Inspiring Tactics for Fascist Times

clown army

Too good not to share.

From L.M. Bogad, “Playing in the Key of Clown: Reflections on the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army,” originally published in the Winter 2017 issue of Fifth Estate:

There have been a series of clown-versus fascist actions across the U.S. and the world. Whether influenced directly or not by CIRCA and our training manual, doesn’t really matter. Much more important is the way this tactic replicates, perhaps independently, or through a sort of zeitgeist-of-the-radical-ridiculous. It’s the massing of clowns to confuse and surprise paramilitary/racist/rightist demonstrators.

Several years ago, a group went to the Southwest to heckle and throw off the right-wing, paramilitary Minutemen border patrol actions, calling themselves the Boredom Patrol and were pretty funny.

In Tennessee and North Carolina over the past ten years, there have been incidents in which KKK/neo-Nazi demonstrations have been met by local people dressed in red noses and wigs, with silly signs and group shtick which mock the racists. In both cases, the Nazis had no countermove. They were simply mocked and laughed at until they went home.

The intent is not to trivialize the existence of the racist far right, but to burst their bubble. Racist demonstrations are intended to provoke fear and rage, to grab attention through physical violence and confrontation. It’s part of their dramaturgy to create an angry, screaming, and hopefully violent standoff.

A racist demonstration in Sacramento, California in June 2016 resulted in violent street fighting and a number of people on both sides were stabbed. This is the kind of scrap the fascists are prepared for and excited about. It’s their strong suit.

Clowns outflank this strategy with one that bursts the heavy emotional atmosphere. The silliness, the dumb jokes, the smiling and slapstick, are not just light stuff. It’s bursting the heaviness and turning the fascist spectacle into a flaccid circus.

The Clowns perform en masse (and this is important) radical fearlessness. It’s not a macho response, but it’s not cowardly either. The red noses go right up in the fascist’s faces, fearlessly. Neither fight nor flight response, but something different. It’s a demonstration of numbers, of a defiant anti-racist manifestation, and ideally it looks fun to be part of.

clown army 2

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