Squatters union

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A squatters union, settlers association, or claimant club, is an organization of homesteaders or squatters established to protect their interests and property rights. They have been formed in the Australia, England, Poland and the United States.


Squatters in Australia formed unions in the 1980s. There was the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Squatters' Union and the Squatters Union of Victoria.[1] Quadrant, a cultural publication based in Sydney ran a story titled the 'Excremental Politics of Squatters' Union' in 1989.[2]


Squatters in England have formed squatters unions. In London there was a squatters union in the 1970s and Piers Corbyn was an advocate.[3] The union negotiated with the Central Electricity Generating Board so that squatters could access amenities. The still active Advisory Service for Squatters grew out of the union.[4]

In the city of Brighton and Hove, a squatters union was set up in the 1970s by Bruno Crosby. It later became known as the Sussex Housing Movement. The union occupied many houses for people to live in.[5] A group which included Tony Greenstein made a deal with a landlord to live and repair a derelict hotel in Hove at 9 Lansdowne Place.[6] Twenty people lived in the licensed squat for the next five years.[7] Steve Bassam, now Baron Bassam of Brighton, squatted in Brighton and also participated in the union. In more recent times, the Squatters Network of Brighton (SNOB) proposed that licensed squats could be a way to solve the city's housing crisis.[7]


In Polish osadnik communities, a settlers union (Polish: Centralny Związek Osadników Wojskowych) was founded in March 1922 and offered credit, funded scholarships at various universities of agriculture, and founded schools.[citation needed]

United States[edit]

In the United States squatter groups have taken on various names including clubs, associations, or unions.[8] Solon Robinson who settled with his family in the area now known as Crown Point, Indiana established a squatters union in the 1830s. Land speculators were a problem for members. The union grew to 500 members.[9] John Tipton spoke in support of the group.[10]

Perrine, Florida had a squatters union of farmers during the late 19th century.

In more recent times squatters have formed unions to represent their interests. Examples include Homes not Jails in San Francisco.[11] In New York City, residents in eleven squatted buildings successfully legalised with the assistance of the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board. These buildings included C-Squat and Umbrella House.[12]


  1. ^ McIntyre, Iain (2018). "A short history of squatting in Australia". In Squatting Everywhere Kollective (SqeK) (ed.). Fighting for spaces, Fighting for our lives: Squatting Movements today. ISBN 978-3-942885-90-4.
  2. ^ "Quadrant". H.R. Krygier. September 28, 1989 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Vasudevan, Alexander (May 16, 2017). "The Autonomous City: A History of Urban Squatting". Verso Books – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Wates, Nick; Wolmar, Christian (1980). Squatting: the Real Story. London: Bay Leaf Books. ISBN 0-9507259-0-0.
  5. ^ d'Enno, Douglas (2007). Brighton crime and vice, 1800-2000. Grub Street Publishers. ISBN 9781783408108.
  6. ^ Greenstein, Tony (31 January 2014). "40 years on: Memories of student protests, squatting, and street politics". www.brightonandhoveindependent.co.uk. Archived from the original on 6 December 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  7. ^ a b Parsons, Ben (12 February 2012). "Pressure mounting for licensed squats". The Argus. Archived from the original on 6 December 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
  8. ^ Dobbz, Hannah (November 27, 2012). "Nine-tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States". AK Press – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Buss, James Joseph (July 29, 2013). "Winning the West with Words: Language and Conquest in the Lower Great Lakes". University of Oklahoma Press – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Collins, William Frederick (September 28, 1997). "John Tipton and the Indians of the Old Northwest". Purdue University – via Google Books.
  11. ^ Chatterton, Paul; Hollands, Robert (2003). Urban nightscapes : youth cultures, pleasure spaces and corporate power. Routledge. ISBN 978-0415283465.
  12. ^ "Umbrella House: East Village Co-op Run by Former Squatters". New York Times. 19 July 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2019.