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.

The new face of Islam

Watching last night’s ABC 7.30 Report and hearing the deluded rantings of Algerian-born Melbourne man Abdul Nacer Benbrika, it was hard not to despair although it was an easy target for the ABC.

We are increasingly being given a very negative, black and white view of Islam. The UK magazine New Statesman offers a cover story this week on the changing face of Islam and argues that the West fundamentally misunderstands the situation. For example, while travelling in Pakistan, journalist Ziauddin Sardar realised that the greatest threat didn’t come from madrassas but from the military government, warmly embraced by the West, especially Britain, America and Australia.

Throughout the Muslim world, progressive politics is rearing its head.

17 comments ↪
  • Comical_Ali

    "We are increasingly being given a very negative, black and white view of Islam. "But, of Judiasm and the Jewish community we are increasinly getting the "right view"…especially from you who advocates that Jews are bigoted, racist and hostile.To reinforce your view, Jewish community leaders, unlike Islamic ones, only have to open their mouths in order to condemn themsleves and their entire communities. On the other hand, the blatant racist tripe that comes out of Muslim communities is regretabble, not representative and only serves to give us a "black and white view." And the one who tries to start a back lash against one community, speaks out on behalf of another — whose leaders happen to be blatantly racist, homophobic, embracing 12th century values.nice going mate.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    It must be so conforting to see through the world through a 'with us or against us' perspective…havn't you got somewhere to go? like starting you own blog? guess it's much easier to sprout from the comfort of your space, no responsibility. The internet was made for gutless souls like you….

  • Comical_Ali

    better get rid of your comments section.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Or find worthwhile contributors who have the guts to actually reveal themselves, their position, their background, but agenda etc, but no, you're right, stay in the shadows. Most of your type do…

  • Shabadoo

    Of course, it's perfectly OK for the Dreamboat's guuuurrrrlfriend to blog anonymously and not reveal her name or position or background, or for other semi-anonymous lefties with embarassing jobs to keep quiet about it…only right-wingers nee to justify themselves in Ant-land!

  • Comical_Ali

    fine, ill chane my name to "dirty_ tricycle_option" in order to reveal my "name and background." hows that for bravey…but only if the person in question is in agreement with you. Its always fun to be around people who continually agree with you. keeps the ego alive and kicking.When you've got nothing to debate with, attack the person and not the argument.

  • Vasco Pyjama

    I listened the 7.30 Report, and was struck by how much Abdul Nacer Benbrika reminded me born-again bible bashers who tell me I'm going to hell. The same themes seem to show up in all religions. I was pleasantly surprised at how John Howard stepped in in the interview afterward and was extremely balanced in his views. On an aside point, Comical Ali, I have just finished reading Loewenstein's chapter in Not Happy John and felt it was quite balanced in talking about Jews. Is there something in particular you would like to recommend that suggests otherwise? I suppose I ask this partly because I am Chinese and yet have very strong feelings about the Chinese Government's human rights violations. And I was wondering when it stops being advocacy and starts being perceived by others as a negative view.

  • Comical_Ali

    describing Jews as bigotted and racist is one. Singling out "Jewish lobbying" and turning it into some kind of conspiracy is yet anothor. comparisons of Israel to Nazi Germany – a constant theme of Chomsky and Finkelstien, spouted by a couple of people here and a view which Antony no doubt embraces – is just another which goes beyond legitmate criticism to downright offenisve bigotry. or how about denying Israel's right to exist…need I go on?As for Abdul Nacer Benbrika – when born again bible bashers start to preach jihad against "non-believers" and murder people in subways and buses…you might just have a point.

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Great article by Hanif Kureishi in The Guardian people might be interested in reading: http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,1….

  • Vasco Pyjama

    Comical Ali, I will start on the issue of the jihadists first. I will agree with you that in the post-9/11 climate, most of the terrorists that the world is currently experiencing are Muslim. But perhaps in the past there have also been many terrorists of other religious groups? The IRA are one example.One of the things that has occured to me over the years is that perhaps different groups fight in different ways. You know, the whole "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" argument. I also think that put a combatant in uniform and give them bulldozers and humvees, and they all of a sudden appear much more legitimate when their victims (often non-combatants) and their motives are the same.With regards to Christians, I mean, I don't think Christianity is a violent religion. Yet, I have to say that I felt unsettled when I went to an ANZAC day dawn service for the first time this year. Have you been to one before, Ali? A standard part of the ceremony talks about smiting pagans in God's name. Being a (Buddhist) pagan, plus an Oriental, I felt unsettled and uncomfortable. Perhaps at this stage, these ceremonies are only ritualistic. But these are the ceremonies that all our service men and women go through each year. It is not "jihad against "non-believers"", but it is smiting the pagans instead.I will comment more on Lowenstein later… lunch beckons.

  • Vasco Pyjama

    Okay. Comical Ali, I'm back from lunch with some reflections on Loewenstein. :)I would first like to start with a disclaimer. My active interest in the Israel Palestine issue only started a few years ago when I was asked to re-design an AusAID-funded Violence Against Women project in the Gaza strip. It had to be re-designed as the second intifada had caused unanticipated problems with the project's implementation.Because the project had a large advocacy component, I started reading a bit about governance in the OPT, and also the status of women. It was all very sobering. But shortly before my re-design mission was scheduled, there were many bombings, and the Gaza was in lock-down. I ended up doing the re-deisgn via many phone calls and emails. The one thing that struck me though is that the situation in Gaza was unsustainable. Something needs to change, and it looks like the change is heading in the right direction for now.But back to Loewenstein. I also don't really know Loewenstein from a bar of soap. But I have read his chapter in Not Happy John about the Jewish lobby in Australia. And I did think it seemed fairly sensible. I mean, he writes from a certain perspective but (rightly) declares his position. I think it is universally acknowledged that there is a strong Jewish lobby in the US. I think even the Jewish lobby there acknowledges this. Is the issue that you don't think there is one in Australia?Also, I think there are many Jews that are anti-Zionist. In fact, aren't there whole sects of Judaism that firmly belive that Zion is not a physical location, but instead is something more spiritual or a community? I am not sure what Loewenstein's position is, whether it is co-existence or that all Jews should leave the Middle East and Israel be dissolved. Do you have a position on this, Comical Ali?

  • Comical_Ali

    Vasco,to your credit you are the only one here who is civil and is only trying to attack or dismantle the argument and not the person. For that I salute you.I dont buy the "one mans freedom, fighter is another man's terrorist" argument. Anyone who purposly and cold bloodly murders innocent civilians is a terrorist regardless of the motive. full stop.So far I'm still looking for evidence showing that the Israeli government is like Hamas and conducts indiscriminate genocide anbd ethnic cleansing…given that the Palestinian population is the fastest growing in the Middle Eastand given the Arab terrorist rehtoric to throw every single Jew into the sea and the fact that 99% of their attacks are purley aimed at civilians only – the ethnic cleansing/genocide label doesnt seem to add up in regards to Israeli government policy. There certainly have been Jewish terrorists – Goldstein was one and the recent 19 year old nut case was another – these were cold blooded terorists…not "militants" or "freedom fighters" but TERRORISTS. As for the IRA and others – the IRA was not seeking to convert the entire world to "Catholicism." It was not seeking to implement its own version of the Sharia. Therefore there was room for some negotiation and their motives were not purley based on religion. Moral relatavisim doesnt really seem to fit — because Bible belting christians, fanatical Irish catholics, extremist Hindus and Jews are not blowing up trains in Madrid, buses in London or ploughing airlines into buildings in New York. They are not actviley selling racist hate books in Melbourne or Sydney or have their preachers say that women who get raped deserve it. They dont go by a doctrine which saids you have to kill if someone refuses to convert to you're faith.As for "powerful" Jewish lobbies in the US and here — the "secret" Jewish lobby in America does not control the world's oil supply. So in that case it would make more sense to assume that Muslim/Arab lobby groups have more influence, especially over the State department. And not just the state deparment but also over influential powers and pro-ARab countries like France and China who are members of the Security Council.Like any other enthnic or minority groups, Jews have every right to lobby in their own interests and shouldnt be singled out. To do otherwise is racist, bigotted and offensive.

  • Comical_Ali

    it should be noted that Antony and his idols Chomsky and Finkelstein, dont believe in Israel's right to exist.This one factor exempts people like this from being legitmate critics of Israel.

  • Vasco Pyjama

    Hey Comical Ali. Thanks for responding to my thoughts. I suppose I might start with a clarification. I don't see myself as wanting to "attack or dismantle the argument" either. I suppose my purpose of participating in these fora is to learn and to seek common ground. I am essentially an "on the ground" practitioner who has, of late, realised that I need to have more rigorous analysis of issues. Debate from both perspectives is valuable to me.I agree that the Muslim terrorism situation is out of control. The sad thing is that I think it now risks turning pitting brother against brother as people in the same community can vary significantly in their views. Whilst I think the modus operandi is different, I think that some other religions have a lot to answer for in terms of taking innocent lives. I see the Catholic Church's stance on contraception (and subsequent impact on HIV transmission and population growth) as an example of this. That killing to is indescriminate and in far far far larger proportions than militant Islamic terror. But that is another whole argument and is off-track.Regarding your thoughts on Jewish lobby and Israel, I would be very interested to know you thoughts on this. I clicked on your name hoping to come across some writing of yours, but didn't see anything. I now remember that Loewenstein had criticised you for not having a blog. But Comical Ali, I am genuinely interested in what you propose for Israel and OPT. As for me, I do not know enough to comment. I also personally feel that this has been a conflict that has been lengthened due to the participation of far too many overseas Jews and Muslims, and their respective supporters. I think it is more important that the primary stakeholders (ie., the actual residents of OPT and Israel) reach some conclusion.Regarding Loewenstein, I think I will reserve judgment on him until I read his book. I suppose we will have a rather lively discussion of it here. *grin*.

  • Comical_Ali

    "I suppose I might start with a clarification. I don't see myself as wanting to "attack or dismantle the argumenteither."Well, in that case I didnt give you enough credit then. once again that only serves to reinforce my point of view that you are the only civil person here. Yes, I agree the Catholic church and some other religions do have allot to answer for… but thats a different debate and not something that could be compared to what we are discussing here. In other words, it does not justify moral relativism – i.e comparing blowing people up in subways or killing people who dont convert to your faith to oppossition to contraception. Its like comparing apples to bananas. With all do respect, thats moral relativism of the worst kind — something which in this kind of enviroment is very dangerous.I've already expressed my thoughts on the Jewish lobby and adaquetly explained why singling out the right of Jews to lobby out of other people's right to lobby is downright racist, discriminatory and offensive. As for Israel and the OPT, I unlike Antony believe in the national rights of both peoples. He one the other hand doesnt – he wants to see one state destroyed. As a result no one can honestly take him seriously as a legitmate critic of Israel who only has to offer geniune "constructive criticism." There are plenty of Jews and Israelis who do that…but none like Antony, or Chomsky and Finkelstein (the latter two are very big hits with Neo-Nazis/racist white supermacists and have contributed to Holocaust denial..especially Finkelstein). We call them "self-hating" Jews for a reason. As for my identity and "writings" -unfortunatley I dont have any. I'm just an average joe.

  • Comical_Ali

    thats an average Joe who, like the majority of people who comment on blogs and forums (or even have blogs for that matter), has a right to his privacy.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Interesting. And good to see.One thing, Comical Ali – I have heard "moral relativism" bandied about in the blogosphere for a while now. What the hell does it mean?