Squatting is a form of direct action in which empty and abandoned property is occupied without the permission of its owners. It has been described as 'living demonstration' because it is both symbolic and practical: it raises awareness by grabbing headlines and provides an immediate solution to homelessness.
Because squatting involved families, often tied up in complex Council re-housing and temporary shelter schemes, it was vital that the campaigners understood the squatters' legal position and negotiated any available loopholes to prevent their eviction and arrest. This legal knowledge became characteristic of the movement and influenced later direct action movements, such as the tree protesters of the 1990s.
The squatters campaign was active; it used demonstration, disruption and occupation to raise awareness and achieve its aims but press coverage of this action was crucial to the movement's success. Do-it-yourself guides and handbooks, giving practical and legal advice, also played an important role in the 1960s development of the movement.