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.

Comments

Are there limits to free speech? While reading this fascinating article by Tim Wise about a US Catholic university and how it should manage neo-Nazi student Andrei Chira, I reflected on how to deal with hateful comments on this site. It’s a tough call. I believe in robust debate, though free speech is never absolute. Wise articulates his view – which is pretty close to mine – in this follow-up article:

“Ultimately, the biggest problem with the ‘educate him, don’t ostracize him’ approach is that it prioritises Chira’s needs and interests over those of others: others who have done nothing wrong, quite unlike Chira. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Jews, and queer students are also at the University for their personal and intellectual growth, every bit as much as Chira. They attend college so they can be nurtured, learn new things, and have old ways of thinking challenged on any number of subjects, as with Chira. To defer to Andrei Chira’s need for growth and exposure to truth, and to prioritise that need, even at the expense of running off folks of colour, Jews and gay and lesbian folks from the campus, is to suggest that he is more entitled to a Bellarmine education than they are. Surely this is neither the message we hope to send, nor the choice we wish to make, when it comes time, as it so often does, to choose sides.”

I believe the same rules can apply to a website. I’ve received a number of emails from people who are keen to be involved in debate, add comments and agree or disagree, but are reluctant because of abuse or racial vilification. I’ve thus far resisted doing anything about this, preferring to leave such comments for all to see. I’m still not 100% about my current decision.

Therefore, any comments that are racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, sexist or way off topic will be deleted. I still want healthy and challenging debate and ideas to be tested and provoked. Everybody has the right to comment but must feel comfortable and not intimidated when doing so.

Let the debate continue!

19 comments ↪
  • Antony Loewenstein

    Thanks. And I agree, questions are just fine. Believe me, I want broad debate, and few limits. BUT, if many people are feeling uncomfortable with openly racist and neo-Nazi writings, it's time to take a stand, I reckon.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Good idea.

  • CB

    How about comments that make you squirm inside, those that gnaw at your psyche, that challenge some of your beliefs and ideas?Willing to keep responding to those? Going to ban those who disagree because you classify it under one of your categories?There are NO LIMITS to free speech, Dreamboat. That's the frickin' point.

  • leftvegdrunk

    cb, I think it's pretty clear from the post that the following types of comments will be deleted:"racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, sexist or way off topic"Is that clear enough? Additionally, Loewenstein is uncertain if this is going too far in itself. Did you read the post? There has been no talk of banning. There's no sarcastic moderator here. As you know.You are just bored and looking for a rise out of someone. Predictably. After all, what else would you do?

  • Melanie

    Does Islamophobic include a fear of Islamic extremism – if so you can ban me now.

  • Wombat

    "Islamophobic" should certainly be allowed so long as we can agree on a term to describe Israeli extremism without being branded anti-Semites.

  • James Waterton

    "There's no sarcastic moderator here. As you know."True, but there's you, DBO. Always with your wagging finger out at the ready for any cheeky commenter who breaches your rules of decorum. Sanctimony threat advisory rating : severe!Apologies. Am I being pretentious?

  • James Waterton

    Incidentally, I happen to 100% agree with the Social Responsibility Statement issued at the blog I now contribute to – including the part that covers racism: "We think racism is moronic, especially when it calls itself 'race realism', but free association, and disassociation, is a right for everyone, even racist idiots…"With free association, I also include free speech. This is inalienable and extends to public forums and on the individual in question's property. The private property of others is another matter. The level of free speech on that property is set by the owner – in this case, Mr Loewenstein. I myself am pretty much completely permissive – when I was administering my own blog I let all comments stand – bar the spam. I enjoyed emasculating the thoroughly doltish ones, however.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Sorry, Waterton, I'll try to be less "sanctimonious". That's it. I'm out of here. For good. I mean it. Melanie, read it again. There is no banning.

  • neoleftychick

    The really scary development is that once "racism" and "homophobia" were very serious words for appalling phenomena. However, as the liberal west has backlashed against the politically correct cultural relativism garbage that we were all fed from the mid 1970s until 1990s, the illiberal bourgeois left epitomised by our very own AL, has tried to change the meaning of "racism" to mean "facts and perspectives pointed out by others that undermine my own prejudices."The word "homophobia" nowadays means "anybody who will not join a hunger strike until gays can adopt children."Nowadays when I hear the shrill, purse-lipped, limp-wristed bourgeois screech of "racist" I reach for my revolver.

  • Wombat

    You're a hoot Neo. Completely insane but a hoot nonetheless.

  • CB

    Well, the dirtbike option has left the building. Meh.Am eagerly awating next Monday night's SBS viewing. Pursed lips and sanctimony at 50 yards. Should be a hoot. Almost worth a live blog. Almost.

  • leftvegdrunk

    cb, I was imitating Waterton. He declared not long ago that he was not reading or commenting again, yet here he is. When's your telly appearance, mate? How about watching the interview before beginning your childish ridicule.

  • James Waterton

    Actually, it was a haitus of several months. Still, every now and again it's nice to visit old friends.Oh, and try as you might to be less sanctimonious, I have a feeling sanctimony's an integral part of your blogging persona. But good luck regardless.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Waterton, I think the santimony comes through when you read my remarks out loud. Maybe you could show how my words qualify as sanctimony. So far only you seem to think so. Funny that.Oh, and please don't emasculate me!

  • James Waterton

    In regards to me emasculating you, you do a fine line in that yourself, DBO.I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here who finds your mother hen clucking about others' more boisterous posts sanctimonious.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Sanctimonious twaddle, Waterton.

  • neoleftychick

    The decision to ban legitimate expressions about the truth of Palestinian and Muslim dissolution is a frightening development; but hardly surprising.

  • Wombat

    "truth of Palestinian and Muslim dissolution"If rtuth is what you claim to have a mortgage on Neo, then you wouldn't have to mebelish your posts with offensive diartibe. Facts stand on their own. they do not need to be spun to one's advantage.