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.

Hamas rises

The victory of Hamas in the Palestinian elections is, in the words of one Haaretz commentator, “one of the most important events in the history of the Middle East since the Six Day War.” The Palestinian people have spoken and elected a party that they believe will be a viable alternative to the endemically corrupt Fatah. It should be noted that Hamas was not running on a platform of destroying Israel or wiping Jews from the face of the earth – its charter was barely even raised during the campaign – but rather, the corruption in the Palestinian Authority and its failure in improving the conditions of the Palestinian people.

Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Jewish group Tikkun, writes this:

“Just as the election of previously Israeli terrorists Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and Ariel Sharon set the backdrop for the possibility of peace negotiations with Israel’s enemies in the past thirty years, the election of the murderous terrorists of Hamas may ultimately make it more likely that a peace agreement entered into by a Hamas dominated government would actually amount to something lasting and substantial.

“We at Tikkun have no sympathy for Hamas’ terrorism, and we are distressed that the new government of the Palestinians will be a government collaborating with those whose hands are drenched in blood. But this does not distinguish them, for example, from Ariel Sharon’s government or George Bush’s government, which have both been responsible for the deaths of more innocent civilians than Hamas (though always excusing themselves because these deaths were ‘only collateral damage’). So Israel and the U.S. ought to get off of their moral outrage at Hamas and recognize that this election provides them, in the long run, with opportunities to make peace with their enemies. But that will only happen if Israel and the U.S. stop using the lame excuse that they won’t negotiate with terrorists, a position that would have led the U.S. to remain in Vietnam to this day, refusing to talk to Vietnamese terrorists.”

World reaction has been swift and utterly predictable.

Grave concerns exist about the true intent of Hamas and only the most idealistic would ignore these warnings. For example, an Iranian-style repressive environment for the women of Palestine would be a major concern, as would a virulent Holocaust-denying environment. There is evidence that Hamas is already taking some responsibility for a less militant future, though only time will tell how effective that will be.

The democratic world, supposedly warmly embraced by neo-conservatives everywhere, must accept the Palestinian result. Hamas is now a legitimate political force.

Tikkun expresses my personal feelings pretty accurately:

“We at Tikkun are not so optimistic about Hamas – their legacy of violence is deeply troublesome. But then again, we tend to be very critical of anyone who relies on violence, including the Israeli government and the United States government, and also the gangsters now running Iran, China, the Soviet Union, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sudan and the list goes on and on and on. It is without compromising our critique of these governments that we simultaneously support steps for peaceful accommodation rather than military escalations.”

Israel’s current path is leading to inevitable disaster, a walled-in, ghetto-style Zionism defined by occupation and oppression. The rise of Hamas may force Israel to negotiate with its former enemies and reach a long-lasting peace agreement. Of course, this may all be wishful thinking, but today’s election result does nothing to challenge Israel’s military, political and economic supremacy in the Middle East.

3 comments ↪
  • Iqbal Khaldun

    Yes a tough one, this one. Hard to know what Hamas will do. Equally hard to know how Israel will react. For eg, will Israel be emboldened to assassinate PA officials now that they will also be labeled 'terrorist Hamas members'? Will Hamas's name be used as an excuse to freeze aid to Palestinians? Israel's assassination of all of Hamas's most senior leaders means the organisation is very young and inexperienced. Fundamentally, I reject any organisation that is based on racial or religious exclusion and blind dogma. That would include Hamas. At the same time, Hamas is widely respected for sticking to the key principle of attaining meaningful Palestinian statehood. While fat cats in the PA under Fatah buy concrete from Egypt and sell it to Israel, which Israel in turn uses to build the separation wall, Hamas has continued to provide important community services, including medical services. Palestinians know this, and I suspect that is why so many voted for Hamas, even if they do not necessarily support Hamas's ideology. Yes Hamas have also helped turn bomb making and the indoctrination of would-be suicide bombers into a cottage industry. But how does this make them any more or less credible than Sharon's Likud or the IDF?The real concern amongst the powerful in Israel and abroad is that Hamas will not continue the despotic middleman role that Fatah (or those affiliated with Fatah at the least) did so 'effectively'. There is a good chance Hamas will insist on meaningful self-determination for the Palestinian people. That is a threat to Israel, which has never compromised on its ultimate aim of creating a micro-empire encompassing the lands currently inhabited by the Palestinians. And it is a threat to the US's domination of the Middle East (oil) which in turn relies on concentrated military investment in regional allies (most of the governments of the region, whether Jewish, Arab or of some other origin).

  • orang

    It's tough shit that the Israeli's, US and EU were quite content to have the Fatah well fed and toothless. That way they didn't have to go out and hunt. However, eventually even they had to come up with something, some kind of "progress" that an equitable solution was in the making. But the people know nothing was going to happen. That's why they voted this way. Israel must be in ecstacy – "we have no parther for peace" – again. We can't believe how clever we are..)

  • Wombat

    Spot on. After Sharon shook hands with Abbas, he renouced negotations with fatah in world record time.