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.

Offend me

While controversy continues across the world over drawings of Muhammad that allegedly offend Muslims – and the pictures themselves are certainly inflammatory – a number of Danish Muslims have long complained of growing Islamophobia. Equating Islam with terrorism, an increasingly common ploy in the Western world, rightly upsets Muslims and should be resisted.

However, this issue should be placed in context. Canberra-based Iqbal Khaldun puts forward the most rational argument:

“May I be the first to say that the first sign of wavering faith is the inability to countenance criticism of it? Yes, the cartoon is likely racist, and I suspect there are more tasteful ways to lampoon a religion. But seriously, aren’t there more pressing concerns? Should the ‘Jesus Christ’ character from South Park be similarly condemned (remember, he’s slept with Eric Cartman’s mother!)? Reading such stories is quite frustrating for someone like myself. Western progressives are the natural allies of moderate Muslims, and it is unlikely this quarter will dare say anything much too critical of the response to the Danish cartoons. But seriously, are Muslims so intolerant, yes intolerant!, and so lacking a sense of humour that we cannot even accept cartoon images of the Prophet, even where they are caricatures?

“I imagine the real answer to this question is no. We aren’t that intolerant, and yes, we do have a sense of humour. But as usual, the self-proclaimed moral arbiters of the faith are vociferous and vocal, and the rest of us dare not contradict them.”

Press freedom also requires that images and words – truly free speech doesn’t exist anywhere – be allowed to provoke, offend and challenge. The sign of a mature democracy is a media unafraid to offend everybody. A war against Islam, however, is a developing menace, fanned by ignorance and fear. After all, doesn’t every age need an “enemy”?

18 comments ↪
  • Progressive Atheist

    In Islam, any depiction of Muhammed is forbidden. It is not the caricatures that Muslims find offensive, but depictions. The cartoonist and his editors know that very well. They depicted Muhammed knowing that it would offend Muslims.Do they have a right to publish these caricatures? My guess is that under Danish law they would. And Muslims everywhere have the right to protest their publication, by boycoots and demonstrations, but they would not have the right to have them withdrawn; because it is free speech.Their publication is stupid, because the publishers should have anticipated such protests, but there is no law against being stupid. However common sense should tell you that being provocative could lead to violence.

  • David

    It is my understanding that the cartoons were originally published by a right-wing newspaper as a deliberate act of provocation against the Muslim population. The justification offered, that they were "testing the limits of free speech," sounds very nice–it just happens not to be true. Just as Ariel Sharon's march to the al Aqsa mosque in 2000 had nothing to do with personal religious observation, but was an act of deliberate provocation.Like Sharon, the right-wing Danish group created a calculated provocation. It is a category of hate crime, and should be analyzed as such–the issue of press freedom is a red herring.

  • Wombat

    Good point David.

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    David said… "It is a category of hate crime, and should be analyzed as such–the issue of press freedom is a red herring."While the newspaper's hiding behind the skirt of free speech is lame, it doesn't follow that free speech should be abolished in such cases.I think that the best way to deal with this intentionally offensive act of free speech, is more, not less, free speech in response: free speech about what the newspaper knew about Muslim attitudes to representations, who backs the newspaper, what the intention behind the depictions was, etc. Exposing the newspaper's true nature and motives thereby undermining its credibility as a newspaper is the best solution.

  • OshKosh

    It would be a point had not the Palestinians stated that the Intifada was planned. It had nothing to do with Sharon's walk which he had every right to do.

  • Progressive Atheist

    Oshkosh is rewriting history. The Palestinians did not state they planned the Intifada. It was a direct result of deliberate provocation by Sharon.

  • boredinHK

    Edward , isn't that is a bit of a modernist , even traditional response for a post modernist like yourself?I thought the "author" was dead?Iqbal Khaldun's response is spot on .

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    boredinHK said… "isn't that is a bit of a modernist , even traditional response for a post modernist like yourself?"HA! If I were a postmodernist, then I would be quite comfortable being called a modernist because it would enable me to revel in the reflexive irony of the subverted discourse … or something like that. I'm not even sure what I just said, so I'm not sure whether that really was a postmodernist statement just then – which, I suppose, only proves that I am a postmodernist; the text has a life of its own independent of its author. And so on and so forth. 😛"Iqbal Khaldun's response is spot on." Iqbal's response is a good example of more free speech!

  • JohD

    Freedom of Speech is nothing but a propaganda slogan anyway. There are thousands of Westerners are lanquishing in goal because of incorrect speech. Despite the image, Muslims are incredibly apathetic. This is a good test case on which to flex the economic muscle and raise consciousness. The target is small, and even if everybody in Europe gets on the bandwagon, Muslims can remain focused on the Danes and exact a terrible economic price. Word is that the issue was announced in every Mosque in Indonesia and Malaysia earlier today. The boycot should broaden as a result. Australians should keep their mouths shut, the Saudi lamb trade, and a host of agricultural products are at stake.

  • Melanie

    While we are on the subject of free speech – are you going to continue with your censorship of comments? johd: "Freedom of Speech is nothing but a propaganda slogan anyway.There are thousands of Westerners are lanquishing in goal because of incorrect speech"So secret too – who knew?Autralians should keep their mouths shut?Threats are the biggest threat to freedom of speech.

  • boredinHK

    I have to agree with Melanie and express my bewilderment at johd's idea ."keep our mouths shut '????Self censorship is an insidious problem and should not be considered desirable at all.The neutered press in Asia is a perfect example of the difficulties that develop if this idea is followed. As others have stated I also hope the flow and speed of posting comments can be improved but I don't miss all the insults and trolling. Comment moderation is not censorship.And talking about freedom of expression I'm again asking people to identify who they are – clicking through to closed bloggers profiles and home pages – pure cop out.

  • boredinHK

    AL, A friend sent the following link about the cartoon controversy.The explanation which is given for the controversy includes some details I can't check – apparently a delegation to the middle east to explain the situation only made things worse.It's your choice about making this available on your site or not.Some of the images are crude and deliberately offensive but then the web is full of such stuff.The link is http://www.zombietime.com/mohammed_image_archive/

  • JohD

    Don't blame me. Any Australian editor of website administrator that published these cartoons would find themselves in the crapper so fast, their heads would spin. It would not be Australian Muslims, but their beloved Howard government that would throw the book at them.Don't believe me? Get your favorite newspaper to publish even an example to give context as see what happens. Autralia worships the almighty dollar, and principles don't even rate in that context. The Saudi sheep trade is a vital constituency block of the Howard government, as is the wheat trade. So Australia, keep your mouths shut if you know what is good for you. That shouldn't be a problem at all, Australians should be used to it by now.

  • dusty_buster

    This depiction of the Prophet (pbuh) is indeed blasphemous – the people involved in distributing this hateful bigotry should be brought to account. I would even go so far as to say that the 'so called' artists involved in the production of this disgusting libel should be shown their own blood to KNOW that the Prophet (pbuh) should not be vilified.If that means death for them then so be it.

  • PeterTB

    johd – get real – the only Australian government likely to censor fair or unfair comment in this country is that of Victoria

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    Meanwhile, the 'boring', non-newsworthy Muslims of the bloggosphere take a slightly different tack: Some Thoughts on Danish cartoons and Danish pastries by Irfan Yusuf The Dirty Dozen (And The Damage Done) by Zahed Amanullah Through The Looking Glass: The Danish Cartoons by Sheila Musaji Stupid Cartoons, Even Stupider Reaction by Safiyyah Ally Danish Cartoons (not pastries) by As'ad AbuKhalilSome Thoughts on the Danish Cartoons by Amir Butler

  • David

    Those in the U.S. know of the techniques of Zionists relentlessly working to stir up islamophobia (Daniel Pipes springs to mind, as well as such well funded organizations as MEMRI).Imagine my surprise (he said with dripping irony) to learn just now that the "cultural editor" of Danish newspaper in question was a rabid Zionist by the name of Flemming Rose.Freedom of the press indeed!

  • Wombat

    Interesting information David. Thanks.