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.

Freedom of expression

Michael Leunig is one of Australia’s most successful cartoonists and not one to avoid controversy. His latest, see above, is typical of his provocative style. He claims that Ariel Sharon is a war criminal and would always take the opportunity to exterminate Israel’s perceived “enemies.”

In today’s Age, Leunig explains his thinking:

“Two years ago I was invited to speak at the Melbourne Jewish Museum on the subject of cartooning. The forum was titled ‘Cartoonists: cruel, clever or a nation’s conscience?’ and I eagerly agreed to speak. A month later, however, came another email from the museum cancelling my invitation because of ‘my strong views about Israel’. I was dismayed and perplexed. What strong views about Israel were they referring to?

“Certainly my cartoons had expressed deep disturbance about Ariel Sharon’s strategies but in no forum had I ever expressed my views about Israel – the nation. I had, like many commentators and cartoonists, been strongly critical of particular policies and deeds done, which is well within the democratic, intellectual, artistic and media tradition and which is what I am paid to do.

“There comes much vicious mail, much vitriol and great swathes of annihilating insults on those futile and frustrated hate blogs. When you’re alone on the receiving end of such malice and loathing you get a privileged insight into what lies beneath the surface of our ‘civilised society’. The Cronulla riots are only a small part of the sick mosaic.”

Leunig’s critics seem to be saying that he’s virulently anti-Western, anti-Israel and anti-Australian (as if that’s a crime in itself.) And since when is challenging accepted orthodoxies anti-anything? He’s highly critical of the ways in which Western nations have conducted themselves since 9/11 and robustly challenges the “war on terror” paradigm. For this reason, he’s a rare voice of dissent in the Australian media.

In relation to Israel – and I’ve never met Leunig and discussed his personal views – I share his position that Sharon represents a bigoted and racially exclusionary Israel. This kind of Jewish state will never prosper long-term and will, in fact, inevitably fail. Perhaps Zionists would care to think about this, rather than heaping vitriol on Leunig. But I’m not holding my breath.

6 comments ↪
  • leftvegdrunk

    Neoleftychick, in your next year of study I suggest you look up "fallacies".

  • Wombat

    A close friend visitied Israel last year and said that any Jew who has travels to Israel learns early on what it feels like to be treated as a second calss citizen.Multi-racial doesn't mean racial tolerance.

  • leftvegdrunk

    Having had a quick surf around the fringes of the "blogal sphere" (thanks, Armaniac!) I noted that the right don't like Leunig much. I think Blair called this cartoon "revolting" or something like that.It's funny how any criticism of actors, writers, or other successful individuals is portrayed by the right as envy, or hatred. What I saw around the place today was exactly that – not to mention childish and spiteful, and often personal. And it wasn't from the "left".My guess is that this hatred of Leunig stems from his pacifism, his melancholy outlook (no doubt labelled "doom and gloom"), his profound sense of understatement, and his ability to make a point without shouting anyone down. Not virtues of, or admired by, the 101st fighting keyboardists.For mine, Leunig has his place, and often provides a valuable perspective. The fact that his cartoons arouse debate is even more important.

  • Aaron Lane

    How does the cartoon display a "profound sense of understatement"? Even Bertie Wooster could grasp its meaning. The type of graffitti which racists spray on Asian businesses carries more depth.And Anthony, how is there nothing wrong with being "anti-Western, anti-Israel, and "anti-Australian"?Surely applying such a label to yourself is merely reductive, in that it limits your possibilities for appreciate complexity and nuance in situations. It is for this reason that, if for instance I announced I was anti-Muslim,you would denounce me. How, then, are Leunig's views, and your endorsement of them, any less vile?

  • leftvegdrunk

    Aaron, when I remarked upon Leunig's capacity for understatement I had the actual appearance of his art in mind. You know, big empty space, small character in the middle, maybe a duck. In the cartoon posted here, the little insignificant characters have a little conversation – no shouting, no movement. The message is clear, yes, but it is made gently. Unless you have a knee-jerk reaction to anything your mates say is repugnant. ;-)As for being "anti-" anything, this is called freedom of expression. It is your right to denounce Leunig's views if you so wish.

  • pandaobscura

    I'm a big Leunig fan, and though I'm reticent to criticise Sharon too much of late (the move away from Likud was, Machiavellian or not, a move towards peace) the cartoon makes a good point.And even if you don't agree with it, who really cares. Art is all about those matters that people will disagree on and presenting an informed point of view – which is exactly what Leunig does.