Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army
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The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (or CIRCA) 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 from 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 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."
The Clown Army now has active groups in the United Kingdom, 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.
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- CIRCA website
- Rebel Clown Logs
- Video of CIRCA action In Leeds
- Rebel clowns are in town, Edinburgh Evening News, 30 June 2005
- French Clown Army[dead link]
- Danish Clown Army[dead link]
- Dutch Clown Army
- Belgian Clown Army
- CIRCA Boredom Patrol, in the US/Mexico Borderlands
- Middle East Clown Army or Smile LiberAtion Front
- Clown Army Wendland (coordinating the Clown Army in Germany)
- The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination - which the clowns are involved in
- Glasgow Clown Army
- Globalized Resistance: At the G-8 summit, activists refine their tactics from Dollars & Sense, July/August 2007
- Archive of Boredom Patrol Website
- Circus of (Im)Migration, Photos, More, 2
- 'Embedded' film maker documented CIRCA from first steps in 2003 to the Ridiculous Recruitment Tour and G8 protests