Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein trav­els across Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea, the United States, Britain, Greece, and Australia to witness the reality of disaster capitalism. He discovers how companies such as G4S, Serco, and Halliburton cash in on or­ganized misery in a hidden world of privatized detention centers, militarized private security, aid profiteering, and destructive mining.

Disaster has become big business. Talking to immigrants stuck in limbo in Britain or visiting immigration centers in America, Loewenstein maps the secret networks formed to help cor­porations bleed what profits they can from economic crisis. He debates with Western contractors in Afghanistan, meets the locals in post-earthquake Haiti, and in Greece finds a country at the mercy of vulture profiteers. In Papua New Guinea, he sees a local commu­nity forced to rebel against predatory resource companies and NGOs.

What emerges through Loewenstein’s re­porting is a dark history of multinational corpo­rations that, with the aid of media and political elites, have grown more powerful than national governments. In the twenty-first century, the vulnerable have become the world’s most valu­able commodity. Disaster Capitalism is published by Verso in 2015 and in paperback in January 2017.

Profits_of_doom_cover_350Vulture capitalism has seen the corporation become more powerful than the state, and yet its work is often done by stealth, supported by political and media elites. The result is privatised wars and outsourced detention centres, mining companies pillaging precious land in developing countries and struggling nations invaded by NGOs and the corporate dollar. Best-selling journalist Antony Loewenstein travels to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and across Australia to witness the reality of this largely hidden world of privatised detention centres, outsourced aid, destructive resource wars and militarized private security. Who is involved and why? Can it be stopped? What are the alternatives in a globalised world? Profits of Doom, published in 2013 and released in an updated edition in 2014, challenges the fundamentals of our unsustainable way of life and the money-making imperatives driving it. It is released in an updated edition in 2014.
forgodssakecover Four Australian thinkers come together to ask and answer the big questions, such as: What is the nature of the universe? Doesn't religion cause most of the conflict in the world? And Where do we find hope?   We are introduced to different belief systems – Judaism, Christianity, Islam – and to the argument that atheism, like organised religion, has its own compelling logic. And we gain insight into the life events that led each author to their current position.   Jane Caro flirted briefly with spiritual belief, inspired by 19th century literary heroines such as Elizabeth Gaskell and the Bronte sisters. Antony Loewenstein is proudly culturally, yet unconventionally, Jewish. Simon Smart is firmly and resolutely a Christian, but one who has had some of his most profound spiritual moments while surfing. Rachel Woodlock grew up in the alternative embrace of Baha'i belief but became entranced by its older parent religion, Islam.   Provocative, informative and passionately argued, For God's Sakepublished in 2013, encourages us to accept religious differences, but to also challenge more vigorously the beliefs that create discord.  
After Zionism, published in 2012 and 2013 with co-editor Ahmed Moor, brings together some of the world s leading thinkers on the Middle East question to dissect the century-long conflict between Zionism and the Palestinians, and to explore possible forms of a one-state solution. Time has run out for the two-state solution because of the unending and permanent Jewish colonization of Palestinian land. Although deep mistrust exists on both sides of the conflict, growing numbers of Palestinians and Israelis, Jews and Arabs are working together to forge a different, unified future. Progressive and realist ideas are at last gaining a foothold in the discourse, while those influenced by the colonial era have been discredited or abandoned. Whatever the political solution may be, Palestinian and Israeli lives are intertwined, enmeshed, irrevocably. This daring and timely collection includes essays by Omar Barghouti, Jonathan Cook, Joseph Dana, Jeremiah Haber, Jeff Halper, Ghada Karmi, Antony Loewenstein, Saree Makdisi, John Mearsheimer, Ahmed Moor, Ilan Pappe, Sara Roy and Phil Weiss.
The 2008 financial crisis opened the door for a bold, progressive social movement. But despite widespread revulsion at economic inequity and political opportunism, after the crash very little has changed. Has the Left failed? What agenda should progressives pursue? And what alternatives do they dare to imagine? Left Turn, published by Melbourne University Press in 2012 and co-edited with Jeff Sparrow, is aimed at the many Australians disillusioned with the political process. It includes passionate and challenging contributions by a diverse range of writers, thinkers and politicians, from Larissa Berendht and Christos Tsiolkas to Guy Rundle and Lee Rhiannon. These essays offer perspectives largely excluded from the mainstream. They offer possibilities for resistance and for a renewed struggle for change.
The Blogging Revolution, released by Melbourne University Press in 2008, is a colourful and revelatory account of bloggers around the globe why live and write under repressive regimes - many of them risking their lives in doing so. Antony Loewenstein's travels take him to private parties in Iran and Egypt, internet cafes in Saudi Arabia and Damascus, to the homes of Cuban dissidents and into newspaper offices in Beijing, where he discovers the ways in which the internet is threatening the ruld of governments. Through first-hand investigations, he reveals the complicity of Western multinationals in assisting the restriction of information in these countries and how bloggers are leading the charge for change. The blogging revolution is a superb examination about the nature of repression in the twenty-first century and the power of brave individuals to overcome it. It was released in an updated edition in 2011, post the Arab revolutions, and an updated Indian print version in 2011.
The best-selling book on the Israel/Palestine conflict, My Israel Question - on Jewish identity, the Zionist lobby, reporting from Palestine and future Middle East directions - was released by Melbourne University Press in 2006. A new, updated edition was released in 2007 (and reprinted again in 2008). The book was short-listed for the 2007 NSW Premier's Literary Award. Another fully updated, third edition was published in 2009. It was released in all e-book formats in 2011. An updated and translated edition was published in Arabic in 2012.

The end of the death penalty

Sister Helen Prejean is the writer of Dead Man Walking and a leading advocate against government killing, the death penalty.

In today’s New York Times, she writes of Pope John Paul II’s legacy, his unequivocal opposition to state killing:

“Of the many great legacies of Pope John Paul II, the one I prize the most is this: he was instrumental in helping the Catholic Church reach a position of principled opposition to the death penalty – an opposition that brooks no exceptions.

The effects of the pope’s leadership will be felt for years to come, both in the highest echelons of the Catholic hierarchy and among the Catholic faithful in the pews. Whereas polls once showed that American Catholics supported the death penalty about as much as other Americans, they now show that support for the death penalty among Catholics has fallen below 50 percent. Just last month, Catholic bishops in the United States inaugurated a vigorous educational campaign to end the death penalty.

This is a moment I have been waiting for, hoping for and praying for more than two decades, ever since I walked out of the killing chamber in Louisiana after watching Patrick Sonnier electrocuted to death in 1984. And it is the pope who made it possible.

In the early 1980’s, I began looking for a way to have a direct dialogue with the pope about the death penalty. During this time I had accompanied three people to execution and plunged headfirst into public debate. My efforts to persuade Catholic bishops in the United States to include the death penalty as an integral part of their pro-life campaign had been futile. While the bishops had issued numerous statements that cited the moral failure of the death penalty, they had failed to conduct energetic educational campaigns to change the hearts and minds of the people in the pews.

At last, in 1997, I finally got my chance to communicate directly with Pope John Paul II. It happened through the case of a Virginia death row inmate, Joseph O’Dell, whose spiritual adviser I had become and whose plea for justice had attracted the pope’s attention. Lori Urs, who was working on the legal team trying to save Mr. O’Dell’s life, visited Rome and handed my letter to the pope on Jan. 22, 1997. A friend of mine in the Vatican, present when my letter was delivered, assured me that John Paul read every word of my letter.

And an impassioned letter it was, pouring into the pope’s lap 14 years of searing experiences of accompanying human beings into killing chambers and watching them be put to death before my eyes. “Surely, Holy Father,” I wrote, “it is not the will of Christ for us to ever sanction governments to torture and kill in such fashion, even those guilty of terrible crimes. … I found myself saying to them: ‘Look at me. Look at my face. I will be the face of Christ for you.’ In such an instance the gospel of Jesus is very distilled: life, not death; mercy and compassion, not vengeance.”

I spoke candidly about my disagreement with one part of the pope’s 1995 encyclical, “Evangelium Vitae” (“Gospel of Life”), which, while urging imprisonment instead of execution, allowed the use of the death penalty in cases of “absolute necessity.” Whenever governments kill criminals, I pointed out in my letter, they always claim to act out of “necessity.” I urged him to close the loophole and make Catholic opposition to government executions unequivocal.

This was no small thing. The teaching of the Catholic Church upholding the right of the state to execute criminals “in cases of extreme gravity” had been in place for 1,600 years.

But that’s precisely what the pope did: he removed from the Catholic catechism the criterion “in cases of extreme gravity.” The omission changes everything, because Catholic teaching now says that no matter how grave the crime, the death penalty is not to be imposed. This cuts the moral ground out from under American politicians who advocate the death penalty for the “worst of the worst criminals.”

The quantum change in the catechism took place in September 1997, and in 1999 when the pope visited St. Louis, he uttered words of opposition to the death penalty that could not have been more uncompromising:

“A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil.”

For this statement, and for his leadership, I am forever grateful. Thank you, Pope John Paul. Because of you, the Catholic Church can at last stand alongside those human rights groups that oppose, unequivocally, government killing.

4 comments ↪
  • Guy

    Interesting story. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the Pope's disendorsement of capital punishment has rung out loud enough for all Catholics to hear and obey. Last I heard they were still killing a lot of people in Texas.Good on you for posting something almost diametrically opposed to your previous spiel on the Pope. I think the truth about what this man was like lies somewhere in between these two goalposts that you have set.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    It's important to see the many sides of the man. Personally, he meant little and morally I found many of his pronouncements profoundly bigoted. However, if there is light, I'll be the first to praise it. So to speak, anyway.

  • Naomi

    What Guy said!You do have to say that this stand on capital punishment is consistent with Humana Vitae, which is the encyclical on contraception. I suspect Sister Prejean also supports that. The Church is an ever evolving organisation, so I hope that the new one can come up with some humane teachings that will overcome restrictions on AIDS in Africa, and the physical load of childbearing on women.Gosh, I sound like a Catholic, but I suppose three generations of severely lapsed Bog Irishness is not that easy to eradicate!

  • Anonymous

    Sister Prejean speculation is a wonderfull thing naomi. A holy saint to be sure. Note her pro-life stance on abortion. You might find that the little rubbery thing is best not talked about. Slap, naomi, with ruler. As for an "ever evolving organisation"…………..Guess you are right. If you are speaking of change ,over time, since B.C.