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.

Free speech

As many of you know, I’m currently writing a book on Israel/Palestine for Melbourne University Publishing, due in May 2006.

The following letter appears in this week’s Australian Jewish News. It’s written by Federal Labor MP, Michael Danby. Its agenda is clear. Why is a member of parliament trying to stop the publication of my book? What is he afraid of? History doesn’t look kindly on such attitudes. And we all know what other historical individuals favoured this behaviour. By the way Michael, try and spell my name properly next time. It’s Antony, not Anthony:

“The graduating class of Mount Scopus of 1972 had some interesting people, many of whom made a mark on wider Australian society. One of my fellow graduates of that year is Louise Adler, the current publisher of Melbourne University Press (MUP).

“Louise was and is an intellectually engaging person, if a little predictable with her inevitable criticism that Labor is a “sell-out” and that supporting Israel, moderate democratic Israel, as I do, makes me a “Zionist right-winger”. It’s a badge of honour, Louise.

“However, faint praise for Adler is a sidebar to the substance of the issue. I want the entire Jewish community to know that I absolutely dissociate myself from her decision to publish a book edited by Anthony Loewenstein about the Australian Jewish community.

“In preparation for writing his book, Loewenstein sent me a number of questions, based on assumptions, which made his views so blatantly obvious that I refused to answer them or participate in his book.

“I will have no part in his and Adler’s propaganda tract scheduled for publication in 2006, which will be an attack on the mainstream Australian Jewish community.

“MUP should drop this whole disgusting project. If they proceed, I urge the Australian Jewish community, and particularly the Australian Jewish News, to treat it with dignified silence. That is our best response. If, God forbid, it is published, don’t give them a dollar. Don’t buy the book.”

MICHAEL DANBY MHR
Federal member for Melbourne Ports

UPDATE: I’ve been asked to provide the questions I emailed Danby in late 2004 (what, exactly, has taken him so long to respond?) The questions are reasonable and balanced. I was keen to have his opinions in my book. His then media flak, Dror Poleg, told me that Danby was considering the questions and would answer them asap. He gave me the same response for around one month.

It wasn’t until early this year that Danby’s office informed me that he wouldn’t answer my questions, nor release a statement of any kind. His right. But to now suggest that my original questions were “based on assumptions” is incorrect, as you will see below. Michael, afraid of some old-fashioned debate?

1) What is your view of Labor backbenchers who express dissenting views on the Israel/Palestine question? Is the ALP a broad enough church to accommodate many views, rather than just the standard, pro-Sharon line?

2) Do you see and hear in your electorate dissenting Jewish voices critical of the Sharon government? If so, how do you incorporate them into your own viewpoints?

3) How do you explain the general acceptance in the Australian Jewish community of most, if not all, of Israeli government policies?

4) How do you explain the increasing closeness between the Australian and Israeli governments, particularly under John Howard’s government? Do you think a Federal ALP government would have as close a relationship?

5) What is your view of the influence of the so-called pro-Israeli lobby in Australia? Is Melbourne the true source of this influence?

6) What is your view of the mainstream media’s coverage of the Israel/Palestine conflict, especially the media in Melbourne and Sydney?

13 comments ↪
  • Shabadoo

    Could you be a bigger hypocrite? What, no one is allowed to criticize the Antmeister, because he's so bloody right – er, left! – about everything? You're the biggest self-hating Jew this side of the Parramatta River, you go into every situation with a chip on your shoulder the size of a Gaza settlement, and you're always on about how great it is to buy Venezuelan oil to the exclusion of others, among other little campaigns of yours. And you and your guuuuuurlfriend are well on the record as considering the mainstream Jewish community as bigoted and racist, and any support for the State of Israel is de facto evil right-wing Zionism in your book. Now, someone suggests bringing a bit of free-market resistance – something pretty confronting to a lefty like you – to your book, says they want nothing to do with it, and suddenly you lose your mind.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    I'm not stopping the publication of anything, nor trying to do so. I believe in the free market of ideas. Danby is actively trying to get a work he disagrees with censored. It's pretty clear. To most people.

  • evan jones

    Is Brendan Nelson examining the syllabus at Mount Scopus?

  • Shabadoo

    How about you release the questions you sent to the MP? Then maybe we could have an idea of whether or not he's got a valid complaint.

  • weezil

    Antony, onje thing I've learned about blogging in the last year and a half: * Good blogs get commenters.* Better blogs get trolls.* The very BEST blogs have stalkers.You have andjam, shabadoo… and Danby. :D-weez

  • Antony Loewenstein

    i asked danby, late 2004, about how the ALP dealt withdissent re israel/palestine, how he personally dealtwith jewish dissent, view of howard on israel,attitiudes towards israel and jews in oz. very bland questions.

  • Neil

    I went to a debate between Danby and the liberal candidate for Melbourne Ports at the last election. I'm glad to say I can't recall the liberal's name, but he, too, is Jewish. The liberals obviously thought that a Jewish candidate could threaten Danby's hold on a seat that has a high Jewish population. I came away thoroughly disgusted with both of them. The entire debate, which was held in a Jewish institution, consisted of the candidates trying to outdo each in how much they despised Palestinians and how blindly they endorsed Israel. Danby was attacked at every turn, on the grounds that he belongs to a party that has members who want a binational solution to the conflict. His response was (accurately) to point out that Labor has always supported Israel pretty much whatever it does. If the debate was an accurate reflection of mainstream Jewish opinion on Israel, then it's not a community I want to be associated with.Danby has a problem: the Jewish community, historically relatively left, is going right as supporters of Israeli unilateralism go right. To keep his seat, he has to outflank the Liberals, which means being more right-wing than them on Israel. Hence his pre-emptive move. I doubt he wants to stop publication of your book, Antony. I think he just wants to get his condemnation in before anyone else.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Thanks for your thoughts, Neil.I closely followed the debates between Danby and Liberal contender David Southwick last year. It wasn't pretty, to be sure.Danby is probably trying to pre-empt the release but for a federal MP to be advocating such behaviour should be strongly condemned.

  • Neil

    Just read the questions, Antony, and I'm not surprised that Danby refused to answer them. They *do* reflect your views (which, as a matter of fact, I share), which are far from Danby's. You assume, for instance, that the general acceptance within the Jewish community of Israeli policy needs explaining, and what you think needs explaining is, in general, a good pointer to your assumptions (Danby probably thinks that *dissent* from these policies needs explaining). Compare: how do you explain the general acceptance of the view that the Earth is more than 5 minutes old? That's an odd question to ak, simply because we share the background assumption that the world is more than 5 minutes old. Asking questions like "is the ALP a broad enough church" to accommodate dissent also carries the background assumption that it ought to be.For Danby, these questions are a catch-22. If he says that the ALP is a broad enough church to accommodate dissent, then he opens himself up to the kinds of questions he got in the debate I mentioned: how can you belong to such an anti-semetic party? If he says that it is not broad enough, then he lays himself open to holding that ALP is narrow and ideologically driven.BTW, in regard to 2: I live in Danby's electorate, and I hereby affirm a dissenting view. I support two states, with a pre-1967 border (and hence oppose the location of the wall), or a single state, encompassing Gaza and the West Bank.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Mmmm, not answering questions is one thing – and as I said, his right – but trying to get the book censored is a different story altogether…

  • evan jones

    The vignette by Neil re his attendance at the Southwick-Danby debate pre Election October 2004 is illuminating. Inflammatory race hatred. The support for a criminal regime engaged in ethnic cleansing not merely of a verbal nature but actively in the suppression of debate in the Australian Parliament.Why are the opinions of maddog ZIonists acceptable when the opinions of maddog Islamists are not?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Some of what Neil describes will be in the book. Last year's election was illuminating, to say the least.Zionist fundamentalism OK? Of course, it's not the 'other'. We know what much of the West still thinks of the Arab world…Ah, Edward Said's Orientalism lives and breaths daily…

  • leftvegdrunk

    Neil, it would be a different story if Danby asked his political opponents a set of questions and could not get a reply.Ant, I think that why Danby is interfering here is less important than who is asking him to.