We are RA-T (Resisting Anti-Trespass), a group of squatters and friends.
Our initial aim was to resist the criminalisation of trespass, a change in law that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill seeks to make. This is still a big part of our fight, standing in solidarity with Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, rough sleepers, and others who are also resisting laws that would criminalise their way of life and existence.
But over time our aims and actions have become much broader than that, and are interconnected with other fights, such as resistance to the hostile environment, precarious housing situations, and policing. Implicitly and explicitly, we call into question that which is often taken for granted: the notions of borders and of land and property ownership, of the distinction between the deserving and the undeserving, or even the image of the crowbar as a symbol of destruction rather than a tool of hope.
As squatters, we believe that we bring to the table stories that are worth telling and the power of creation. Squats are unique spaces in which we can more easily imagine a better world because by squatting we are already outcasts, challenging norms. With empty and abandoned buildings, we can shape the community that we can plant within them, as well as the material structures.
Our methods for carrying out our aims are mutual aid, art, and creative trespass.
So many of us are disconnected from and disillusioned with party politics. But through our past and present projects such as our Pizza Ra-t action, our School of Trespass, Fightback February, and the Autonomous Winter Shelter, we aim to demonstrate that everyday acts can be political. By opening and transforming abandoned buildings, sharing skills that threaten authority, and distributing food through the principle of mutual aid rather than charity, we are building dual power. We want to show that we don’t have to wait to be organised – we can organise ourselves!
This original group is currently based in and around London, but other groups have sprung up in different locations. We plan to keep on resisting anti-trespass and building dual power with future projects.