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 Washington view

Yesterday’s New York Times editorial on Hugo Chavez was comedy gold:

President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela — the very portrait of a modern Latin American strongman — is not content to exercise near-total political and military control of his country. Now he is tightening his grip on the Venezuelan economy. That’s bad news for foreign investors, but even more so for the Venezuelan people who will have to pay the price for an economy plagued by increasing inefficiency and corruption.

Mr. Chávez announced this week that he would nationalize electricity and telecommunications companies. Venezuela’s biggest telecommunications company is partly owned by Verizon Communications. Its largest publicly traded electricity company is controlled by another American company, the AES Corporation. Mr. Chávez also declared his intention to take control of four multibillion- dollar oil projects with significant investments from foreign companies.

State control is rarely an efficient way to run companies. And nationalizations are not a good way to encourage further foreign investment. Mr. Chávez is already using the state-controlled oil company to reward his cronies at the expense of getting the best return on Venezuela’s most lucrative resource.

Chavez is undoubtedly a lively and controversial figure, though warmly embraced by the majority of the Venezuelan population. As a Sydney-based, Chilean friend wrote to me today:

How dare Mr Chávez nationalise sections of the economy (telecommunications and electricity) which US shareholders obtained through shady deals with corrupt old governments in Venezuela? These services are so poorly run and inefficient that re-nationalising them makes good sense – just ask me about making a simple phone call in Caracas.

As for Mr Chávez “reward[ing] his cronies”, like all places, one can expect there to be some type of corruption in government, however, I think roughly 70% of the population who are benefiting from having health care, education and accessible food might think differently to the Times view of their government.

one comment ↪
  • Addamo

    Comic Gold indeed,

    The US media keep referring to this guy as a dictator, while ignoring the fact that the guy who led the failed coup in 2003, actually ran as an opposition candidate in the following election. Imagine if that had happened in the lend of the free? The guy would have tried for treason and shot.

    They call him a strongman in spite of the fact he has never used him military.

    80% of Latin America have now said a collective fuck you to US free markets and gloablisation, and for good reason. Every country that is part of the free market economy, the US, Britain and Australia, is in massive debt.

    I love this line:

    That’s bad news for foreign investors, but even more so for the Venezuelan people who will have to pay the price for an economy plagued by increasing inefficiency and corruption.

    Because you know, in the US, we have these icons of efficiency and transparency like Enron, Worldcom and tens of trillions tied up in hedge funds which are nothing more than giant Ponzi schemes. The US, where evenn the Federal Reserve is privatized and has just buggered the US economy to baddly that it not only refuses to release an M3 report about how many US bills they printed in 2006, but have had to send their director, Paulson or an emergency trip around the world to beg the America's main creditors not to dump their massive holdings of US dollars, which would turn the US in to a 3rd world economy in 24 hours.

    This is just like Guatamela in 1952, when the US overthrew the leadership of that country for daring to buy back it's own land from the International Fruit Company.