The two-year-old story about a clown block making fun of a KKK hate rally is making rounds on the internets. I had not run into this story before. Below is the original news item from Asheville Indymedia (from Wayback Machine).
Knoxville rejects Nazis and Klan.
Saturday May 26th the VNN Vanguard Nazi/KKK group attempted to host a hate rally to try to take advantage of the brutal murder of a white couple for media and recruitment purposes. http://www.volunteertv.com/special
Unfortunately for them the 100th ARA (Anti Racist Action) clown block came and handed them their asses by making them appear like the asses they were.
Alex Linder the founder of VNN and the lead organizer of the rally kicked off events by rushing the clowns in a fit of rage, and was promptly arrested by 4 Knoxville police officers who dropped him to the ground when he resisted and dragged him off past the red shiny shoes of the clowns. http://www.volunteertv.com/home/headlines/7704982.html
“White Power!” the Nazi’s shouted, “White Flour?” the clowns yelled back running in circles throwing flour in the air and raising separate letters which spelt “White Flour”.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s angrily shouted once more, “White flowers?” the clowns cheers and threw white flowers in the air and danced about merrily.
“White Power!” the Nazi’s tried once again in a doomed and somewhat funny attempt to clarify their message, “ohhhhhh!” the clowns yelled “Tight Shower!” and held a solar shower in the air and all tried to crowd under to get clean as per the Klan’s directions.
At this point several of the Nazi’s and Klan members began clutching their hearts as if they were about to have a heart attack. Their beady eyes bulged, and the veins in their tiny narrow foreheads beat in rage. One last time they screamed “White Power!”
The clown women thought they finally understood what the Klan was trying to say. “Ohhhhh…” the women clowns said. “Now we understand…”, “WIFE POWER!” they lifted the letters up in the air, grabbed the nearest male clowns and lifted them in their arms and ran about merrily chanting “WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER! WIFE POWER!”
It was at this point that several observers reported seeing several Klan members heads exploding in rage and they stopped trying to explain to the clowns what they wanted.
Apparently the clowns fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the rally, they believed it was a clown rally and came in force to support their pointy hated brethren. To their dismay, despite their best jokes and stunts and pratfalls the Nazis and Klan refused to laugh, and indeed became enraged at the clowns misunderstanding and constant attempts to interpret the clowns instruction.
The clowns on the other hand had a great time and thought the Nazis were the funniest thing they had ever seen and the loud laughter of over 100 counter protesters greeted every attempt of the Nazis and Klan to get their message out, whatever that was.
Many of the local Knoxvillians that came to counter demonstrate had no illusions about why these out of state bad clowns with swastikas were doing in their town.
“KKK YOU CAN’T HIDE, WE CHARGE YOU WITH GENOCIDE!”
“GAY, STRAIGHT, BLACK, WHITE ONE STRUGGLE ONE FIGHT!”
“U.G.L.Y. KLAN YOU AIN’T GOT NO ALIBI, YOU UGLY, YOU UGLY”
Were just a few of the chants that the non clown counter protesters rained down upon the Nazis. The clowns interacted with the non clown protesters with glee and even participated in a chant or two, though apparently with no idea that the Nazis were indeed not clowns thinking it was just part of the show.
In the end the 20 or so sad VNNers left with their tails between their legs. At this point over 150 counter demonstraters were present. The clowns seeing how dejected and sad the Nazi’s looked began singing to cheer them up.
“hey hey hey hey, ho ho ho ho—good bye, good bye” everyone sang waving their arms in the air in unison.
After the VNNers left in their shiny SUVs to go back to Alabama and all the other states that they were from the clowns and counter demonstrators began to march out of the area chanting ‘WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!”
But the cops stopped the clowns and counter protestors. “Hey, do you want an escort” an African-American police officer on a motorcycle asked. “Yes” a clown replied. “We are walking to Market Square in the center of town to celebrate.”
The police officers got in front of the now anti racist parade and blocked the entire road for the march through the heart of Knoxville. An event called imagination station was taking place and over 15,000 thousand students and their parents were in town that weekend. Many of them cheered as the clowns, Knoxvillians and counter protestors marched through the heart of Knoxville singing and laughing at the end of the Nazi’s first attempt at having a rally in Knoxville.
On June 16th the Stormfront Nazis are trying to have a second rally in Knoxville. Clowns, anarchist, activist and others are all invited to come and creatively and nonviolently help us confront these Nazis and give them an even bigger counter rally than the first. If you can come, or can help email.
I just love these kinds of groups. Using play and ridicule to combat intolerance has a long history. This reminds me of the time in the 1940’s when Stetson Kennedy exposed the secrets of the Ku Klux Klan in a Superman radio show.
In the post-World War II era, the Klan experienced a huge resurgence. Its membership was skyrocketing, and its political influence was increasing, so Kennedy went undercover to infiltrate the group. By regularly attending meetings, he became privy to the organization’s secrets. But when he took the information to local authorities, they had little interest in using it. The Klan had become so powerful and intimidating that police were hesitant to build a case against them. Struggling to make use of his findings, Kennedy approached the writers of the Superman radio serial. It was perfect timing. With the war over and the Nazis no longer a threat, the producers were looking for a new villain for Superman to fight. The KKK was a great fit for the role. In a 16-episode series titled “Clan of the Fiery Cross,” the writers pitted the Man of Steel against the men in white hoods. As the storyline progressed, the shows exposed many of the KKK’s most guarded secrets. By revealing everything from code words to rituals, the program completely stripped the Klan of its mystique. Within two weeks of the broadcast, KKK recruitment was down to zero. And by 1948, people were showing up to Klan rallies just to mock them. (from Mental_floss)
But what happened on June 16th 2007? Is this clown block still in existance? My google-fu is failing me when it comes to Knoxville anti racist action. Anyhoo, I hope that groups like Bounce and ImprovEverywhere feel inspired by this.