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.

Mourning for a morally compromised US

The following review appears in today’s Sun Herald:

My Holy War
Jonathan Rabin
(Picador, $32.95)
Reviewed by Antony Loewenstein

In the days and weeks after September 11, 2001, there was widespread global sympathy and support for the United States. Nearly five years on, that goodwill has diminished.

A recent Harris and Financial Times poll found that 36 per cent of Europeans identified the US as the greatest threat to global stability. US war crimes in Iraq have heightened mistrust to the point where President George W. Bush is openly ridiculed the world over. Furthermore, the Iraq debacle has increased the likelihood that the age of the American Empire is coming to a close.

Such thoughts occupy the mind of British-born, US based writer Jonathan Rabin. He aims to get past the cosy, mainstream sound bites about “spreading freedom, democracy and the American way.” Instead, he fears the religiously based crusade initiated by the Bush administration and concludes that our understanding of the Arab world is deliberately limited.

How can we expect to invade and occupy a country, Rabin asks, when Bush himself barely understands the cultural, religious and tribal divides that rack Iraq? The view of many in the Arab world towards the US is correctly explained thus: “America is on an Orientalist rampage in which Arabs are systemically denatured, dehumanised, stripped of all human complexity, reduced to naked babyhood.”

Rabin is damning of patriotic media in the wake of September 11, so keen to endorse the wild-west retribution meted out by the Bush administration. In his home-town of Seattle, – a traditionally liberal heartland  – the Post-Intelligencer newspaper editorialised that, “we lose the moral high ground if our pursuit of justice is conducted unjustly.”

We now know that the regular state-sanctioned use of torture, “extraordinary rendition”, death squads and Abu Ghraib has ended any illusions about the “moral high ground.” The paper seemed happy to trust the government to “win” the “war on terror” and the invasion of Afghanistan was “one salvo in a war that may take years to win, if it can be won at all.” Rabin’s quoting of these words highlights the uncritical acceptance often adopted by the Fourth Estate towards government authority.

One of the strengths of these various essays – on subjects as diverse as Islamism, Bush and travel writing – is how Rabin reminds one of the wayward travellers who bring insights foreign to the native inhabitants. He paints a picture of a lumbering superpower, unsure of its own power and seemingly determined to impose its will.

While there are no startling revelations in My Holy War – and the author attributes a moral framework to British Prime Minister Tony Blair that are not borne out by the facts – Rabin’s discussion of the work of Stephen Flynn, a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, is worth recalling.

“The administration, addicted to secrecy, alternates between treating its citizens as children who must be shielded from knowledge of the danger they are in, and as likely suspects who must be continually surveilled”, Rabin explains. It is these “self-inflicted” wounds that are causing the gradual collapse of American society.

“Terror warriors” should not be listened to, but rather shunned. Perpetual war against a supposed enemy is counterproductive and immoral. Rabin fears such advice is being ignored.

US exceptionalism receives a thorough debunking in Rabin’s analysis. He doesn’t believe the US is destined to deliver freedom and liberty to the huddling masses around the world. But he does expect it’ll provide fairness and justice, little of which has been on display in recent years.

He reflects on a nation that hasn’t really grown up, a country that believes it has the right to act as it wishes. Rabin is not against the country, merely many actions of its government. He loves the US, but fears for its future. Such contemplative writers are welcome.

2 comments ↪
  • Addamo_01

    Interesting review Ant,

    But it sounds to me that Rabin is merely stating the obvious. A message that anyone botherting to read moderate or left wing journalists and writers would already have received.

  • Antony Loewenstein

    Very true, but sometimes these things need to be said in a Sunday tabloid, with a huge audience. Yes?