Occupy Athens, which a few weeks ago couldn’t draw more than a few people to its General Assembly, has pulled off some electoral theater seen nation-wide: write-in candidate Charles Darwin drew 16% of the vote against evolution-denier Paul Broun in Congressional district 10.
Natalie Jennings wrote for the Washington Post 9 November 2012, Charles Darwin earns nearly 4,000 write-in votes against Ga. Rep. Broun,
Darwin, who was the original proponent of the theory of evolution and died in 1882, got nearly 4,000 write-in votes against the incumbent Broun, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. Broun, a physician, is a creationist who in September said evolution was based on “lies straight from the pit of hell.”
And here’s part of what one of Occupy Athens wrote online today:
Here’s what one of the movement’s local not-a-leaders had to say about the effort:
“This is the kind of thing that we do as Occupiers, that nobody ever really notices. Next time around, when the Democrats run someone against Paul Broun, it will be because they figure that if sixteen percent of the voters in Athens-Clarke took the time and trouble to write in Darwin’s name and another 23,000 or whatever it was skipped over Broun completely, then maybe they will have a chance to oust Broun from Congress in 2014. This was not just a protest—it was the beginning of a process.”
The problem with this account is that the local branch of Occupy Wall Street isn’t popular in Athens-Clarke County. Their endorsement was not likely to sway many opinions. Their relationship with the authorities isn’t malignant like in Atlanta, but the locals were pretty hostile last year. I was just relieved nobody quite actually got lynched.
And yet, 20% of the votes cast in Athens (which translates into 2% of the voters in the whole district) were write-ins for Charles Darwin. That’s pretty remarkable. Activist professors suggest protest votes over this or that outrage all the time around here. Word gets around, and you hear about it, but the results don’t usually make the news.
(Photo/Damien Salas, email@example.com, dfrancsalas.com)
So does one solitary anarchist cos-playing Charles Darwin in front of the UGA Arches make a difference? Probably yes. Probably more than a hundred angry demonstrators getting kettled by police. So far the strength of the Occupy movement has not been its numbers, but its ability to expose and undermine the spectacle of society with spectacles of its own.
The story has been covered from Australia to Russia, and the wapo version is #9 on reddit as I type, which means millions of pageviews.