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.

Enjoying that colonial feeling

Australia’s new Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson, acknowledges that fighting in Iraq is essential to our country’s security:

“Australia’s security relies as much on us being participants with our major partners and alliance partners like the United States and the United Kingdom in other parts of the world,” he said.

Nelson seems to misunderstand the role of a small power like Australia. Invasions and occupation like Iraq – and Afghanistan, in my opinion – only raise the risk of attack against Australia. If we are merely participating in Iraq because the Howard government hopes and prays we’ll get kudos in the corridors of Washington and London – and Nelson doesn’t articulate any other reason – it proves the moral bankruptcy of the mission. By all indications, Iraq has become a magnet for Islamists the world over. What will it take for an Australian government to refuse a military request from an ally? We’ve spent much of our history fighting other people’s wars. It looks like our colonial dependency isn’t ending any time soon.

I’m not calling for an isolationist foreign policy, quite the opposite in fact. But current governmental thinking – and Labor is little different – seems to believe that helping allies, no matter what the mission or consequences, is the way forward. It’s a shame our “leaders” take direction from elsewhere. The concept of an independent foreign policy is alien to them all, too fearful of saying “no” to our allies.

10 comments ↪
  • Glenn Condell

    Spot on Ant. A rather revealing litle quote-let that one. Of course we all know our satrap status is behind our automatic fealty to whatever the hegemon wants; the issues themselves and even our own best interests come a distant second.

    Coward country, 10 years of it.

  • orang

    Even if aligning ourselves with the Great Satan is deemed to be the best way forward, do we really have to play the bugler, the 1st ones over the top? Our involvement in Iraq is more noise than substance. Who are we trying to impress? I am sure other countries you never hear about are in Iraq, probably doing some good, but goodonya Oz , in there with the SAS, the best in the world, Wacko, Emu feathers flying around… ..Uncle Sam's bouncers.

  • Addamo

    I always felt that this was more for Howard than just scoring points with Washington. I believe he actually shares the same values as American Conservatism, so for him, this is a cause he is fighting for and Australia shoudl just assume he knows what's best.

    He did after all introduce prayer into party meetings did he not?

  • JohD

    What on Earth is an 'Islamist'? Why are you adopting the rhetoric of Alexandra Downer? I suggest an amendment to 'Muslim resistance'. As for Muslims that attack ordinary civilians in non-Muslim countries, the term 'terrorist' can be legitimately applied.

    Words matter, and it also gives us a clear idea about whom you are talking. If not, pretty soon 'Islamist' in Australia will be routinely inrcacerated because Australians have been suitably conditioned to accept that it is all the same thing: to want to be a Muslim, is to want to be terrorist.

  • wbb

    I don't like the word "Islamist" much neither. I prefer militant muslim fundamentalist. Nonetheless it is useful to draw distinctions between, say, local Sunni resistance in Iraq and foreign fighters coming in from Britain etc. The former are often fighting out of self-interest, the latter are Islamist – they identify with their co-religionists regardless of any other shared interest.

    The demonisation of these people is not achieved by the name they are given. They'd be demonised whichever way they were described. I mean, they themselves join up to groups with names such Glorious Islamic This and Triumphant Islamic That, afterall.

    Australia, like any fearful country, tries to pick winners. And then stick to them like superglue. In the case of Iraq we just picked the losing side is all. Which is a political crime deserving electoral disaster. But the story of the extent of the morass in Iraq is taking its usual sweet time to filter into the general consciousness.

  • Addamo

    Even worse and less meaningful is Islamo-fascism.

  • Nell Fenwick

    wbb = william burroughs’ baboon = babs

  • Glenn Condell

    'Australia, like any fearful country, tries to pick winners. And then stick to them like superglue. In the case of Iraq we just picked the losing side is all.'

    That is about the size of it (puny, eh?) They've made our bed and we fucking well have to lie in it. I'd like to think a decent sized terrorist atrocity would help the morass filter thru Babs, but then I thought 911 might have a similar effect. The Men Who Cried Wolf started their theatrics however, to telling effect, and are still doing so, being given a free run in our glorious free media to get the national hard-on tumescent again in order to assist in the fucking up of another invented enemy. Even a locally bloodstained proof of our folly might not 'filter thru' but be exploited to ensure a few more.

    How are the comments coming along Babs – tried several times in the last week or two without luck. I do like the splendid isolation of you posts but it would be good to have the occasional crack at them.

  • orang

    (who is Babs)

  • edward squire

    Australia’s new Minister for Defence, Brendan Nelson, acknowledges that fighting in Iraq is essential to our country’s security

    …he then grabbed a flying chocolate pig from the sky, swallowed it whole, turned into an eggplant and hopped down a rabbit warren to Wonderland.