AROUND 70 people joined a Marxist forum on 'Women's liberation in the 21st century' in Manchester at the weekend. Sheila Rowbotham, a leading socialist feminist writer, joined Lindsey German, author of Sex, Class and Socialism, to lead off the forum. After a question and answer session with the speakers the forum broke into discussion groups. Maryam Choudhary, a further education student in Manchester, brought her friend Kate from college: 'If you ask people to come they will. I wasn't apprehensive about it at all. It was really good to hear everyone else's views, not just the views of our teachers.'
Jeni Nelson, an anti-war activist at UMIST, said she would definitely come to future forums: 'I really enjoyed the discussion and hearing the speakers. I'm a feminist and a socialist, but to see it put together was a new way to look at something I already believed in.'
Betty Tebbs, an 83 year old peace activist, has been involved since the 1930s in unionising women's workplaces: 'These young people wanting to know-that's what gives me hope. I can pass my experience on.' Four people joined the SWP at the forum and many people wanted to come to the future programme of forums.
In Hackney this weekend around 60 people turned up to a forum examining what lies behind the conflict between India and Pakistan. Marxist forums are happening across the country for all activists to develop their ideas.