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.

Start the conversation

I’m currently in Melbourne for the writer’s festival. I’m speaking on a variety of subjects, including terrorism and the Middle East. Yesterday’s forum, Australia’s Israel Question, drew over 500 people into one of the largest venues of the festival. The sold-out event heard from Federal Court Judge Alan Goldberg, former Australian ambassador to Israel and author Peter Rodgers, human rights lawyer Julian Burnside and leading criminal lawyer Robert Richter. The Melbourne Age reports:

Prominent Melbourne barrister Robert Richter, QC, has called on the Jewish community to speak out when Israeli Government policies adversely affect the Jewish diaspora.

Mr Richter, speaking at a session of the Age Melbourne Writers’ Festival yesterday, said author and commentator Antony Loewenstein, whose controversial book My Israel Question was the subject of the forum, had been, in a sense, a “truer and closer friend” to Israel than those who believed they “had the ear” of Israel’s Government.

“Diaspora Jews need to take a stand,” he said. “It’s not good enough that they have a private audience with the Israeli leader. They ought to be saying some pretty loud things and not just murmuring approval.”

In his book, Loewenstein canvasses an assertion that there is an unspoken understanding in the Jewish diaspora to avoid criticism of Israel and its policies.

Mr Richter, who lived in Israel until he was 13, said there was no longer a question of whether Israel had a right to exist. But when some of the country’s actions meant anti-Semitic sentiment was directed towards those living outside the Jewish state, the diaspora community had the right to criticise, he said.

Loewenstein also writes that the Jewish lobby in Australia works to stifle debate around Israel and particularly its actions in the occupied territories.

To this, barrister and human rights activist Julian Burnside, QC, said: “One of the most important elements in any community . . . is the genuine possibility of freedom of thought and freedom of speech. There are no ideas that are off limits and no questions that are illegal.”

There is clearly a groundswell of interest in debating this subject. The Zionist lobby and its supporters rightly fear an examination of their tactics and motives and prefer to simply smear any opponents. Luckily, this tactic is failing miserably. My Israel Question is now a best-seller and causing Jews and non-Jews alike to discuss the role of Israel in the Middle East and the West’s relationship with the Jewish state.

The conversation has begun.

(My speech during yesterday’s event is here: Melbourne Writer’s Festival discussion paper)

12 comments ↪
  • Nell Fenwick

    The Melbourne Writer's Festival lnik is dead.

  • Nell Fenwick

    The link is also dead.

  • Addamo_01

    Great stuff Antony,

    You're doing an amazing job. Thank god there is finally an open discussion about these issues.

  • Nell Fenwick

    The link might well be a Safari/Mac issue: it works fine using Firefox.

  • Suze

    Congrats Antony. Takes a good deal to do what you have done.
    Hey I just listened to Procul Harum over at Crooks and Liars while reading this blog entry -magic.

  • orang

    Procul Harum……you mean Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harum?

    My God, I think I have that.

  • Suze

    Is there any other. Film clip is great though. Maybe Irag-Iran is the Vietnam of this generation. Just a thought, but it might not be only muslim youth who will be radicalized in the near future. I think as a society we have overslept and my generation- the x-ers are most to blame.

  • orang

    Don't blame the x-ers, they were the product of the baby boomers who rebelled against their parents who grew up during the Great Depression and WWII – now they were REALLY fucked up.

  • Pingback: The old canard recycled. Again. » | Antony Loewenstein()

  • Progressive Atheist

    I object to the use of the term 'diaspora' to refer to certain Jews. It is a term that has been seconded to the Zionist cause. By definition, it means "any people or ethnic population forced or induced to leave their traditional ethnic homelands; being dispersed throughout other parts of the world, and the ensuing developments in their dispersal and culture".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora

    Israel is not the traditional ethnic homeland of the Jews. That is the Zionist myth.

    Antony, stop supporting Zionism!

  • Ian

    Israel is not the traditional ethnic homeland of the Jews.

    Even though their history claims they came to Canaan from elsewhere, it s probable that the ancestral Jews were in fact locals differing only in the religion they adopted around 700-800 BCE.

    Not that this, IMO, entitles their decendants to Palestinian land they didn't legitimitely buy and it certainly doesn't entitle them to rule over the real owners. The idea that a people retain land rights even after 2000 years is untenable. The Romans occupied England for longer than the Kingdom of Israel existed and left at about the same time as the last Jews were driven out of Judah, so do Italians have the right to resettle Britain and boot out the current inhabitants? What about the Moors and Spain, or the Vandal decendants in North Africa to Germany and parts of Scandinavia?

    And then there are the Australian Aboriginals and Native Americans. Their association with their land is much more enduring than the claims of the Israelites. At least 48,000 years and 12-15,000 years respectively. Plus their "diasporas" were much more recent, in some cases within the last decade, making their land claims many times stronger. Hands up all those who are giving their land back to the local Aboriginal/Native American group, without compensation, to live in an Indonesian or Cuban refugee camp!

  • greg

    as an "oldie", I can only admire the stand you have taken Antony. I've had to contend with our Jewish "Lobby" for 40 years & they seem to get more paranoic with each year that passes. But our voices need to be heard to prevent democratic debate being stifled. I remember telling fellow Jews after the Yom Kipur War of 1973, that then was the time to give up the settlement policies and recognise the Palestinian rights to a homeland.The abuse was intimidating and otherwise progressive Jews became blind,deaf & dumb when it came to commenting on Israeli policies. I argued then that by maintaining its expansionist policies the only future for Israel would be annhialation and threatening all of us with a world war. I was told I was mad and a Jewish anti-semite (oxymoron?)& was even threatened physically by one rabid Zionist. (Plus ca change!)

    Keep up the good work