Coca Cola, An Evil Fucking Empire … Allegedly. [Religion/History]

A lot of people have died because of the cocaine business. Coca-Cola used to have cocaine in it. And Coke (capital “C”) has killed a lot of people too, but not just from obesity. But because the company is an evil fucking empire. Allegedly.

–On This Day in History, Shit Went Down: January 29, 1892–

The product took its name from two of its “medicinal” ingredients: Extract of coca leaves and kola nuts; coca leaves for the cocaine, and kola nuts for the caffeine = bounce you off the fucking walls. Although at its peak it still wasn’t a lot of cocaine. About a fifth of a line that you’d snort. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing. As scandalous as this may seem, cocaine was in fucking everything in the late 19th century. Tons of “medicines” contained it. In 1903 the amount of cocaine in the drink dropped to a “mere trace,” and it was eliminated completely in 1929.

Created and named in 1885 by John Pemberton, the recipe was sold to American business tycoon Asa Candler for $2,300 and he incorporated The Coca-Cola Company on January 29, 1892. And if you thought putting cocaine in the product was bad, I got news for you.

The company line is the product never contained cocaine, which is technically true. It had as an ingredient the coca leaves that just happened to contain cocaine. So . . . semantics. But that’s nothing. In the 1990s, a Coca Cola bottling plant in Colombia allegedly hired death squads to kill their own employees for trying to unionize. The same thing (allegedly) happened at a Coke plant in Guatemala, which has a long (alleged) history of company violence against their employees with incidents as recent as 2010. There are also accusations of worker rights violations in Turkey and Russia. These are independently owned bottling plants, but it doesn’t stop the lawsuits from being filed accusing the head corporation of negligence and complicity. You gotta take some responsibility for what’s done in your name to sell your product.

There are regions in Mexico that have almost no running water because the local Coca-Cola plant is using up most of it. With no water, the inhabitants drink Coke, and their rates of obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed. But it’s not just Mexico. It takes three gallons of water to make one gallon of Coke; the company has been accused of sucking up water supplies internationally, having a negative impact on communities and farms the world over.

This is the tip of the sugar water iceberg. There is a rabbit hole you can go down of accusations of anti-competition practices, shady advertising, being complicit in South Africa’s apartheid, racial discrimination of employees, and providing financial support to a fascist political party in Israel.

Oh, and they are the #1 plastic polluter in the world.

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