From the archive, originally posted by: [ spectre ]

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

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, which can be very useful in protest
situations. ‘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 personal 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, claiming 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 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.”



“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.
Because inside everyone is a lawless clown trying to escape. Because
nothing undermines authority like holding it up to ridicule. Because
since the beginning of time tricksters have embraced life’s
contradictions, creating coherence through confusion. Because fools
are both fearsome and innocent, wise and stupid, entertainers and
dissenters, healers and laughing stocks, scapegoats and subversives.
Because buffoons always succeed in failing, always say yes, always
hope and always feel things deeply. Because a clown can survive
everything and get away with anything.

We are an army because we live on a planet in permanent war – a war of
money against life, of profit against dignity, of progress against the
future. Because a war that gorges itself on death and blood and shits
money and toxins, deserves an obscene body of deviant soldiers.
Because only an army can declare absurd war on absurd war. Because
combat requires solidarity, discipline and commitment. Because alone
clowns are pathetic figures, but in groups and gaggles, brigades and
battalions, they are extremely dangerous. We are an army because we
are angry and where bombs fail we might succeed with mocking laughter.
And laughter needs an echo.

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.”


“Clowns always speak of the same thing, they speak of hunger; hunger
for food, hunger for sex, but also hunger for dignity, hunger for
identity, hunger for power. In fact, they introduce questions about
who commands, who protests.” – Dario Fo (Italian playwright/fool)

CIRCA is reclaiming the art of Rebel Clowning, it’s combatants don’t
pretend to be clowns, they are clowns, real trained clowns. Clowns
that have run away from the anaemic safety of the circus and escaped
the banality of kids parties, Fools that have thrown away their
sceptres and broken the chains that shackled them to the throne.

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.

The rebel clowns that make up CIRCA embody life’s contradictions, they
are both fearsome and innocent, wise and stupid, entertainers and
dissenters, healers and laughing stocks, scapegoats and subversives.

Rebel Clowns are trained by CIRCA recruiting officers, using a variety
of different exercises, training includes finding your inner clown,
civil disobedience tactics, learning to be spontaneous and playful,
practicing clown gaggle manoevers and last but not least marching and

Contact us : communication chaos
in LeedsYou can email us at
circaSTOPSPAM [at] labofii [dot] net
to join up or for media interviews.

or email circa-sd [at] riseup [dot] net

Clown army tries hard to make fools of the police
From The Times  /  June 7, 2007

For a brief moment it looked as if the antiG8 protesters had won a
battle, if not the war.

They failed to punch a hole in the eight-mile (13km) steel and barbed-
wire fence that was guarding world leaders. But for a few hours they
did come within 20 yards before being beaten back by riot police
firing high-powered jets of water.

Perhaps, just perhaps – much depended on the sea winds around
Heiligendamm – President Bush was able to hear them shout: “No
justice, no peace!”

It was an instructive piece of guerrilla protest, the result of a year
of tactical planning. “We successfully captured two access roads to
the G8 summit,” Christoph Kleine, a leading member of the radical
Interventionist Left, said. “We are very satisfied.”

The protesters plan to stay for 24 hours within about 200m (650ft) of
the leaders’ compound, mimicking a medieval siege. “We don’t have to
storm the wall. That wall will always be the symbol of how the G8 is
excluding the rest of the world,” he said.

The protesters used what is known as the Five Finger strategy,
borrowing from the guerrilla warfare textbooks of Mao Zedong and Che

Two wings of the protest movement managed to paralyse stretches of the
motorway linking Rostock airport to the G8. A third detachment blocked
the narrow-gauge railway track on which the vintage Molli locomotive
attempted to ferry journalists into the G8 security compound to meet
José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission President. The
journalists eventually had to be transported by sea.

One of the key diversionary tactics involved a group known as the
Rebel Clown Army. They had their first real outing at the Gleneagles
G8 summit two years ago and, in the current skirmishes, are fielding
some 500 people with red noses and floppy boots.

Typically they surround police vans, squirt them with water pistols,
jump on car bonnets to distract officers from other, more serious,
protest actions. Three – Matthias, Daniel and Kati – drove a police
checkpoint to distraction with bad jokes and a mock silver-foil

“Feeling cold then?” Daniel asked as one policeman started to put on
his armour. “Take us with you, we’ll cheer you up,” Matthais said,
pretending to vomit in their laps.

Later police claimed that militants had been shedding their black
shirts and donning clown masks to come up close and cause injury. A
spokesman said that eight officers had been treated for skin
irritations caused from a fluid shot.

“That’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day,” said the Rebel Clown
Army spokesman, Matthias Häberlein. “We use the purest of soap
bubbles.” He added: “Of course anyone can dress up as a clown. It’s a
human right.”

Clowns, Greens, blackshirted radicals, gay-rights activists and
antinuclear campaigners prepared for a vigil within loudspeaker
distance of the G8 leaders last night. The idea, they said, was to
make sure that they did not sleep easy.

New Violence Reported in Germany Ahead of G8 Summit
By VOA News  /  04 June 2007

New clashes were reported between protesters and police in the
Rostock, Germany, ahead of this week’s Group of Eight summit in a
nearby resort.

Authorities say some 400 extremists pelted police with bottles as they
protested restrictions on refugees and asylum seekers in G8 countries.

The clashes were the second outbreak of violence ahead of Heiligendamm
summit. With public access to the resort closed, demonstrators have
been meeting in Rostok. A riot Saturday left about 1,000 people

Those protesters were demanding that the G8 leading industrialized
countries take more action to reduce poverty, inequality,
environmental destruction and restrictions on immigration.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in a television broadcast Sunday,
condemned the violence and warned that authorities will not tolerate
such activities.

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