The Politics of the Crowbar: Squatting in London, 1968-1977

Issue: 
Winter 2016

This paper examines the London squatting movement and argues that it was a key radical social movement which redefined the ownership of space and politicised housing. I challenge the dominant framework through which both squatters and scholars currently view squatting. Squatting is predominantly framed as a binary between political squatters who take buildings in order to engage in political activism and deprivation squatters who live in empty homes out of necessity due to their homelessness. I propose that all squatting is inherently political as it challenges ownership of property and the authority of the state in allocating housing, and forces confrontation with the state. Thus, whether out of need or choice, all squatters are political agents.

Anarchist Studies Vol 24 No. 2, Winter 2016