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.

51st state?

My following review appears in today’s Sydney Sun-Herald:

51st State
Dennis Altman

Antony Loewenstein

Australians have long had ambivalent feelings towards the United States. A 2005 study commissioned by the Lowy Institute found that two-thirds of Australians thought our government paid too much attention to Washington.

Furthermore, similar numbers of people expressed positive feelings towards China, far higher than France, the United Nations or the US. Once again, our leaders were out of step with public sentiment.

Dennis Altman traverses these questions in his provocative new book. He begins by acknowledging the obvious – “we live in a world dominated by the American imaginary” – but rightly states we are radically different to them.

“There is a mood of timidity and passivity in contemporary Australian life”, he writes, and unlike France – where massive protests recently won major government concessions on industrial relations – we are not prone to making large-scale public nuisances of ourselves.

This is totally unlike many other Western nations, where widespread public protest is a legitimate and even encouraged form of dissent.

Australia’s future is not “pre-ordained” and will not necessarily mirror the American model.

Altman is fairly convinced by the arguments put forward by fellow academic Robert Manne, who suggests that John Howard has cleverly positioned Australia closer to the US – strategically, economically and culturally – because it is the “most formidable empire the world has ever seen.”

Of course, as Altman notes, Howard has also pursued closer ties to Indonesia and China. It is clearly in our country’s best interests to forge relationships with a host of nations, especially in our region – a point regularly made by former Prime Minister Paul Keating, who shamefully cosied up to former Indonesian dictator General Soeharto.

Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war was always a controversial decision by the Howard government. A large number of Australians opposed the deployment – and history has already vindicated that scepticism – but the government pressed ahead. Why? Altman is in no doubt. “While the government was clearly pressured by the United States,” he writes, “our participation resulted from the government’s own assessment of how best to ensure the American alliance.”

WMDs and Iraqi human rights had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Altman could have added that responsibility for the calamitous civil war in Iraq lies directly with the occupying powers, including Australia. If Howard did indeed join the “coalition of the willing” for “old-fashioned realpolitik”, then surely he must face the consequences for doing so. The US/Australian alliance is not simply about silver-service dinners at the White House.

The role of the media in shaping our views of the United States is central in the ongoing propaganda war being conducted by Canberra and Washington. Altman wonders if our shared language is the only reason British and American writers fill our newspapers, though “it is not always clear if this shows the competence or the laziness of Australian editors.” After all, Latin American, African, Asian and Middle Eastern perspectives are rarely aired in our mainstream media.

Altman concludes by hoping that Australia’s “future need not be a nationalist one”, despite the best hopes of John Howard. The “internationalist world” is now upon us, and the United States is but one model we can look at. Seeing beyond our own borders to a more connected world is surely the way forward, whether our governments think this way or not.

one comment ↪
  • Allen Jay

    While I can accept that Australia is culturally different to the US, the reality is that regional language and cultural differences within the US are probably as great as the differneces between Australia and the US as a whole.

    So I would not assume that cultural difference would be sufficient to maintain political separation, if the Howard elite decided that union was in our best interest and the US was prepared to go down that path.

    To say that Howard was just acting in Australia's best interest to maintain the US alliance, puts a gloss or the reality. Even Menzies, when he took us into the VietNam debacle, at least went too the trouble to appear to be acting with some degree of independence.

    The reality is that the Howard knee jerk involvement with the US in both Afghanistan and Iraq, were more like Australia's Colonial reaction in getting involved in the "Mother Countires" wars – the Boer War, WWI and WWII – we were part of the Empire and as a good and faithful Colony, we automatiacally were committed. Thats the model that be best fits how Howard has reacted. Unfortunately, no one seems to have been asked if we want a colonial relationship with the US, it has just happened.

    Now while we were past of the British Empire, that may have made sense – but supposedly by the 1970's we had finally become a fully Independent country. What Howard has done, has defacto, taken us into a Colonial relationship with the US, this is not alliance, it is absolute obedience.

    If you doubt this relationship, all you have to do is look at the Davis Hicks case – Britain was capable of getting its people back into its own jurisdiction, Australia meekly accepts US jurisdiction over its citizens, like nay good colonial administration would.

    So the US does not need to give us participation in the Union, when they can have us as a self funding colony. Why we even buy Abrams tanks which cant be transported eithe by road or the Halberton cetral Australain railway, as they are too heavy – I guess that just means we will have to pay Haliburton to upgrage the railway to carry this US eqipment for them and us?