I’ve posted about the phenomenon of what I’ve called leftist balkanization or the way in which leftist causes tend to be narrowly focused such that they undermine other leftist causes (see here for my original post and here and here for two follow-ups). Perhaps the opposite of such balkanization is social movements that try to bring together issues that find themselves on opposite sides of the political spectrum. Below are two advertisements for the pro-environment anti-immigration movement. The argument is that restricting immigration is good for the environment.
This first commercial from the Californians for Population Stabilization makes exactly this point:
You might be asking yourself whether this pro-environment anti-immigration message is really just an anti-immigration message shrouded in leftist rhetoric. In this case, at least based on the commercial below from the same organization, the answer appears to be “yes.”
Of course, it’s not necessarily true that all anti-immigrant pro-environment messages are secretly simply xenophobic. For a great discussion of this troubled movement, see Leslie King’s great article that shows how challenging it is to mobilize a grass roots movement when one half of your message offends one half of the population and the other half of your message offends the other.
Sanguinity — October 28, 2008
I'd say that your example video is yet another example of "leftist balkanization," as you're calling it -- people who care about the environment still indulging themselves in racism and privilege about their wealth (i.e., thinking it's fine to withhold wealth from others "for the public good," yet holding onto their own wealth).
Lisa Wade, PhD — October 28, 2008
Hmmm. Good point, Sanguinity.
I think, though, that the difference I was picking up on is that, in the other cases, the Balkanization seems to be a product of thoughtlessness. PETA, for example, doesn't seem to be both anti-feminist and pro-animal. Their sexism seems incidental to their cause. Being pro-animal does not require you to be anti-woman.
Whereas, in this case, there seems to be a conscious effort to link the two issues and support for one is contingent on support for the other. Being pro-environment requires you to be anti-immigration.
Cara — October 28, 2008
All I could think was . . .
Do you realize why immigrants have a bigger carbon footprint in the U.S. than they did before immigrating? Might it be that they immigrated because they were so poor that they couldn't afford things like electricity and enough food to feed the family (food production accounts for a big part of carbon emissions) and that the answer isn't to say "sorry, no light, heat or meals for you and your kids" and maybe instead to stop being so damn wasteful here and start using a much fairer amount of resources so that the earth can afford for others to live outside of abject poverty?
I doubt that most people watching the ad are going to have that same analysis and conclusions spring to mind, but isn't the obvious question "why?" I mean, I hear a stat like that, and whether I agree with the message behind it or not it's always the first thing that I think of: What is going on to make that stat true?
I don't know. I mean, the good news is that most environmentalists are leftists already, and leftists tend to be pro-immigration/immigrant.
Village Idiot — October 28, 2008
From the first video: "Immigrants produce four times more carbon emissions in the U.S. than in their home country." (I imagined all the Native Americans nodding in agreement...)
Uh, is that because they are using our grid power, buying and driving a car due to sprawl and a lack of public transportation options (in most cases), and just living closer to the standards accepted as normal here in general? I guess it means they're a threat to the environment because they're living more like us, and their efforts must be stopped! Only we can live like us!!
I looked a little closer, and it seems Mexico produces 7.04 tons of CO2 per person per year (as of 2000) and the per-capita annual CO2 production in the U.S. is 24.09 tons (as of 2002). Immigrants from the UK double their output when they get here since it's 11.01 tons in the UK, so immigrants from across the pond still present a threat but it's not as large as most, relatively speaking. Places like China, India, and the Philippines emit 3.05, 1.34, and 1.37 tons respectively, so getting here must seem like winning the carbon lottery. On the other hand, if we entice a bunch of Australians to come, we could say that immigration lowers their carbon footprint since per capita CO2 emissions there are 27.54 tons/yr.
[All data obtained from http://www.carbonplanet.com/country_emissions ]
And lets not even get started on the issue of lax environmental laws in many developing countries, countries which just happen to produce many of the goods we enjoy here so cheaply. Since carbon is only one issue among many threats to our world, this propaganda piece curiously glosses over non-carbon toxic pollution in the air, ground, and water that might not affect the climate but certainly affects all life on Earth.
To me, that video was purely an anti-immigration piece and they were grasping at straws by using the environment as an argument; whoever produced it is not an environmentalist at all.
IMO there is no such thing as an illegal human being, so the whole immigration debate is just a bunch of vested interests justifying themselves with imaginary lines drawn on the ground. It'll be nice when (or if) we evolve beyond this point. We'd better do it soon...
Village Idiot — October 28, 2008
I was writing my reply while Cara was posting hers... glad to see this anti-immigrant nonsense is so transparent.
Cricka — October 28, 2008
A short comment:
I have generally become quite wary of pro-environment activists/groups. I think that the clear association environmentalism - Democrats/the left is a phenomenon specific to the US.
You can be just as easily pro-environment if you favour reactionary, "back to the good old times" politics (anti-modernity, sociologically speaking). In fact, AFAIK, conflicts between leftist and conservative wings (and the corresponding electorates) have caused severe problems to Green parties all over the world.
As an - admittedly extreme - example, I once got a flyer for a group calling themselves "the real Greens" or something, in which they seriously argued that the only viable solution for all the climate and energy problems would be carpet-bombing Africa and parts of Asia with hydrogen bombs. I am not making this up.
Dave — October 29, 2008
Oh, America! Always looking for the quick fix.
Sociological Images » ADVOCATING FOR ENGLISH…AND AGAINST PUERTO RICO — October 30, 2008
[...] might also check out Lisa’s recent post on an organization that linked anti-immigration and pro-environment stances. addthis_url = [...]
Sociological Images » BREACHING THE POLITICAL BINARY — March 28, 2009
[...] another example of an effort to bridge the political binary, see this post on pro-environment/anti-immigrant activism tags: feminism, guns, marketing, politics| [...]
Christine Donayre — April 19, 2009
Could you post the link to Leslie King's article as the "hyperlink" did not work.
Sociological Images » RACE AND TOXIC RELEASE FACILITIES — June 20, 2009
[...] in race and the environment, check out our post on the anti-immigrant/pro-environment movement, our post on lead poisoning and poor children, and our post on the use of American Indians as [...]
Sociological Images » Migration Trends in Selected Countries — July 5, 2009
[...] game, Asian Americans and marriage, refugees in the U.S., anti-Puerto Rican statehood movement, pro-environment anti-immigration video, early German assimilation in the U.S., do immigrants work harder?, Muslims in Europe, world stats, [...]
Scottish Anti-Rape Campaign: Effective or Sensationalist? » Sociological Images — September 17, 2009
[...] laid, “blasphemous” Italian anti-rape poster, Tila Tequila cares about human rights, get rid of immigrants for the sake of the environment, the white woman’s burden, appropriating American Indian identities for the environment, stay [...]
The Social Construction of Political “Sides” » Sociological Images — October 11, 2009
[...] The artificial linking of some issues with others can cause some serious problems for social movement organizations that don’t obey the rules. Leslie King has shown this nicely with her work on anti-immigrant, pro-environment organizations. [...]
Sociological Images Update (Oct. 2009) » Sociological Images — November 1, 2009
[...] two ideas that seem to be at odds. Another example, detailed in a post in October of 2008, is the pro-environment/anti-immigrant movement (protecting the environment means restricting immigration). The post features a couple really [...]
jakk — February 19, 2010
"...there is no such thing as an illegal human being, so the whole immigration debate is just a bunch of vested interests justifying themselves with imaginary lines drawn on the ground. It’ll be nice when (or if) we evolve beyond this point. We’d better do it soon…..."
Thank you! Is this the insipid notions that provide impetus for leftists?? Immigration Laws, infant, work both directions and are drawn up for particular reasons - economics! Immigrations laws seem to be very acceptable to countries south and north of the United States and few foreigners feel that handing their nations autonomy is a very good nor smart idea at all. "NO such thing as an illegal human being?" Is the stupidest POV that I have EVER heard from you idiots who believe that your lives will benefit from your going along with an out of control Congress. The human is not illegal but the entry into another country at a place other than an official point of entry most certainly IS illegal - Get your head straight! Picture now, how many more hospitals do you need to see go bankrupt ue to their servicing the needs of illegal aliens without compensation or scant little return from the pathetic government due to unfair IMAPALA laws? Maybe when you grow up and have to pay Federal, State and Municipal taxes and witness the hospital that you attend for your health needs go under- perhaps then you will see that our fine countries wealth and resources are finite! Your liberal do-goody idealism is immature and childish believing that the source of all goodies for all people is in infinite supply! You are immature, unschooled and terribly uninformed with regard to both illegal entry and the environment.
The environmental issue has since 1970 been a good idea but in the hands of Al "Piltdown Man" Gore, complete fraud! So in closing, 1) Illegal aliens slipping into the USA equal = EXPENSIVE, 2) Global Warming equal = Total fallacy, fraud and cooked up junk Piltdown Man science. Carbon Footprint? You need a bootprint in your ass!
You liberals need to get a grip on facts and reality. Your emotions do not make the world go around. Truth does and every Liberal I know cannot handle the truth!