Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army
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The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (also known as CIRCA and Clown Army) is an anti-authoritarian left-wing activist group that uses clowning and non-violent tactics to act against corporate globalisation, war, and on other issues. The group originated circa 2003 in the United Kingdom.
The group was particularly prominent in many of the actions organised around the 31st G8 summit held in Gleneagles during July 2005. Members of CIRCA entertained children in Auchterarder while waiting for permission to march near the summit.
CIRCA 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.
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 group than simply dressing up and being playful. 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 aka Big Shoe Camp before deployment.
In an article about the G8 protests, the Edinburgh Evening News described CIRCA as "an anarchist splinter group," but a member 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."
In 2020, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that CIRCA had been infiltrated by undercover police in the early 2000s, with one officer having trained as a clown in order to infiltrate the group.
- "BBC NEWS - UK - Scotland - Day of uncertainty and contrasts". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 3 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=719802005[permanent dead link] Rebel clowns are in town], Edinburgh Evening News, 30 June 2005
- "Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army". beautifultrouble.org. Retrieved 3 February 2017. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Rebel Clowns Army | at.indymedia.org Archived May 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
- "Leeds officer dressed as clown during five-year undercover police operation into "clown army"". www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2020-11-28.
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This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (July 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- 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
- arounorg/archives/2007/0707pinkow.html Globalized Resistance: At the G-8 summit, activists refine their tactics[permanent dead link] from Dollars & Sense, July/August 2007
- Circus of (Im)Migration, Photos, More[permanent dead link], 2[permanent dead link]
- 'Embedded' film maker documented CIRCA from first steps in 2003 to the Ridiculous Recruitment Tour and G8 protests
- CIRCA website
- Rebel Clown Logs
- Video of CIRCA action In Leeds
- Dutch Clown Army
- Belgian Clown Army