This article examines the wave of housing squats by housing movements in Milan during the 2010s as a part of the anti-austerity protests following the financial crisis. The literature on the European housing squats emphasized their novelty in comparison to traditional working-class organizations and their autonomy from state power. I shift attention to the underresearched interdependences among squats and traditional trade/tenant unions and how they enabled squats to interfere with housing policy and the state. Using findings from two case studies, the analysis shows that these interdependences underpinned a resistance strategy suspended between noncontentious experiments of “welfare from below” and contentious politics. Within this framework, the squats became a lever for the housing movements to keep exerting an influence on policy action and to survive demobilization despite an adverse political climate, connecting pragmatic welfare gains in the present and radical aspirations of future societal change.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.