LINKS SECTION: INTRODUCED & EXPLAINED
Discerning readers we want to encourage, for the off-line real world magazine, and this site. To paraphrase John Donne, no virtual user is an island, so too no site exists in isolation, even this one....While respecting their intentions & spirit, we are not Luddites, and do not believe at this juncture it is desirable--or feasible--to abolish (as opposed to sporadically disable) the internet. Indeed, there are some sites well worth looking at, that we would like to direct your attention towards. This we are happy to do....in our own inimitable way. A macho-click fest, whereby a veritable telephone directory style long list of site/blog links with little or no explanation of why we rate them interesting is not for us, at all. Such idiocy, abdicating intellectual & political responsibility, is almost as reprehensible in its own way as the profusion of fake 'friends' on Facebook. Indeed making, or boasting about, virtual 'friends' isn't within our remit.
Our approach is slightly different therefore, hopefully guided by the following principles:
1) Sites recommended are ones we think will interest visitors to our site, and not necessarily run by 'friends' of ours. If we do endorse the content/aims that will be stated--but is not a necessary criteria for inclusion. Articulate & important enemy sites can be learnt from--know thine enemy is for us not just an ancient Chinese precept but a living reality.
2) Every site we link to, as well as a brief summary of its nature, has a few words at least on why it is important, and what limits/defects--if any--we think the site possesses. Some sites will in the fullness of time have more detailed critiques, if they warrant such.
3) We want to encourage you to think, not think for you--hence, unlike Google rankings, sites are set out in alphabetical and then numerical order only. No prioritisation--to be featured here means a site is intrinsically important.
4) We will always listen carefully to requests to revise our opinions--but the final say remains with us. If you want 'hive mind' consensual blandness, visit Wikipedia, you're on the wrong site here!
5) We are open to constructive suggestions from people who want us to feature their sites--and will usually (not always!) be happy for reciprocal links to be put in place. But we certainly don't demand such in order for us to mention a site.
6) Quality is better than quantity--and added to the fact links are not our top current priority, don't expect this section to expand massively before the next issue of NFB (number 10). Just so you know.
Bearing all the above in mind, enjoy the links, and don't forget feedback/constructive suggestions (both for individual sites and new sections). Visit the Contact/Media page for details. As the number of links grow, we will summarise the purpose of each section here--there are too few to justify such a relatively grandiose endeavour at present. Remember, patience is a virtue, albeit a PI (pre-internet) one. If you're at a loose end, read a book (not an e-book mind, but one you can physically relate to)--now there's a thought...
http://antifainengland.wordpress.com/ :although not updated much recently, this is no doubt for 'operational reasons'. Contradicting the old dictum, to travel is more important than to arrive. An essential resource carrying the banner (or should that be Molotov?) for the cause of street-based non-state-compromised militant anti-fascism. As such, Antifa are significant bearers of a historical tradition, and their archive is interesting. It would be a grave mistake to think the time for clued-up anti-fascist street politics has passed, never to return. If it does, these people will be there or thereabouts. Situated at what is called 'the rough end of the political market'--so make sure while viewing this site you dress smartly casual, with DMs polished. As you were.
http://uaf.org.uk/ whatever their effectiveness, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) have had some form of front organisation in this field since the late 1970s. Expect lots of frenetic activism, placards & fund-raising gimmicks. Especially fund-raising. Hardly very sophisticated, but at least not institutionally state-compromised. Compared to Hope Not Hate (who the UAF have belatedly realised are friends of the state) almost...street-credible. Pity their idea of a 'mass audience' is a paid advert in the Guardian newspaper. Will they ever learn? While Weyman Bennett is in post, the answer is no: Martin Smith is rather more clued-up though, if a tad abrasive. Just don't expect sharp analysis or (perish the thought) democratic input into UAF policy--'Conferences' are rallies. End of. Now get out there behind police lines and wave those placards.
MAGAZINES YOU MIGHT LIKE
In an age when hard-copy magazines are dropping like flies, here are publications that interest us, and are worth supporting, whatever their precise affiliations. More suggestions (hard copies of current & previous issues please) and reciprocal links/exchange proposals always welcome. Publications such as those below are candles to illuminate the dark night that is the lot of those who only get information in virtual form, and as such have an intrinsic value way beyond their specific content.
Northern Voices--http://northernvoicesmag.blogspot.com/p/latest-issue.html. A highly idiosyncratic (iconoclastic even!) publication, interesting even if you don't live in the North (West) of England. An interesting mix of the local and the national (where it intersects). Like any publication worth its salt, NV has axes to grind, feuds to participate in. Quite rightly covers a broad swathe of stories--ranging from employer black-listing & council/MP corruption all the way up to film art & poetry. Prepare to be amused entertained infuriated & even enlightened...
Shift--http://shiftmag.co.uk/. We can't praise this impressive publication highly enough. New, fairly regular (three times a year), sophisticated, coming from (independent) Left-field. While perhaps a bit over-theoretical (the German influence?), well worth supporting, and writing for. Only £2.50 per issue...At some point (after we have got all our exchange copies), we will carry a more detailed discussion of its content/trajectory.
No prizes for guessing this may be our least-populated (though hopefully much-visited) links page. Nonetheless, as they say, quality versus quantity. More suggestions always welcome!
David Denby 'Snark' (Simon & Schuster New York 2009) is a wide-ranging critique of insults throughout the ages--and argues persuasively (even if too soft on pro-Democrat snarkers) that the internet has made the art of the insult even more pervasive/nasty than hitherto. Predictably, positive reviews have been rare: but see http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/sep/06/snark-david-denby, which is as good as it gets. Denby argues his case here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d00Jg0j4kFY
Andrew Keen 'The Cult of the Amateur' (2007) is a fascinating & infuriating book. Some points hit home very well concerning the internet dumbing down culture/discourse. However, he is far too trusting of official (powerful) sources, and his own (very slick) blog epitomises the two positions he adopts, almost simultaneously. On the one hand, an awareness of the need to deconstruct & criticise developments in the history of the internet. On the other, a far too deferential attitude towards some who (like Keen) have made lots of money from the web. Eating cake & having it springs to mind--but well worth a look, as is the original book--http://andrewkeen.typepad.com/the_great_seduction/
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114045279 Links to an extract from, and Radio interview concerning, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger's book 'Delete' (Princeton University Press 2009), arguing for the importance of deleting digital material that in human terms is best forgotten. Anyone who has ever been in a room with someone who perenially googles the internet as opposed to using brain cells/memory will empathise.
It is not our intention to list sites you might come across easily. Here, we point out places that in our view are either very useful, or important.
http://journalisted.com/ : excellent site, that allows you to analyse the output of journalists, including their coverage of specific topics. The ability to see how careers develop over time in terms of stories covered is essential. Ironically (or perhaps not) the actual biographical details of many journalists are sketchy. But an essential resource for both activists and serious researchers alike.
http://www.spinwatch.org/: a frequently updated and well set-out site, devoted to the important work of uncovering the links between lobbyists, PR spinmeisters & government policy. In an era where the Con-Dem(n) government is extending privatisation beyond even New Labour's wildest dreams (a feat in itself), an essential resource. Though the fact that the Joseph Rowntree Trust seem to be their largest donor guarantees they'll not be organising revolution anytime soon.
http://spinwatchwatch.wordpress.com/ : an attack site, devoted to criticising Spin-watch, worth including because it alleges Spinwatch veers towards anti-semitism (unacceptable) rather than anti-Zionism (entirely legitimate). A charge Spinwatch strongly refute. See: http://www.spinwatch.org/blogs-mainmenu-29/david-miller-unspun-mainmenu-31/5382-on-alexander-meleagrou-hitchens-comment-is-free-piece. On balance, we side with Spinwatch: and like them, indeed we cannot be the only people wanting to know, who funds Spinwatch-watch?
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