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.

A helping hand

The Indonesian government would rather the world didn’t know what was happening in West Papua:

Indonesia’s defence minister wants to blacklist Australian Greens Senator Kerry Nettle from travelling to Papua, saying her presence could stir more violence in the restive province.

The New South Wales senator had hoped to go to Papua next month to assess the security situation following fierce clashes last week in which as many as four Indonesian police officers and an air force officer were bludgeoned to death by demonstrators.

But Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono has asked the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Department to stop the visit taking place, the Koran Tempo daily reported.

“I prefer her not (to visit), because it will incite unnecessary controversy in the field,” Sudarsono told the paper.

Nettle is not the issue here, the Indonesian government is. Sudarsono’s advisor even suggests that Nettle was “indirectly linked” to the recent violence.

The Indonesian military is directly responsible, in the words of a Yale University study, for “a systematic pattern of acts that has resulted in harm to – and indeed the destruction of – a substantial part of the indigenous population of West Papua.” It is not surprising that the Indonesian establishment would rather not allow the international community access to their killing fields. Sadly, Australia has already stated its belief that West Papua is an integral part of Indonesia and refuses to support the independence movement. The East Timor experience has clearly taught them nothing.

  • Edward Squire

    The politics of West Papua is inextricably linked to the politics of the Soeharto era: pilliaging the peripheries to feed the centre (Jakarta) – it lies at the core of all the very similar types of conflicts/resistences across the archipeligo. And part of Soeharto politics was the cheek-to-jowel relations with US capital – in this case, infamously, Freeport, which is essentially a law unto itself in the area (many 'ordinary' Indonesians regard much of West Papua as effectively being US soil such is Freeport's influence).

    What's happening post-Soeharto is essentially more of the same. Reistsence must be controlled in the interests of Freeport, and thus in the interests of the nation as a whole, otherwise long-run foreign investment could be scared off – and this is seen as the way out of its unemployment hole.

    The only silver lining here is that we know much more about resistence movements and their plights now because full-blown "Soeharto solutions" (i.e. mega-repression of resistence and reporting) are no longer viable for the new-and-improved Indonesian state.

  • JohD

    Help me out here, I am not so familiar with the Indonesian situation.

    There seems to be two related currents applicable to this situation. One is the big-capital cronyism that seems to be endemic in many SouthEast Asian States, the other is the push to create more and more tiny nation states by dismantling larger federation, of which Indonesia is just about the prime examples in todays horizon-to-horizon world system of nation states.

    I can see the need for drastic reform of the former, but the idea that a tiny homogenous group can break off from the collective because of ethnic and cultural differences seems to me to be counterproductive. Indonesia has thousands of Islands, and a multitude of distinct ethnic geographical entieies that could be discribed as self-contained cultural units. Some can do quite well if they break off from the rest, but others wil be disadvantaged if this happens, because their particular district is resource poor.

    At the moment, the situation is being influenced by the agenda of International capital for its own benefit. But does it really mean we should support breakaway republics that would themselves be beholden to International capital? I need to check this out carefully.

  • edward squire

    JohD Mar 22nd, 2006 at 10:21 pm

    At the moment, the situation is being influenced by the agenda of International capital for its own benefit. But does it really mean we should support breakaway republics that would themselves be beholden to International capital?

    It's cerrtainly a very tricky situation. The fear of the Indo government is that if precedents are set, more 'outlying' provinces will start agitating to break away too which, it is feared would lead to the collapse of the Republic itself.

    The way these things seem to develop around Indonesia is very similar in each case (although all have their particularities). Frustration over years of exploitation of the province (which ever one is being talked out) -> complaints and protests -> shunning by the government -> resistence -> repression -> rise of independence movement. Resistence movements in Indonesia often have two sides: on the one hand, many members come from a position of genuine frustration over unfairness and lack of autonomy, but on the other hand, others (esp. some in positions of leadership) seem to think it is an opportunity for personal enrichment. The problems are compounded by the fact that sections of the military makes money by fostering rebellion and then selling weapons to rebels. (Of course, if you chuck in large corporations, it gets a bit more complicated.)

    The case of Aceh eventually illustrates how 'break up' can be avoided by giving the province what was the claims to grievence: fairer distribution of benefits of resources derived from the area and greater political autonomy. The desire for independence dissipates in such cases (although those money-making military officers and those money-seeking rebel leaders generallyu look for ways to stop cooperation occurring).