Why I Hate Clowns
The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, or CIRCA has been a seemingly de rigeur fixture within the direct actionist milieu since its manifestation during the run up to the G8 summit of 2005. When I first saw the clowns I must admit I was sick in my mouth a wee bit. However my misgivings at the time were laid to rest when I saw the effectiveness of the tactic during the carnival for full enjoyment in Edinburgh (04/07/05). Seeing the clowns making a joke of the police and defusing situations where people would have otherwise taken a severe beating from the old bill was quite something. It was also heartening to see the police stumped for what to do, after all they would have looked a bit daft giving a kicking to bingo the clowno wouldn’t they?
However much I appreciated the tactic at the time I am now flabbergasted to see clowns cropping up seemingly everywhere. A point in case is the recent buy nothing day “protest” in Edinburgh.
Now I’m not a big fan of Buy Nothing Day and don’t understand the idea behind it but that is not the issue here. What confuses me is the presence of otherwise sane people wearing pseudo-military clown outfits.
What, I asked myself, is the point of dressing up like a clown in these circumstances.
The tactic, one of reducing police aggression with “tactical frivolity” seemed a bit pointless when you’re handing out free grub and bits of tat to folk on Princes street. Hardly setting yourself up to wet the truncheons of the local forces of law and order now are we folks.
So why the clowns? In a situation like buy nothing day or the blockade of the shell petrol station a few weeks earlier you dilute your message with absurdity and alienate people who you want to listen to you. It seems that some folk have latched onto this clowning malarky and attempted to turn it into something more than it is, a tactic. It is a tactic in so much as a black block, samba band or shield wall is a tactic when confronted with a heavily armed and well organized police force in a public order situation. Taken out of this specific context the tactic is absurd.
Would you go out on a state approved demo in a black block? No so why go as a clown? The imagery of the clown detracts from any message you are trying to get across.
If people want to dress up as clowns in their own time that’s fine, go join the circus or something. Same goes for samba players, in your own time cool and black blockers…well you could just buy a playstation or something.
Save the tactics for when they are necessary, you look like a buffoon otherwise.