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.

Take a hike, Sir Bob

The world’s media has mostly swallowed the propaganda surrounding Live 8’s mission to save Africa. The Sydney Morning Herald led today with this article, headlined: “Act now or it’s genocide.” Barely a criticism of the event could be found within its pages. The Age’s Associate Editor Pamela Bone continued the hyperbole by calling Tony Blair “surely…the world’s statesman.” Why were politicians so committed to the cause? Bone says it was because they were “motivated by ordinary human decency.” Her, and much of the mainstream media’s blind acceptance of the current “save Africa” campaign, is tragic.

The Independent’s Yasmin Alibhai-Brown today exposes the gross hypocrisies of the Live 8 campaign and the grave necessity of truly providing assistance to Africa.

Her main points include:

“Birhan Woldu, an emaciated Ethiopian child, was shown on our screens. We rushed to give more money. On Saturday she stood on stage, a beautiful young woman who so nearly got buried in the famines all those years ago. But to see her being led on and off by Madonna took away the respect Woldu was entitled to. An African woman with such a story was not enough. A fake blonde celeb had to flank her to make her more attractive to the audience.

“Then Madonna, a landowner who resents blameless ramblers walking through her estate, calls for a “revolution”. Can you blame me for feeling nauseous?

“We haven’t even got to the really stinking hypocrisy. Is it true that the Geldof girls were flown in by helicopter, so that they could be there to remember the poor and dying? That even on such a day, VIPs couldn’t bear to mix with the common folk because that (presumably) would be, like, a tad too democratic? That there had to be a VIP area where champagne bubbled for paying corporate clients?”

And this gem:

“Next question from this sceptic. Why were artists not allowed to slag off Blair or Bush or Brown? (Or to mention Iraq?) These leaders tacitly support the exploitation of resources by Western companies in Africa, unfair trade barriers too, and the immoral arms exports. They infantalise Africans and cannot see them as equals. But please don’t dare to mention these small matters, commanded St Bob. Thanks to these unspeakable tongue-tying orders, Blair was not called to account for the viciously cruel deportations of African refugees back into the hellish countries they fled.”

So what did Africans think of it all? Global Voices has a round-up of blogger reaction from the continent.

3 comments ↪
  • Phil

    The whole thing was/is a crock of shite. Forget trade and anything else, the real beginning on this is the end of big power hegemony and geopolitics. I'll believe there is a start to this when the Milicorps and the governments that do their bidding stop selling arms to the very dictators and governments that many on the right are now blaming for the ills of the global south. Then we can get on with actually reforming and rebuilding the global institutions that now help to keep many of the worlds poor in eternal servitude.As an aside, the "soft on dictatorships" argument used by the right has served to neuter the argument on the duplicity of global institutions in creating this mess. the soft wealthy left,(Bono/Geldof), fearful of being wedged on the ''supporting dictatorships" talking point has meekly let the WTO's and banks and the like pretty well off the hook now. No talk about the poverty men like Karimov of Uzbekistan is causing, and it's not ok to say that that's different and ignore it because it is one and the same.I note today that Bush says pigs arse to all of this. "I serve America's interests first". Or in the immortal words of Cartman, "screw you guys, I'm outta here".

  • Guy

    Of course the whole event is helplessly caught up in the narcisstic trappings of celebrity, but the painful facts are that hardly anyone would pay attention to the situation in Africa if they weren't involved. to be brutally succinct, if Madonna wasn't there, the world wouldn't care.Live8 isn't going to end poverty in Africa, no sir. But it's better than nothing.One hopes that some of the world's more powerful politicians would somehow acquire the compassion for the poor that so many hypocritical yet still well-meaning celebrities have shown.

  • michael

    Hmm, I think you might be over generalising a bit there Guy.Yep, there are many thousands – maybe millions – of complacent Westerners who would otherwise have spared barely a thought for third world poverty if Bono and Sir Bob hadn't told them what to think.But there are also many thousands of committed activists who would have used the G8 summit to hightlight the exploitation of the third world in the name of 'free trade' regardless of whether Live8 existed or not – just as they have at every other G8 gig for the past decade or so.The question is whether Live8 increased the attention paid to the real inequities in the global economy or simply distracted people from it by feeding them sentimentalism and crappy pop songs.Its probably still a bit early to say, but I think Live8 was probably worthwhile because the suckhole popsters tried to keep the focus on emotional schlock instead of the part played by G8 leaders in perpetuating and deepening world poverty. In promoting themselves, they also inadvertently gave wide publicity to the views of their critics.But at least there's one likely positive outcome for the third world from the rehabilitation of the careers of has-been pop stars. I think some impoverished farmers in Afghanistan and Columbia can count on a boost to their income in the near future.