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 limits according to whom?

John Howard’s declaration of war against “terrorist incitement” is heating up and today’s Australian (unintentionally) outlines the absurdity of the proposed changes:

“John Howard said yesterday the new offence would enable legal action to be taken against those who incite violence, including terrorist acts, against the Australian community, including against forces overseas and in support of Australia’s enemies.

“Under this model, someone saying they supported Osama bin Laden would not be guilty of an offence, but someone who urged bin Laden and al-Qa’ida to “wage holy war” on Australian troops in Iraq or Afghanistan would be. A person wearing a T-shirt sporting the slogan “I hate Australians” would also escape prosecution but a person wearing one urging “All good jihadists to kill Australians” would not.

“But the law could also be problematic for the media if, for example, their reports about mistreatment of prisoners of war, as happened in the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq, led to a backlash against Australian troops.”

Perhaps Howard has been getting advice from David Horowitz, one of America’s leading conservative commentators. Reading him is like hearing a belligerent, frightened, panicky and paranoid family member. Best to ignore him, in other words, but his strong desire to shut down dissent in America – his bio claims he is an “outspoken opponent of censorship” – and punish “enemies” of America resonates with the times and is the spirit in which Howard introduces his draconian legislation.

Here is Horowitz on Iraq and the “Left”:

“This war is not based on lies as the left claims. It is, however, a war that has been betrayed by the leadership of the Democratic Party which authorised it, but then turned against it when Howard Dean soared to the top of the polls. The result of this unprecedented betrayal of America in time of war has been the confusion of millions of Americans who trust the leadership of the Democratic Party. This confusion is more than dangerous. It is undermining the morale of our troops and encouraging our terrorist enemies to think that they can win this war if they kill enough Americans and Iraqis in the Middle East.

“The malicious campaign of the left to attack the war to liberate Iraq as a war “based on lies”… is in effect a psychological warfare campaign conducted against this country and its men and women in arms. Its aim is to sap the will of America to fight its enemies in Iraq – and not only in Iraq. If [Cindy] Sheehan and the left are successful in their seditious effort to force an American surrender to the terrorists Iraq, we will be forced to fight them in our own country, in which case tens of thousands of Americans may die, and…Sheehan will be among those responsible.”

A strong and rational argument, to be sure. His “goals” in Iraq include providing “the Iraqis with as much democracy as they can handle.” The facts on the ground, and the ever-growing insurgency, are the direct result of Bush administration policy, and not, as Horowitz laughably suggests, because of the Left or Cindy Sheehan.

Howard needs to think very carefully before he implements his latest legislation. If he believes that outlawing “incitement” under his intentionally vague definitions will stop the chance of a terrorist attack in Australia, he is sadly mistaken. Free speech is the cornerstone of democracy and he may soon find the jails very full with any number of journalists, writers, academics, citizens and true patriots. Horowitz makes it very clear that he believes anti-war activists are “conducting an unprincipled and open-ended war – at this point mainly a propaganda war – against [their] own country”. He chastises the media for the Abu Ghraib scandal because it embarrassed the government, not because of the revelations.

We should be under no illusion that Howard wants to marginalise dissent to government policy, especially foreign policy objectives. He, like Horowitz, regards this legitimate political protest as “treasonous”. I know what my response will be.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Strong post, Ant. Thank you. The language of sedition and treason is creeping in from the margins and being embraced by the more mainstream members of the conservative chorus. Howard's move, and more significantly the intent behind it, is a response – and encouragement – to those who think along these lines. I'm surprised it's not come sooner.

  • Shabadoo

    God, if Howard's not careful, we could wind up like thi s place

  • leftvegdrunk

    Excellent point, Shab. Balanced and sensible as always, not to mention constructive.

  • Nic White