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.

The alliance dealt a welcome blow

All the current talk around the Australia/US alliance – thanks largely to the benign effects of one Mr. Rupert Murdoch and his part-funding of yet another propaganda “learning centre” about America – makes one wonder how local Bush sycophants would deal with this article by the Guardian’s Simon Jenkins:

For axis of evil, read axis of hope. The frantic scrabbling for an exit strategy from Iraq now consuming Washington and London has passed all bounds of irony. Help from Syria and Iran? Surely these were the monsters that George Bush and Tony Blair were going to crush, back in 2003? Surely the purpose of the Iraq adventure was to topple these terrorism-sponsoring, women-suppressing, militia-funding fundamentalists in favour of stability, prosperity and western democracy? Can the exit from Iraq really be through Tehran and Damascus? Was that in the plan?

I remember asking a western intelligence officer in Baghdad, six months after the American invasion, what he would advise the Iranians to do. “Wait,” he said with a smile. Iran has done just that. If I were Tehran I would still wait. I would sit back, fold my arms and watch my tormentors sweat. I would watch the panic in Washington and London as body bags pile up, generals mutter mutiny, alliances fall apart and electors cut and run.

Bush and Blair are men in a hurry, and such men lose wars. If there is a game plan in Tehran it will be to play Iraq long. Why stop the Great Satan when he is driving himself to hell in a handcart? If London and Washington really want help in this part of the world they must start from diplomatic ground zero. They will have to stop the holier-than-thou name-calling and the pretence that they hold any cards. They will have to realise that this war has lost them all leverage in the region. They can insult and sanction and threaten. But there is nothing left for them to “do” but leave. They are no longer the subject of that mighty verb, only its painful object.

With the seemingly never-ending amount of advice being offered to George Bush – including from our own Dear Leader and Foreign Minister, men about as likely to know what to do in Iraq as Genghis Khan – the reality on the ground is lost amidst the clueless punditry. Need it be stated again? The “Coalition” lost the war in Iraq years ago. The only option left now is to replicate – with less dignity if possible – the inglorious exist from Vietnam in 1975.

The desperate need of many in Australia to praise, amplify, defend and massage the US/Australia alliance suggests a deep-seated insecurity about its longevity (something that’s rather amusing to behold.) The Lowy Institute poll that found Australians deeply suspicious towards the United States was thoroughly unsurprising, considering the buffoon that currently resides in the White House. Many Australians, myself included, love much about American culture, but loathe its foreign policy (no matter whether it’s a Democrat or Republican in government.)

This attitude is expressed by a letter in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

Give us a break, Rupert, and don’t insult our intelligence.

As an American who opposes the Bush policies on Iraq, I am not anti-American. As a Jew who opposes many of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, I am not anti-Semitic. And as an Australian who opposes most of the Howard Government’s policies and is outraged by the lack of support for David Hicks, I am not anti-Australian.

I trust my fellow citizens to separate criticism from prejudice.

Valerie Levy Woollahra

Such subtleties are lost on the vast majority of the commentariat, constantly falling over themselves to defend our “national interest”. An independent and robust foreign policy is unlikely to appear anytime soon. Former Labor leader Mark Latham had at least one thing right; the US alliance is in serious need of re-examination.

Anti-Americanism is as loaded a word as anti-Semitism. A tiny percentage of people may be either or both, but the vast majority of citizens may be either critical of the US or Israel without hating all the people within those countries. This is a fairly obvious equation, but not for people whose careers wouldn’t exist with the fawning button switched off.

Leading Indian writer Arundhati Roy exploded the fallacy of such terminology in a 2002 essay:

Recently, those who have criticised the actions of the US government (myself included) have been called “anti-American”. Anti-Americanism is in the process of being consecrated into an ideology. The term is usually used by the American establishment to discredit and, not falsely – but shall we say inaccurately – define its critics. Once someone is branded anti-American, the chances are that he or she will be judged before they’re heard and the argument will be lost in the welter of bruised national pride.

What does the term mean? That you’re anti-jazz? Or that you’re opposed to free speech? That you don’t delight in Toni Morrison or John Updike? That you have a quarrel with giant sequoias? Does it mean you don’t admire the hundreds of thousands of American citizens who marched against nuclear weapons, or the thousands of war resisters who forced their government to withdraw from Vietnam? Does it mean that you hate all Americans?

This sly conflation of America’s music, literature, the breathtaking physical beauty of the land, the ordinary pleasures of ordinary people with criticism of the US government’s foreign policy is a deliberate and extremely effective strategy. It’s like a retreating army taking cover in a heavily populated city, hoping that the prospect of hitting civilian targets will deter enemy fire.

There are many Americans who would be mortified to be associated with their government’s policies. The most scholarly, scathing, incisive, hilarious critiques of the hypocrisy and the contradictions in US government policy come from American citizens.

To call someone anti-American, indeed, to be anti-American, is not just racist, it’s a failure of the imagination. An inability to see the world in terms other than those that the establishment has set out for you: If you don’t love us, you hate us. If you’re not good, you’re evil. If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.

Sound familiar? Nobody said the fawners were smart or imaginative. Indeed, the more they feel the need to vigorously defend the current state of the US/Australia alliance, the more they realise it is losing its community appeal. It is therefore imperative that just as the Indonesia/Australia alliance be scrutinised, our one-way relationship with Washington needs a re-think.

The majority of Australians do not want our country involved in imperial wars, torture, Guantanamo Bay and regional bullying. Murdoch and his merry men can spin as much as they want; most people have more decency than a rogue media mogul with shocking judgement.

one comment ↪
  • nasking

    Well articulated Antony…& superb use of supporting material.

    Many Australians, myself included, love much about American culture, but loathe its foreign policy (no matter whether it’s a Democrat or Republican in government.)

    Exactly my sentiments…you can lean towards favouring a musical or filmic genre but that doesn't prevent you from abhorring or criticising elements w/in it.

    Each State is merely a temporary melding of cultures, belief systems, races and so on under a common banner such as the Constitution…these States like languages are living, breathing, evolving entities. The present day 'United States of America' is made up of diverse & occasionally conflicting political parties & movements & organisations & communities & individuals that don't even necessarily take part in the 'dominant' elite's electoral system.

    Yet each grouping & individual has significant effect on the day to day expression of what it means to be 'American' (a rather simplistic, reductionist term if you really mull over it)…those who visit the US realise soon enough that the often vapid, stereotypical & myopic characterisations we see of 'Americans' via the mainstream media (which primarily serves as an occasionally entertaining advertising machine promoting the virtues of AmeriCorporation) serve more to construct a false sense of unified & common identity & practices, rather than expressing the true diversity of this geo-political region.

    When some influential hack, such as a journalist, media mogul or politician, accuses us of being anti-American because we criticise or express negative opinions towards the Bush administration & their association w/ the Military Industrial Complex & Big Oil, it serves to demonstrate how narrow & ignorant their agenda truly is…an agenda that is becoming more transparent & obvious by the day.