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A.2.b. Resisting Eviction

As noted in the Introduction to A.2., forced evictions, and often local or national resistance, have occurred around the world – for example in Shanghai before the 2008 Olympics and in Rio de Janeiro in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. But often the poor are dispossessed to make way for urban development. This has occurred in many cities in South Africa, where about 10 percent of the population live in shacks in shanty towns, often with abysmal social facilities. An important movement campaigning for the rights of shack dwellers, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) arose around Durban in 2005, and has since spread to settlements round South Africa, and has links to other African countries and internationally. It is a movement stressing participatory democracy which resists evictions, helps re-house the homeless, promotes better social services and opposes draconian provincial laws, such as the Kwa -Zulu Natal Slum Clearance Act, which AbM managed to overturn in the Constitutional Court. (Information about AbM available from War on Want (which provides support) and AbM’s own website:

Another type of resistance to eviction is that by homeowners and their neighbours, when banks foreclose on mortgages and attempt to dispossess them. A significant movement has arisen in Spain since 2009 to prevent evictions in the context of the economic crisis that began in 2008. Since this is linked to the wider movement of the Indignados, it is covered under sub-section A.8.b.

Amnesty International, Rights Razed: Forced Evictions in Cambodia, 11 Feb 2008, Index No ASA 23/002/2008, London, Amnesty International, 2008, pp. 64

Analysis of lack of proper consultation and of legal protection for those evicted.

Bhan, Gautam, This is No Longer the City I Once Knew. Evictions, the Urban Poor and the Right to the City in Millenial Delhi, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 21, issue 1 (April), 2009, pp. 127-142

See also the book Bhan, Gautam ; Menon-Sen, Kalyani , Swept Off the Map: Surviving Eviction and Resettlement in Delhi New Delhi, Yoda Press, , 2008

Mason, Paul, We Will Barricade, In Mason, Why Its Kicking Off Everywhere: The New Global Revolutions (A.8.a. General Titles), London, Verso,

Discusses resistance of slum dwellers in Philippines to eviction, but also their role in providing cheap workforce undermining organized labour.

Olds, Kris, Urban Mega-Events, Evictions and Housing Rights: The Canadian Case, Current Issues in Tourism, Vol. 1, issue 1, 1998

Article covers responses by community and legal groups to: Expo ‘86 in Vancouver; 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics; and the rejected proposal for 1996 Summer Olympics in Toronto.

Schapiro, Jonathan Anjaria ; McFarlane, Colin, Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia, London, Routledge, 2001, pp. 347

Focuses on conflicts over urban space, resources and housing in Cambodia, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and includes accounts of resistance in squatter settlements, e.g. in Kathmandu.

See also:

Imogen Tyler, Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain, (1.b. National Studies), on forced eviction 500 travelers in Britain in 2011