In the New Left Review, French writer Régis Debray discusses the importance of printing in the development of socialism. For Debray, it was the production of pamphlets, books and newspapers which enabled the development of socialism as a movement.
Book, newspaper, school: a reminder of the practical culture that preceded the political programmes. Socialism was a craft formation before it became a mentality. Its take-off came with a specific historical moment—1864, the First International founded in London
Writing collectivizes individual memory; reading individualizes collective memory. The back-and-forth between them fosters the sense for history by unearthing potentials within the present, creating backdrops and foregrounds; it is fundamental for the idea of socialism.
He also notes that the word 'socialism' was invented by a typographer, Pierre Leroux. For Debray, Americanised mass culture has led to the decline in the printed word on which socialism is based.
Régis Debray 'Socialism: A Life-cycle' New Left Review (1/07/2007)