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Squatting, what is it?

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Squatting is the act of occupying an abandoned or unoccupied space or building that the squatter does not own, rent, or otherwise have permission to use. Squatters often claim rights over the spaces they have squatted by virtue of occupation, rather than ownership; in this sense, squatting is similar to (and potentially a necessary condition of) adverse possession, by which a possessor of real property without title may eventually gain legal title to the real property. Squatting has a long history, as old or older than the idea of property itself. To squat in many countries is in itself a crime; in others it is only seen as a civil conflict between the owner and the occupants. Property law and the state have traditionally upheld the property owner. However, in many cases where squatters had de facto ownership, laws have been changed to legitimize their status. It is said that the United States Homestead Act is an example of such legislation. Additionally, states which have a shortage of housing tend to tolerate squatters in property awaiting redevelopment until the developer is ready to begin work; however, at that point the laws tend to be enforced. In many of the world's poorer countries there are extensive slums or shanty towns, such as the favelas of Brazil, typically built on the edges of major cities and consisting almost entirely of self-constructed housing built on terrain seized and occupied illegally. Also common in many of these same countries are rural squatter movements such as (again taking a Brazilian example) the Landless Workers' Movement. Besides places to live, squats are often socially interesting places, hosting give-away shops, pirate radio stations, and even restaurants.>>
A squat party is a party that takes place either in a disused building (broken into and secured for the party) or in an already existing squat. Squat parties are usually advertised either by word of mouth, postings on internet bulletin boards, flyers handed out at other similar events and through phone lines set up by the sound system(s) organising the event. This is for security reasons, since the organisers do not want the authorities finding out about them and trying to stop them. Most squat parties usually run for 12 to 24 hours, finishing when the organisers have had enough or if they are shut down by police. Squat parties are typically either free or charge a small donation on the door. Typically the organisers also try to make additional money through selling alcohol inside. Squat parties are also referred to as 'free parties', though 'free' is most likely to mean freedom (unregulated) rather than free entry. The type of music played at squat parties is usually of the underground variety; genres of music that aren't commercially viable for major labels. Each sound system has its own music policy, following and entourage. Typically the most common music genres played by sound systems are techno, jungle, trance, drum and bass, breakcore and hardcore techno, sometimes gabba. Drug sale and use is endemic, especially Ecstasy, Cannabis and Ketamine. Due to the drug culture and unregulated environment, security has become an increasing problem for many party organisers. Typical parties in the London scene range from small parties with a couple of hundred people up to huge multi-riggers involving a thousand or more people. The number of sound systems involved also varies - small parties may have just one or two sound systems, larger parties may have anything up to 20 or more, including several "link-ups" where two or more sound systems will combine their rigs into a single large system. Other events might be much smaller acoustic nights run more like a cafe. Squatted buildings are often used as social centres and creative spaces for people to use.>>

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