[EN] Book Review: Nine-Tenths of the Law

Book Review taken from Anarchist Studies Volume 21, | Number 2, 2013

Hannah Dobbz, Nine-Tenths of the Law: Property and Resistance in the United States
Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2012. ISBN: 978-1849351188.

Nine-Tenths of the Law starts off with a thorough exploration of the American Indian history of land rights and tracks the various tactics by which the invading colonialists stole land and claimed title. Dobbz then charts acts of resistance over the past 200 years in the USA. Moving into more recent times, she analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the Urban Homesteading movement and assesses the impact of various housing justice groups, noting that Occupy, whilst important, has brought into the spotlight campaigns which in some cases have been in existence for decades.

Adverse possession is covered in some depth, with one inspiring case being the example of Steve DeCaprio who has got very close to claiming title to a derelict property in the San Francisco Bay Area. Dobbz then considers housing co-operatives and community land trusts as ways of taking title of property communally and closes with some powerful arguments for a future squatting movement, as part of a more general struggle for housing justice.