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 lure

“Few ideologues can resist the allure of a blank slate – that was colonialism’s seductive promise: “discovering” wide-open new lands where utopia seemed possible. But colonialism is dead, or so we are told; there are no new places to discover, no terra nullius (there never was), no more blank pages on which, as Mao once said, “the newest and most beautiful words can be written.” There is, however, plenty of destruction – countries smashed to rubble, whether by so-called Acts of God or by Acts of Bush (on orders from God). And where there is destruction there is reconstruction, a chance to grab hold of “the terrible barrenness,” as a UN official recently described the devastation in Aceh, and fill it with the most perfect, beautiful plans.

“We used to have vulgar colonialism,” says Shalmali Guttal, a Bangalore-based researcher with Focus on the Global South. “Now we have sophisticated colonialism, and they call it ‘reconstruction.'”

So writes Naomi Klein in the May 2 edition of The Nation. She highlights the increasing use of private contractors for the rebuilding of countries and economies. Iraq is a perfect example. Baghdad was still burning and the “American occupation officials rewrote the investment laws and announced that the country’s state-owned companies would be privatised.”

When Western leaders talk about “reconstruction” or “assistance”, they’re speaking in code. I remember reading some months ago of the recent election victory of President Yushchenko in Ukraine. An International Monetary Fund spokesperson was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying that the country would need to “reassure” foreign investment and “engage in a policy of rapid privatisation” before serious overseas capital could arrive. The Bush administration even wanted to privatise Iraqi oil before the invasion.

What exactly does democracy mean to the powerbrokers in Canberra, Washington and London? Take Indonesia. Before the Boxing Day tsunami, the country owned over $100 billion to the World Bank. It was an unpayable amount. The result is that millions of citizens are living in poverty because the government is forever paying back this debt.

Before the first Gulf War, many Arab countries, such as Syria and Egypt, joined the “Coalition” because America provided either massive “debt relief” or arms. Coalition of the Willing, indeed.

The “outbreak” of democracy in many countries is simply language for a new kind of colonialism. The Wall Street Journal reported in August 2004 that Halliburton could not justify why it billed the Pentagon for $1.8 billion of work in Iraq and Kuwait. Just who gets rich when invasion and occupation strikes?

  • Anonymous

    So dictatorship is superior to democracy, because the latter might be supported by Chimpy McHitlerburton?And what's wrong with making a buck, anyway? That's how the rest of us in the real world who don't suck on the government-academia teat survive…

  • Antony Loewenstein

    What's wrong with making a buck? Nothing, sometimes. (I'm not on govt welfare of any sort, by the way, person without balls who refuses to reveal himself/herself.) It doesn't bother you that in the case of Iraq many companies very close to the US government are given beneficial status? Or that Iraq oil may be privatised? Or that the IMF will "loan" the country heaps of money, on the condition that much is privatised, to Western companies, such as natural resources.This is true face of "democracy", thanks to the Western "allies."

  • Anonymous

    Who would you suggest do the rebuilding? French companies? They made plenty off Saddam when he was in power, thanks.Your preference for corrupt and brutal states to control people and resources is bizarre and illogical. People live in poverty in these countries because corrupt regimes steal all the resources, and by privatizing you suddenly have accountability to shareholders and the like.Why you have this fetish for dictators instead of democracies is bizarre, but as has been pointed out by a lot of people, the Left always loves a good strongman (Stalin, Mao, Castro, Saddam, etc..)

  • Antony Loewenstein

    No preference for dictators, certainly not from my corner. Accountability is the issue here. No more, no less. Many of the bidding processes are hardly open and fair. Besides, many US companies benefitted from oil for food, as well. Not just the Euros. Indeed, good old Halliburton has been involved in working inside Iran over the years, against US law. Surely this should bother people?

  • Anonymous

    You say you don't prefer dictators, but you seem awfully sad about the overthrow of Saddam/installation of Iraqi democracy…indeed, you seem to be very much a glass-half-empty kinda guy on all sorts of developments which I thought would cheer the heart of a progressive leftist. Your barracking of the Howard government for not signing ASEAN below seems to confirm this — it would have protected the Indonesian dictatorship from our help in freeing East Timor, another cause I believe that was cherished by the Left.If I'm anonymous, it's only because i'm not as pretty as you 🙂

  • Ivan

    You said “Before the Boxing Day tsunami, the country owned over $100 billion”…So what are you worried about, you illiterate leftie prick. Lets hope the World Bank will return the money to Indonesia.