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.

Reading between the (not so subtle) lines

While Rupert Murdoch and John Howard engage in some mutually satisfactory back-slapping in Washington this week, letter writers to the Sydney Morning Herald explain the agenda better than any journalist from the Fairfax stable.

Peter Friend of Heathcote writes:

“Rupert Murdoch is a man who has never had any difficulty confusing his version of the world with reality. He was a supporter of the Keating Government until it wouldn’t bend to his desires. His view of the relationship with the United States then was quite different to the way he sucked up to John Howard in Washington this week. He has joined Alexander Downer as a historian of political convenience.

“This latest analysis will rank with his confident prediction that the invasion of Iraq would be a great thing for the world because it would deliver a $US20 a barrel oil price.

“Maybe it’s to do with the upcoming changes to cross-media ownership regulations.”

And speaking of cross media changes, the Australian’s lead Media article today goes a long way without saying very much. And how should readers interpret this line? “The federal Government is considering a way to ensure a minimum level of media diversity if cross-media restrictions are removed later this year.”

So there you have it. The government cares enough about the media that they’re determined to ensure “minimum levels” of diversity, though not necessarily ownership. Indeed, there’s a fine line between minimum and minimal. Journalist Jane Schultze writes as if this decision by Communications Minister Helen Coonan is a concession. Surely a functioning democracy should demand a great range of media ownership? But then, Australia has the one of the most tightly controlled media environments in the Western world. We’re an example to exactly nobody.

2 comments ↪
  • Shay

    "Maybe it's to do with the upcoming changes to cross-media ownership regulations."Great letter, but is there any need to use the word "maybe"? Once Howard delivers Packer and Murdoch the payday they've been coveting since the tragic '80s, when all but Sydney and Melbourne were left without an alternative press, you can shut the gate for the next couple of elections, because they will owe Howard big time. The propaganda will be even more extreme than it has been since 9/11. I would have expected the Fairfax press to be the beacon of hope in all this, but bizarrely they are supporting the changes, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are being delivered to Kerry in a handbasket. Add to this the continued vandalism of the ABC, and in five years' time all that will be worth reading are blogs. What a frightening future.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I agree, we can ditch the 'maybe.'Fairfax are supporting all this because they no longer see themselves as a news company, but as a share price that could be higher. None of the board members have any media experience and they're hoping to increase their takings from any take-over.The coming years are going to descent into more gross propaganda than before. Soon, I hope, people will realise that their media outlets are increasingly propaganda tools for govt and business interests (more than now!)…