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.

Beyond hate

Instead of waiting for Israeli or Palestinian leaders to find a solution to the ongoing conflict, some are trying to bridge the gap between the two peoples themselves:

“In the village of Dabouria in the lower Galilee, Hadas Lahav is visiting Mohamed Malsalha, a producer of olive oil who has nearly four acres of olive trees.

“Lahav, an exporter, discusses growing conditions with Malsalha in Hebrew and fluent Arabic. She takes several vials of the oil to run tests for acidity and peroxide. The results will determine whether she buys a ton of Malsalha’s oil for export [sold in Australia, among many other nations.]

“Lahav is one of the founders of the Sindyanna of Galilee fair trade cooperative, a member of the International Federation of Alternative Trade, or IFAT, a global fair trade group.

“The group is comprised of women and stresses better wages and working conditions, Jewish-Arab business cooperation, high-quality and organic products and fair prices for farmers.

“‘We began the Sindyanna project 10 years ago to work with the Arab [oil producing] population in Israel, and then expanded it to buy za’atar and soap from the West Bank,’ Lahav explains. ‘Peace is not just about ending the occupation, it also means giving Arabs in Israel the same rights and opportunities as Jews.’

“According to Lahav, many Arab olive growers in Israel do not have the same access to state-run irrigation as large Jewish kibbutzim and moshavim. With their resulting low yields, the Arab farmers are mostly ignored by the big producers, Lahav says.”

Such stories are more common than the mainstream media reports. It is encouraging that despite years of violence on both sides (and new evidence of ever-expanding West Bank settlements) Israelis and Palestinians can recognise the rights of each other and work together. Not unlike the documentary series “Children of Abraham” – currently screening on ABC TV – years of occupation has led to some enlightened Palestinians and Israelis not succumbing to hate, but finding hope.

32 comments ↪
  • violet

    Arabs in Israel have always fared better than their Palestinian cousins in UNWRA refugee camps where host countries treat them with disdain. It's nice to see you acknowledge that Israel treats Arabs, including Palestinians better than any Arab country, perhaps with the exception of Jordan. Arabs in Israel enjoy a standard of living they could not even find, let alone participate in, anywhere else in the Middle East.You seem a little confused Antony. Didn't you know this? You appear to think this is phenomenon you discovered all by yourself. And I guess you knew that all the Arabs in Israel are not Palestinians, right?

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Thanks for the insights. So useful.In fact, I thought most informed Zionists would see the ideology as meaning equality for all. Silly me.

  • violet

    AntonyOh My…Your tv appearance? Here are two suggestions. (1) Get rid of that silly thing in your ear. Is it an earing? It looked like something from the top of a beer can; and (2) Incomparable is pronounced as if the first 'a' is an 'o'.And oh, I've just become a fan of Austen. I had no idea he was so articulate. Sadly, for you, he turned your television debut into a non event, but I think that may have been his honourable intention.

  • boredinHK

    AL, Any chance that a link to the TV appearance can be made ? Is it on the SBS website ? Good luck with the blossoming career.

  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Ah don't worry about it Edward it's just the standard harassment thing. I think it's something of a backhanded compliment actually. I mean think about it, some loser called 'Violet' who doesn't even have a blog has actually bothered to set up a user name just to post what is at best (stress 'at best') described as a really childish payout. Evidently school holidays are still on!Why do the apologists always compare Israel's treatment with the treatment of other countries with poor standards of human rights? Anyway Israel is the product of intense Western investment – economic, military and cultural. I mean go to Dubai, the standard of living is pretty good there (unless you're a Filipino worker, say). Does that mean Dubai is better than Israel? Should they get the next Nobel Prize?Well the answer is quite simple, these apologists have no interest in settling the conflict. Their only interest is to defend the avowed belief. In this instance it's Israel. But when Israel loses its geopolitical utility, and it will eventually, and the American subsidy dries out, where will they, where will we all stand? Safe, no doubt, behind the metal shells of Israel's nukes. And, perhaps, Iran's false bluster. Now excuse me while I go fill up my 4wd…

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Will post the streaming link in the coming days.It went ok. Will write more about it in the coming days. Suffice to say, if Zionists want to have an arrogant spokesperson, Austen Tayshus is your man. If you can't win by intellect, just bully your way through. A few less Zionists in Oz tonight, I'd say.

  • violet

    And I'd say that you are a legend in your own mind, Antony. Austen Tayshus cleaned your clock. It wasn't even funny. It was such a one-sided affair that even I began to feel sorry for you. You looked completely out of your depth. You were completely unable to lodge a cogent response to his point about Australia being a settler society. As a white bread settler who is reaping the benefits of the dispossession of the Aboriginal inhabitants of this continent, I think that you should apply to yourself as an Australian the same principles that you want to apply to Zionism. Either pack up and move back to Lithuania, or wherever the hell your Ashkenazi family hailed from, or you should submit to Aboriginal rule in Australia. But then, wouldn't that mean giving up your computer and going back to smoke signals for communication? Wouldn't that cramp your blogging style? Antony Loewenstein, smoke blogger extraordinaire!!(I'm waiting for you to resort to that fave epithet of the Left, accusing me of the 'R' word)

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    dzhaviolet said… "Your tv appearance? Here are two suggestions. (1) Get rid of that silly thing in your ear. Is it an earing? It looked like something from the top of a beer can; and"The observation speaks volumes. Appearance is all Violent seems to know. Perhaps A.L. should have worn SUNGLASSES … now there's an appearance that would give street-cred with the kids (like Violent, presumably)."And oh, I've just become a fan of Austen. I had no idea he was so articulate." Drop the "so" and you've got yourself a more accurate statement.In terms of "the issues", little was said, and no-one said anything particularly convincing either way. So in a way, Violent is right on the money in focusing solely on appearances … and it was here that the Sunglassed One fell down. He gave the appearance of being a Mannerless Ranter due to his constant talking over the top of both A.L. and Safran. The Earinged One on the other hand came across as fairly polite and reasonable.

  • Rob

    As a white bread settler who is reaping the benefits of the dispossession of the Aboriginal inhabitants of this continent, I think that you should apply to yourself as an Australian the same principles that you want to apply to Zionism.Good to know Tayshus thinks Israel's treatment of Palestinians is comparable to the genocide of Aborigines tho'.Hah-hah!Look, A.L., here's some appropriate responses when someone pulls that "Oh you complain about X but what about Y" crap. 1) "Austen (and, for that matter, Jon), you're not asking me to complain about other human rights abuses / dispossessions more, you're asking me to complain about Israeli abuses less. You're asking me to give this particular nation state a free pass to misbehave – stop pretending this is a plea for consistency." 2) "I'm guessing you're implying I'm a hypocrite. Well, whatever… for the sake of saving airtime let's say I am and get back to the issue – unless you want to waste more of your breath on this irrelevant ad hominem shite."I love people who think if they point at someone else's crimes that somehow magically makes Israel's disappear. And that's all Sandy was trying to do, God love 'im.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Point taken…and thanks.I'll write more about the show in the coming days, once it's available via streaming.

  • weekbyweek

    The interview on SBS appeared to be heavily cut? how long was the orignal "uncut" interview?

  • marco

    I think that you should apply to yourself as an Australian the same principles that you want to apply to Zionism. If Israel embarked on a One State solution then imposed a non-discriminatory immigration policy the comparison with Australia would be more apt. Australia's two biggest cities are no longer majority white or christian, and successive governments created(and continue to create) that situation voluntarily through intentional mass immigration, the vast majority of which is neither white nor christian. I'm not suggesting Israel do the same, but i just don't think the two can be compared in a modern context. Israel is pursuing now what Australia was pursuing up until the 1960s;a monocultural nation state. And in all fairness to Israel, possibly a similar proportion of White Australians still want this as Zionists want a completely Jewish Israel….ethnocentric tribalism, which is embedded in human nature, is hard to overcome(as we've seen in Cronulla vs Lakemba and in previous years Punchbowl vs Cabramatta,all of this in a single city). Of course, Israel has some historical legitimacy to do this, so it's a difficult situation. Comparing Israel to apartheid South Africa, which is ludicrous, doesn't help either.It is a unique situation, i don't think anything in history compares to it.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    The full interview was 25 minutes. Read this post for a better overview: http://antonyloewenstein.blogspot.com/2006/01/as-anti-zionist.html

  • Wombat

    Ah Violet,Your geneosity of heart is so refreshing. I'm surprised you didn;t stop short of giving AL the ultimate compliment and say he looked like an Arab.The fact that you found comfort in your argument being conveyed by a washed up 80's wannbe, who hasn't come up with any new materail since that time concerns me. You take a man who wears dark glasses on SBS seriously?

  • James Waterton

    Rob – Great work! I'm sure you would have said those things too if you were Antony and Austen was kind enough to provide you with a script of everything he was going to say a few hours before the show starts so you could plan those responses perfectly!For the record, I thought Austen Tayshus was a bit of a twat. Sorry, a lot of a twat. Coming out with all that irrelevant crap about Aboriginals – it's a pity they couldn't/wouldn't find a saner Israel advocate. Tayshus sounded like a total loon. Come to think of it, so did that guy on beforehand who did time for beating up his psycho ex. They sounded like the perfect couple.

  • Wombat

    Yes Rob,You hit the nail on the head. Abe Foxman of the ADL , says that criticism of Israel acceptable as long as it is made alongside criticism of other human rights abusing countries. So according to Abe, so long as I remember to mention China (or Uzbekistan) every time I mention Israel, I'm in the clear.And if truth be told, let's stop pretending that the the holocaust is not used repeatedly as a get out fo jail free card to excuse Irael's conduct. Thats why bufoons liek Gutman are hard pressed to construct a sentence of rebuttal without mentioning it.

  • Ibrahamav

    Nice to know that you always miss the point. Let's stop pretending that you know what you're babbling about.The holocaust is not used as an excuse. It certainly may be used as a reason not to trust people like you, but not an excuse.It may be used as a reason that jews feel that they can trust no one other than themselves in safeguarding their human rights. But not an excuse.It may be used as a reason over and over again until you puke.But nobody cares if you puke.

  • violet

    addamoYou take a man who wears dark glasses on SBS seriously?You appear to have missed the point. Austen is a comedian,, hence his attire. Antony portrays himself as a serious political commentator. (whom I expected to look sensible and speak properly — the beer can tops on his ears were a bit much) Do you see the difference? Oh hang on…maybe there isn't a difference.One other thing mentioned by Austen — which I agree with — was the extremely bad form of Antony to take the contents of personal telephone calls without the participant's knowledge and plaster them all over his own, and other people's blogs. From a journo perspective, this is about as unprofessional as you can get. And from a plain ethical perspective it's disgraceful behaviour. There is simply no defence for this. It's tacky, unprofessional and demented.

  • Stev

    If he's a comedian and not a serious political commentator, why are you taking his political commentary seriously?

  • Wombat

    Violet,Yes I get Gutman's image thing. I have known the guy for many year and he is always the same. He was thre to debate a sensitive and imporatn topic and he showed just how miuch respect he has for the issue by putting his image first.Perhaps AL should have shown up in traditional hasidic attire to take the piss. And let's be clear about Gutman's phone calls to AL. These were not polite little conversations or messages, but harassment. Ringing someone incessantly, and leaving barrges of insulting messages is not polite telephone banter Violet. So you see Violet, you are defending demented behaviour. Journo or no journo, there is no excuse fo such behaviour.

  • Shabadoo

    Leave it to SBS to find a sane, sober and rational backer of the Zionist position…In any case, back to the original post, wouldn't it be great if there were more Malsalhas in the Arab world? I.e., enterprising, entrepreneurial, and willing to work with Jews? This model, more than any political settlement or terror campaign, is the way forward for Palestinians, but it's in too many people's interest to go the other way.

  • orang

    Shabadoo said……"back to the original post, wouldn't it be great if there were more Malsalhas in the Arab world? I.e., enterprising, entrepreneurial, and willing to work with Jews? This model, more than any political settlement or terror campaign, is the way forward for Palestinians, but it's in too many people's interest to go the other way. "Reading the article I would have thought "wouldn't it be great if there were more Lahavs in the Israeli world" would be more appropriate. It is the Israeli's that control the industry and trade. With 60%+ unemployment and shrinking water and land why expect them to be "great"? -Oh I know, if they really were entrepeneural like some other cultures under occupation recently they would find opportunities rather than be hardheaded and stubborn they way they are. ….like.. "Hey Abe. Lookin for a good time? Come over here , I luv you long time. You wan' young gel? Very pretty. She shiksa virgin. Wassamatter. You no like gels? How about boys? Got pretty young boy…

  • Wombat

    Orang you seriously crack me up mate. God blless you.

  • Ibrahamav

    For a simian, he is funny. As a human, he leaves much to be desired."Reading the article I would have thought "wouldn't it be great if there were more Lahavs in the Israeli world"" There are. There are too few palestinians who feel the same. But you knew that.

  • orang

    I know Palestinians are not "beasts that walk on two legs".I know Palestinians love their children like anyone else. I know Palestinians want to feed and educate their children.I know Palestinians resent being kicked around.I know Palestinians can get pretty stubborn about losing their homes..(this was going to be a real tear jerker, but with an audience of ibrahamav, where's the compassion eh?)Hey, did you see those f*kheaded settlers in Hebron are being unfairly treated by that anti-semitic mob of IDF jew-beaters. Waddya say Ib? Not fair!

  • Ibrahamav

    Very simian of you. But you know no such thing. You merely parrot your masters.

  • violet

    I know Palestinians love their children like anyone elseYeah, this is why Gaza and the West Bank have a bizarre rate of incest. Why there has been hundreds of Honor Killings in the last year and why they praise allah for the gift of being able to send their sons off to blow themselves up. Palestinians love their kids so much they murder and rape them at a sickening rate.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    Ibrahamav said… "You merely parrot your masters."Masters? Ooo – that sounds sinister. You're not referring to the master-manipulator authors of "The Protocols of the Elders of Anti-Zion" — Imam Loewenstein, his superior Sheikh Finkelstein, and his superior Grand Mufti Chomsky — are you?

  • Ibrahamav

    I'm referring to his master.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    Ibrahamav said… "I'm referring to his master." Do you mean orang? You have a wonderful little imaginary world going there, don't you? It's quite cute really.

  • Ibrahamav

    About as cute as your picture. Why are you trying to ram your fist down your throat? Holding back the vomit you spew here?

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    Kitchy kitchy koo.