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.

How many sides to this debate?

I’m a board member of Macquarie University’s Centre for Middle East and North African Studies. It proudly debates the many shades of the region, and rejects the one-dimensional perspective offered by much of the mainstream media. The Centre also attracts its fair share of controversy, principally because it doesn’t subscribe to the Israel right or wrong mentality. Director Andrew Vincent sent the following letter to the Australian Jewish News in late August, but it was never published:

29th August 2006

The Editor
Australian Jewish News

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to correct a number of errors, which have crept into some of your recent articles. To begin with, in your issue of 29th August in a story entitled “Former envoy blasted for attacking Australia’s pro-Israel stance”, you have claimed that Mr. Ross Burns is a board member of the so-called “Macquarie University Arab Studies Department”. I presume here you are referring to the Centre for Middle East and North African Studies, of which I am the Director, and I can assure you that Mr. Burns is not a member of the board. You go on to say that former DFAT employee Professor Andrew Vincent leads this “department”. Once again, your facts are incorrect as I am neither a professor nor a former DFAT employee.

In your issue of 15th August, in a story entitled “Danby decries ‘Arabist Lobby’ in parliamentary speech”; perhaps quoting Mr. Danby you write “Macquarie University is not providing balance to its students by having speakers, academics and propagandists on one side of the argument”. I would point out that in recent years the Centre has had public lectures by Professor Eytan Gilboa from Bar Ilan University (who spoke about media coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict); Professor Eli Salzberger from the University of Haifa (who spoke about the Israeli Supreme Court); Professor Igor Primoratz from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (who spoke about terrorism in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict); Dr. Yossi Olmert, the brother of the present Prime Minister (who spoke about terror and handling terror); and Professor Moshe Ma’oz, also of the Hebrew University. I think that most of your readers would agree that these speakers represent the “other” side of the argument.

It is true that we have also staged talks by Dr. Uri Davis and Dr. Ilan Pappe, who you describe as “well-known (Israeli) people with extreme views…” Unlike the Melbourne Jewish establishment represented by Mr. Danby, which seems to be somewhat to the right of former MK Rehavim Ze’evi, active debate and indeed dissent is encouraged in Israel and this is to the country’s eternal credit.

As you can see, we have provided a forum for a large number of visiting Israelis, who I suspect may outnumber Arabs in giving presentations under the centre’s auspices. Perhaps Mr. Danby’s real objection to our Centre is that we have invited his bete noire Mr. Antony Loewenstein onto our board, and helped him celebrate the launch of his recent book, My Israel Question. Mr. Loewenstein too is a breath of fresh air in the fusty atmosphere of the local community, and is a better friend to the Jewish state than the “Israel right or wrong” brigade.

Yours Sincerely,

Andrew Vincent
Centre for Middle East and North African Studies

UPDATE: Unlike Michael Danby, here’s a politician who actually understands the importance of Macquarie University’s Middle East Centre, and alternative voices.

one comment ↪
  • Glenn Condell

    Good speech from Paul Lynch. Try to imagine that speech being made in Congress.