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.

Not Happy, Fairfax

Fairfax’s new chief operating officer Brian Evans has ordered his management team to slash $100 million from the publishing company. The Australian’s lead media story this week must have made News Limited staff smile. It’s a worrying development, however. Evans is asking for massive cut across all divisions, including editorial.

The paper reports:

“The closure of overseas bureaus, almost certainly starting with Tokyo, the merging of the Canberra bureaus of The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and the merging of the staffs of the broadsheet Herald and the tabloid Sun-Herald also have been mooted.”

Redundancies of journalists are also likely. Evans, a former regional newspaper executive, has suggested one way of raising revenue: “the introduction of more advertorials in the broadsheet newspapers.”

As I’ve written many times before, Fairfax is a sick company and I’m very glad that I’ve left there as a full time staff member. However, a strong alternative to the pro-war, pro-free market, pro-Howard agenda, blindly echoed in the Murdoch press, is essential in a true democracy. Australia, sadly, has the most concentrated media ownership in the Western world and is about to get worse, if the Howard government and Communications Minister Helen Coonan get their way.

Speaking on last week’s Media Report, Coonan mentioned the words “diversity” and “choice” many times, giving the false impression that her proposed changes to cross media would bring both. Nothing could be further from the truth. She is already talking to industry stakeholders to negotiate possible options.

Cast your mind back to media player John Singleton’s comments from April, speaking on ABC Inside Business:

ALAN KOHLER: Do you think the cross-media rules and the foreign ownership rules will change so therefore there will be a shake up in the media that you can participate in?
JOHN SINGLETON: … I don’t know. I can tell you only this – there’s sure to be no decisions made that are going to in any way affect the chances of John Howard being re-elected as Prime Minister in the next term, so …
ALAN KOHLER: What does that mean?
JOHN SINGLETON: Well, it means the terms are going to be, the changes to the media cross-ownership laws will be only those that don’t make any existing media owners, doesn’t disadvantage them.
ALAN KOHLER: And what do you think that turns into?
JOHN SINGLETON: It means life’s a rort and it’s only a rort if you’re not in it, that’s what it means. And John Howard likes being Prime Minister so he’s not going to set out to upset the existing media owners by saying, “Oh, laissez-faire, let’s have every available – let’s have 50, 100 radio stations, 20 TV stations …”… And the natural barriers to entry in other things like magazines and newspapers preclude it in any event, so…”

Fairfax should be afraid. Alternatives are needed.

2 comments ↪
  • Anonymous

    Antony ,the one party state is upon us. Something is happening with your reply section, where it is, almost, impossible to have a say.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Hang tight. Think Blogger may be having a few issues. Let me know if it continues.