Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Election Results

Only have time for a few quick words...Villaraigosa won by a larger margin than expected, with a 17 point win over Hahn. This gives LA its first Latino mayor in something like a century.

In British Columbia, the right-wing Liberal government managed to hold onto power, but the gains of the social democratic NDP were even greater than the party itself was predciting. In the last election, the Liberals won an overwhelming victory to knock the NDP out of office, taking 77 of 79 seats. In this election it appears that the Liberals have won 46 and the NDP have won 33, though recounts are still possible in a few ridings. The Green Party is a bigger factor in B.C. than anywhere else in Canada, and were hoping to make a breakthrough this time -- while their participation probably split the progressive vote sufficiently to result in the Liberal win, their percentage of the vote was down to 9% from 13% last time, and their leader finished third in her own riding.

Of particular interest to me -- and I only discovered this last night while poking around and looking at election results -- was that Mel Lehan, a long-time activist and interview participant in my social movement history project, was a candidate in the riding of Vancouver -- Point Grey. He went head-to-head with Premier Gordon Campbell. Campbell won, but Lehan got 37.6% of the vote, which isn't bad against an incumbent head-of-government whose party is expected to retain power.

In any case, the elections are over, progressives made gains, but somehow capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and all that other nasty stuff hasn't magically always, I remain convinced that while elections are not meaningless and should not be spurned with the self-congratulatory more-radical-than-thou nonsense I see from time to time, the path to real change is through social movements...if at various points the demands of those movements find expression through electoral politics, well, that's fine, but only through building centres of power and autonomous activity that are independent of the strictures of electoral politics will radical social change ever happen.

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