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CIRCA at Make Poverty History march in Scotland
Clown Army promotional poster.

The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (or CIRCA or Smile LiberAtion Front) is a United Kingdom-based anti-authoritarian left-wing activist group that uses clowning and non-violent tactics to act against corporate globalisation, war, and on other issues.

CIRCA emerged out of the direct action movement and has participated in protests against George W. Bush's visit to the UK in 2003 and demonstrations against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The group was particularly prominent in many of the actions organised around the 31st G8 summit held in Gleneagles during July 2005.

Those participating in CIRCA actions typically dress in military-style camouflage clothing supplemented with brightly coloured trimmings and political logos. The costumes both create a comical atmosphere and serve to maintain anonymity during protests. 'Armaments' are usually limited to feather dusters, although some carry water pistols. The complete ensemble of the costume and traditional clown make-up (usually consisting of a white face and red nose) creates a sense of ridiculousness which seeks to challenge preconceptions of radical activists.

CIRCA recruitment poster, with side by side comparison with U.S. Army incentives, standards, and values.

CIRCA claims that there is more to the Army than simply dressing up and messing around. There is also a psychology which informs its actions: the clown persona can be used to defuse tense situations and engage with police in public order situations. In order to learn this 'recruits' must participate in a training workshop before deployment.

In an article about the G8 protests, the Edinburgh Evening News described CIRCA as "an anarchist splinter group," but a member of the organization denied this, saying that while some members would describe themselves as anarchists "...most would consider themselves 'horizontalists' where we engage people without the need for leaders."[1]

The Clown Army now has active groups in the UK, Ireland, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Denmark, Germany and Israel, and many other groups have appeared that have been inspired by the work of the original group.

References

  1. ^ Rebel Clowns Army | at.indymedia.org

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and use clown logic to change my enemies into friends and then into clowns.
I am a harbinger of freedom, fun, and friendship, the clown's way of life.
I am a rebel clown.

The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (or CIRCA or Smile LiberAtion Front) is a United Kingdom-based anti-authoritarian left-wing activist group that uses clowning and other non-violent actions to challenge corporate globalisation, war and similar actions that the group opposes.

Contents

Sourced

  • I am a rebel clown.
    I am a buffoon in a platoon of fools.
    I serve the children of the world
    and live by the values of CIRCA
    • "The Clown's Creed" on a CIRCA poster.
  • I stand ready to deploy, engage, and use clown logic to change my enemies into friends and then into clowns.
    I am a harbinger of freedom, fun, and friendship, the clown's way of life.
    I am a rebel clown.
    • "The Clown's Creed" on a CIRCA poster

ClownArmy.org

ClownArmy.org, the official CIRCA site
You could be part of a fighting force armed with ruthless love and fully trained in the ancient art of clowning and non-violent direct action.
  • The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army is looking for fools and rebels, radicals and rascals, tricksters and traitors, mutineers and malcontents to join its ranks.
    You could be part of a fighting force armed with ruthless love and fully trained in the ancient art of clowning and non-violent direct action.
    You could learn ingeniously stupid tactics that baffle the powerful. You could uncover your inner clown and discover the subversive freedom of fooling.
    You don't need to like clowns or soldiers, you just need to love life and laughter as much as rebellion.

About the Army

Only an army can declare absurd war on absurd war.
CIRCA aims to make clowning dangerous again, to bring it back to the street, restore its disobedience and give it back the social function it once had: its ability to disrupt, critique and heal society.
  • We are clandestine because we refuse the spectacle of celebrity and we are everyone. Because without real names, faces or noses, we show that our words, dreams, and desires are more important than our biographies. Because we reject the society of surveillance that watches, controls, spies upon, records and checks our every move. Because by hiding our identity we recover the power of our acts. Because with greasepaint we give resistance a funny face and become visible once again.
  • We are insurgent because we have risen up from nowhere and are everywhere. Because ideas can be ignored but not suppressed and an insurrection of the imagination is irresistible. Because whenever we fall over we rise up again and again and again, knowing that nothing is lost for history, that nothing is final. Because history doesn't move in straight lines but surges like water, sometimes swirling, sometimes dripping, flowing, flooding — always unknowable, unexpected, uncertain. Because the key to insurgency is brilliant improvisation, not perfect blueprints.
  • We are rebels because we love life and happiness more than 'revolution'. Because no revolution is ever complete and rebellions continues forever. Because we will dismantle the ghost-machine of abstraction with means that are indistinguishable from ends. Because we don't want to change 'the' world, but 'our' world. Because we will always desert and disobey those who abuse and accumulate power. Because rebels transform everything — the way they live, create, love, eat, laugh, play, learn, trade, listen, think and most of all the way they rebel.
  • We are clowns because what else can one be in such a stupid world.
  • Since the beginning of time tricksters have embraced life's contradictions, creating coherence through confusion.
  • Only an army can declare absurd war on absurd war.
  • We are circa because we are approximate and ambivalent, neither here nor there, but in the most powerful of all places, the place in-between order and chaos.
  • RUN AWAY FROM THE CIRCUS
    JOIN THE FORCES OF THE CLANDESTINE INSURGENT REBEL CLOWN ARMY

Rebel Clowning

  • CIRCA aims to make clowning dangerous again, to bring it back to the street, restore its disobedience and give it back the social function it once had: its ability to disrupt, critique and heal society. Since the beginning of time tricksters (the mythological origin or all clowns) have embraced life's paradoxes, creating coherence through confusion — adding disorder to the world in order to expose its lies and speak the truth.

Quotes about CIRCA

  • We played game after game and at times it was almost impossible not to feel ludicrous. But they were all designed to help protesters defeat barriers — and police.
    Even the staunchest environmental protesters — some of whom come from the most far-flung fringes of society — regard the clowns with suspicion, as slightly untrustworthy anarchists. But then, almost everybody else was so earnest.
    There was a smattering of middle-aged, grey-haired folk, but many were cliches of "Swampy" — thin, vegan and humourless.
    • Jo Knowsley in "The day I joined the Heathrow Climate Camp's Rebel Clown Army" in The Daily Mail (18 August 2007)

External links


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