Filmmaker: protest movement weakens

Kiera Manion-Fischer

The Iraq war has been a hot topic in recent months.

“Anti-war sentiment is stronger, but the protest movement is weaker,” Robbie Leppzer said.

Leppzer presented his film The Peace Patriots to about 75 students at the Kiva last night.

The May 4 Task Force, along with the political science department and the Center for Applied Conflict Management, sponsored the movie.

The film deals with the early protest movement against the war in Iraq, which began in March 2003.

Leppzer said the movement grew stronger and faster than the movement against the war in Vietnam. However, while the war continues, the protest movement has slowed.

John Behnken, president of the May 4 Task Force, said the group was “trying to focus on student activism,” and he thought the film showed “different ways that people can peacefully protest, get their message across.”

Pat Coy, associate professor of political science and director of the Center for Applied Conflict Management, said few issues in American politics are more important than peace and war.

“It’s easy for most citizens to understand the government’s point of view, because they are presented with it constantly,” Coy said. “It’s more difficult to understand oppositional points of view. This film’s focus is on the voices of dissenters. These are patriots, but they dissent.”

The documentary was personal, filmed in Leppzer’s home of northern Connecticut. The community protests were a microcosm of the global movement, he said.

“I watched as the protests grew from thousands of people to millions of people. It received very little coverage in the mainstream corporate-controlled press,” Leppzer said.

Leppzer’s film showed the diversity of the activists, who ranged in age from 13 to 75. The protesters included middle school, high school and college students, as well as teachers, clergy and veterans from the Vietnam, Korean and Persian Gulf wars.

Leppzer said he hopes the film will “inspire students to become more active in issues that they feel concerned about.”

Leppzer began making films at an early age. His first documentary chronicled the 1977 protests against the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant.

More information about the film can be found at

Contact news correspondent Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].