Like much else, this site is a paradox. We want our message to reach ever more people, in part via this virtual medium. Yet, we are increasingly troubled by how the internet changes both reality and how people process information/ engage in social discourse. CLICK THE HEADING ABOVE FOR MORE
To deal with the mundane, but necessary, first. Inasmuch as we have a web-site, we want it (like our research) to be as impressive and rigorous as we can make it, and to that end have set a number of goals which include activity on (and off) the internet, goals we can only achieve with your help, including the printed word, human contact and electronic discourse:
THE AIMS OF THIS SITE
1) To introduce an internet audience to parapolitical research, and show the continuing relevance of such an approach. We did not invent the term, and nor do we claim to have a monopoly on it. But certainly think we are rather good at it...
2) To shine a light on those, whether in the media, politics, or secret state, whose activity corrupts politics and/or distorts truth. We are particularly concerned at the dearth of proper 'investigative journalism' today, and the fact that many perceived experts in this field--Peter Taylor, Donal Macintyre etc.--are anything but. Something we contend has been proven in our magazine time and time again.
3) To publicise the extensive and growing body of research in Notes From the Borderland magazine, and the conceptual tools and terms we have developed. Test this proposition by reading sample articles from each magazine, and then purchase as many issues as possible/subscribe! The more people that buy, and are aware of us, the more often we can publish, and the more complex the stories we can cover.
4) To publish articles by new writers in this field, as long as they conform to our high standards of analytical rigour and substantiated assertion, and fall within our subject areas. Have a read of the site/magazine and let us know if you want to write for us about anything interesting within our remit.
5) To provide a point of contact between our writers and those interested in our research, whether activists, students, academics or the media. We urge libraries to subscribe--free sample copies willingly sent in response to an official request. We are also most interested in leads on stories you think we should investigate...
6) To engage in the seemingly paradoxical but worthwhile activity of using the internet to go beyond the virtual--affirming the importance of communication between real people, and of hard copy publications and books in the digital age. To paraphrase Cicero, a coffee-table without a magazine like ours is like a body without a soul. Parapolitical analysis is most assuredly something the Consul would understand very well indeed.. On the one hand, we are happy to link to stories and web-sites of interest, and welcome reciprocal web-links with others. On the other hand we have not forgotten there is another world out there--whether PI (pre-internet), or NI (non-internet). The modern-day equivalent of Huxley's monkeys and typewriters is probably the majority of web-surfers: the internet will never, of itself, provide the discernment necessary to evaluate sources, or realise that the top 20 ranking mentions of a topic aren't necessarily the most relevant, interesting, or even true...Our interest in the way the internet has transformed both political discourse and reality itself is something we see increasing, not diminishing, as time goes by. Consequently, we anticipate the magazine (and the web-site) devoting more attention to this general theme, not to the exclusion of our current concerns, but in parallel.
How this site can achieve these aims
1) By providing a sample story from each NFB, with more detail on the contents of each magazine. That way, you will no longer need to speculate about the superlative quality of our research. Click on the link for each story in the relevant page of the NFB magazine section, or alternatively have a look at the specific research themes covered on the site.
2) The provision on-line, free, of various other bits of research we think might interest you--including book/film reviews. These are often from NFB but also other published/unpublished work.
3) An indication (in summary outline) of various Notes From the Borderland stories and investigations, including an explanation of why we think they are important!
4) All the above to be accomplished in a manner that is user friendly both for those who get information digitally, and others who prefer the option of printing stories and mulling over them off-line, devoid of distraction.
5) The opportunity to purchase our current issue (NFB 11) and also back copies of NFB and related publications. We hope you enjoy this site, and consider buying some of the publications it advertises, so we can produce more, and have an even greater effect. Put simply, the greater our circulation, the more time, money and personnel we can devote to covering even more stories.
6) Links to other web-sites that might interest you--not just worthy publications/sites of an ongoing nature, but sites where information relevant to stories we look at is placed. Contrary to popular fallacy, even where useful material is on the internet, it is not always accessible. Naturally, we draw your attention to other sites in our inimitable way. This is (annoyingly) not yet sorted--put 'Introduction to Links' in the search facility at the top of the Home Page to get a flavour.
7) Vitally, we invite you to contact us with interesting stories/leads and any salacious scandals meriting parapolitical investigation by the NFB collective. Equally, we are happy to publish interesting writing on-line that might not quite fit the printed magazine's parameters but would interest visitors--for example cultural critiques and analyses of everyday life, including the overarching economic crisis. If you aren't ready to do a longer article, start with a short one. Try us!
8) To allow exploration in iterative depth of some research themes, we will in due course have a forum on the site. That said, we will not tolerate the profusion of trolls who desecrate the likes of Indymedia & Urban 75. All posts will be moderated. We don't mind critical debate, as long as it's civilised--unlike 'Hope Not Hate' who do not tolerate critical comment--but draw the line at meretricious abuse. If that's fine by you, join the forum, when it goes live, if not--tough!
9) To explore in outline facets of the internet that especially interest and perturb us. Three early candidates can be aptly summarised by the working titles 'Forget Facebook', 'Trash Twitter' & 'Wipe out Wikipedia?'. Rest assured, these are not mere catch-phrases, but denote serious research themes.
ANSWERING THE OBVIOUS POINT STRAIGHT AWAY
Devotees of the internet, especially those who counterpose it to 'dead tree' product & 'snail mail' etc, if they have read (or rather 'skimmed'?) this far may find our stance--using the internet but not being subsumed by it, on it, but critical of it, a tad unnerving. In particular, it might be said, how inconsistent (hypocritical) of NFB to both use the internetand question it. If you must, get a fix of Soma (You-Tube) or Twitter about a bit before returning to the points below....
Our rejoinder to the argument NFB's use of the internet is hypocritical is four-fold:
1) The same specious proposition is always used against radicals in society--how can you exist within capitalism as a wage slave when you want to abolish the system, how can you participate in parliament when you want to transcend it, and so on. The fact is, life is full of contradictions, and compromises, in 'normal' times. The trick is to be true to yourself, and at least be aware of those contradictions. It is a signal fact that much writing exhibiting critical awareness of how the world wide web is altering our consciousness, our politics, our daily lives does not come from the enfeebled intellectual ranks of the Last Century Left. Most are too busy setting up blogs and forums (and indeed FaceBook/Twitter accounts) to realise that it is the Left who have been ensnared, unreflectively, in cutting-edge capitalist projects like these, not the other way round.
2) Another point: it is no bad thing to use the strength of a system against itself--recalling a typically inelegant Lenin metaphor that the capitalist will sell you the rope you hang him with. We are not talking a vulgar instrumentalism here, we fully recognise that the internet subtly changes the way even occasional users relate to each other whether on the internet or not. Nonetheless, by staking out an opposition to mind colonisation by the ubiquitous web, we are making a point that cannot be overstressed--technology is not neutral, nor will it ever be. This section is an initial foray into choppy waters--for the moment, we are prioritising other sections of this site, and our printed research. But, nonetheless, a kite is hereby flown, illuminating, even if briefly, the liquid sky that is the virtual world of the internet.
3) We are not calling for the abolition of the internet, or any similar idiocy. We are calling for a reconfiguration of how people interact with the internet, an attempt to restore (or institute) balance. There is a place for the incandescent profusion of juxtaposed information that the internet provides--but alongside, not replacing, the detailed and linear development of reasoned argument characteristic of the writing of Boethius, Jacob Boehme, Erasmus, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Camille Paglia & the like (to pick examples almost at random).
4) There is an indubitable connection between the rise of the internet and the incubation, at terrifying speed, of cultist and evidence-light approaches to subjects NFB has always held dear. The cult-watching section of this site is replete with instances of this. At stake in our exchange with the 7/7 cult for example is not so much the malign capabilities of the secret state (we concur in principle)--but a very different approach between us and cultists regarding the nature & importance of evidence. For cultists, a hyperlink is, in itself, an actual argument, whereas for us, it is merely a gateway to another realm whose relevance needs proving within the original text.
More on all these things, soon...