Monthly Archives: July 2011

Brighton’s Squatted Past 3 – the 1990s

**The following post is part of a series from [SNOB (AHA)]( looking at the history and importance of squatting in Brighton (and Hove actually… which is notably the constituency of a certain [modern-day villain]( seeking to steal from the poor and give to the rich).** ##1990s Throughout the 1990s, there were many squatted projects. This phenomenon can be seen against the backdrop of the increasing gentrification of Brighton. As many yuppies moved in who commuted to London for work, the centre became standardised, lots of independent shops and traders got priced out and the mood switched. Residential squatting was forced […]

Brighton’s Squatted Past 2 – the 1970s (& ’80s…)

**The following post is the second in a series by [SNOB(AHA)](, looking at the history and significance of squatting in Brighton.** ##1970s After what appears to have been a lull, with records scarce, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the movement grew and became more political. The issue again was housing. Steve Platt records in his chapter for the excellent book [‘Squatting: The Real Story’]( that in November 1971 the Cyrenians, a charity for the single homeless which had become exasperated with Brighton Council, squatted three houses. The Brighton Rents project was squatting buildings with widespread support (even Dennis […]

Dear Telegraph…

**The following post is by Rueben Taylor, a campaigner with SQUASH.** As we all know and we’ve been exploring a little on this blog, many newspapers are riddled with inaccuracies and distortions about squatting. The Telegraph has been particularly manipulative in this regard, spewing a concerted campaign of mistruths as part of their plan to Stop the Squatters – to ensure empty buildings remain empty and the poor remain on the streets. Spearheading much of their coverage has been scaremonger-in-chief Tom Whitehead, the Home Affairs editor. Unfortunately, Tom does have rather a tendency to make mistakes or to misinterpret the […]

Brighton’s Squatted Past 1

**Over the next few days we’ll be publishing a four part series about the history of squatting in Brighton, which has been put together by the crew at [Squatters’ Network Of Brighton (And Hove Actually)]( We’d love to publish more stuff about the stories and histories of squatting and land struggle around the UK and indeed the world: get in touch if you’ve got a tale to tell!** The first version of this history is available as a beautiful free zine to download [here]( ##Introduction Squatting in Brighton has a long and illustrious history, some of which is captured here. […]

From Housing Crisis to Radical Urbanism: Reflections on Squatting

**The following guest post is by Alex Vasudevan from Nottingham University** Over two weeks ago I posted a [piece]( on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site which explored the coalition government’s plans to criminalize squatting subject to a brief consultation period. The main thrust of my argument was twofold: 1) That plans to criminalize squatting would simply exacerbate a growing housing crisis in the UK. Squatting should be seen as a necessary coping strategy in the face of an highly uneven and exploitative housing market. 2) That the proposed ban also betrays a more sinister logic that seeks to legislate […]

Further Reading

This is an extract from Colin Ward’s book ‘Anarchy in Action’, first published in 1973. He talks about some of the differences between being housed, and housing oneself. Touching on the peripheral squatter settlements around some of the worlds largest city; the 1946 large-scale squatting of old army camps in the UK by families and the differences between the settlements that became ‘official’ and those that did not; and finally the gulf in Britain between the owner occupier and the municipal tenant. The pdf is layed out for print, so you have to skip backwards and forwards a bit, but […]

Stirring up the consultation

The following post is written by Victoria Blitz who is working with the squash campaign The consultation is upon us and, in the words of the guardian last week, it is ‘drip[ping] with the embarrassment of the officials who’d been ordered to write it’. The tellingly thin document is titled ‘Options for dealing with Squatters’, and briefly outlines five different positions the government could take in regards to dealing with squatters. We have until October to challenge the consultation’s proposals of criminalisation: encouranging as broad a range of groups and individuals to respond to the government and highlight the different […]

Advice for talking to journalists

**The following post is by Rueben Taylor, a campaigner with SQUASH.** So, the Murdoch empire is trembling under the weight of all their rivals’ gloating. The stories that we’re being drip-fed daily are grotesque, each revealing the monstrous callousness of the News International hacks. Shocking, yes. But for anyone who’s ever experienced the venom of a journalist looking to make their name from sensationalism and populism, it’s hardly surprising. Just like those who work in call centres, or those who work on stage, will use alternative names while at work, we recommend that anyone who decides to tell their story […]

Consultation launched: Campaigners condemn “criminalisation of the homeless”

The government has announced its consultation into criminalising squatting. Housing charities, MPs, squatters, property consultants, activists, lawyers and artists are working on diverse campaigns to oppose the government plans. Today, a coalition of groups met in parliament for the second time to discuss opposition to this legislation. In their parliamentary briefing [SQUASH]( outlined how the legislation may be unworkable in law, unenforceable by the police and unaffordable to the public purse.

Squats bred some of the best UK music – the Tories want to shut them down

The following post is by Carl Loben, originally posted on the  Louder Than War blog. Squat culture has been the backbone of creativity for years. The right wing press would like to paint a picture of marauding lunatics stealing your home from under your nose but the truth is far more blurred. There are countless empty properties, kept empty to bump their price up. Large tracts of the city left empty whilst people are homeless. Musicians are traditionally skint and need space to create. Some people abuse this position and some people make great use of the space. David Cameron […]

“Some of them have jobs” – Kenneth Clark

The BBC Politics Show The analysis is wrong we need to focus our attention on affordable housing – Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scottland

Landlords From Hell… Jon Snow tells us how unscrupulous landlords are exploiting the most vulnerable people in society and getting away with it

Barry Tseung gives us a report of last weeks Dispatches documentary, produced with help from homeless charity Shelter. The programme is available to watch over on 4oD. It concentrates on one rogue landlord, who an undercover Dispatches reporter got a job working for, and there was a side story filmed in what you could only describe as a shanty town – in Southall. Vulnerable families and migrant workers are paying £320 per month to live there, in sheds at the bottom of each back garden along a pair of suburban streets. Nice. The landlord in the main story ran a […]

The Assault on Squatting

The following article is written by Richard George and was originally posted over on the New Left Project **The traditional view that the Tories are the party of the landed classes was built on solid bedrock. More recent events show that it continues to hold good. The last time they were in power they orchestrated the largest land-grab in living memory – the ‘right to buy’ – through which council housing passed to property magnates and buy-to-let landlords under the auspices of helping people onto the property ladder. This time around, spurred on by misleading articles in the right-wing media, […]

Amid government fears of ‘mass homelessness’ is criminalising squatting appropriate?

Yesterday’s headline in the Observer announces that Eric Pickles has warned David Cameron that welfare reform will make 40,000 more families homeless. Contrary to the government’s claims that a limit on benefit payments will have little impact on homelessness and child poverty, the leaked letter confirms that the caps will disproportionately affect families and reveals fears of ‘mass homelessness’: ■ 40,000 families will be made homeless by the welfare reforms, putting further strain on services already “seeing increased pressures”. ■ An estimated £270m saving from the benefits cap will be wiped out by the need to divert resources to help […]

The Legal Aid and Sentencing Bill: what does it really mean?

**The following post is from Rueben Taylor, and was originally published in a slightly different form over on the [New Internationalist blog](** Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron [announced]( something or other about burglars and squatting and knife crime and legal aid and … well it was all rather confusing really wasn’t it? So what did it really mean? Buried among all the headline grabbing bogeyman hunting, what exactly has the government announced? The [top legal aid story](, was that support will be withdrawn from squatters. Now, anyone with any knowledge of squatting will have raised a quizzical eyebrow at […]