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.

Dumbing down

Does the ABC have a problem? The Age’s Gay Alcorn thinks so:

“If worthy can be dull, and frivolous can be entertaining, how hard is it to be dull and frivolous at the same time? It is a challenge (Melbourne) 774 ABC radio appears to have set itself and, for this longtime listener, it is getting there.”

The ABC needs reform. New energy, ideas and bravery would be a good start. Programs on Radio National are often fascinating though do tend to appeal to an older, more conservative audience. I used the word conservative advisably. Perhaps audiences “set in their ways” is more appropriate. What about the yoof? And the next generation of ABC listeners?

Friends of the national broadcaster fail miserably when they claim that more funding would alleviate all the ABC’s problems. There is a culture of fear inside the ABC. I’ve discovered this during research for my book. Many journalists and editors are self-censoring themselves, especially when discussing domestic or international politics. Watch the ABC TV’s 7pm news bulletin and try not to be struck down with its parochialism.

Tim Blair may call the ABC “selective, self-serving [and] devious” but he’s a believer in privatisation. A better way to describe people like him is, “those who can’t stand journalists questioning the status quo because it shows them to be little more than propagandists.” A strong, independent national broadcaster is essential, and so is more funding. But we must stop modelling the ABC on the BBC. It failed the independence test during the Iraq war. Numerous studies have proven, despite rhetoric suggesting otherwise, that the BBC was in fact thoroughly pro-war before the Iraq invasion and afraid to question the dubious claims emerging from Downing Street.

5 comments ↪
  • michael

    I read this while Radio National was inflicting Vicki Kerrigan's 'The Deep End' on me.Under such circumstances, 'dumbing down' seems like a massive understatement.At least they still have Natasha Mitchell, Amanda Smith and Julie Rigg.

  • David Heidelberg

    Michael, Vicki Kerrigan is indeed cringworthy, and the deep end has to be one of the dullest and least inspiring programs on RN.ABC local radio Queensland is worse. Content generally ranges from someone speaking about their spoon collection, through to the lady's auxilary promoting a lamington drive. The breakfast DJ s something straight out of commercial radio.Got to go. Vicki's back on!

  • David Heidelberg

    PS – Tim Blair is not one to talk about being a propagandist.

  • Helga

    Finally, Ant, you inspire me to put something on your blog.I can't believe how crap the ABC is these days. I only listen to radio – being one of those weird people that doesn't have a TV – and I can't believe that I have to say that John Faine is about the best presenter Melb ABC has. I can't believe I have to wake up to Red Symons (in fact, I don't now – I've changed to Radio National), that Richard Stubbs in the afternoon presenter.What happened to JOURNALISTS? Every time there's a new "presenter" they're a bloody entertainer!If I want "entertainment" I'll listen to some crap FM station, not the ABC!I also can't believe that this is one of the few things I agree with my mother on – although to be fair, I think Red Symons is the pits and she thinks Richard Stubbs is – but we both agree that ABC radio has gone to the dogs.When are we going to have blog radio?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Helga, I'm rapt to hear from you. Foxy minx…Blog radio? Podcasting is alive and well, and in fact I'll blog something about it soon, to let people know…The ABC is struggling. I've just been told by a friend in Perth that the ABC over there is openly racist. Oh dear.The line between entertainers and journalists is fine indeed, for many. The ABC's new charter, unwritten I may add, is to not offend, to please and soothe. So clear…What to do? Support its restructure, listen to alternatives, write to ABC journalist to complain. Pressure works…