frontline 13


Donnie Nicolson, national organiser of Scottish Socialist Youth takes a look at some of the good and bad stuff on the web for young political activists.

I am no authority on either the dots or the communism, being in the SSP for only 3 years and 'good wi' computers' for even less. But this gives an outline of what I think.

I remember at the first SSY conference that there was a minor stooshie regarding whether or not the internet was an important issue for young people. My view is that it is, but that socialists have a long way to go before we properly get to grips with this new medium.

The web can be a turn-off for many activists. This is because discussion groups tend to become dominated by macho lefty academic crap. Some e-groups and forums can be very useful tools in times of intense activity around one issue - e.g. the SSY forum and e-group were both well used during the anti-war strikes. However, these need to be carefully maintained and regularly updated, and this is not easy; particularly as there is little that can be done to monitor access to these sites.

At present the SSY egroup is at an all time low due to it being dominated almost exclusively by lengthy tracts from a clique of people, many of whom are neither Scottish nor youth, are members of small sectarian groups, and, I suspect, use these groups under a number of different code names. These folk seem to revel in rants about who are the 'real' Marxists, in some quasi e-struggle.

Similar problems exist within other e-groups, such as the SSP's and the UKLN. The dialogue on these sites is a sorry affair, often ultra-sectarian, disrespectful and bullish, reflecting the worst aspects of our movement. This is a pity, because a well-used web group is potentially an excellent platform for debate. Aside from the obvious points about respecting others' views, I hope that comrades will learn to make posts as brief as possible, and that it be made a cardinal sin to copy and paste things into egroups, when hyperlinks could be used instead.

Away from the turgid mess of e-groups there are many useful sites.

For independent news, indymedia is hard to beat and there is also Schnews for the more anarchist types Keep an eye on the fash with

I've managed to find some great archives of educational material; e.g. many of the classics can be easily accessed from websites such as and The wealth of literature on these sites, especially the latter, is remarkable. One advantage is that certain chapters or extracts can be taken from any book or pamphlet, downloaded and photocopied and used as material for discussion.

I couldn't write this article without giving a menshy to Look it up and get in touch with ideas, comments, complaints etc. Alternatively log on as 'Comrade Joe' or 'Icepick_100' and clog the forum with your exclusively correct diatribes on the history of everything.