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.

Don’t damn Israel, please

Following my recent Crikey article on Israeli linguist and Middle East expert Tanya Reinhart, a number of irate readers have (predictably) reacted:

Alex Lubansky writes: Yesterday, Antony Loewenstein (item 11) wrote another of his religious sermons preaching “the truth”. As is typically the case with Loewenstein’s articles, this “truth” was a one sided criticism of Israeli and American Governmental policy without so much as a hint of the real situation they face from some sectors of the Palestinian people. This “truth” tends to be repeating the opinions and beliefs of his mates and colleagues. The truth is (and by truth I mean my opinion) that the situation in the Middle East is complex, there is blame on all sides, victimhood on all sides, and, frequently, justification on all sides. To write on Israel’s blockade of the Gaza without mentioning Gilad Shalit or Qassam rockets leaves a somewhat distorted view of the situation. Similarly the alleged undermining of the Hamas Government (much as Loewenstein himself would happily do to the Howard or Bush administrations if he had the power) seems to miss some important points regarding acceptance of Israel and renouncing violence. Things that most of the political players see as necessary for Hamas actually to be a potential partner for peace. Given that Loewenstein has previously spoken in favour of boycotts, surely he must appreciate Hamas being boycotted if they won’t renounce violence.

Lionel Kowal writes: You are not clever to use Loewenstein for Middle East comments. He suits an undergrad rag with an uncritical anti-Israel/-Semitic audience, all the more eager and willing to hear it from a Jew, not a “serious” publication.

Grant Ye writes: Why is it that Antony Loewenstein continues to ignore the rockets that have been fired daily from Gaza into Israel? Why shouldn’t Israel try to “undermine” the Hamas government? An organisation whose charter calls for Israel to be destroyed and which calls anyone who even suggests peace with Israel to be branded a blasphemer! The truth about Antony Loewenstein is that his “truths” are very distorted…

UPDATE: Finally, a reader with a less blinkered understanding of the Middle East:

Craig Berkman, an ABC staffer formerly based in Israel, writes: Some of yesterday’s comments about Tuesday’s articles by Loewenstein and Burchill demonstrate the irrational, unthinking and blind devotion to the “perfect” state of Israel which is so much a part of the problem in the Middle East. Do people like Alex Lubansky, Lionel Kowal and Grant Ye ever acknowledge any wrongdoing by the state of Israel under any circumstances? Is it a perfect state which has never made a wrong move? Certainly the US administration and John Howard appear to think so. And of course when it comes to arguing when you have at best a dubious argument, Lubansky, Kowal and Ye resort to the standard and pathetic political method of attacking the person rather than the issues. In my opinion, Israel, the USA and the rest of the international community failed badly when they missed their greatest ever opportunity to move forward in the Middle East with Hamas winning the January elections. Hamas had spent over a year not firing rockets at Israel and not sending suicide bombers to kill innocent Israelis. This was the time for Bush to put pressure on Israel to sit down at the negotiating table with a democratically elected Palestinian government which had the support of the Palestinian people. That would have been an incredible step towards peace but they blew it completely. The diabolical question is: did they do it on purpose to inhibit the peace process?

3 comments ↪
  • Surely Israel is already damned, Antony, given its brutal behaviour over the last forty years.

  • As usual, of course, it is so easy to sit in Melbourne and Sydney and tell everybody how tragic the situation is for the poor Israelis.

    Yet none of these critics of Antony and others who are actually critical of Israeli and US policies ever writes about the fact that Israel, illegally and to this day, occupies the West Bank and has turned Gaza into one large concentration camp.

    The Israelis continue to build new settlements in the occupied territories and continue to steal Palestinian land with its Berlin apartheid wall.

    Israel, as client state for the USA in that region of the Middle East, has every intention of decimating the Palestinians, continues to do so on a daily basis, and intends to control the whole of Palestine by hook or by crook. Equally, they destroyed Lebanon with weapons of mass destruction supplied to them by the USA.

    And have you noticed that with all the attacks on North Korea for daring to have nuclear weapons, not a word about the Israelis, the US, the UK, France, India, Pakistan, China, and, as Tom Lehrer says: "We gotta have the bomb!"???

    Finally, when are these people who are so vocal in their attacks on Antony and others going to go and live in Israel if it means so much to them.

    There are about 90,000 Jews in Australia, and many of them stay here and pontificate about what is going on in Israel, but they don't have the courage to go and live there and join in the fighting. Why not??

  • Mannie, you echo thoughts I have expressed widely in many forums and on my own blog. The problem is that the people who count, the ones with the power, aren't listening.

    I've watched Antony over many years, his tireless efforts to change attitudes. My heart bleed for him, the Palestinians, and all those who are being sacrificed upon the altar of capitalism, imperialism, and Judeo-Christian religious fundamentalism.