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.

Patriotism lite

“…[There is a] disconnect between the United States’ officially declared commitment to waging an all-out ‘War on Terror’ and Americans’ reluctance to sacrifice in support of that war…’Nobody in America is asked to sacrifice,’ this officer says, ‘except us.’ By ‘us,’ he means the armed forces…’It’s almost,’ says a retired U.S. military official, ‘as if the politicians want to be able to declare war and at the same time maintain a sense of normalcy.'”

Paul Street, Znet, July 30

I can think of any number of Australian armchair generals, pontificating and encouraging an even more bellicose foreign policy. Perhaps they’d like to volunteer for the armed services. What? Busy, otherwise engaged or unfit? Thought so.
16 comments ↪
  • paul

    I volunteered to re-enlist after Sept 11th, but was told I was too old; don't kid yourself, there's plenty of us out there who have the nads to do what needs to be done, even if pathetic leftist twerps such as yourself don't.

  • Rich Bowden

    "What needs to be done" is for Australia to stop fighting other people's wars and employ a foreign policy more conducive to world peace.Our current subservience to White House overseas aims has underlined the embarrassing nature of Australia's lack of a self-determining line of diplomacy and resulted in an almost gleeful participation in military ventures to countries which pose no threat to Australia. Antony's point is instructive, the men and women who place their lives at risk for these ventures are not politicians or top military brass. If this was the case, maybe our foreign policy would be better thought through and (the key word) independent.

  • evan jones

    'the nads to do what needs to be done' depends upon knowing who the enemy is.The nasties who are now the enemies of the current junta in power in the US were once their friends.The foot soldiers are sent to the front line as pawns in this great game that has nothing to do with the basic human virtues.What this has to do with Australia's national interest is not self-evident.Certainly the suck-arse that is our current PRime Minister knows what's in his self-interest.Why one would put one's life on the line for a bunch of Strangeloves and little turds is a question for the psychologists.

  • Elise

    After an all-round crap day,where people lash out at you for what they cannot handle in themselves, it's refreshing to see some people around the world realizing the problem always starts from within(whether that's within oneself or within one's own elected government).When so many governments around the world became willing participants in the American political insanity, I was hoping people of those nations would take to the streets.But it didn't quite happen that way.So aren't we now all responsible for the Iraq mess?And what of karma?What kind of collective karma did this war create, do you think?And how many of those politicians and army officers call themselves Christians?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Well, Howard, Bush and Blair all see themselves as Christians, many of them have even prayed together. I wonder what they're asking God for. "Please, God, don't let me ever stand before an international criminal court for the horrors I've created?"

  • paul

    So no calling to account for Osama, or any of the couragous "freedom fighters" around the planet who shoot up schools and drive car bombs into crowds of children in the name of Allah then, eh? What a duplicitous pack of yahoos. Just as well for you that there are men and women prepared to defend your way of life and right to spout such undergradute bollocks- if the sort of regime came to pass that is desired by the "enemies of the current US junta", self-proclaimed progressives (regressives? after all, it's the same old philosophy that's been batted around since hippiedom's brief period of relevance) as yourselves would be the first to feel the brunt of Sha'ria, and possibly deservedly so. If it wasn't so serious, you'd be god for a bit of a laugh, then ignored. Thankfully, you're just ignored at the moment.

  • Glenn Condell

    What a heavyweight you are Paul. Why not get rid of some of those second hand ideas, that'll free you up. Thank God fools like you aren't running the country. Hang on, they are.

  • paul

    Excuse me, second-hand ideas? Name one fresh idea the progressive/left has had since 1968? Even the slogans and (ugh) fashions are the same. (And as influential and relevant to the vast majority).Enjoy your fantasy.

  • Vasco Pyjama

    Paul, I am less than two weeks away from being mobilised to Afghanistan as an aid worker for a hippie leftist twerpish NGO. There are ways to contribute even if you are too old and unfit to re-enlist. If you are interested, let me know, and I can provide you with some links to look into.Incidentally, ADF is now sending chockos (reserves) overseas since the troops are too far stretched. My partner is in Solomons at the moment, and his best mate (in Regular Army though) is about to go off to Iraq early next year.Personally, I choose to go to Afghanistan to assist in the reconstruction as I believe that war is easy. It is rebuilding a nation that is damn hard. My country was responsible for toppling the ruling regime there. Now we have a responsibility to get the nation back on its feet as it risks becoming an opium economy run by warlords.My partner has gone to Solomon Islands (as I did earlier, but as NGO aid worker) as it is an effort he believes in. He thinks that it is only appropriate that if a neighbouring nation invites us to intervene in their downward-spiralling ethnic violence, that we do it, and do it well. And that we put in structures, principles and systems in place to make sure it doesn't repeat itself.I don't think the aims of hippies and military sorts are necessarily mutually exclusive (as demonstrated by my partner and myself). The only problem is that we seem to still like calling each other names. 🙂

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    I think that's right Vasco, but it really depends upon whom you are talking about. If you're talking about the average punter it's probably correct. If you're talking about powerful interests I'm afraid history teaches they will only stop doing what they are hell bent on doing when coerced by a greater source of power, for eg, mass opposition or greater military power. I suppose there are exceptions, Robert Mcnamara and Malcolm Fraser come to mind. But note even then the change in heart came well after they lost political relevance. It’s not enough to convince people with a more rational argument. Institutional reform is the most important thing. To give but one suggestion, something like making the Geneva Conventions applicable to weapons manufacturers would be a useful first step.Re armchair generals, practically every modern 'general' fits into this category. Erich von Manstein, considered the Third Reich's finest military strategist, was an avid chess player. Churchill is well known for his interest in elaborate military excursions that failed more often than not. Theodore Roosevelt wrote approvingly of war, how it ennobled one's spirit and gave a person great character. It also helped the US conquer large parts of its hemisphere. I doubt General Musharraf ever slept in one of those frozen huts in Kashmir that routinely kill his soldiers.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Antony, nice post.Vasco, quality contribution again. Thank you. Likewise, Calliope.Paul, as far as new ideas for the left go (if relevant in any way to this discussion), I suggest that you visit your local library and look for Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, John Bellamy Foster, Harry Magdoff, or Samir Amin. By the way, where did you pull 1968 from?

  • Vasco Pyjama

    Iqbal, sorry… I got so carried away about responding to Paul's thought that I forgot the central debate. *blush*. But yes, far too many armchair generals. In fact, I would have thought that one usually needs to be an armchair general for wars to be waged, as most normal empathetic human beings would be sickened by war.Regarding applications of Geneva Conventions to manufacturers of weapons… yes, I agree. It would be good. But I think a first step would be to get our world's hegemon to abide by the Geneva Conventions, no?And to Dirtbikeoption: *nod*. Once again we are in the mutual appreciation club.

  • Mustafa Qadri

    Yes, getting them to abide by the Geneva Conventions as they stand would be a good idea too! 🙂

  • paul

    '68 was about the peak of the influence of "prog/left" politics, wit the Sorbonne uprising/Paris Collective and the Vietnam Moritorium influencing North Vietnam to launch the disastrous Tet offensive- its all been downhill since then, with the situation now where the ideas of the hard left are highly influential with those who secretly fear Edward VIII is secretly still alive in Argentina, and plotting world domination.

  • Andjam

    I'll volunter to be a soldier the day you volunteer to be a Kurd in Iran.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Ah, Paul, you are indeed learned.