Under sit-in (to German sit ) is understood since the 1960s, a violent , especially by the international student movement and even today in the fight against racial discrimination and. Ä. applied form of demonstration . However, it was used as a strike tactic by American workers as early as the 1930s.
The first sit-in was held by African American students on February 1, 1960 in Greensboro, North Carolina at a Woolworth Group restaurant reserved for whites. The civil rights movement quickly took up the new form of the sit-in to protest against racial discrimination in other restaurants in the southern states . Martin Luther King organized the 'Birmingham Campaign' (see here ).
The first event in Germany called a sit-in took place on June 22, 1966 at the Free University of Berlin . The students were mostly concerned with making themselves heard through passive resistance and blocking structures and teaching staff that were recognized as problematic. A sit-in strike often turned into a teach-in .
The purely passive sitting blockade is a non-violent action in which the demonstrators block the way, but do so without any violence. Based on and / or inspired by role models such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King , the demonstrators try to draw their attention to issues that are disruptive to them. The sitting position is not only more comfortable than, for example, a standing chain of lights, the protester is also very vulnerable due to his position. Last but not least, this should also ensure that police officers hesitate or completely refuse to use force against obviously helpless demonstrators. Last but not least, in the event of an escalation it becomes clear that the demonstrators sitting on the ground are peaceful, which is more difficult to assess in a densely packed crowd.
Sit-in as a tactic in industrial action
The sit-down strike was a common strike tactic among American workers from 1933 to 1937. The sit-in strikes of 1936/37 at General Motors , with which the company was forced to recognize the automobile workers' union and its representatives, met with a great response . In European countries, too, in the second half of the 20th century, workers resorted to sit-in strikes and even occupy the factories .
- Jeremy Brecher: Strikes and Labor Revolts. American Labor Movement 1877–1970 . Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1975, pp. 159ff.