Sunday, March 08, 2009

Congratulations Andrea

This is just a quick post to congratulate Andrea Horwath on winning the leadership of the Ontario New Democratic Party. I'm not a party member and I didn't follow the race, but I remember Andrea fondly from my years of covering municipal politics in the City of Hamilton for independent print and broadcast media. She was one of the small group of social democratic feminist women mostly from the agency sector whose hard work in the face of masculinist leftist posturing and sectarianism made the 100,000 strong Hamilton Days of Action a reality in the early years of protest against the Conservative provincial government of Mike Harris. She went on to become a city and regional counsellor for the downtown ward in Hamilton. It was that role that she held when I covered local politics between roughly 1998 and 2001. Her politics are pretty standard social democracy with a feminist inflection, at least as far as I recall. However, she was consistently the most progressive voice on city and regional councils in those years (with the only dependable exception being that she would usually follow along if a neighbourhood association based in her ward took a less-than-progressive stand on some ward-based happening). I think creating a society which reflects the kinds of values claimed by most social democrats can only happen through reinvigorating social movements that are not tied to any party, and that no leader or party reorganization in the absence of that is going to be able to address the crisis that neoliberalism has thurst on social democracy around the world. Nonetheless, I'm glad Andrea won, and I wish her well in her new job.

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