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Premiere of Anti-Immigrant Film GrowthBusters Tonight in Washington, DC


Guest Blogger • Nov 02, 2011

by Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone

GrowthBusters, a new film by David Gardner, is slated for release tonight, November 2nd, at the West End Cinema in Washington, DC.

While supposedly concerned with current limits of consumption and growth, this film also acts as a vehicle for anti-immigrant rhetoric delivered via environmental scare tactics that Gardner roots in issues of overpopulation.

Though the film bills itself as “post-growth,” Gardner never bothers to distinguish the nuanced distinctions across the spectrum of different variants of growth, and what consumption means for different people living in different socio-economic situations.

Gardner specifically targets immigrants through his rhetoric of blaming, and further secures his place in the pantheon of bigoted pseudo-environmentalists through his relationship to organizations such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), NumbersUSA, and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).  These organizations, as Imagine2050 has extensively reported, are all allied through shared board members, funding bodies, and anti-immigrant mission statements.

Said groups constitute the heart of the John Tanton Network, a constellation of anti-immigrant groups with varies foci within the nativist movement that were all either founded and/or funded by white-nationalist John Tanton. These groups and their cohorts solely exist to perpetuate and extend a xenophobic and anti-immigrant agenda—one that places the blame for environmental degradation on the shoulders of those who – unlike the massive resource consumption of corporations or the United States military – consume very little.

Though discussions of growth and consumption are worthy and vital topics for that the environmental movement must always breach, such conversations cannot function as veiled attempts to place anti-immigrant rhetoric on the table, if you will. As Imagine2050 reported earlier this month, when Gardner was asked which of the featured interviewees, for him, stood out the most, he was quoted as having said:

“Dick Lamm former governor, Colorado, [sic] gave a great interview about sustainability. He said there’s still a possibility for us to have a wonderful world for our kids, but the legacy that growth has left us has given us such a strong cultural inclination to not do the right thing that it’s going to be really hard to make the changes; it might even be impossible.”

Lamm – just one example of the numerous luminaries from the anti-immigrant/nativist movement who is featured in the film – is a member of PFIR’s board of advisors, just one of the many front group spin-offs that litter the Tanton Network’s family tree. Dick Lamm is also a close, personal friend of John Tanton himself, and according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Lamm once stated that “new cultures” in America were “diluting what we are and who we are.”

These connections alone are enough to merit serious critiques concerning Gardner’s true aims and positioning within the environmental movement. Paired with the questionable content of his new film, Gardner must be taken to task over his broad desire to warp pressing environmental issues into bigoted immigrant-blaming.

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