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.

Solutions are desperately needed

Uri Avnery, May 8 (during a debate with Ilan Pappe on a one-state or two solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict):

The situation is terrible (as always), but we are progressing nevertheless.

True, on the surface the situation is depressing and shocking: the settlements are getting bigger, the wall is getting longer, the occupation is causing untold injustices every day.

Perhaps it is the advantage of age: today, at the age of 83, I am able to look at things in the perspective of a much longer time span.

Because under the surface, things are moving in the opposite direction. All the polls prove that the decisive majority of the Israeli public is resigned to the existence of the Palestinian people and is resigned to the necessity of a Palestinian state. The government recognized the PLO yesterday and will recognize Hamas tomorrow. The majority has more or less accepted that Jerusalem must become the capital of the two states. In ever widening circles, there is the beginning of a recognition of the narrative of the other nation.

There is a world-wide consensus on the Two State solution, which has been reached by way of elimination: in reality, there is no other. But in order to be realized, support must come from the inside, from the Israeli public. This support we must create. That is our job.

And a word of warning: we must beware of utopias. A utopia looks like a light at the end of the tunnel. It warms the heart. But it is a deceptive light that can induce us to enter a branch of the tunnel from which there is no exit.

We have never heard answers to the two decisive questions about the One State solution: how will it come about and how will it function in practice? But without clear answers to these questions, this is not a plan but a vision, at best.

True, 120 years of conflict have created in our people a huge accumulation of hate, prejudice, suppressed guilt feelings, stereotypes, fear (most importantly, fear) and absolute mistrust of the Arabs. These we must fight, to convince the public that peace is worthwhile and good for the future of Israel. Together with a change in the international situation and a partnership with the Palestinian people, our chances of achieving peace are good.

I, anyhow, have decided to stay alive until this happens.

More on the debate here.

13 comments ↪
  • gottcha

    There are some problems with the utopian view of a one-state solution. Let’s look at history and reality.

    There are 22 Arab states in the Middle East existing in the same region as Israel. Three quarters of these Arab states have conditions written into their constituions that state they are ‘ethnically Arab’ and that they are politically and religiously dependant on Sharia Law for governing.

    The implicit contradiction, of course, is that Israel is criticised as racist for defining itself as Jewish.

  • Carrie Lewis

    Sage words from old Uri. "In ever widening circles, there is the beginning of a recognition of the narrative of the other nation." On the Israeli side, the beginning happened a long time ago for this is what socialist zionists have been saying for decades. Indeed, it's what Hanan Ashrawi was trying to say when she accepted the Sydney Peace Prize (unfortunately she misrepresented the Israeli narrative but at least the thought was there).

    The real question is not whether or when Israel will recognize Hamas but when will Hamas and the other Palestinian armed groups recognize Israel and when will it stop using Mickey Mouse to teach its children to annihilate the Jews?

    It's not enough to simply say "end the occupation" it really is a matter of both sides moving together towards recognizing each other's just rights.

    Although I disagree with many things that Uri says and does, I do hope he stays alive until at least a state of peace between Israelis and Palestinians happens.

  • Andre

    Excellently put Carrie,

    Mutual recognition of rights is really the fundamental issue. The Arab League has made a reasonable offer to recognize Israel, and Israel wold do well to at least enter into negotiations about amending the conditions to which this offer is tied.

    Mush is made of the Hamas charter and the Mickey Mouse figure, which should rightly be condemned, but just because Israel has not formalized it's own prejudices on paper, clearly does not mean that the population, and children in particular, are not similarly being indoctrinated to regard Arabs as sub human.

  • Jon Rosenberg

    Gottcha

    Arguments like that are sure recipes for a stalemate.

    Ignoring the gross exaggeration (it is not three quarters), not a single one of those countries had that condition before the Jews started to ethnically cleanse lands well beyond the borders of the state proposed by the international community.

    The only implicit contradiction is that supporters of Israel ignore the fact that they have as big a part as anyone else in all this racial nonsense, yet expect all others to end it unilaterally before they will even enter rational discussions.

    Who is being unreasonable?

  • gottcha

    Jon Rosenberg

    I have read almost every Arab constituion and I therefore inform you that you are wrong. Three quarters of them do, in fact, state exactly what I claimed they state.

    Your argument that they exist only as a reaction to the establishment of Israel is irrelevant. they are in existence, in practice and are enforced. Sharia Law is not compatible with democracy, so what would you expect but an opposition statement?

    Now to your argument that Israel is as racist as any Arab state. Let's look at the facts Jon. The Arabs within Israel have better living standards than any of their relatives living in any neighbouring Arab state. Shit, they live in a democracy, they get to vote, go to university, they do not have to do military service and they have social security rights. And while there is still along way to go including a formal agreement to share Israel, they are actually better off than their cousins in Iraq, or Iran or Syria.

    Before you make such erroneous claims Jon, do your research.

  • Jon Rosenberg

    I have read almost every Arab constituion and I therefore inform you that you are wrong. Three quarters of them do, in fact, state exactly what I claimed they state.

    In which case you will be able to cite the exact part of each and every Arab constitution that states what you claimed.

    The simple fact is that you can't – and you can't because you haven't read every constitution and are simply repeating what you have been TOLD they say.

    The fact that the ones that do exist in reaction to Israel (and Jewish terrorists) is not Your argument that they exist only as a reaction to the establishment of Israel is irrelevant when you are using their existence as an excuse to avoid objectivity.

    What IS totally irrelevant is 'living standards' .. living standards are generally lower in most Arab states. That isn't an indication of the level of institutional racism.

    As for your claim that they live in a democracy: BALDERDASH. A democracy for some. A democracy for some in the western image .. how ignorant of you to assume that everyone aspires to live according to the standards of an entirely alien cultures.

    I have done my research .. perhaps you should do YOURS before you troll your bigoted nonsense.

  • Jon Rosenberg

    Sorry, something got chewed up there.

    It should read:

    The fact that the ones that do exist in reaction to Israel (and Jewish terrorists) is not irrelevant when you are using their existence as an excuse to avoid objectivity.

  • gottcha

    Jon Rosenberg

    I'm having a little trouble taking your comments seriously.

    To begin with you have no idea what I've read and what I haven't read, of who I am or what my area of expertise is. I did not claim that I'd read every Arab constitution. There are a couple I haven't read, but I've read enough to state that 3/4 of them ethnically define their countries as Arab states.

    Can I suggest you look up the meaning of 'objectivity', 'troll', 'democracy' and 'institutionalist racism'. You seem to be struggling with the meaning and context of these terms.

    You appear to have issues with Western democracy. I make no apology for my belief that democratic governments are superiour to other types of governing. I'm not into autocrats, despots or dictatorships. Yes, it's true, I believe democracy is better!

    And Jon, try not to call me names. It' not productive or polite and as I've already said, it doesn't help to resolve differences.

  • Jon Rosenberg

    Gottcha,

    I will take that to indicate that you are embarrassed about not being able to back up your ridiculous claims.

    It is clear from your claims that you haven’t read what you claim – or if you have, are more than happy to misrepresent what you have read – not that you could physically have read the written constitutions of 17 'Arab' states, because they aren’t there to read.

    Maybe you should follow your own advice and look up the meaning of ‘objectivity’, ‘troll’, ‘democracy’ and ‘institutionalist racism’. You seem to be struggling with the meaning and context of these terms.

    As for calling you names – I call what I see – if you don’t ike it, then maybe you should take a close look at yourself – and I simply followed YOUR lead (except that I haven’t actually decided to put words in your mouth, like you did when you made the ridiculous claim that I want to see Jewish women and children starve to death).

    The only reason you are having trouble taking the comments seriously is that they cause you embarrassment .. and it your only option is to get riled and throw even more accusations around when you are called on to back your ridiculous propagandist claims up.

  • Jon Rosenberg

    I see one of my earlier comments has been deleted.

    It explained in detail how it was impossible for Gottcha to have read the "constitutions" that he claims to have read.

  • gottcha

    Here is a sampling of Arab constitutions. As you can see they specificially state that Arab ethnicity is implicit. Now if we accept these as legitimate, then how can we demand that Israel not define itself by its own culture or ethnicity? I apologise for the size of this comment. But, as I said the whole tangled paradigm presents a problem for Middle East peace. If Israel is to be a country that gives equal rights to all (as it ideally should) how do we overcome the discrimination in the countries surrounding it?

    JORDAN
    Article 1 The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is an independent sovereign Arab State. It is indivisible and inalienable and no part of it may be ceded. The people of Jordan form a part of the Arab Nation, and its system of government is parliamentary with a hereditary monarchy.
    Article 2 Islam is the religion of the State and Arabic is its official language.

    ( Jordan's law no. 6, sect. 3, on April 3, 1954, and reactivated in law no. 7, sect. 2, on April 1, 1963. It states that any person may become a citizen of Jordan unless he is a Jew.)

    PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY
    Article(2) Palestine is part of the Arab Nation. The State of Palestinie abides by the charter of the League of Arab States. The
    Palestinian people are part of Arab and Islamic nations. Arab unity is a goal, the Palestinian people hopes to achieve.
    Article (7) The principles of Islamic Shari’a are a major source for legislation.

    EGYPT
    Art.1*:
    The Arab Republic of Egypt is a Socialist Democratic State based on the alliance of the working forces of the people. The Egyptian people are part of the Arab Nation and work for the realization of its comprehensive unity.
    Art.2*: Islam is the Religion of the State. Arabic is its official language, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia).

    TUNISIA
    Article 1 [State]
    Tunisia is a free State, independent and sovereign; its religion is the Islam, its language is Arabic, and its form is the Republic.
    Article 2 [Arab Nation, Treaties]
    (1) The Tunisian Republic constitutes part of the Great Arab Maghreb, towards whose unity it works within the framework of common interests

  • Jon Rosenberg

    Hmmm

    Four examples don't back up your claim that it is there in 75% of 22 constitutions – especially when two of the four don't even back up the claim that they are "…dependant on Sharia Law for governing".

  • gottcha

    Jon,

    Do a little research yourself. I am not going to post 22 Arab constitutions on Antony's blog. It is his blog, not mine.

    You back up your own claims. Post a few to prove you know what you are talking about. Let's see you cash that cheque your ego keeps writing. Come on let's see some intellectual substance instead of namecalling.

    My full claim was:

    "Three quarters of these Arab states have conditions written into their constituions that state they are ‘ethnically Arab’ and that they are politically and religiously dependant on Sharia Law for governing."

    Put your money where your mouth is Jon. But first do your reading. Islam does not separate religion from state — hence the implicit dependence on Sharia Law.

    I'll settle for URLs to substantiate your claims.