MINNEAPOLIS -- It's not easy keeping a peace movement alive after the war it was meant to stop has begun.
Just ask Jess Sundin. The Minneapolis woman stayed up until 4 a.m. Thursday sending e-mail to 2,500 anti-war protesters, urging them to show up for rallies at the University of Minnesota and downtown Minneapolis.
"We want to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible," she said. "And we want the government to know we aren't going to stop speaking out now that the war has started."
While thousands of people have turned out for anti-war protests in Minnesota and elsewhere, capturing the media's attention, the people piecing the movement together often work with meager resources, sometimes with just a handful of others.
Sundin worked the phones and e-mail later Thursday from the Anti-War Committee's tiny office on the second floor of an old high school.
Arriving at 10:30 a.m., she downloaded a list of 700 phone numbers from a computer and handed them to volunteer Erika Zurawski, a University of Minnesota sophomore who promised to make as many calls as she could before leaving in 45 minutes.
The office overflows with the materials of political activism: banners protesting the drug war in Colombia and injustice against immigrants, costumes used in street theater, magic markers and poster board.
Sundin and Margaret Schnieders were the only volunteers in the office much of the morning. While Sundin checked e-mail and manned the phone, Schnieders drew anti-war slogans on poster board. Marvin Gaye played in the background.
"Awesome!" Sundin yelled into the telephone. Hanging up, she turned to Schnieders: "Welfare Rights is going to make a bunch of signs for us. That's great." The Welfare Rights Committee, most known for its outspoken criticism of cuts in public financial assistance, was offering its support.
Hobbled by a cast on her broken leg, Sundin skipped a rally in front of Northrop Auditorium at the University of Minnesota, where as many as 1,000 students -- many of them high schoolers -- chanted and listened to speeches. Instead, she hung back in her office to handle phone calls and e-mail.
With university students on spring break, the crowd was smaller than Sundin and others had hoped for.
Even so, leaders of the peace movement claim to be undeterred. A group called the Coalition Against War in Iraq held a teach-in after the rally at a university theater, where they talked of student walkouts and other nonviolent protests.
People threw dollar bills and coins into five-gallon buckets to raise money for the leaflets and signs that promoted the teach-in, plus rental costs of the room and loudspeakers. Organizers spent about $1,200 on the event.
Ty Moore, who will be a University of Minnesota graduate student in the fall, said he hoped student walkouts would snowball into labor walkouts.
"We want to popularize the idea of shutting down society as it normally operates, because Bush won't listen to us," he said. "The war is for profit and for oil co-ops, so we want to cut into that. Make it hurt," he said.
Sundin got a few minutes at the podium and whipped up the crowd with a list of alleged grievances against the federal government. "The United States is the main supplier, maker and user of every weapon of mass destruction in the world!" she yelled.
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