Regis Debray in the New Left Review:
Consider the debt owed by socialist writing to the epistolary art: Marx and Engels worked out half their theories in letters, and virtually all their political activity had to pass through a pillarbox; the First International was conceived by Marx as a central correspondence bureau of the working class. Nowadays the militants socialize more and know less of each other’s ideas. More conversation means less controversy. The telephone destroyed the art of correspondence, and in the process diminished the moral stature of attempts at rational systematization; email has not restored it. Rarely do we pick up the phone to impart a complex sequence of principles and themes: we use it to chat. The general discourse has become indexed to the trappings of intimacy and private life. The cellphone, internet, laptop and plane are good for internationalization, but they render solidarity less organic—lethal for internationalism. They enlarge the sphere of individual relations but privatize them at the same time; they particularize even as they globalize. The cellphone is a permanent one-to-one. It drives the universal from our heads.
The crisis for socialism, then, is that even if it can resume its founding principles it cannot return to its founding cultural logic, its circuits of thought-production and dissemination. The collapse of the graphosphere has forced it to pack up its weapons and join the videosphere, whose thought-networks are fatal for its culture. A practical example: to find out what is going on one has to watch tv, and so stay at home. A bourgeois house arrest, for beneath ‘a man’s home is his castle’ there always lurks, ‘every man for himself’. The demobilization of the citizen begins with the physical immobilization of the spectator.