Our VoiceNews & Politics

Negative Population Growth Seeks to Occupy “Occupy”


Guest Blogger • Nov 22, 2011

photo taken from flikcr

by Jesse Sanes

Even in the midst of the Occupy movement demanding otherwise, anti-immigrant pundits continue to blame the 99% for environmental degradation.

With the global population reaching 7 billion within a six month window around October 31st, Malthusians of all shades have been chiming in. Many anti-immigrant groups and their leaders have said little about the responsibility of the 1% that remain at the top of the global financial system and fossil fuel corporations that are most responsible for global warming and the financial crises.

Perhaps the most obnoxious and infuriating input on the (vague) dawn of the 7 billionth human is that of the John Tanton Network avatars who just can’t pass up an opportunity to blame immigrants for anything. These groups have gone beyond merely sheltering dirty energy corporations and trillion dollar asset managers from taking responsibly for global warming and the aforementioned crises. And they do so at the expense of immigrants, some of those most vulnerable to environmental problems and poverty.

Tanton Network group Negative Population Growth (NPG) just released its latest journal in which NPG president Donald Mann, however, shamelessly latches on to the Occupy activists’ momentum:

While the subjects of population and immigration policy are not among the main topics being advanced by the Occupy Wall Street protestors, we can use their challenge to the status quo of political gridlock, especially when addressing population and immigration policies.”

There is no question Mann’s not demanding economic reform, let’s say. 

Mann sits on the board of advisors for Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a group founded by white nationalist John Tanton. Other Tanton Network mainstays like Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, have also weighed in on the 7 billion debate.  Beck has attempted to use pejoratives to describe those who would like to see changes to our current system. In direct opposition to Occupy goals, though, Beck writes:

“The growing surpluses of population around the world will be used by the utopian humanitarians in our midst to use the coercive power of the federal government to force massive immigration and all the changes that accompany it on the neighborhoods and individual citizens of our national community.”

Even Leon Kolankiewicz at Tanton-affiliated Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), a group listed as a state contact for FAIR, has spoken up to let the 1% off the hook. Instead of looking to the climate culprits hiding in CEO offices at Shell, ConocoPhillips, and National Coal Corporation, Kolankiewicz says that population growth “diminishes biodiversity through development, encroachment, exploitation and pollution.”

As expected and similar to Kolankiewicz, Beck, and Mann, some are still choosing to highlight the rest of the 7 billion as the source of ecological problems. Far from population growth overseas, the roots of problems like global warming lie in realities like enormous subsidies and support for the fossil fuel industry in our own backyards.

The Occupy movement is questioning why bankers should still be receiving bonuses to the tune of millions and millions of dollars while economic remedies like years and years of austerity measures fall on the shoulders of the world’s poor. The same can be asked of the climate debt accrued by oil, coal, and gas producers around the world, the costs of which are freak weather patterns hitting the worlds most vulnerable and least responsible for global warming.

We know where the problem lies: not immigrants and the 7 billion, per se, but in patterns of overconsumption by those with such means, dirty energy, profiteering, and the 1%.

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