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.

Liberal future?

What is the future of the Australian Liberal Party? When John Howard finally leaves the stage, what will remain? There is much evidence to suggest an organisation controlled by far right thugs. Enter Alex Hawke, Federal President of the Young Liberals.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported in May 2004 of a physical altercation between moderates within the party and hardliners. Hawke is backed by his boss, conservative upper house member David Clarke, a Christian against abortion, gay marriage, harm minimisation and drug law reform.

“The right were accusing the others of being pro-gay marriages, of being poofter lovers and pro-abortion. They were telling people to f— off out of there and pushing and shoving,” said one eyewitness, a moderate. One right-winger said: “These people brought people along who have written articles against the government, a lot of people who are Muslims and who are listed on the site islamicsydney.com.” The result was scuffles and police involvement.

Today we learn that the NSW Liberal Party is likely to soon have on its state executive a conservative Right wing in leadership. Conservatism isn’t the issue here, their tactics and attitudes are. The SMH explains: “It might all seem like another internal storm in a teacup except that the Right’s rise to power could change the face of the NSW Liberal Party from a secular party with liberal social values to one with strong links to Christian church groups and a conservative social platform.” Threatening tactics has been alleged by all sides as the party appears to be moving towards a more exclusionary future.

Hawke is a former staffer to Federal Communications Minister Helen Coonan, a so-called liberal within the party. What does all this mean? Quite simply, that although many commentators have recently argued that Peter Costello as Prime Minister would soften the party, direction at the grassroots is already proving that to be a mirage.

The situation is reminiscent of current debates in the USA. With the Republican Party moving further to the Christian Right and dissenters being shut out, moderates within the party are struggling to find a place. Let’s hope both the Republican and Liberal Party implode within the decade.

UPDATE: This was highlighted in comments but it’s worth repeating here. The Liberal Party, and Tony Abbott, has a long history of attracting far-right extremists to the party. Crikey reported the goings-on in 2003.

7 comments ↪
  • Marcus

    fingers crossed

  • Antony Loewenstein

    We can only hope that an increasing number of citizens will see parties inhabited and controlled by zealots and run the other way.Their time will come to an end. Believe it.

  • michael

    Gasp! Suspected Muslims at a Young Liberals meeting!! What would Dubya say?!!Maybe we should have the YL listed as a banned terrorist organisation.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Well, they do encourage violence and bigotry against those with whom they disagree…

  • Anonymous

    It's not as if there haven't been deep rifts before. (admittedly not centred on religion.)Edward St. John's A Time to Speak reminds us of the blood letting over divergent views on South Africa and Rhodesia.Then there's the Lyenko Urbanchich crowd.There has already been suggestions that there is a link between the new hard right and the old hard right.http://www.crikey.com.au/articles/2003/09/03-0003.htmlej

  • Antony Loewenstein

    True enough. It ain't the first time it's happening, but the introduction of religion is worrying, especially because we know so well what's going on in the USA…

  • Glenn Condell

    Couldn't happen to a nicer Party.