Blessed Peacemakers

They'd seem quaint if they weren't so eloquent: Meet the University of St. Thomas's loudest rabble-rousers

"Part of what I want for my children is for them not to be overwhelmed by the world we live in--be involved in it," he says. The same holds true for his students, so he teaches them to immerse themselves in the world. That's something that is quite different from the early days of the peace movement.

"There's a different energy. My students are much better equipped. We study active nonviolence and take a comparative religious look at peace and violence," he explains. "These students are much better prepared than I was when the Vietnam War dropped out of the sky for me. There were no teachers or classes. We were learning by the seat of our pants."

The stronger theoretical foundation, Nelson-Pallmeyer believes, will encourage these young people to be lifelong activists. "What I saw around me when I was their age was that people operated out of intense anger more than out of deep, deep, deep concern," he says, adding that today student activists need to be more committed than ever. "There is a cultural avalanche telling them not to care, telling them to shop, telling them to hide from the world."

The peace movement of the future may indeed bear little resemblance to the romanticized memories of Vietnam-era protesters. It will likely continue to incorporate the ideas of the antiglobalization movement, questioning the economic disparities of the world. It will likely continue to question why it is that so many people have so little, while a few others have too much. It will likely have to reshape itself in order to be relevant in a post-September 11 world. And it's up to this next generation to rejuvenate and recreate the peace movement of the 21st Century.

"It's not sitting on your couch, smoking a joint, and talking about war," Clausen says decisively. "It's going out, talking with your congressmen, saying this is why I disagree. It's actively making change in a nonviolent way.

"Personally I think the peace movement never stopped. What stopped was the media coverage," she says. It's true that over the years, the specific causes and actions change, "But the overall goal is the same--to open the eyes of the world so you're not looking through this teeny, tiny hole."

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