I’m partial to Marx’s idea that the primary technologies of a time and place limit the available forms of social organization.
In early 20th century Russia, the dominant techs were Rail and Telegraph, inherently Center/Spoke, with no possibility for communication around the rim. This made the Party Center, ie the Moscow Office dominant.
Lenin’s centralist model was generally mimicked in the American Left, and left, for almost 70 years. Come the late ’80s, the economics of networked computing changed that.
From ’85 to ’88, just before “The Internet” became accessible, much of my effort was evangelizing various movements and organizations for Peacenet/Econet/IGC and predecessor leased nets. I’d turn up at all kinds of “National Conferences” etc. toting my NEC 8201 (1st viable laptop), and 300 baud modem to give demonstrations.
Invariably, it was a big hit with activists from local chapters, but viewed with deep fear and hostility from Titled leaders and salaried National Staff.
By ’91, all these orgs had some sort of internal online discussion going, usually email lists, and an evolution towards more empowered chapters. In this regard, the Democratic Party is running about 14 years behind.
The outward face of Organizations circa ’91 was an ftp achive or gopher, later “The” Web Page, and announcements to Usenet lists.
Nowadays the Organization is often is much less significant than the informal movement around it.
Question for the evening: Is the Blog qualitatively different from a Usenet discussion from the pre-spam days? is the Boo/Kos culture clash less about “women/s issues” than organizational model?