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.

Important, but…

The Monthly is the new magazine on the block. Modelling itself on the New Yorker, the Melbourne-based publication is a noble attempt at producing high-quality, essay style articles on issues of the day. Its success rate is decidedly mixed, not least due to its insistence on commissioning the “old guard” of Australian publishing, from Robert Manne to Helen Garner, Kerryn Goldsworthy to Linda Jaivin. Thus far, the choice of writers has been fairly conventional.

Perhaps I’m being unfair. It’s a new magazine, the editors want to establish a name for the publication and they simply need to do this by hiring big names. Maybe. The quality of the writing is not in question – generally speaking – and neither is the attractive layout. I want to see a brave new magazine that is unafraid to challenge Australia’s underlying assumptions and those of our media elite. I’m not giving up yet. To do this, editors need to commission articles that are unpredictable, controversial, edgy and young. The signs are not wholly convincing. Where, for example, is the inclusion of online writers and bloggers, voices of today rather than yesterday?

This month features a cover article by Robert Manne on the Iraq war. Titled “Murdoch’s War”, it tells the compelling story of the media owner, the Australian’s Foreign Editor Greg Sheridan, and Herald Sun columnist Andrew Bolt. Manne systematically dissects the Australian’s support for the war, its ability to bypass facts on WMD, Iraq nationalism and US foreign policy and constantly move the goalposts when previously claimed justifications no longer exist.

Manne says reading Bolt’s columns is akin to “being trapped in a small room with an angry, indignant, simple-minded man who believes the best way of convincing you that he is right, yet again, is to ridicule and shout.” Sheridan’s “journalism” is dismissed as the “kind of uncritical enthusiasm one might expect from a teenager in love.” The Melbourne academic convincingly argues his case, dismissing the numerous factual errors, assumptions, articles of faith and outright lies told by the Murdoch press to convince a wary public that the Iraq war was essential to democracy and freedom. The Murdoch press is shameless, deceitful, devious and unethical, but then, what’s new?

Manne dismisses the Fairfax press as “no longer playing the kind of balancing role they once did. Now run by a board of corporation investors, they have almost altogether forgotten the tradition of fierce independence that still produces the best family-owned quality newspapers in the US: the New York Times and The Washington Post.”

Come again? Let me get this straight. Manne slams the Murdoch press and praises two American papers that, without a doubt, contributed a barrage of mis-information and propaganda before the Iraq war. Is Manne unaware of this? It’s hardly possible. Does Manne think that the actions of Times journalist Judith Miller – perhaps the person most responsible for channelling false WMD claims through Ahmed Chalabi – are less responsible than the Murdoch press? If so, he’s delusional.

Manne’s censure of the Fairfax press is warranted. They have indeed become a shadow of their former self, preferring to follow rather than lead and positioning themselves as the media company best suited to pursue the new lifestyle agenda of the 21st century. Brave stuff, indeed. But by simply highlighting the Murdoch press – easy targets and thoroughly predictable – Manne has missed a golden opportunity. His slavish praise of the American media shows a disturbing sign of cultural cringe. Of course, certain American outlets have behaved admirably over the last years, but the Post and Times are not two of these publications.

Black Inc Books is soon releasing a book on the media, edited by Manne, called “Do Not Disturb”. Let’s hope his power of analysis improves.

5 comments ↪
  • Glenn Condell

    Manne is obviously relying on received wisdom; he can't have been reading them these last few years. Really, they've been part of the VRWC since the Clintonhunt at least.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I wonder. Manne is clever and well-read. What's the real reason? Cultural cringe? Ignorance? Not really sure. His work on Iraq, however predictable it us to those of who 'live' on the web, is essential because he can connect with the mainstream It's vital.I'm tempted to write a letter to the magazine…

  • Simon

    Don't bother, they don't print letters unless they're over 750 words!CHeck out Investigate — it's another new fresh monthly that looks a damn sight better and also has some bloggers working for it.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I could write a long letter!I've seen Investigate. Sorry, pretty uninspiring. A neo-con wet dream with predictable writers and Ann Coulter columns. I won't be gaining any insights from that source…

  • lukery

    i loved this from Sheridan's rebuttle: "We now know Saddam did have links with al-Qa'ida but at the time of the column, 2003, this was less clear."