Direct Action: Anti- and Pro-war Movements in Duluth, Minnesota



Pictures from clockwise from top left

1. Amanda Cope

2. Group picture

3. Anne Messler and Chris Pickar

4. Group picture of Laci Hobbs, Amanda Cope, Chris Pickar, Anne Messler, and Heather Kennelly.

Veterans for Peace, Inc.
Veterans of Foreign Wars
UMD College Republicans
Students Against War
UMD Faculty Against War
Northland Anti-War Coalition
Duluth Area Green Party
Community Action Duluth

Chris Pickar
Heather Kennelly
Anne Messler
Amanda Cope
Laci Hobbs
Anth 4653
Dr. Linda Belote, Principle Investigator
13 May 2003



We are five undergraduate anthropology students at the University of Minnesota Duluth who have conducted a study on direct action within the anti-war and pro-war movements in the Duluth, Minnesota area. In doing so we talked to various organizations about their involvement in the grassroots movements. We looked at each organization's structure, decision-making process, mission statement, and involvement in the movements. In addition to this, we also conducted a sixty-four person random sample of the 1,400 individuals at an anti-war rally in March. While there have been other studies dealing with social action and more specifically pro-war and anti- war movements, our project is unique in that it deals with these movements inside the Duluth area.


Grassroots movements are much more than like-minded individuals getting together to speak their minds and share a common bond. Those involved in these movements come from various walks of life and have diverse motivations. Participating in these kinds of organizations provides a window through which one can strive for social change through direct action. Coordination, communication, and planning are required for these actions to function smoothly and be successful. As our group's project, we chose to delve into these issues. We wanted to see how everyday citizens of Duluth take an active role in organizations that they believe in.

There have been several studies performed regarding social protests, their causes, their rates of success, and the greater impact they have on society and politics. There are also many theories about social activism relating to structure, group dynamics, cause and effect, organization, and so forth. In addition, there are various local groups who have voiced their concerns and opinions about the war movements through direct action. The local papers have taken an active role reporting the community's opinions and actions for and against the war. We have used these data as well as our own to compile this paper. Our data consists of personal interviews we conducted with leaders of organizations in opposition to and in support of the war with Iraq. In addition to this, we attended the March 8th Anti-war rally on the steps of the Duluth courthouse. Here we asked sixty-four people about their personal feelings and motivations for braving the cold on that Saturday afternoon. The results of this survey revealed trends in the demographics of rally attendees. This, combined with the results of the organizations involved, provided us an insight as to the dynamics, structure, and events in pro-war and anti-war movements in the Duluth area.

Groups Invoved in the Grassroots Movement

General Trends of Organizations

March 8 Anti-War Rally



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