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.

Those crafty bastards

You may have seen the billboards around town: “Why can’t you have a sick of work day?” is one example. It’s all about the “Zero Movement“, whose manifesto reads: “Rid the world of all the negative consequences that limit us all.” A new message appears on the site every day, pseudo-philosophy dressed up as meaningful pronouncment. Take the example of January 10:

“Unless you happen to be a trust fund baby, a lottery winner or in possession of a sugar mamma/daddy, you’re going to be spending a good part of your life working for a living. Sometimes you’ll like your job, sometimes you’ll loathe it but it will always feel a lot more bearable if you give yourself some sort of reward at the end of the day. You put in the hard yards, so why can’t a hard day’s work come with a happy ending? I think it’s time we all take matters into our own hands and make sure we give ourselves that happy ending as the work day grinds to a halt. Maybe your happy ending is a drink with the boys, maybe it’s dancing on table tops in a smoky club until 3am, or maybe it’s cheering on your local jelly wrestling team. Whatever it is, reward yourself. You deserve it!”

Soon enough, the “movement” started appearing in online forums but the cultural jammers weren’t far behind.

Just what or who is the “Zero movement”?

Simply put, Coke.

Over to the jammers (who have created a site, “The Zero Movement“):

“They’ve bought billboards and the backs of magazines.

“They call themselves ‘the zero movement’, but what are they?

“They’re a bunch of advertising wankers pretending to be a grass-roots movement.

They’re spending Coca-Cola’s money to try to get you interested in drinking a product called ‘Coca-Cola Zero‘.

“So what is this great new product? Well, if it’s anything like the US version, it’s a can of undisclosed ingredients mixed with a blend of aspartame and acesulfame potassium. Yum!”

This kind of viral advertising and “grass-roots” marketing is becoming increasingly common in an environment saturated with useless products, drinks and food. It’s legal and possibly quite effective, though ethically suspect. The only reason a company like Coke wouldn’t want to be immediately associated with its product is because the organisation is suffering in an age where its dodgy workplace practices are under the spotlight like never before.

Another brave multinational hides behind (attempted) anonymity.

15 comments ↪
  • Shabadoo

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!This is the funniest thing I've heard in ages…have a sense of humour, mate, they've just done a fantastic piss-take on all the wanky pretentious adbusters/"buy nothing day"/anti-corporate crap the kidz ™ are so in love with these days. Turnabout is very much fair play. (And, oh Christ, I see the idiotic aspartame conspiracy has reared its ugly head again…this just keeps getting better.) Sounds like someone needs a "happy ending" of a different sort at the end of a hard Tuesday. Good on ya, Coke!

  • roseg

    On the other hand they're skating on thin ice here. When I read the post (without knowing it was about Coca-Cola) I thought it was satire. Wouldn't take too much to turn it into a big PR mistake for Coke. Are you listening Adbusters? Billboard Liberation Front? CNNNN?

  • David Heidelberg

    I actually drank one the other day – Tasted like absolute shite.

  • HisHineness

    "…though ethnically suspect.".How is it "ethnically suspect"? Are the evil jooos behind this?

  • Shabadoo

    Really? I quite like the stuff, even before I knew about this.Roseg, I think you make a big mistake in thinking that anyone cares what a bunch of art students and malcontents think.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Other companies trying this kind of stuff, such as Sony, have felt a backlash on the streets.

  • leftvegdrunk

    PS It isn't only CC's workplace practices that are under scrutiny. Those who want to defend the company should research its activities in the global South, especially with regard to water.

  • Shabadoo

    Oh, yes, leftvegdrunk…graffiti is a GREAT way to endear yourself to the masses.We had some taggers on our street…As much as I hate the Saudis, I'd love to see some Old Skewl Koranic punishment and loss of hands for that sorta crap. Send those kids to Chop-Chop Square, chop chop!

  • leftvegdrunk

    Shab, I think you missed the point. The Sony ads were impersonating street graffiti – yes, to endear Sony to the masses, in this case a particular market segment. I guess corporations don't share your views about graffiti.Without digressing too far – I had an argument with a mate one night about graffiti (street art to some). I am not a fan of all of it, to be sure, but it has its place. And I find the big neon Coke sign at the top of William St (the example we argued about) more offensive than any graffiti I have ever seen.

  • James Waterton

    I truly wonder what you guys have against this kind of thing. If anything, I get the feeling it's a little lame – especially when I read the faux comments on their blog about how great the zero movement is. However, so the fuck what? Ask yourselves – why is it spoiling your day? What offends you about it? At some point, the campaign will evolve into an advertisement for Coke Zero – otherwise it's a waste of time and money. I cannot understand why you feel so mislead and hurt by it. And so what if they're hiding, Ant? What they're hiding is pretty harmless – the fact that they're making a new low calorie drink. OOOOOOOH scary stuff. And it won't be hidden for long. The zero campaign's corporate motives will be revealed sooner or later.Seriously, some of you guys really need to chill the fuck out.

  • James Waterton

    Wow – Antony! You must read Tim Blair! that "ethnically" was edited most expeditiously!

  • leftvegdrunk

    James, no one is hurt or feeling misled. Don't be a pretentious twat.And well done to Blair for picking up the typo. What a legend.

  • HisHineness

    Why is Blair getting credit for a typo that I picked up in comment #4 above?

  • James Waterton

    DBO – if no one is feeling misled, why is it "ethically" suspect?And why does pointing that out make me "pretentious"? Idiot.

  • googlebombcoke

    Time for a good ol' fashioned googlebomb. coke zero