes from the Mclibel support campaign's 'Trial News 3' (August 1996, p-10) which quotes the court transcripts. So, when our mail started to go missing McDonalds dirty tricks seemed the most plausible explanation. McDonalds is a completely manic criminal organisation and we mustn't forget that. Anyway, we had great fun sending them made up names and addresses, fictitous meeting places, etc. The Newcastle lot even sent them stuff written in a combination of Greek and Russian letters. It didn't say anything but it would have needed a translator to work that out. McDonalds is very easy to take the piss out of. So, we don't know if they got all that stuff but someone's sitting with a weird pile of mail.

Q. I agree with you but all my co-workers are indoctrinated, what can I do?
A. Well, you’ll have to change their minds, which shouldn’t be too hard. McDonalds propaganda is so idiotic that it doesn’t stand up to much scrutiny. And in every store there are bound to be some potential allies, we’d be delighted to send you resources that may help you encourage others to see sense, or you could produce your own. And, of course, you could become a regional co-ordinator. See also, get involved and tips on starting your own resistance group.

Q. Why do you swear so much?
Fuck knows man.

Q. Why don’t you sign on?
A. We know loads of folk who sign on because they don’t want to work. That’s great, good luck to them, we have nothing against folk blagging the dole, recognise the refusal of wage labour as a radical political act and have made statements expressing our solidarity with benefit claimants. However, we are also only too aware of the severe, even tragic, consequences of unemployment, consequences reflected in rates of suicide and depression. The suggestion that everyone can choose to live happily on the dole is idiotic. Personally, I want to be able to get my round in (occasionally!), I don’t want to get kicked out of my house, I want a bit of cash to spend on luxuries... these things require money. Of course, we would prefer that, to give one example, fashion wasn’t defined on the terms of capital, we would prefer that all social meaning was created by ordinary people, on our terms.

Q. Why do you go on about Ronald McDonald being a paedophile?
A. Ronald McDonald is a fictional character and so he can’t literally be a kiddy fiddler. However, the clown is used to perpetuate child abuse. That is the only appropriate description for profit motivated emotional manipulation of two year olds. McDonalds have invested $Billions on the clowns image, and the image they’ve created is perilously close to appearing paedophilic (for example, the advert where he comes to a little girls window at night time and takes her away). What we do is to launch a violent symbolic assault on the image, we use connotations of paedophilia, bestiality, ‘spewing down dungarees’, to subvert McDonalds corporate imagery at its weakest point, to permanently influence how people perceive the images, to detract from the power of McDonalds advertising and to metaphorically expose the violence hiding behind the clown’s mask. Our attacks are against the corporate image and we don't mean any disrespect to the poor minimum wage guys that have to play the part.

And (really!) questions we have been asked, but not frequently...

Q. Why don’t you work on an organic farm?
A. Aye, you can hardly get around Glasgow for all the organic farms.

Q. You are obviously intelligent and ambitious, why don’t you apply for a loan and start your own business?
A. hmmm

Q. Who should I vote for?
A. Definitely our friends and comrades at the UK Independence Party. No, just kidding, don’t vote, cause trouble.

Q. Isn’t this almost communism and against everything America stands for?
A. Er... yes.

Q. Aren’t you proud to be American?
A. What?

Q. How can you support terrorism after September the 11th?
A. ?!?!

And a question we’ve never been asked:

Q. Wow, there is so much great stuff on this site, where should I start?
A. Well you might try looking at our new highlights page. It presents some of our favourite pieces from the MWR site with links to the pages the extracts have been taken from.

Question not answered? For more questions and answers see full transcript of an interview with The Face Magazine. If your question still isn’t answered then please contact us.

If you want to know more about the ideas behind what we do then please check out The Heavy Stuff

MWR, anti-capitalism, ecology and the “third world”: A response to eco-fundamentalist anti-capitalists

McDonalds Workers Resistance responds to criticism from activists that they "support capitalism" or killing the planet.

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

MWR gets a fair bit of hate mail, not from McDonalds or McDonalds managers but from certain ‘anti-capitalists’ or ‘anarchists’. Usually they tell us to fuck off because we support the capitalist system, commit violence against the planet, don’t give a toss about the ‘real victims of capitalism (“peasants”, “the starving”, “kids in sweatshops”) and “only care about ourselves” (the charge of abusing animals is also common but there is a separate piece on MWR and animal rights). Once we even received a collective death threat, which is kind of funny except that these people just might be mad enough...

Probably if we worked for any other company on earth our activities would attract little attention from the rabid eco-fundamentalists, but McDonalds is a bit special- it is a symbol of the culture they have opted out of, it is a manifestation of the degenerate society against which they define themselves. And many of those who rant at us seem to define themselves, not against a socio-economic system, but against ‘the masses’, those of us who have to live our lives in that system. The promotion of a pure lifestyle and the hateful bile directed against all those who deviate from their code of abstinence appears as much to do with how they achieve feelings of self-worth as it is with ecological concern.

Like others on the right, they are very quick to emphasise choice. We ‘choose’ to work for McDonalds. This is true, we choose to work for McDonalds the same way that some people ‘choose’ prostitution (recognising, of course, that this can also be a consequence of more direct coercion). But where possibilities are so limited, what value is there in even talking of choice, let alone free choice? The alternative is to sell our labour to some other abhorrent capitalist corporation (perhaps one less symbolic than McDonalds) and for many there is no alternative employment, quite simply McDonalds is the only job going.

At this point eco-fundamentalists will usually retort either “grow your own food”, “you can get all you need from skips” (if they’ve completely lost it), or, “sign on” (if they are slightly saner). We know loads of folk who sign on because they don’t want to work. That’s great, good luck to them, we have nothing against folk blagging the dole (or skipping, squatting etc.), recognise the refusal of wage labour as a radical political act and have made numerous statement expressing our solidarity with benefit claimants. However, we are also only too aware of the severe, even tragic, consequences of unemployment, consequences reflected in rates of suicide and depression. The suggestion that everyone can choose to live happily on the dole is idiotic, it makes a mockery of the many bitter and heroic struggles workers have fought for jobs, and is offensive to the victims of unemployment.

This must surely be apparent to at last some of the eco-fundamentalists who advocate total abstinence from the productive (and consumptive) process as the alternative to “supporting capitalism” through selling you labour. The reality of their manifesto is not a call to a liberatory avoidance of wage labour (though it can be for some), but a call to martyrdom, to share their sacrificial commitment to the planet.

I want to be able to get my round in (occasionally!), I don’t want to get kicked out of my house, I want a bit of cash to spend on luxuries... these things require money. Of course, we would prefer that, to give one example, fashion wasn’t defined on the terms of capital, we would prefer that all social meaning was created by ordinary people, on our terms. We will explain how we hope to contribute to the development of such a society later but first: is it true our motivation is based on self-interest?

Well mainly, aye. We don’t want to struggle for money, we don’t want to live on a devastated planet, we don’t want to waste our lives doing pointless things to make others rich. This doesn’t just mean abolishing McDonalds (for, of course, we will do many different things with our lives), it means not wasting nay time at all. It means living without dead time and enjoying without restraint. We’re absolutely serious and totally unapologetic about our ‘war on boredom’. But it is an astonishing, bizarre conclusion that this is in contradiction with the ambitions of the “real victims of capitalism”! The incessant portrayal of the rebellious proletarians and indigenous peoples of poorer countries as helpless victims is abhorrent. We don’t offer anyone charity or sympathy, fuck that, we offer, and expect to receive, solidarity. The idea that pursuing you own interests is at the expense of the “real victims of capitalism” only makes sense if you believe you benefit from capitalism. In our case, as exploited workers, we are certain that is not the case. The accusation speaks either of the accusers confusion or their class position.

Similarly, we are very concerned about ecological issues. Our ambitions include workers control of production. We are sure that when the productive process is controlled by ordinary people for the benefit of ourselves and the planet we share, it will be so different as to be unrecognisable from the devastating, profit mad carnage of the contemporary economy. And, of course, we can’t wait for the revolution, we have to take direct action in defence of the planet now. As individuals, several of us have been involved in such actions. Just because our main focus is in the workplace doesn’t mean we’re against those whose main focus is blocking road building or obstructing logging any more than those people are necessarily against class struggle. Does everyone involved with MWR agree with this? Probably not, people learn from being involved with stuff. We started out with a mass of prejudices, limited understanding and a motivation based primarily on frustration, we’ve learned a wee bit at least.

However, the rabid-eco-fundamentalists may be too dogmatic to amend their ideas. They use labels like ‘anti-capitalist’, ‘anarchist’, but more often they write like militant liberals simultaneously romanticising and patronising “third world” people, or sometimes they appear to be quasi-fascist. We think the transformation of society should only be and can only be a global endeavour. And we think we are most effective acting on what we understand, on what is relevant to us and people we know. Frequently the third world-firsters seem to be, as someone once said, too busy fighting their irrelevant struggles to see what’s going on in their own backyard. More concerning are the quasi-fascists.

We refuse to see the people we live amongst and work amongst as ‘the enemy’. Rather, we believe that only “the masses”, for all our faults, can or should transform society. As we have stated previously:

“We think the solution to social and ecological problems is through mass popular action, the role of all of us who become especially involved in social struggle, whether it be promoting workplace unrest or rioting at leaders summits, is to inspire, encourage and participate in this mass action, not to compensate for its absence through living a pure lifestyle or kidding ourselves that our actions represent others.”

The bammers who support Ted Kaczynski and others who advocate random attacks on ordinary people should not be given a platform. If Fred West had said he was into the environment someone in the anti-capitalist milieu would have started a support campaign.

More generally, it seems the issue of McDonalds workers is one that divides ‘anti-capitalists’. Certainly this has been our experience, we’ve had some wonderful support but also a lot of grief. Some local activists have been brilliant, especially when we were starting out, others refused to share a PO Box with us. I’ve also heard a story that some years ago an Anarchist group in the North of England split around the issue. Half the group wanted to do solidarity actions with McDonalds workers so, apparently, the other half left to do joint actions with Hari Krishnas! To us it seems like a division between those who want to be part of a mass movement rooted in and capable of transforming mainstream society, and those who jealously guard their subcultural ghetto, preferring the comfort of their presumed moral superiority to the messy business of revolutionary activity. We are trying our best to belong to the former and we see limited value in the latter.


McDonalds, 9-11 and US foreign policy

Statement by Glasgow MWR following a statement issued by the McDonalds corporation following the September 11th attacks covering the attacks, the war, and McDonalds itself.

Submitted by libcom on May 7, 2006

Here is a statement from McDonalds regarding the terrorist attacks in America followed by a response from Glasgow MWR. Maybe we are getting a bit above ourselves commenting on international affairs but McDonalds statement really wound some of us up. And if they're going to espouse their views on a subject then we like to reply...

'McDonalds Responds to America's National Tragedy' 12/09/01
Statement: Jack M. Greenberg, chairman and CEO of McDonalds corporation

"We are all devastated by yesterday's horrific acts of terrorism. I know I speak for everyone at McDonalds when I say our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of all the victims of this national tragedy. A catastrophe of this magnitude is hard to comprehend, but we're all in this together as Americans. That's why McDonalds is doing what we always do... we are helping our neighbours. McDonalds corporation is contributing $1million to the humanitarian and relief effort and Ronald McDonald House Charities is matching it with its own $1million donation. Starting this Friday and continuing for a month all customer donations through our Ronald McDonald House restaurant canister programme in the US will be donated to the American Red Cross to assist in this national emergency. In New York City, from our restaurants near the World Trade Centre sites we are serving food to search and rescue teams, we are also bringing in two mobile McDonalds, along with eight supply trucks to keep restaurant serving the tireless workforce there. McDonalds Restaurants in Baltimore/ Washington D.C. region are providing meals to the teams working at the Pentagon. And in Somerset County, we are also supplying food to the emergency crews there."

The following response was approved at Glasgow MWR's weekly meeting 15/09/01:
"McDonalds are giving some hamburgers away and they want the world to know. As an unprecedented quantity of TV cameras descended upon Manhattan to beam the tragic images around the world, two mobile McDonalds slipped on stage right. They chucked in a million dollars as well, yeah, 15% of the days advertising budget; McDonalds spends a million dollars on advertising every three and a half hours.

Within minutes of the initial crashes, political and corporate leaders were seeking to use the tragic events to further their own agendas. Bush tried to whip up patriotism and justify increased military spending. Blair spoke of the "new evil" facing the world and talked of attacks on freedom and democracy. McDonalds, of course, will use anything to sell burgers- the emotional responses of two year olds to a clown, or the very real shock and sadness the world feels at the devastation in America. And the shock and sadness is very real. On Friday, McDonalds staff and customers, like much of Europe, stood in silent remembrance across a continent. All very respectful, yet even here there is something disquieting. When Mozambique was devastated by floods, where were the corporate donations? Where was the mourning? Was climate change the "new evil" facing the world? The world was silent. Where has the grief been for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi victims of sanctions and bombardments? The world has been silent. Where have the condemnations been for the US bankrolled Israeli massacre of Palestinian children, in a land where Palestinians earn an average of one twentieth of the average Israeli wage? The US wont even discuss whether that constitutes racism and the rest of the world has been largely silent. How much more directly has Bin Laden sponsored the atrocities in America than the US has sponsored the genocide perpetrated against the East Timorese? And yet Britain has largely been silent, still arming the Indonesian regime. For the victims of the CIA trained Colombian death squads, where is the mourning? Where is the denunciation? What of the 1998 US bombing of a pharmaceutical factory in Sudan and of the thousands thought to have died as a consequence? No shock, no mourning, not even an investigation. The world was silent. Blair denounced the protesters in Genoa as terrorists, but he was happy to shake hands with Putin. Regarding the people of Chechnya, there was silence. The CIA trained and funded Islamic fundamentalists, including Bin Laden. It is not the case that they gave assistance to Afghani freedom fighters who subsequently 'went bad'; they were funding fundamentalists in Afghanistan from before the Soviet invasion and some of those they armed were at the time already notorious for flinging acid in the face of any woman who refused to wear the veil. But while it suited America, where was the support for the women of Afghanistan? Who has mourned those executed by the Taliban? And if more innocents are killed in US reprisals, will we see corporate donations to the humanitarian relief effort? We can expect the world to be silent. For the countless dead of Sierra Leone, one million Rwandans, many Ugandans, Congolese, Liberians, Somalians, Eritreans, Ethiopians, Angolans, South Americans and Namibians, there is silence. Let's rid the world of "evil doers" but let's never stop selling guns. But when terror strikes at the heart of America, there is a different silence. Not this time the too familiar silence of indifference, but, rightly, a silence of remembrance, of shock and sadness. The message from the west to the rest of the world is abundantly clear- our lives are worth more than yours. In such a world of inequality and racism, there can be no peace.

What has all this got to do with McDonalds? Everything. The attacks in America cannot be understood without reference to decades of US military and political imperialism, which in turn cannot be divorced from the economic imperialism epitomised by McDonalds. McDonalds do not share much with Islamic fundamentalists, but they have one thing in common- both share an intolerance towards other cultures and a disregard for diversity, both seek to impose their version of the world on others. If you look deep enough then it is apparent that the homogenised totality represented by McDonalds is the result of generations of violence and continues to be sustained by force. The capitalist Mcworld is now almost universal with some Islamic countries amongst the rare exceptions. It is this that has brought them, like Cuba, Nicaragua, and so many others, into this long standing conflict with the US, not their catalogue of repressive practices. Russia and China are playing the game now, so about their atrocities, as with turkey, Israel, Colombia, Indonesia etc. there will be silence. This war, like the mass bombing of Iraq, has nothing to do with freedom and everything to do with economics, profits and the perpetual demand for economic growth. It was against the background of these thoughts that I read the line: "That's why McDonalds is doing what we always do... we are helping our neighbours", and was provoked to write this response. In a week dominated by tragic images, McDonalds still manage to produce something shockingly distasteful.

We condemn absolutely the horrific and senseless acts perpetrated in America, but also we condemn US military imperialism and capitalist economic imperialism, and we condemn all of them in the same breath, for to speak of one without reference to the others is inadequate. McDonalds is part of the problem, not the solution."

McDonalds: not/just another company

McDonalds Workers Resistance on their employer, what is unique about it and what is the same about it as every other corporation .

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

McDonalds, Not Just Another Company

McDonalds doesn’t just take advantage of a world that exists for the benefit of business, but, more than most other corporations, is active in constructing and enforcing that world. McDonalds targets its advertising at children as young as two, the importance, not just to McDonalds, but to the economy generally, of nurturing emotional identification with corporate imagery, cannot be underestimated. Two year olds have little chance of differentiating between family and friends with whom it may be constructive to develop a reciprocal emotional solidarity, and an imaginary clown that exists only to increase McDonalds profit margins. The relentless targeting of Ronald McDonald images at young children is a form of abuse, extremely manipulative, McDonalds (and other advertising) prepares children for a lifetime of cultural meaning determined by capital.

McDonalds increasingly enjoys a mutually beneficial relationship with state education systems. This can involve advertising, corporate talks, ‘career advice’ and McDonalds also provides an increasing number of school meals, with the benefit to the company of developing in young people a taste for McDonalds characterless food.

15% of Americans (and loads of people from the rest of the world), will then experience their first employment with the company. ‘First jobs’ at places like McDonalds have replaced national service as an often temporary stage of disciplining and preparation for a lifetime of subservience to capitalism. These jobs now continue a process developed in schools of socialising young people into the productive process. In other workplaces, working conditions that might otherwise be refused are tolerated because employees have experienced much worse in McJobs. The work is designed to completely strip employees of their humanity, it is reminiscent of army boot camps where soldiers have to be turned into ‘fighting machines’. In both institutions ‘why?’ is a forbidden question- procedures and orders are their own justification. McDonalds is very proud that other employers like to employ people who have had successful periods of employment with McDonalds. This is actually true. Employers know that if someone comes from McDonalds with a good reference then they have been through the boot camp. It is like a badge that simply says ‘I will put up with shit’, it’s a certificate that indicates your spirit has been repressed, that you have shown obedience. These are the sort of workers capitalism requires in the greatest number and these are the sort of workers the McDonalds experience is designed to produce. Fortunately, it very often fails.

Again working in cosy partnership with state bureaucracies, McDonalds and similar employers have been invaluable in creating a casualised labour market supported by unemployment. The unemployment has been essential for breaking the strength of workers organisations and supports casualised labour where people can be hired and then fired if they’re not sufficiently compliant. A few employers totally committed to using cheap, non-unionised ‘flexible’ labour, supported wholeheartedly by governments, have been enormously influential in creating the contemporary ‘flexible’ labour market with its consequences for the old workers organisations. McDonalds doesn’t just benefit from the contemporary labour market, it has helped to create it.

Similarly, the sort of work people do today is increasingly rationalised, never ‘McDonaldized’. McDonalds has set an example, enthusiastically adopted by bureaucratic organisations everywhere of how to regulate procedures to ridiculous degrees, of how to ensure that there is no human input required for efficient functioning. It is Fordism taken to another level, it is scientific management taken to extremes. McDonaldization represents a new level of alienation, the total war on human creativity is McDonalds great gift to the economy.

But the influence of the company extends to all wage labourers. Workers are taking shorter and shorter lunch breaks, devoting ever more of their lives to the productive process. McDonalds supports this trend perfectly- race to McDonalds, get served some shit straight away (OK, not quite), gobble it down on the way back to the office. Speed is emphasised over quality in everything McDonalds does (it is not surprising that McDonalds has struggled in Italy and some other areas with strong culinary traditions). The food is served quickly, but also the customer is supposed to eat it quickly- this is why many McDonalds chairs are designed to become uncomfortable if sat on for any length of time. This way of living is a consequence of the logic of production, time away from the productive process is presented as lost time. Of course, the opposite is true and in taking lunch breaks at McDonalds we lose an opportunity for socialising and pleasure. McDonalds entire philosophy is produced by, and supports and reinforces, the idea that time out from the economy is ‘wasted’. To this understanding, taking time to cook a meal, then slowly eating it with a few friends or family, is ‘time consuming’. Or in other words, it occupies time that could otherwise be devoted to the economy- either to the productive or consumptive process. The whole idea of ‘time consuming’ activities only makes sense in a world defined by the economy, and out with this world, McDonalds philosophy is completely meaningless.

Within this world, however, McDonalds has sufficient influence to actually change established dietary practices across whole regions. For example, according to ‘Behind the Arches’ (a book authorised by McDonalds in 1987), McDonalds in Japan faced “a fundamental challenge of establishing beef as a common food”. Their president Den Fujita stated “the reason Japanese people are so short and have yellow skins is because they have eaten nothing but fish and rice for two thousand years”, “if we eat McDonalds hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years we will become taller, our skin become white and our hair blonde”. McDonalds also changed eating habits in Australia, Peter Ritchie (at the time McDonalds Australian president) has stated he attributes “that change to the influence McDonalds has on children”. ‘Behind the Arches’ concludes that rather than adapt to local tastes and preferences, “McDonalds’ foreign partners made major changes in marketing in order to sell the American system”. Indeed, McDonalds is prepared to support such means as are necessary to “sell the American system”, the company supplies symbolic practical support and important ideological support to the military imperialism necessary for the onward march of mono-culture. For example, they provided food to US troops as a token of support for the genocide about to be perpetrated against the people of Iraq.

See also: McDonalds, US foreign policy and September the 11th

McDonalds- Just Another Company

We think McDonalds is just another company and it does exactly the same thing, has exactly the same motivation, as companies all over the world- it aims to make money. There is no room for emotions because the agenda of profit is absolutely total. McDonalds is happy to try running hotels or selling veggie burgers, there is no reason why they wouldn’t be prepared to run a chain of organic vegan restaurants, cannabis cafes, folk clubs or anything else they thought would be profitable.

It happens that, at present, McDonalds believes that in order to make their maximum profit they have to (or rather are able to) exploit their workers to a special degree, devastate the environment, kill loads of animals, exploit children and displace people from their land. But this is just what McDonalds business happens to entail, there is nothing here that another corporation is not capable of. The logic that drives McDonalds is exactly the same as the logic that drives the local organic food store.

It’s obvious that shutting down McDonalds would only open up new market space to other corporations acting on exactly the same principle. One of the regions where McDonalds has been less successful in recent times is in the United States, but McDonalds problems have certainly not coincided with a decline in burger culture and all which it entails. Moving from a profit driven, exploitative and ecologically destructive economy to a society of co-operation, equality and sustainability requires us to attack not just individual corporations but the profit system itself. It requires people everywhere to develop different political, economic and social structures.

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” (David Thoreau)


The trade union question - MWR

McDonalds Workers Resistance on the trade unions and their relevance for McDonalds workers.

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

More than any other corporation on earth McDonalds is notorious for its obsessive, determined and frequently illegal attempts at obstructing trade union activity within its workforce. After the legendary McLibel trial, the high court determined that McDonalds was “antipathetic” towards trade unions. No shit. Tactics used to fight trade unions have included, in France, framing crew member Hassen Lamti for armed robbery, before offering him a bribe to renounce the union. Around the world McDonalds has been responsible for a mass of illegal dismissals of trade union activists. In Canada they made workers lie outside in the snow in the shape of a “no” (to unions). Other anti-union campaigns have involved an “anti-union slide show”, a visit from a top baseball player, a bingo night... They are prepared to engage in lengthy, obstructive legal battles, and frequently shut down whole stores should trade union recognition become unavoidable, in Puerto Rico they pulled out of the whole country following a dispute and opened some years later with non-unionised labour. In the past they have used lengthy polygraph tests (lie detectors) to screen for union sympathisers. They employed John Cooke to “keep the unions out”, he stated in an internal memo that “we do used polygraph tests in a Gestapo type manner”. According to Cooke, “unions are inimical to what we stand for and how we operate. They peddle the line to their members that the boss will be forever more against their interests”.

Clearly, if trade unions did not offer a very real opportunity for workers to improve their conditions, McDonalds would not have opposed them so obsessively. We strongly support all attempts by McDonalds workers to win trade union recognition and warmly extend solidarity to all McWorkers who are trade union members. Workers in unionised stores (for example in Scandinavia, Italy, Mexico) usually experience higher pay and marginally better conditions. If you are familiar with our ambitions then you will know that a marginal pay increase is very far short of what we desire. It is like setting off from Glasgow on a journey to New York and getting as far as Stirling.

However, there is more to a trade union than an extra few pence an hour and a pension scheme. The trade union makes explicit the oppositional relationship between the workers and the bosses, it also provides the structures through which workers can carry on the class struggle. If we worked somewhere there was an established trade union I think most of us would certainly join and work within the union arguing for a radical agenda.

However, unlike the Workers Resistance Against McDonalds, our programme is not focused on unionisation. There are a number of reasons for this.

Most of the unions McDonalds workers might be expected to join are, at present, conservative institutions intent on feeding money to the loathsome Labour Party, run by bloated overpaid bureaucrats, and are more interested in providing financial services to their members than reversing social injustice. Looking at the state of the bureaucratic labour movement reinforces our conviction that workers must control our own struggles. The trade union leaders, like politicians, quickly become distanced from those they claim to represent and come to establish a separate interest group. It is well documented how trade unions have let down workers on numerous occasions over the past two decades. Sometimes this has been a result of the spineless, crawling, spoiled leadership, and sometimes a consequence of the institutionalisation of the unions themselves- fear of losing assets for sanctioning secondary picketing, for example.

The senior trade union bureaucrats have no interest in challenging capitalism- they owe their wealth and power to the status quo- while the union institution itself requires the continuation of the wage system for its preservation.

Where workers are already organised in trade unions there may be a case for trying to radicalise the union, and certainly for workers to use the structures of the union to advance the class struggle. However, this is very different from proposing that new workers organisations should stick to the deficient format of the traditional trade union- a format that has proved unable to challenge capitalism and largely unable, or unwilling, to operate in McDonaldized workplaces. The traditional trade union movement has had several decades now to respond to casualisation- today only one in five casual workers and 6% of all workers under 20 are in a trade union. Every other trade unionist is a professional and over a third have a degree. A middle aged manager with a mortgage and a private pension is more likely to be in a union than workers like us. We’re certainly not against unions (or middle aged people with mortgages and private pensions!), we just recognise that we need something more.

It is exceedingly difficult to unionise a McDonalds restaurant (in some situations it is completely impossible where a successful vote will just lead to the branch being shut down), partly because of McDonalds extreme hostility towards unions, but largely because of the exceptionally high turnover. Our first attempt at organisation was an attempt to unionise. We collected signatures from 70% of crew members at our store but so great was the turnover that five weeks later we had signatures from only a minority of employees. Some of the new employees we hadn’t even met. In these conditions we think the loose non-membership approach of MWR is more effective.

There is some cause for optimism. The McDonaldization of employment may have proved a crisis for the labour movement and for workers, but for workers it may yet prove an opportunity- an opportunity to develop new, more effective, more radical organisations, organisations capable of transforming society.


Some critiques of McDonalds Workers Resistance

Radical McDonald's employee group MWR response to criticisms from different perspectives, including a manager and an eco-fundamentalist.

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

The manager strikes back

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

The Manager Writes...

"Hi, although I think you’re all wrong, I enjoyed your site lots. For sure I know what you mean about external managers they don’t have any idea and it’s terrible. See, I also know what you mean about how the job can be hard work, shit, yes you are all right there. It is a shit job. I know this because I worked up to my position through the ranks, I was a crew member for many years and I got my promotion the hard way, I worked my way through the ranks. I am a first assistant, I have been with the company for nine years, I know more about McDonalds, including the bad bits, than any of you. It is as I said, I liked your site, it made me laugh. But i want to explain to you why you are all wrong, why you have an argument that is actually crap.

See, all of you crew members y ou all think that you are the ones that are doing all of the work. That is so not true. Most of you are retards, sorry but it is true, our lives are made a misery by you retards that can not turn up to work on time, can not follow simple instructions. Some of you come into the job and you have never done anything, you do not know how to sweep a floor. You have never done a days work. It is us managers who have to compensate for your inadequacies. See, I was a crew member and i was agood one. So now when i hear a retard crew member moaning about how they do all the work i know this is crap because if tey could do the work they would soon get promoted. You say you have worked for McDonalds for years and you are still crew members. I am sorry but that makes me think that you are also retards.

You know there are lots of jobs outthere. You work for McDonalds because it is as good as the next job you could get. There is no point moaning that it is unfair because you know that McDonalds is not a charity and because you alos know that the opportunitues are there. How could McDonadls mak opportunities more? Answer me that. What should be done, you wnat everyone to earn more money well that is just childish. Think about it. You know McDonalds aims to be the worlds number one quick service family restaurant. To do this we need to pull our weight. You get paid what you are worth in the market. If McDonalds paid you more it would not be so competitive. It would go bust, you must be able to see that. Then what ? A lot of crewmembers have the decency to be thankful for their jobs they do not have the skills to be employed by other. They get what they are worth.

See, maybe I get paid more than you but that is because I am worth more, sorry but I am. And sure, yesi would like to earn more money but what am i to do because i understand how competititive the industry is and how important it is that we control labour costs. And sure, this is my job to try and get some work out of you kids but if i do not do that then i am not worth anything and i am another retard moaning about how unfair it is. And do not dare say that I am a ‘lazy git’, i work so hard that last year i had a breakdown from the stress of my job. I work harde than any of you that is why i am worth more.

It is like i said, you are funny but you do not understand teh hard realities of the busineness world and you should not work for McDonalds. You should try something else because you obviously do not want to make a success of you McDonalds career the opportunities are there if you wanted to. You do not want to work in the first place so you are just more retards. You should stop all this nonsense about ‘fuck shit up’ and stealing because that is just making things more difficult for people like me and i have a very difficult job and i agree that sometimes things ar eunfair but that is not my fault that is just the way things are and you are never going to change that. so yes, stop [email protected]*$ing about and make something of your lives."

MWR Replies:

Come on mate, open your fucking eyes. The “opportunities are there”, what opportunities? Opportunities to get on like you’ve done, to work so hard for an “unfair” system that you get stressed and have a “breakdown”? We’re worth more than that and so are you. Has it ever occurred to you that many crew members aren’t “retards” but rather see how the company exists to make money out of us, see how the system is “unfair” and do not want to co-operate in our own exploitation? You work your ass off to make other people rich, that’s not very clever. We’re certainly not suggesting that you’re a “lazy git” or that you get rich off our backs, that’s the big corporate dudes. You’re just a skivvy, a totally expendable slave you do fairly mindless robotic work and earn a fraction of the wealth that you produce. You are just like us and we encourage you to stop working so hard for them. Of course it’s difficult because if you stop giving shit to crew members you’re going to end up getting shit from your boss. So we recognise that it’s not your fault, but you must also recognise that we’re in different class positions and sometimes managers and crew will clash because it’s your job to ensure the McDonalds system keep functioning and it’s in our classes interest to rebel against the system. But crew and managers, we all suffer the daily humiliation of enslavement to the burger bosses pursuit of profit, we are all exploited. It would be nice if more of you guys realised this. McDonalds makes billions of dollars profit every year, we’ll need to do more to destroy their business than just get paid a bit more. But we don’t just want to bankrupt McDonalds, we want to abolish the whole system of employment. Like you say, bankrupting McDonalds would just mean another shit job with whoever took up their share of the market and we don’t want to spend our lives doing pointless things just because they make someone money, we don’t want to perpetuate the “unfair” system, we don’t want breakdowns because we are stressed and overworked. This requires all workers in all industries to start organising, our whole class has to stop taking shit. We’re going to stop fucking about and make something of our lives.

A serious person writes

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

Your Campaign: A Serious Critique

I have observed passively with considerable interest as your campaign has developed. I gladly admit that I have been both surprised and considerably impressed by your determination and staying power. I have also derived much pleasure from your humorous approach and your ability to score points at the expense of your more senior colleagues.

Let me openly state that I wholely share your concerns regarding the predicament in which the world currently finds itself and that for not one second do I doubt your very earnest commitment to the social and ecological good. It is on these friendly terms that I intervene in an attempt to direct your activity in a direction which, in my opinion (and it is only my opinion), would be incalculably more constructive.

When your campaign originated it was characterised by considerable naiveté and a too familiar lugubrious nostalgia for a romantic notion of an early 20th century politics. Let me be clear now, I don not support attempts by westerners to increase their material wealth. Such struggles serve not the planet, or the majority of its inhabitants, nor even those lustful westerners.

Firstly, such struggles reproduce and reinforce an essential tenet of the post-industrial capitalist order- that happiness is produced by material wealth. This is an illusion, a grand indoctrination projected upon you by the spectacular order. Those of us fortunate enough to live in the richer nations, live in a post-scarcity economy. The value of things beyond the satisfaction of our immediate needs, is a consequence of the economic imperative, defined on the terms of capital.

In post-industrial capitalism it becomes in the interest of the capitalist order (even if not, of course, the individual capitalist) that workers wages should increase. This simple statement is frequently denounced by those whose political philosophy belongs to a bygone age. Higher wages means more money in circulation, more money means ever more consumption, more consumption is essential in staving economic stagnation. If western workers are now primarily consumers, this cannot be extended uncritically to third world workers. Third world workers are the producers, it is not in the interests if the order we discuss that there wages should increase. So the pursuit of higher wages in the west has a plethora a of ramifications- it increases geographical inequalities of wealth, it increases consumption and therefor the amount of work being done around the world (but mainly in the third world), and, inevitably, the environmental impact of this is severe and certainly the suffering is disproportionately concentrated in the third world. In the globalised economy the labour movement is just another way the post-industrialised western society asserts its superiority over other areas, where western supported violence is deployed to ensure similar unionisation is impossible.

Now, let me be clear, like you I am a revolutionary, I support the destruction of western society and the transformation to a world of true ecological sustainability. But your strategy is bankrupt.

When once work was performed to meet human needs, today it is performed to meet the need of capital. All organisations in the workplace today can only perpetuate that order. Largely this is recognised with the decline of syndicalism (Spanish CNT once boasted over one million members) and trade unionism. Still, in post-industrial capitalism ALL workplace organising replicates the logic of capitalism. Workers councils, anarchist-syndicalist unions, MacDonalds Workers Resistance, all this is the opposite of revolutionary activity for it can only perpetuate the world of capitalist labour. Organise around specific issues, organise around a locality- don’t organise around that which is the very basis of oppression, exploitation and environmental destruction. Do not organise around work!

The urgent problems facing the world are environmental destruction, the poverty of the third world and the destruction of the human spirit everywhere- not your pursuit of material wealth. I would warmly appreciate your ideas on these comments since I have taken the time to write them.

MWR reply:

Maybe what people want and need is ‘defined on the terms of capital’, but that doesn’t make the wants and needs any less real. Like if (to choose a cliched example) someone’s kid wants to go to school in fashionable trainers, then going on about how the kids want is ‘defined on the terms of capital’ isn’t going to help the situation much where as an extra £30 might. So these things are important and inequalities in ‘post-industrial’ societies continue to fuck people up, you can see that in life expectancies, suicide rates, health records, etc. We don’t live in a classless society.

Our campaign isn’t just about western workers, we support the organisation of all workers and have always been explicit about demanding rights of organisation for everyone employed by McDonalds whether directly or indirectly including those employed in the ‘third world’ making packaging, happy meal toys, etc. “Our lives may be very different but our struggle is the same”. But we are not in the business of charity, solidarity, yes, but not charity.

As an aboriginal woman once said, “if you come only to help me, you can go back home. But if you consider our struggle as part of your struggle for survival, then maybe we can work together.”

And it’s just not true to say that unionisation is impossible in the “third world”. To give just one example, the Bangladeshi Garment Workers Union kicks fuck out of any British or American trade union.

It’s often said that the established bureaucratic trade unions can’t break with capitalist modes of production because they require them to exist. Maybe that’s true, but MWR’s idea is much more fluid and less institutionalised. You seem to assume that when workers take control of the means of production they wont want to change anything. That’s a crazy idea. There’s no reason why work place organising should “perpetuate the logic of capitalist labour” any more than community organisations should maintain council tax collection or crap housing.


11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by

That's obviously a stupid conclusion even if some of the points before it are interesting. The ability to stop work on a very wide scale still has great power these days and it's still possible to achieve (as part of the strategy the class develops as it realises its abolition.*)

The BGWU however doesn't hold that much influence. It would be interesting to learn how the struggle in Bangladesh develops and is organised.

*jargon or shorthand?


11 years 9 months ago

In reply to by

yes, that is a flaw in the MWR response, and the BGWU acting against struggling workers has been mentioned elsewhere on libcom recently

Blood, hellfire, damnation...

Submitted by Steven. on September 14, 2010

The following was posted on indymedia UK by A//E, March 2002. This is one example of a general trend of communications we receive. However, most of these folk just waste their own time with their ranting, he decided everyone should read his words of wisdom...

"We all have a choice ...

Were you all conscripted and forced by rifle butts to work for mcdonalds ? Had you no choice only the choice of suffering in poverty which would eventually lead to your deaths if you did'nt work for mcdonalds ?

You see the animals suffering and dieing at the hands of mcdonalds abattoirs,hundreds of thousands of bloody,pulped bodies by the day?... no,you're too busy fighting for more money and alleviation of boredom.

You see the rape of the rainforests and hundreds of thousands of acres of land across the earth levelled to provide space for cattle to graze later to be served by you disguised as'burgers' ?

You see the establishment of mcdonalds outlets sprawl across the world like a plague making vast profits to kill more animals and tear down more trees and move on and evict more indigenous peoples from the land mcdonalds are exploiting ?

You don't care,your a fucking joke,if you did care you would'nt have taken that interview to work for such a shitty,slimy,death mongering company.

I put it to you with your pseudo socialist'working class' belief that 'mcdonalds workers resistance'is a group of people working for change from within is total,absolute,lies...your site makes you look like you are just a bunch of pissed off,bored numbskulls who don't actually give a shit about any of the above.You come here and whine and make yourselves out to be 'weal webels'?Your site is full of discrepancies about nothing real,just that you'want'more money,your bored,you don't like this and you don't like that...makes it sound like you've been forced into some type of prison camp.

I put it to you that you are taking the piss out of IMC by regularly posting your bullshit in the hope of support and response from activists who will support you in your poor,hard done by plight to earn more money to buy more things for yourselves.

If the bosses of said horror company did pay you enough money your site would be left by you to rot and you'd be serving up arms,legs and stomach innards with 'fries' like there's no tommorow.

No peace until McDonalds is deceased."

No peace until McDonalds is deceased... by Webel Mon Mar 25 '02

Hi A//E,

It’s Webel here again. I used to be in MWR but now no longer work for McDonalds. However, I continue to help and support the group in any way I can and still see myself as part of MWR, even if decision making must rest with those still working there. I was one of a couple in the old group who argued hard to move us in the direction of anti-capitalism and to try and develop links with the ‘anti-capitalist’ movement. Seems a bit embarassing right now. These days I’m involved with a range of campaigns, not just MWR.

However, it’s true, MWR did start out because we were pissed off, bored and underpaid. And, in fairness, we probably didn’t understand very much beyond that. There’s no shame in that, did you come out the womb quoting comrade Kaczynski?

Thanks for the link to the vegetarian society with the chocolate recipes and advice on free range eggs. Unfortunately I’m vegan.

Also, it's always good to see a link to McSpotlight, who, of course, set up the support network for McDonalds workers when we were probably still at school.

Your obsession with the group is starting to concern me. You seem to post more stuff about MWR than it does. It’s very amusing that this post, a comment, is having a go at MWR’s use of IMC. As far as I know MWR’s posted maybe 5 messages on imc UK in the 4 years we’ve been organising (admittedly all since October 2001). The main reason they were posted is because we were suffering under the illusion that some people who worked for McDonalds or in other low paid casualised industries might look at this site... aye, OK, still learning. And, sure, to ask for help and solidarity from other workers and activists, help and solidarity we have always been delighted to reciprocate. Anyway, ‘To “MWR”?’ The address is [email protected] not imc UK’s news wire.

The numbskull web site is at: You will see, if you look closely, that we want an end to all wage labour, and a transformation to an ecological, communist society, but it’s not a good idea to start ranting on about that to every pissed off employee that wants to start fighting back. People learn and develop through being actively involved in struggles. We have anyway.

I wouldn’t say MWR were anarcho-syndicalists, there’s different oppinions and influences- everything from just how we felt when we started to... situationism.

DiSsident, the ‘bricks, steel poles and petrol bombs’ will be thrown by pissed off workers while you are still sitting at your computer. Do you think the people who have recently been on the streets of Argentina all avoided the economy(not through choice anyway), or somehow found ‘ethical employment’?

The Glasgow branch of MWR has a meeting every week and at the next one I’ll suggest that we put together a few pages explaining the politics and how they relate to ecological issues. It’s tiresome and depressing to keep having to respond to A//E. A//E, as you know, MWR, see their activities as part of a drive for revolutionary social change. A strategy that needn’t be in conflict with your revolutionary manifesto (indicated elsewhere) of encouraging the whole world to sign on. Solidarity to all benefit claimants, and also to people who choose alternative lifestyles, just a pity some of them are such moralistic, self-satisfied pricks. What is it you’re involved with anyway?, or is not working enough? We got no problem with folk blagging the dole, good luck to anyone who chooses to do that, but you got to recognise that for other people, folk not living in your subculture, unemployment (and boredom!) is a fucking serious problem that people fucking kill themselves over. But the ever escalating suicide rate is probably a good thing ‘cos it cuts down a population that was destroying the planet....

It is difficult to take a movement seriously that so gladly tolerates people who are so distanced from reality. It is not easy getting people interested in anti-capitalist ideas because to most people it’s a bizarre and irrelevant freak show. How the planet raping billions could have formed such a view is beyond me...

A//E (does that stand for accident and emergency by the way?), if I get someone to post your intelligent critique on the MWR web site will you stop writing about us?


No peace until McDonalds is deceased, No destroying McDonalds until we crawl out the ghetto,

Webel (in a personal capacity)

p.s. Jolly good thing the pits got shut down, saves those fucking miners from destroying the planet so they can buy stuff they don’t need.

To see a fuller version of this debate go to: