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.

Labor blues

I’ve deliberately avoided commenting on the current Labor blues surrounding Mark Latham’s biography, not wishing to add yet another voice to an already crowded field. The ALP is in dire straights, lacking direction, policy or solid ideology, but I’m hardly the first to say that, and nor will I be the last. Australia needs a strong Opposition – and Keating’s former speechwriter, Don Watson, outlines how essential that should be – but Labor under Beazley is struggling for relevance.

The SMH’s David Marr put it best at the launch in Sydney yesterday: “The sharks were hoping for blood. A packed room of press had gathered on a Crows Nest rooftop expecting to hear Senator John Faulkner do what he’d never done in his long career: drop a bucket on his own party.”

Faulkner’s speech was actually very interesting, in a kind of picking over the carcass kind of way. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t too happy with the book, “Loner: Inside a Labor Tragedy”, but offered an honest appraisal of the Latham experiment: “Mark was a bold politician, passionate about the future Australia he imagined. Part of his tragedy is that he became leader of the Labor Party at a time when his boldness and his passion were not enough.” Faulkner also took aim at the factional system of the party, a constant albatross rejecting real progress.

The SMH’s Peter Hartcher, not one to ever see past the pure politics of the moment, writes that Latham has shown his true colours: “Everything Mark Latham has done since losing last year’s federal election has vindicated the electorate’s decision to reject him…In fact, his latest comments are so puerile and show such total lack of self-reflection that anyone reading them can only feel Australia dodged a bullet in deciding not to elect him prime minister.”

When Latham accuses the Labor of being “beyond repair, beyond reform”, who could seriously doubt his credentials? How relevant are the ALP in today’s Australia? And who can name any major policies released by the party in the last years that have had major impact?

Latham will be releasing his own diaries in early October (through my publisher, Melbourne University Publishing) so there is much more to come. If Labor ever gets back into power – according to the Australian’s Greg Sheridan, Beazley “stands an excellent chance of winning the next election. I’d rate him as just under even money against John Howard and just better than even money against Peter Costello” – what will they stand for? Who will they represent? And what kind of Australia will they shape? Many people may not wait around to find out.

5 comments ↪
  • Guy

    I was surprised at Sheridan's optimism as well, but by the same token I think he raises a good point about Beazley's everyman character. He may not be a dynamic leader but he is one that quite a lot of people retain some affection for. Latham's credentials are certainly open to question. Some of the criticisms he draws are valid, but they are not new ones, and at least from what I have seen so far, he has communicated them in an ineffective way.Like it or not, the ALP hold government in every state and territory in the country. They must be relevant, otherwise the majority of people are voting for something they consider irrelevant.

  • Anonymous

    "Many people may not wait around to find out."Where are they going to go?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    One may have a splintering of support away from the major parties, to the Greens and smaller parties.Beazley may well get elected, but to simply presume he'd be a better PM, more compassionate, more independent of the US etc, is wishful thinking, I reckon.

  • doylie

    My parents are picket fence – and they at least respected Latham for all the same reasons that he is now being ridiculed: he talks straight, he abuses the powerful, and he didn't tell fibs. They'll likely vote for Johnny again, but they will also see Latham's critique of the ALP as legit – "he should know, and good on 'im for saying so".I'm over the major parties – in fact, over polar politics altogether – but I think that Latham and his outbursts are good for what remains of Australian labour.

  • Shay

    That's two days in a row you've used "dire straights". At the risk of being pedontic, I'd better point out that it's "straits". Yeah, I'm a bloody English teacher.