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.

Our values tested

Terry Waite (former hostage in Lebanon), The Guardian, November 23:

“…War, as well as being a blunt instrument, fails totally to deal with the root issues underlying terrorism. In the political realm it requires statesmen and women; individuals who can think beyond the next election and who have the wisdom that comes from making an attempt to understand cultures other than those of the west.

“Western democracy has many attractive features and has brought manifold benefits. It takes no intelligence to recognise that it also has its dark side and that it cannot, nor necessarily ought it to be, exported to all parts of the world. If the optimistic statements made by some British and US politicians before the Iraqi war – when it was stated that the conflict would be concluded in weeks – were truly believed then one can only despair at the level of understanding demonstrated.”

17 comments ↪
  • Shabadoo

    "It takes no intelligence to recognise that it also has its dark side and that it cannot, nor necessarily ought it to be, exported to all parts of the world."Sorry, but I have to call bullshit on that one…I mean, they would have said the same thing about democratic values in Japan, and it's worked there, and India is the world's largest democracy. And both have and maintain very distinct and unique and vibrant cultures. Neither of these places counts as Western, yet the model has worked out pretty well. And certainly better than the previous alternatives on offer.I'm not sure I get this whole 'democracy for me but not for thee' stance of so many people, even if there are honest disagreements about how to go about it.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    You're right. Terry Waite is a flake. Shab, that brave democratic, knows so much about Western democracy and war.Off to the front, are you soldier?

  • Wombat

    Shab,India suffered decades of oppression before becomming a democracy and as for Japan, well, getting nuked is bound to create change.Japan ws certainly far from being a backward society, even before embracing democratic reforms.

  • Shabadoo

    Anty, this is your typical argument style: where did I say Waite was a flake? Nowhere. I just disagreed with one sentence in his statement and raised evidence that I thought countered it. You didn't like that, so you lashed out with a personal attack.Class.

  • Shabadoo

    Addamo, I'm not quite sure I get your point.India was a British colony, and for all the hatred the left has of empire, the experience did leave it with a host of Anglospheric institutions that certainly did create the foundation for a functioning civil society and democracy. If anything, the socialist experiments of the first few decades post-independence were more dangerous.Re: Japan and backwardness. It was and it wasn't, but I'm not sure what your point is. Does a society have to have it together on some level as a pre-condition for democracy to take hold? Sure, but are you saying that the Arab Middle East is not at that point? I mean, the whole subtext in this discussion is Iraq, clearly.

  • Pete's Blog

    Like WMD spreading democracy was a pretext for going into Iraq.There may have been believers amongst some neocons but experienced politicians and officials knew that "sound public reasons" were needed for the oil grab.Iraq was artificially created by the West in the 1920s. At that time many Arabists knew that trying to weld 3 groups (Kurd, Sunni, Shia) into one country world lead to endless infighting.For the people who want to control Iraq's oil this model has worked out really well.Democracy is not possible until the groups are not forced to live together.Pakistan and India are comparitely successful democracies because they DID split on religious lines. Perhaps splitting will be a start for Iraq – certainly the Kurds deserve it.

  • Shabadoo

    Yeah well the Kurds have pretty much been split for years and years now – if not an outright slice-and-dice of the country, probably some sort of Swiss-style canton system.("MMMMmmmmm….Cantonese….". "Get outta here, Homer!")

  • orang

    gigolo pete said… Pakistan and India are comparitely successful democracies because they DID split on religious lines." I would not go as far as to say that Pakistan is a democracy – in fact it isn't.India is certainly a democracy – and there are probably more Muslims in India than there are in Pakistan. Also Sikhs, Christians….There have been, and continue to be ethnic strife from time to time. Saying that Iraq would naturally split along Sunni, Shiite, Kurd lines is too obvious and simplistic. Thinking ahead, I see a big problem if there became a Kurdistan in what was the Iraqi Kurdish area + Tikrit. The Turks and Iranians I suspect would be madder'n hell. Although the "West" would think this a positive thing. Don't be too convinced that the Shiites would want an Iranian driven/led democracy either. Anyway – a more complex issue than drawing up the boundaries along tribal lines.

  • Pete's Blog

    orangYes its simplistic but to include all the complexities would mean a book that noone would read.What of my concept that Iraq was artificially created by the West?Note "Gigolo Pete" is now "Spying and Sensuality"

  • Shabadoo

    Whatever the mechanics with Iraq or its successor states, the point remains that there is no reason that other cultures can't thrive with a democratic political overlay – yes it's often not pretty and takes a long time to get right, but as an ideal I reckon it's, well, ideal.

  • smiths

    i think terry waite got kidnapped in lebanon when he went to organise the release of john mccarthy and brian keenan. mccarthy was a journalist who had gone to lebanon to cover the story of keenans kidnap.i read the book by keenan called an evil cradling about his experience of being kidnapped, held for about 5 years and tortured.amazing stuff and well worth a readshab, why do you read antony's blog?

  • Pete's Blog

    I agree with you Shab.Democracy is something the West need not feel guilty about.Its Arab oil money – perpetuating the Saudi absolute monarchy (and others) that is the main drag on democracy in the Middle East.Even though Western countries seek to warp or reinvent democracies (Iran is a case in point) at least there are some democratic seeds in the Middle East.

  • Shabadoo

    smiths, simply because of beautiful people like you.you would find it pretty boring if everyone agreed with everyone else, wouldn't you?

  • orang

    I like spying and sensuality better than gigolo pete. It's more gender neutral amd less tough guy.

  • Shabadoo

    I dunno…"spying and sensuality" has a bit of the hidden peephole camera about it…just my two shekels.

  • Pete's Blog

    Are, but it is significant that you peeked shaba.The site is for the thinking person who has worldly instincts.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    "It takes no intelligence to recognise that it also has its [democracy's] dark side and that it cannot, nor necessarily ought it to be, exported to all parts of the world."You only need to do 'Political Theory 101' to know that most democratic forms have the capacity to turn dark (the usual 'tyranny of the majority' stuff), and you only need to do 'How To Read Between The Lines 101' to know that most actually existing democracies can be fairly easily transformed into dark oligarchies.I don't think that makes democracy an undesirable universal ideal however. On the other hand, "exporting" it (what a ridiculous metaphor) by strapping it to bombs is the STUPIDEST AND MOST EVIL way of attempting to bring about the ideal.I think there is always potential for democratic ideals to GROW FROM WITHIN societies, whatever their culture and history, if only because there are almost always 'fragments' of it, however tiny, in all societies. …and majorities (as opposed to elites) tend to like the idea wherever they're located. How FAST the ideal 'grows' into reality and by what MEANS it is facilitated cannot be DICTATED EXTERNALLY without disaster however – a la Iraq.Here's an extract from a speech given by Lord Chris Patten . He argues that the populous of the Middle East thinks Western democracy is A Good Thing (they just don't like the policies that come out of Western democracies:"Above all, I beg political leaders not to think that there is some, as I said earlier, some fundamental difference in values. Zogby International have done a big poll off attitudes in the Arab League states, attitudes to values. And what is interesting is how little difference there is between attitudes in the Arab countries and attitudes in Europe and America, even to the dreadful extent of the favourite television programming the Arab League countries being Who Wants to be a Millionaire? "There is, when you look at the some of the UNBP staff and the World Value Survey and Zogby, there is one finding again and again, which is that people living in Arab countries are more passionate about democracy than people living in East Asia, or than people living in America. It’s not our values which those Islamic societies object to, it’s our policies. If they were perfectly happy with the policies but hated the values, it would be more of a problem, but we can actually do something about the policies and the sooner we start, in my judgment, the better."