Summary The relationship of theory to a key strand of current radical social and environmental movements—-DlY culture—is highly problematic, with the latter tending to reject the former in favour of its own immediacy. This paper argues that, in contrast,‘theory and practice’ should be regarded as complementary. Action on the ground can learn from theories of DIY culture, and theories of DIY culture cannot ignore action on the ground. By way of illustration, specific attention is given to the 1996 occupation of some derelict land in London by the group The Land Is Ours.