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.

Ghana

A friend of mine recently returned from Ghana. It is a country about which I know very little (though I’m now reading a number of interesting bloggers based there.) She spent ten weeks travelling around the nation – though little in the crowded capital, Accra – and arrived back with tales of beauty, wonder, large HIV infection and bemusement at Western ways.

Like much of Africa, Ghana is generally ignored in the Western media and sadly Australia is no exception. Unless a humanitarian disaster befalls an impoverished country, the African continent is ignored. The ABC has one correspondent there, who is presumably supposed to cover the entire continent. The Murdoch and Fairfax press have no permanent staff there. The underlying racism of this position is not lost on many Africans. The growing divide between the first and third world will inevitably lead to a clash of civilisations, but not in the way many imagine.

There is growing frustration in parts of Africa that we in the West seem unwilling to hear African voices, listen to African concerns and discuss African stories. The first world believes that the land of plenty will last forever. The third world wonders when their time will come.

My friend brought me two Ghanaian newspapers: The Ghanaian Times and the wonderfully named, Daily Graphic. A common theme is corruption and the political elite’s disdain for the “common man.” The Graphic’s editorial on Friday August 26, 2005 was about “Moral Bankruptcy”:

“The unvarnished truth is that many adults are worried about the moral bankruptcy among the youth today…It is true that some children have a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde existence. In the house, they may be sober and responsible but their behaviour outside the home may be disgusting.”

One article discussed the “Battle for [the seat of] Odododiodoo”:

“Mr Kojo Asafoatse Nii Mankattah, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate for Odododiodoo, has called on the electorate to ignore the vile and disruptive campaign being mounted by his opponents and vote for him. He stated that because his adversaries did not have any good message for the people, they had resorted to cheap messages such as “I am an illiterate” and “cannot speak good English.”

News about the Iraq war featured prominently in both papers. “Americans growing fatter” was the headline of another story.

HIV/AIDS was a recurring theme. A story by Eunice Menka offered a slightly optimistic note:

“With inflows of donor monies into development countries to fight HIV/AIDS, including President Bush’s $15 billion initiative and the Global Fund for Malaria, Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, there are now possibilities of scaling up prevention activities to stop the spread of the pandemic and also prolong the lives of infected persons through access to treatment.”

Under the “Heroes of our Time” banner, the Graphic featured a story about the scientist Dr R.E.G. Armattoe:

“Civilisation began in Africa and spread through the Mediterranean to Europe centuries ago. However, Africa has always been treated as if it was a continent of uncivilised people. No wonder Africa was called the Dark Continent. Dr R.E.G. Armattoe (Ralph for short) of Gold Coast debunked all those beliefs and proved beyond all reasonable doubt that Africa had one of the greatest scientists who could also be compared to any of his European counterparts.”

A fund-raiser to fight poverty is advertised under the headline: “In Africa, a child dies form extreme poverty every three seconds. Each time you click your fingers.” It sounds like a local Live8 and undoubtedly more useful.

The world is a wonderfully diverse place. Our mainstream media prefers to pander to our prejudices and fears and ignores the vast majority of the world’s population in the process (when was the last time South America or Africa was discussed in depth in the news?)

5 comments ↪
  • Mustapha

    it’s funny that you mention my blog “The Beirut Spring” and then you mention Ghana.

    Do you know that I blog from Ghana? i love Ghana and i think it’s a beautiful country.

  • boredinHK

    There is an active Ghanaian community in Sydney.Many Ghanaians live in the Liverpool/Prestons to Blacktown area. There is an Ashanti group – (akan speakers), the Hausa , the Ewe and the Ga .There is an "umbrella" group – the NSW Ghana AssociationThere are estimated to be 5-6000 in the Sydney region. You could try getting out more Antony?

  • leftvegdrunk

    boredinHK, do you have any thoughts on the content of the post?I think your point about the profile of the Ghanaian community in Sydney is a valid one. Do you know of any online resources or media that readers here could follow up if interested?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Point taken. I know little about the Ghanaian community in Australia, but thanks for your information.I need to go to Ghana, that much is clear…

  • Ibrahamav

    Most of us know nothing about Ghana. And when Lowenstein says we know nothing about it, he is accurate.If only he were accurate about events in the middle east.