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.

Can Labor win in 2007?

My following article appears in today’s Crikey newsletter:

The fate of Labor at the 2007 election is dependent on the performance of John Howard. The Australian’s Steve Lewis recently argued that the “man of steel” is showing signs of political ineptitude and Kim Beazley is starting to discover his inner mongrel.

The NSW Fabian Society’s discussion last night, “Can Labor win in 2007?”, filled Sydney’s Gleebooks with an enthusiastic young and old audience dying to snatch victory after ten years in the wilderness. Upcoming ALP President John Faulkner and former ABC news and current affairs head Peter Manning shared the room with any number of believers and wannabe-believers.

Social commentator Hugh Mackay, Murdoch columnist Paul Kelly and ABC host Phillip Adams painted the picture of a party that still needed to discover a convincing narrative to lead the country. The men were introduced by chair Rodney Cavalier, who asked whether the ALP could win on “the three ‘I’s’; Iraq, interest rates and industrial relations.”

Mackay argued that the NSW Labor party needed to lose in the March state election to give its federal counterparts a better chance of victory. Howard had to quit or retire before the election – highly unlikely, it was acknowledged – and “although he is widely despised and mistrusted”, Australians respected his tenacity.

Mackay said that Howard had virtually “institutionalised himself beyond party politics and become quasi-President”, taking on an almost mythic quality. For those on the Left who despair at Howard’s lies, Mackay’s research suggests that the public knows the Prime Minister tells porkies, says all pollies do the same thing and believes that we all tell tall tales to get ahead in life.

The ALP could win if the electorate re-engaged with politics, Mackay argued, so long as the party convinced enough voters that 21st century life wasn’t beyond their control and they had a say in their lives. “The ALP needs to keep asking itself what kind of society we are”, he said, “and what kind of society we will become.”

Kelly, ever the status-quo enforcer, reckoned that the ALP has a 30% chance of winning in 2007. He said that Howard was probably past his “zenith” and faced many challenges, including Iraq, climate change, IR and “a pretty good ALP frontbench.” The Australian’s Editor-at-Large detected a growing conservatism in Western society that suited Howard due to his insistence of pushing “Western values”.

The most colourful speech was given by Adams, who opened with an anecdote of visiting Beazley in Canberra soon after the 1996 defeat. He told Adams that, “Keating was a great Prime Minister, but I’ll never be a great Prime Minister.” The ABC presenter accepted Howard’s reading of Beazley “lacking ticker” and passion and the need for the Bomber to discover some inner grunt. “Kim is psychologically not the top banana”, mused Adams. “He’s more comfortable being subservient.” Hardly a ringing endorsement.

The highlight of the Q&A session was a woman who offered a catchy ALP jingle: “Beazley might not have the ticker, but Howard doesn’t have the pecker.”

It summed up the night. Labor’s chances in 2007 seemed mixed at best, and this was the feeling of ALP supporters.

one comment ↪
  • Don Wigan

    I probably don't qualify as a Labor supporter, having abandoned them (or at least my membership) in 2001.

    But I am starting to believe they might just do it this time. Howard's luck seems finally to be running out. Often tories taking a bold lunge to the right have a lot of luck (Reagan, Thatcher). It's true that you make your own luck, but you can still be lucky, as Thatcher was all those years ago with the Falklands.

    The backbench has got bolder: no Pacific Solution for the West Papuans. AWB is a can of worms. The new media laws are not likely to go down a treat in regional Australia, nor is the Telstra sale. In fact T3 looks a crock. The Workchoices stuff is still dangerous territory despite the seemingly generous first Fair Pay decision. A lot of mining workers will remember that the first AWAs were pretty generous. Iraq doesn't bite much, true, but it's getting harder and harder to defend and lie about.

    Worst of all, interest rates are continuing to rise. The spinners are already at work saying it's a sign of prosperity. But for a party promising to keep interest rates down (and I'm sure the ALP took photos of those Lib platform slogans), that's not good news out in mortgage belt land.

    The polls show an ALP lead of about 9%. If it gets to 10%, I reckon it's Drover's Dog territory. A bit more boldness from the Beazley bench would just about clinch it.