The Republic Windows factory occupation caused a stir of excitement among the left in the US. It seemed for a minute like we were going to witness a militant response from the working class to the economic crisis. Unfortunately, the workplace occupation tactic didn’t turn into a trend.
The important thing about the Republic Windows occupation is that it showed that certain methods of struggle are timeless, and that they can be embraced by people all over the world. This method was used in the 1930s with the sit down strikes and in Latin America after the 2001 crisis in Argentina.
Since almost all of the workers at Republic were Black and Latino, the occupation also showed that class antagonisms often underlie people of color’s struggles and that organizing on a class basis is a powerful strategy.