Cultural Revolutions

Taking Over the Board

The Sierra Club's reactivation of its eight-year intra- and extra-mural war over its policy concerning immigration is the latest exhibit opening at the Great American Madhouse.  In 1996, the club officially announced itself neutral on the subject of immigration and population control.  Two years later, a faction proposed a measure advocating immigration restriction in behalf of protecting the North American environment.  The measure was defeated by 60 percent of the voting members, but the anti-immigration minority has remained determined to prevail ever since.

This year, with the club’s spring elections looming, they are back.  Controlling 20 percent of the 15 seats on the board of directors, the insurgents hope to extend their influence even further by electing a slate of restrictionist candidates including Colorado governor emeritus Richard Lamm; Frank Morris, a former director of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; and an entomology professor at Cornell, David Pimentel.  A gain of three seats, they say, would enable them to set policy for the organization.  This time around, the insurrection is complicated by the restrictionists’ alliance with a group of animal-rights activists who want the club to make a stand against hunting, fishing, and eating meat; one of their leaders, Paul Watson (the cofounder of Greenpeace and head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society,...

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