Call out for posts on 'the history of squatting'

Zardoz tony at
Mon Jul 11 18:11:28 BST 2011

Squatting: The Real Story (1980)
Nick Wates (Editor), Christian Wolmar (Editor)

Best read in conjunction with Who Owns Britain by Kevin Cahill (2002) which gives the background on the injustice of present land 'ownership'. 
Bought this via Bookfinder while squatting in Bristol myself in 2004. Squatting: The Real Story is a valiant effort to ensure that history is not entirely written by the rich & powerful. Using a mixture of press cuttings and their own reminiscences & photographs the authors sucessfully pull together much of the motivation and the lessons learned from mass squatting in the 1970s and before. But it is the humour that makes this book an absolute classic and as I write this review second hand copies are going from between £35 for a tatty to £150 for a near perfect hardback copy. Makes me wonder why some entrepreneurial publisher has not decided to reprint the book after all these years since there is clearly a vast demand for it. 
Back to the humour though.... because it is squatters' indefatigable resourcefulness, turning abuses of their basic human rights by greedy landlords into a satirical pop at their abusers, and even into verse, that makes this a classic tale of the triumph of the underdog. Yes the landlords have the full force of the law on their side, but somehow the squatters almost always come out on top strolling off down the road to populate another empty! The moral winners kicking sand in the face of the rich people and authorities booting them out in the street. 
With present and past squatters as well as the public spirited but more conformist members of society this is the sort of book that William Caxton invented printing for - a visionary tome that speaks of a better world to come where all of Britain's sixty million people have somewhere to call their own. And that should not be too difficult since there are about 60 million acres in Britain that makes about a football field each!

--- In Diggers350 at, Darren Hill <mail at ...> wrote:
>       CALL OUT... <>
>       ... FROM SQUASH: The Squatter's Action for Secure Homes internet
>       blog  working group want to do a series of posts on 'the history
>       of squatting' <>
>       /the idea is to do regular posts on a different aspect of
>       squatting's past. We want this representation of history to be as
>       multilinear and diverse as the squatting movements have been. So
>       if you know about, were there, or would like to do some research
>       about a particular thread of this history, and can write something
>       for this series that would be great. From the (medieval?) myth of
>       the one night cottage that would spring up on common land, the
>       diggers (st. georges hill is now a gated community), post war ex
>       army people squatting the barracks, to the history of particular
>       streets or squats, to the relationship between squatting and other
>       housing movements and reform, squatting's relationship to
>       particular music or art scenes, its relationship to particular
>       eras of urban change. I guess we would really like to tease out
>       some of the more hidden histories, maybe the role it's played for
>       particular immigrant communities, and so on... The plan is to
>       illustrate all the contributions and post them as regularly as
>       possible on the blog, and so creating an archive of all of them.
>       please forward this invitation to anyone you think would be
>       interested, or has special knowledge about some part of squatting.../
> / email research at ...
> http://www.//

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