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.

Ending construction

After a group of British academics decided to boycott Israel in 2005 (though later overturned), the inevitable second stage is upon us:

“A group including some of Britain’s most prominent architects is considering calling for an economic boycott of Israel’s construction industry in protest at the building of Israeli settlements and the separation barrier in the Occupied Territories.

“The group said that architects, planners and engineers working on Israeli projects in the occupied territories were ‘complicit in social, political and economic oppression’, and ‘in violation of their professional code of ethics’.

“It said that: ‘Planning, architecture and other construction disciplines are being used to promote an apartheid system of environmental control.'”

While the chairman of the Israel Architects’ Association may claim that the boycott is inappropriate because “the Government of Israel, which evacuated the Gaza Strip, is currently showing goodwill and trying to reach an agreement”, the co-ordinator of the proposed boycott argues that, “since nothing seems to deter Israel, and western governments remain silent, civil society has to pressure Israel and those creating the physical reality of these injustices that are the cause of such instability in the Middle East.”

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

8 comments ↪
  • orang

    Didn't our own Queensland Premier Beattie after the customary oz poli trip to Israel last year come back with good news for our prefabricated building industry in Israel?

  • Shabadoo

    I'm not going to invoke the "A.S." word here, but I find it curious the continued focus on Israel with all these boycotts. I mean, most countries around the world behave appallingly in one sphere or other – far worse than Israel generally – and no one is suggesting that contractors or academics or anyone else suspend relations with, say, China (grievous human rights violations, environmental depredation par excellence, etc), or not buy Egyptian cotton shirts because of their treatment of the Copts, etc.Interestingly, the sort of folk-Marxism that has dominated the left over the past couple of decades really only sees "oppression" when it is committed by white Westerners (c.f. South Africa boycotts of the 1980s), which suggests a real racism underlying the entire class v. class outlook of their thinking. (Note, for example, that Islamic oppression of, well, everyone, is always condemned sidelong because they represent the "other").

  • Wombat

    You have a good point Shab, but I don't think it's a matter of selective morality that you are suggesting.Western countries hold themselves up as champions of hjman rights are democracy, so they are held to higher standards. it is in factthe right wing that selectively applies it's own morality under the umbrella of moral exceptionalism and the perpatual myth that no matter what the West does, it is ultimately for the greater good.For example, we insist applying the rule of law to despots and tyrants, while subscribing to the absurd notion that US military personal whould be immune from prosecution. Now if the West operates under the banner of fair play, why be so fearful of such scruitiny?In the case of Israel, it is that Israel is conducting itself like a rogue state, while hiding behind the myth that Israeli's are victims.

  • Progressive Atheist

    The real problem begins with Jewish schools. That is where the building boycotts should be directed.

  • Glenn Condell

    Impressively relentless focus on the talking points shab, gold star for you. At some stage, the massive upswelling of affront about Israel that characterises most informed opinion in most Western countries must pierce the barrier of silence imposed by our elites. This affront, which has moved so many disparate profesional groups to protest with boycotts like these, has been effectively marginalised and obscured by a media either on-side with the Likudniks or scared shitless of their revenge. It can't last forever.

  • Brian

    Interestingly, the sort of folk-Marxism that has dominated the left over the past couple of decades really only sees "oppression" when it is committed by white Westerners (c.f. South Africa boycotts of the 1980s), which suggests a real racism underlying the entire class v. class outlook of their thinking. (Note, for example, that Islamic oppression of, well, everyone, is always condemned sidelong because they represent the "other").Hello! Where have you been for the last thirty-five years! Of course there has been selective enforcement of "human rights" on white/western nations.The question is why have some suddenly become concerned with this selective enforcement, when Israel became the target?

  • James Waterton

    Glenn, you are so far up your own fundamental orifice, it's laughable."the massive upswelling of affront about Israel that characterises most informed opinion in most Western countries"What you "characterise" as "most informed opinion" boggles the mind. Informed opinion stretches beyond the university campus, you do realise?

  • Edward Mariyani-Squi

    Shabadoo said… " I mean, most countries around the world behave appallingly in one sphere or other – far worse than Israel generally …"And that's EXACTLY why everyone should have left poor little South Africa alone. If only people had held to this wonderfully reasonable argument, we could still be tsk-tsking about one of the few remaining nation-states in the world that made a virtue out of racially discriminatory policies. Fortunately, people didn't take much notice of such arguments in the end."Interestingly, the sort of folk-Marxism that has dominated the left over the past couple of decades really only sees "oppression"…Yes that's right. Opposition to Israel's policy of violent dispossession and occupation cannot be explained by the fact of dispossession and occupation; its all due to a '70s Marxist rump.Move along people – no occupation to see here – move along.