Youth as a Political Movement: Development of the Squatters’ and Autonomous Movement in Copenhagen


The main purpose of this article is firstly to construct a political theory of urban youth movements, and secondly to explain the international setting and transnational commitment of one of the most vigorous movements in Denmark after the second world war. The BZ‐movement, as it was called, began as a squatter movement firmly embedded in communal mobilization and later turned into a political movement with strong ties to squatters’ and Autonomous groups in Germany and the Netherlands. We attempt to describe and explain the development of the BZ‐movement, the repertoire of collective actions, and how a process of goal displacement took place from around 1981 until 1995. In our theoretical appraisal we reject most cultural arguments, postmodernism and social marginalization in favour of concepts of place, organization, interaction and political opportunity. Thus, local social networks as well as national and international political opportunities, including relationships to opponents and allies, play a major role in determining the everyday social and political life of the BZ‐movement.