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.

Mark Latham

Former Labor leader Mark Latham must be pleased. His diaries are released today – through my publisher, Melbourne University Publishing – and the mainstream media has talked about little else since last week. Outrage, indignation and ingratitude seem to be the common political and media sentiment. The last week, however, has revealed the inherent weakness of our media establishment.

I never supported Latham nor voted for him. I found many of his policies too far removed from my social justice perspective and besides, the ALP has been a dysfunctional organisation for years. Having said all that, I now greatly admire many of the comments in his diaries. Getting past the slurs against virtually every Labor figure of note, much of Latham’s message deserves a fair hearing. Perhaps he has bitten the hand that fed him and clearly he could be accused of hypocrisy for not speaking his “truth” during his time as leader, but this shouldn’t diminish his overall message: the political and media system is terribly sick in Australia.

First, the media. He takes a swipe at the so-called leading journalists in the country. He cares little for their agenda, challenges their belief in creating stories and dares to prick the Murdoch worldview. Brave stuff, indeed. And yet, how could we expect such views to receive a fair hearing when the vast majority of Australian print media is owned by Murdoch?

Here’s Latham on Paul Kelly, the alleged doyen of Australian journalism:

“…in Kelly’s instance, telling me that it was a good move to get the troops out of Iraq, put the pressure on Howard, and shortly thereafter – a company man, he’s very much a Murdoch company man, he’s towing the company line, the Murdoch-American stance – to be bagging me for that policy position that in his private moments he supported.

“Paul Kelly sits in his mansion at Hunters Hill not having to deal with these things [sexual harassment allegations], not having to talk about his wife and think about his children in this context. It’s easy to do that – write your article and go home to your mansion in Hunters Hill and not have to deal with it and personally in a family context. Well, I’m telling you this, Tony, when you have to deal with it, when it happens to you, it’s a different kettle of fish.”

The Fairfax and Murdoch press have rounded on Latham and condemned his approach. There is no doubt that his tactics are bold, aggressive and downright punchy. But so what? He has nothing to lose. He can now freely speak his mind. It seems as if the political and media elite are incensed that he would dare criticise the system that raised and supported him.

His Enough Rope interview provides great insight into the contemporary political system. Perhaps Latham is ungrateful and maybe he could have written with less fortitude, but then, would the people have listened? I found his Enough Rope interview very sympathetic. Here was a man unafraid to say that the price to lead a political party was simply too high and perhaps we should take a good look at that system.

Now, the US alliance. “The diaries are frightening on the US alliance”, writes Paul Kelly. What else would he say? He’s a Murdoch man and therefore knows his place. Why can’t Australia have a robust and mature discussion about the US alliance? Why can’t we seriously analyse our relationship with America and the Bush administration? Are we so parochial and insecure that an approach like New Zealand is simply dismissed as irrational?

Kelly continues: “[Latham] actually believes that Australia cannot be an independent nation and have an alliance with the US.” Australia in 2005 is not a truly independent nation. Our unhealthy obsession with American government opinion leaves us in the position of fighting illegal and/or immoral wars – Vietnam, Iraq and arguably, Afghanistan – and contributing to an environment where terrorists are given the greatest gift imaginable.

Perhaps Tim Dunlop is correct and the media’s obsession with Latham is misplaced. He argues that if the same kind of investigation were given to Howard – our Prime Minister after all – our democracy would be in much better shape. But then, Latham’s diaries provide a rare insight into Australia’s faltering political and media elites and warrant a look.

Latham leaves us with a few key questions:

– If the ALP wins government again, what exactly would it stand for?

– Is the US alliance of questionable value?

– Should journalists have to be more transparent in their allegiances?

– What is the state of Australia’s democracy in 2005?

5 comments ↪
  • Armagnac Esq.

    Thank God I've found a lefty blogger actually saying this.As a labor member I'm deeply upset that he's chosen to spray so viciously, and think his method will obscure the important stuff in his message.And there IS important stuff in there- I'd add to your points regarding the media the fact that Latham's call on the US, which has been dismissed as crazy by Labor and Lib alike (and aren't they so often alike?), reflects what the majority of the party and those who vote left of centre actually believe.Clayton's trackback:http://armagnacd.blogspot.com/2005/09/valid-points-beneath-spray.html(Reciprocal link in return)

  • Glenn Condell

    ' Latham's call on the US, which has been dismissed as crazy by Labor and Lib alike (and aren't they so often alike?), reflects what the majority of the party and those who vote left of centre actually believe.'Our receding sovereignty is the elephant in the room issue of this time in this country – it's nowhere on the media radar, whaddaya expect? – but it is the issue that underlies virtually all others of any lasting importance.Latham's bold call was like manna when he said it; it was a shame to see him have to trim his sails when he got the leadership, but you always had the feeling he'd be difficult for the Yanks to just steamroll like they do with Howard.I want to be able to vote for a party that is public in it's mistrust of this American administration. I want candidates who assert the primacy of Australian sovereignty in matters of war, fo-po, trade, media law, etc. I want a party that will guarantee that ID won't end up in our schools on their watch; that there will never be computer screen voting in this country; that someone like Scott Parkin would not have even been questioned by their government; that dares to call Israel on it's sins.Won't be holding my breath.

  • Brownie

    re 'nothing to lose' = truth can be told: reminds me of the movie BULWORTH where the eponymous Senator (Warren Beatty) told the truth thinking he was going to die, and the electorate lapped it up.At least Booksellers are loving Latham today as they total their cash registers.

  • Rebekka

    Have you read it already, armaniac? Is that why you can say "As a labor member I'm deeply upset that he's chosen to spray so viciously, and think his method will obscure the important stuff in his message."Or are you taking the media's word for it?I have read it, I don't think it's particularly vicious, and I am also a Labor member. I for one am celebrating that he's brought the problems with the party into the public eye. Cultural problems within any organisation don't just go away, and until these problems are addressed Labor has little hope of winning government – and I believe none at all under Beazley.Finish the book before you have a go at Latham and don't believe everything you read in the right-wing media.

  • Andjam

    Even when I agree with his criticisms, I don't think highly of what he says because it's been said before, and he doesn't make any constructive suggestions.