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.

Still in denial

Many in the mainstream press still deny the legitimacy of blogging. Sad, really. As John Naughton writes in today’s UK Observer:

“Large swathes of the journalistic profession…are still in denial about blogging. In that sense, they resemble music industry executives circa 1999, denying the significance of online file- sharing. But the claim that blogging is a threat to journalism – that inside every blogger is a ‘journalist-wannabe’ trying to escape – is just daft.”

We’re here to stay.

7 comments ↪
  • Binnsy

    I love how the watchdogs put blogging down and glorify journalism. It's only slightly ironic that the watchdogs constantly criticise journalism for its failings; many of these failings are overcome in the blogosphere.

  • michael

    When the internet was first starting to become widely accessible there was a media groupthink attitude that online information was inherently untrustworthy. That seems to have dispelled now.Maybe because its all of the mainstream media and their usual sources are now online too, but I suspect its mainly because so many people now know the claim to be a furphy that journos have given up on it.Now the media disinformation campaign is focused on blogs.I got an interesting illustration of the new groupthink at last year's 'Public Right to Know' conference put on by ACIJ.Susan Forde gave a talk during which she highlighted the decline of mainstream media – including independent examples like 'The Eye' – and the rise in online and community based news distribution. Her talk was billed as promoting discussion of ways to encourage non-mainstream publications – e.g. as with the Swedish model of government subsidy to small outlets – but with the help of all the professional journos, media academics and journalism students there it soon turned into a 'sky is falling' lament over the collapse of commercial media. Forde had pointed out that fewer people were now getting their current affairs info from commercial press and that was behind the decline in circulation and the lack of financial viability of even small publications based on the old media business model. When I asked her what the problem was with the collapse of the old, failed, compromised, centralised means of producing journalism she replied that most people relied on them for news.So the problem with fewer people relying on big media for news was that most people relied on big media for news. Right.Of course the elephant in the room was that nearly everyone there had based their hopes for a career future on the businesses which were so threatened by the new media diversity. There are no new business models emerging which will provide even slightly secure employment or regular incomes for journalism graduates and there is no reason to believe that there ever will be again.But I think the other problem, even further below the surface, was that part of a journalism education is inculcation into a culture of what is an acceptable source, what 'balance' is, what cannot be said, etc. To an insider, that is how responsible journalism is done. To an outsider it often seems biased, corrupt and hopelessly compromised by the structures that feed it information and income. So I think that a lot of the mainstream media hostility to blogs comes from the fact that journos know that they are watching the death of their career prospects. But it is also sincerely based on a real inability to comprehend and credit means on delivering news and information that doesn't comply with the rules mainstream journos picked up while they learned their trade.BTW, Dru Oja Jay has a good summary of the recent St Louis conference on media reform that includes his vision of the emerging revolution that will destroy the mainstream press. But Oliphant puts it more concisely.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I suspect many journos do indeed know that the old way of news reporting is dying, the top down approach.But I also know that many journos have no bloody idea about blogs, online info etc. You'd be amazing, the level of igorance around Fairfax when I was working there. The world is a pretty small place for many people…

  • michael

    "I suspect many journos do indeed know that the old way of news reporting is dying, the top down approach."Mmm. Keep in mind that ACIJ is probably one of the most progressive mainstream journalism organisations in the country. Most of the people I know there approve of anything that challenges top-down, centralised, corporate journalism.But what they're still not ready for is the fact that there will be very few paying full time journalism jobs in the future (and therefore, fewer jobs for those training full time journos).Their vision for the future was one of a lot of small, high quality, indie publications that would provide steady jobs for competent journos. You can see the same attitude in the last para of John Naughton's article.But it will be even more decentralised and diverse than even the progressive journos were expecting. The 'skills and resources' that Naughton invokes to try to reassure himself won't be terribly relevant in a world where there are almost always numerous potential journos on the scene of any news event and the only resources needed to publish are access to an internet connection.Ironically, the hacks who are prepared to prostitute themselves to government and corporate PR are the ones most likely to prosper, as they don't rely on their readership for legitimacy anyway.Ironically, because there will be so much room for 'quality' journalism in the media of the future, there will be little job security for 'quality' journos. Because, the fact is, lots of people can do it as well or better than the pros, and now they have the chance to prove it.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    All great for journalism and truth, not so good for my future bank balance…

  • Anonymous

    What's interesting is the number of journos who are also bloggers — Tim Blair comes to mind (pace, Ant) — and the new Investigate magazine also has a fair number of bloggers writing for it.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Investigate magazine? Er, yes.If people want to read the fascinating inner thoughts of free market fundamentalists, they've come to the right place.