At a Marxist forum in Tower Hamlets, east London, last week, Sarah Danchie, an economics student from Queen Mary and Westfield College, joined 30 others to debate imperialism, globalisation, the state and war. Sarah was among 18 others who had come for their first time to a Marxist forum:
'I thought it was good. The speaker had obviously researched it and could answer all the questions and conclude well. I asked two questions-what role the World Trade Organisation (WTO) had to play, and were there any advantages to globalisation? I study economics, and we're doing trade and its effects on developing countries. The WTO has a lot to answer for. It's not pushing richer countries to stick to the rules as much as it pushes Third World countries. It was somebody else in the audience who answered my question. I found the whole thing quite relaxed. It's an easy way to get informed about issues that are pressing in the world today. If I had to change anything it would be to have more time'.
In Luton last week 60 turned out for a Marxist forum on Muhammad Ali with Mike Marqusee, author of Redemption Song: Muhammad Ali and the Spirit of the 60s.
Campaigning against the war
Opposition to Bush's plans for a new war is massive. On Friday evening Socialist Worker sellers were petitioning at Tottenham Court Road tube station. As soon as they set up a stall they were mobbed by people signing the petition, buying papers and taking leaflets for the stop the war demo on 2 March. Some 99 copies of Socialist Worker were sold.
In Hounslow, west London, following last week's 3,000-strong demonstration against education cuts, Socialist Worker sellers petitioned for funding for services, not war.
The response was amazing. 143 papers were sold to people angry at council cuts and job losses at nearby BA, and the money available for war.