Like any science fiction writer, lots of Ken MacLeod's prophetic visions have failed to come true. However, one thing he did foresee, as a socialist computer programmer in the 1980s, was that left-wing movements would be slowest to embrace new communications technologies, in part because the internet “challenges a set of Leninist assumptions that a lot of far-left groups had about how discussions must and should be conducted."
"The organised left has taken a very long time to be aware of the internet and start using it properly," commented MacLeod when I met him at EasterCon 2010. "A lot of the formal rules of the left are still based on 19th century communications technology, which meant newspapers. As with Pravda and the Bolshevik revolution, who decides what goes in the newspaper was absolutely crucial, as was everyone pretending to agree was what was in the newspaper.
"The top level instruction was, and for some organisations remains, that you follow the party line set down by the paper -although I should stress that the organisation that produces the Morning Star is not necessarily one of those. It has the great advantage that it allows in other voices from across the left spectrum!
"The idea that revolutionary politics are built around a top-level party line set down by a newspaper, which everyone has to comply with, is antithetical to the digital age."
-This is my favourite bit of the Big Squeeful Ken MacLeod Interview. You can read the whole thing tomorrow in the Morning Star and online.