Thursday, March 31, 2005


Racists Trying Again To Take Over Sierra Club

The racist nutballs are at it again. Just got this urgent note from

Anti-immigrant groups are trying to force the Sierra Club to oppose immigration, sidetracking the Club from urgent environmental fights. Help defend this important ally: if you're a Sierra Club member, Vote No on the ballot question on immigration. Read below for instructions. Dear MoveOn member, Are you a Sierra Club member? The future of the Sierra Club is at stake. Last year, Sierra Club members voted in record numbers to defeat a hostile takeover attempt by outside groups hoping to use the Club's democratic processes to push their own anti-immigration agenda. Now, these groups have forced an anti-immigrant measure onto the 2005 Sierra Club ballot that would require the Club to advocate for new restrictions on immigration into the U.S.—a policy that will do nothing to protect the global environment but will cripple the Sierra Club at a time when all progressives need them to be powerfully focused on righting the environmental wrongs of the current administration. Why are we getting involved? Groundswell Sierra, a network of Sierra Club members and former staff, asked us to tell the hundreds of thousands of Club members in the MoveOn community, many of whom are in the dark because by-laws keep Club staff from discussing this issue. It's such a serious threat to the progressive movement we felt we needed to pass it on. If right-wing anti-immigrant groups succeed in their stealth drive to change the Club's agenda, it would drive a wedge between environmental groups and millions of Americans, including Latinos who have led the environmental justice movement and are an important part of the progressive community. It would be a serious setback for the larger progressive coalition, and make the Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental organization, much less effective in blocking President Bush's anti-environmental agenda. These outside groups are also running stealth candidates for the board of directors without declaring their true anti-immigrant agenda. But a decisive defeat could end their efforts to take over the Sierra Club. If you are a Sierra Club member, you'll receive your ballot in the mail any day now. Groundswell Sierra recommends: Vote "No" on the ballot question on immigration. Vote for only 5 of these 6 experienced Sierra Club candidates for the Board:

Jim Catlin, Chuck McGrady, Barbara Frank, Jennifer Ferenstein, Joni Bosh, Jim Dougherty. Please vote for only 5 of these candidates—voting for all 6 will disqualify your ballot! You can vote online but must have your paper ballot in hand. For info on voting and a sample ballot, go to: Let us know you're voting, so we can track our impact. Click here: Please pass this on to your Sierra Club member friends. Who's behind the attempt get the Sierra Club to oppose immigration? Some supporters are environmentalists who believe that ending immigration will reduce environmental damage (though world-renowned scientists Anne and Paul Ehrlich, who wrote the seminal book The Population Bomb, disagree and oppose this takeover). But much of the impetus comes from long time, extreme-right immigration opponents who've adopted a strategy of "greenwashing" their arguments to gain mainstream support for denying immigrants basic human rights like health care or education. Opponents of the anti-immigrant measure and board candidates include Robert Kennedy, Jr., former Environmental Protection Agency head Carol Browner, and every living current or former Sierra Club president. During last year's fight, the New York Times editorialized, "Adding such a toxic issue as immigration to the Sierra Club's agenda would simply divert the organization from its primary responsibility, which is to keep real environmental problems in the public consciousness."1

Robert Redford wrote, "Blaming immigrants will not solve any of our environmental problems. Refocusing the Sierra Club on stopping President Bush will... America needs the same Sierra Club that kept the Grand Canyon from being dammed and flooded, that helped create the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, that is working tirelessly to stop the Bush administration from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, back at full strength and on the front lines in the fight against Bush and his administration. It's a fight we won't win without the Club."2 The Sierra Club board has worked to educate Club members about this issue: you can read the organization's policy on the issue at, and read an argument against the current ballot proposal at If you are a Sierra Club member, please take the time to vote on this important issue. Thank you, –Adam, Eli, Justin, and the team Thursday, March 31st, 2005 Sources: 1. "Rumble at the Sierra Club," New York Times, March 17, 2004 2. "Redford's Plea for the Sierra Club," San Francisco Chronicle, April 17, 2004

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