International Squatters’ Symbol & Anarchy




The act of ‘squatting’ is generally referred as the physical occupation of otherwise ’empty’ land or buildings, carried-out by an individual or group, that do not own, rent or otherwise have conventional ‘legal’ access to the land or property concerned. The space occupied can be a private residence, a commercial building, or an area of countryside, where in the latter case, structures of various types might be assembled without Planning Permission. In many countries, squatting in private or commercial properties is a grey legal area, with no laws directly prohibiting it – although in 2012, the Tory-LibDem Coalition of the UK ‘criminalised’ squatting in private residences. If entrance can be gained without ‘breaking and entering’, the act of squatting cannot usually be treated as ‘burglary’, particularly as ‘shelter’ and not ‘theft’ is the motivation of the occupiers (that often include family groups with children). The International Squatters’ Symbol above has many explanations, but the circle appears to represent land or a building, whilst the arrow represents the ‘squatter(s)’ i.e. ‘direction of movement’. This symbol also suggests the transient nature of the occupation, in recognition that the Authorities might well force the squatters to ‘move on’. However, as squatting is symptomatic of the inequalities that exist within political and economic systems, (whereby millions or even billions of ‘non-homed’ people around the world are forced to find shelter in one form or another through ‘direct’ action), as a movement it is often politically associated with ‘Anarchism’ and ‘Anarcho-Socialist’ movements. This is why the ‘broken’ arrow is often assumed to be a stylised ‘A’ for ‘Anarchism’:


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