In September 2007 the initiators of Rebelact had a first meeting and talks about the Rebelact points of departure. The Rebelact "mission statement" is composed from the minutes of the first meeting, other evaluations and a process of trial and error in rebel clowning.
Organised & motivated
Rebelact wants to be an Amsterdam based affinity group that is able to create inspiring and crazy actions on a local scale. We want to create a highly motivated group, where participants prepare, do and evaluate the action collectively (in order to learn from it and to do it better next time): Rebelact as a permanent clown learning process with meetings and workshops on a regular basis.
Local & international
We want to be a strong local group with an international orientation, participating in international actions. Besides, Rebelact is itself a very international group! (almost every clown has a different background). Therefore, we speak English with each other. An English website will inspire people here and anywhere.
Rebelact is about developing new action forms; not only the clown form.We want to make actions more creative and unpredictable. The important point is to make our own autonomous interventions; to do something completely different. We give no preference to making other actions nice by just clowning ('pimping up their actions'). We only join other actions if we have a special task.
We are not just clowns, we are a ‘rebel army'. The (clown) army dress is a joint element; it criticizes and ridicules the hierarchic system (with their components like the military, police, etc.). Refuting authority means to act as a rebel, always and everywhere.
The chosen outfit has something to do with the context of the action. It can be variations like clown special duty police, clown business-men or a clown promotion team, etc. It all depends on the possibilities of a specific situation and on what we want to achieve.
We want to bring art into life and politics, and to mix creativity in activism. The boundaries between art and activism are collapsed in the Rebel Clown Army. Rebel clowning is inspired by situationism. These thoughts have to be translated into our time. Situationism and rebel clowning have one thing in common: confronting the system by putting things upside down.
Rebelact wants to reintroduce fun into the context of street actions.Too many people are suffering the horrible disease called 'seriousness'. Rebelact provides the necessary medicine. Besides: humour is an irresistable weapon for political action. It also helps us to be less vulnerable for repression. It's fun doing direct actions. It's fun, but 'fun' is not the ultimate goal.
We do not want to get stuck in one way of thinking about street interventions and reproduce predictable actions. Taking back our power means to do an intervention in the public space on our own chosen moment. It's a temporary liberation of a place, a moment, a situation. It's a form of guerilla action / communication / theatre.
A clown always says: "Yes!" (but doesn't always understand). Creating questions, new action forms, art, fun, chaos and a serious try to contribute to a completely different political-cultural climate.
We do our actions in a committed way; it makes the situation which we create powerful. It's better to have few powerful actions, than many easily absorbed interventions. Minor actions will soon be forgotten. Our ultimate target is: unforgettable, inspiring interventions.
Rebelact wants to take new steps. Contributing to new developments. The name ' the Amsterdam Rebel Clowns' is just our subtitle. The sender is 'Rebelact'. We realise even the Rebel Clown Army concept is not for eternity. You'll be part of a discovery journey to new action forms. Hope you'll be an amazing part!
"In a mixed landscape of activism, art, humour and media are developing new action forms, the ultimate clownspirational challenge for Rebelact". Quote from Rebelact's email list description.
Saturday, February 5th 2011: Kunduz Police recruits get a first training by Dutch police near the congress of Green Left. The political party supports a Dutch police (mainly military) mission to Afghanistan. Photo: Karen Eliot