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.

A generational thing

Amidst a sea of parochialism, a letter in this week’s Australian Jewish News articulates a much-appreciated perspective:

As the AJN continues its tedious weekly drubbing of Antony Loewenstein, it is difficult to ignore the obvious generational implications.

Loewenstein is a young voice, expressing opinions deeply unpopular in the Jewish community. He may not be always right, but neither is he wholly wrong. Whatever the merits of his opinions, he is at least brave enough to stand up for what he thinks. Ranged against him are a mauling pack of mainly old men who appear to loath him as much for who he is, as for what he says: he is without literary merit, they say, an intellectual failure, a self-hater.

What cant! What hypocrisy! As if one needs any credentials before one is allowed to express an opinion.

Loewenstein speaks from the heart his critics don’t even appear to have hearts and they consistently reveal themselves to be the real haters, of youth, freedom and change.

When one of your correspondents wrote of turning his back on the Jewish community, he spoke for many of us, young and old (I am nearly 60) who cannot abide this patriarchal contempt for real dissent, the kind that challenges us to look at ourselves honestly.

Dr Lewis Rassaby
Leura, NSW

Get ready for the usual suspects calling Dr Rassaby – whom I don’t know – a dangerous man, an anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew, a “Jew for Genocide” or worse. Such Jews are their own worst enemies.

19 comments ↪
  • gottcha

    I agree with Dr Rassaby. You have every right to stand up and speak and you should never be made to feel afraid to do this.

    But your freedom of speech is not the issue I have with you. It's the quality of your argument and the inequity of your views. You only ever draw attention to Palestinian suffering and you ignore the suffering infllicted by the Arabs on their Israeli neighbours.

    In fact, you ridicule the Israelis when pain is inflicted upon them and you claim it is their own fault. When the Palestinians act violently and kill innocent people you blame the Americans and the Jews. In your book, the Palestinians can do no wrong and they never have to take responsibility for their own killing or their own dysfunctional society. (Look at the civil war in Gaza now, and who do you blame? The Americans, of course)

    Your one-sided analysis and lop-sided empathy can never work because you are only reading half the story.

  • Andre

    Gottcha,

    You keep wanting to labor the fact that Arabs are killing Arabs, while insisting it is happenig for no apparent reason.

    The US and Israel have made no effort to hide the fact that they are actively working to split the unity government in Palestine. As soon as it was announced, Israel and the US refused to "recognize" it.

    There are many parallels between the occupied territories and Iraq. Both are under military occupation with the occupier inciting violence to justify their continued presence. In both cases, the suffering of the oppressor is entirely self inflicted, becuase the military powers choose to remain.

    Look at the civil war in Gaza and Iraq. Now remind us what civil war exited in Iraq pre 2003 and what civil war existed in Gaza pre occupation.

  • Andre

    One more thing Gottcha,

    Those who defend Israel's occupation or the US occupation of Iraq, will often insist that the reporting or opinions expressed should be, as the Fox News jingo says, "fair and balance". In other words, forget about the proportionality of what either side is doing, so long as every criticism of one side is accompanied by a criticism of the other.

    Surely even you can appreciate the absurdity of this position, when one side is killing three or more times as many as the other.

  • Maybe Antony is having some influence – at least they published the letter.

  • al loomis

    andre, the israelis are invaders, the arabs want their land back. they are entitled to use force, their land was stolen by force. being even handed between victim and aggressor isn't justice, it's moral blindness.

    if the jews want peace, they should ask the un to mediate the creation of a secular state of palestine. with luck, the arabs might settle for a 'reconciliation commission' like south africa, instead of putting israeli leadership in the dock with the various ex-yugoslav war criminals.

    unfortunately, there is no visible mandela among the arabs, and on the jewish side, the zionists control israel, the rest of israel are afraid they would get what they deserve.

    while militarily the stronger, israel is weaker morally, politically, and biologically- they are being out bred. so the arab side should ask for a un supervised transition to a secular palestine, and give assurances of no reprisals.

    but there is no arab mandela.

  • Carrie Lewis

    al loonis

    Judging by the tone of your post, the "jews" would need a lot of luck if the people in power in your state of palestine possessed your megalomaniacal attitudes.

  • al loomis

    carrie,

    yes, the jews in israel are in great danger. that's what happens when you dispossess several million people of homes, land and lives. the survivors don't forget in a hurry.

    when it comes to monomania, i bow to ben-gurion, who seemed to think that jewish terrorists would, or should be, qualitatively different than the garden variety murderers they were.

    i suppose you're not used to hearing jews characterized as thugs. news flash: they're just like you and me, come in all sizes,and the thugs have been driving the israeli government from day 1. plenty of good jewish people around, some of whom bravely stand up and castigate the thugs who have been trading on the holocaust for too long now. i urge you to emulate them.

    it's not megalomania to suggest a 'south africa' solution to the palestine quagmire. it's a solution which might work if the jews can get over the notion they own palestine, and the arabs can forgive the invasion. if there is some element of mania in hoping for a relatively just resolution to this running sore on the face of humanity, i just invite you to do better. i may disagree with your alternative, but i'll try not to be rude about it.

    so have a go-

  • BenZ

    Get ready for the usual suspects calling Dr Rassaby – whom I don’t know

    You failed to mention that Rassaby was a signatory of your unpopular IAJV petition. It is therefore highly likely that you two have communicated in the past. Are you being dishonest Antony?

    Get ready for the usual suspects calling Dr Rassaby – whom I don’t know – a dangerous man, an anti-Semite, a self-hating Jew, a “Jew for Genocide” or worse. Such Jews are their own worst enemies.

    Yes, anti-semites, self-hating Jews and Jews for Genocide certainly are their own worst enemies. That would of course include you Antony. Don't you sometimes wish you had a full-time sub-editor?

    Quick! Change the text and don't issue a correction. I'm sure nobody will notice.

  • BenZ

    Andre,

    You keep wanting to labor the fact that Arabs are killing Arabs, while insisting it is happenig for no apparent reason.

    The US and Israel have made no effort to hide the fact that they are actively working to split the unity government in Palestine. As soon as it was a

    Your typically superficial analysis, of course doesn't answer why Arabs are killing Arabs in areas with no US or Israeli scapegoat to conveniently blame. Indeed, Muslim-on-Muslim violence has seen many hundreds of thousands more killed than in any Arab/Israeli conflict.

    Not that I expect you to be too familiar with the history of the region, of course.

    Michael,

    Maybe Antony is having some influence – at least they published the letter.

    Antony gets no credit whatsoever. In actual fact, anyobody who reads the Australian Jewish News would know that anti-establishment letters such as Rassaby's are printed disproportionately to the popularity such views hold within the Australian Jewish Community. That is, odious views such as Antony's are actually over-represented.

    However, this evidence completely flies in the face of Antony's central hypothesis that the Jewish Community stifles debate. To the contrary, it has always been the case and Loewenstein has been shadow-boxing an imaginary threat.

  • Andre

    BenZ,

    You again demonstrate your fanaticism; in this case by referring to Ant and any other Jewish individual as Jews for Genocide – taken straight from the islamophobic and deranged vocabulary of Melanie Phillips, who has become a traveling freak show in her own right. Only a seriously disturbed mind would equate opposition to war, oppression and violence, with advocating genocide.

    As for Arabs killing Arabs, perhaps you might want to enlighten yourself on current events assuming you are remotely up to date on what its taking place on the ground.

    Yes, Muslims have killed Muslims, and Jews have killed Jews (ie. The Ringworm Children). It's human nature to exploit the suffering of others BenZ, not an Arab disease. You want to talk about hundreds of thousands, when the fact remains that over 200 million people were killed last century in wars that had no Muslim religious involvement.

    In the 1990’s, the US saw to it that a million Iraqis died from impoverishment, based on a false premise. They have subsequently added another 650,000 to that total.

    And do explain why the Australian Jewish News would indeed print a disproportionate number of dissenting views if indeed, as you believe, they are in the minority? Given how prone you are to hyperbole, this is laughable, though your hypersensitivity to anything approaching criticism of Israel, it’s no surprise that you would over look the abundance of articles that maintain the status quo. Any dissent after all, can only come from must come from Jews for Genocide right BenZ.

    The evidence of stifled debate is irrefutable. Danby and others attempted to prevent Ant’s book from being published. You don’t get a more clear cut case of stifling debate than that, go give it up.

    The way I see it BenZ, you have a choice in the matter. Either Ant represents an insignificant minority, in which case you are wasting your time swatting at flies, or he doesn’t, which is why you are so incensed by the attention he is generating. Why are you so threatened?

    You can’t have it both ways.

  • BenZ

    You again demonstrate your fanaticism; in this case by referring to Ant and any other Jewish individual as Jews for Genocide – taken straight from the islamophobic and deranged vocabulary of Melanie Phillips, who has become a traveling freak show in her own right.

    Let me get this straight. You call Melanie Phillips, a distinguished journalist, a "traveling [sic] freak show" and "islamophobic" and that's fine. However, I call Antony a Jew for Genocide and you call me a fanatic?

    The only thing being demonstrated here is your total hypocricy. You can call people anything you want, yet if anyone dares pick on poor Antony, you'll be crying into your weet-bix. Grow up buttercup.

    The way I see it BenZ, you have a choice in the matter. Either Ant represents an insignificant minority,

    Well of course he does. What was it? 450 (plus fakes) out of 120 000 Jewish Australians? A hundred odd hits a day to a blog?

    in which case you are wasting your time swatting at flies, or he doesn’t, which is why you are so incensed by the attention he is generating. Why are you so threatened?

    Statistically speaking, I am not at risk of being attacked by lightning or bees. However, like most people, I have wasted time avoiding both. Don't equate time spent showing up Antony (and your) lies and distortion, with your own effectiveness. There's no correlation.

    As for the "attention he is generating", well plenty of others are generating some attention to his intellectual dishonesty as well.

  • Andre

    However, I call Antony a Jew for Genocide and you call me a fanatic?

    Phillips a distinguished journalist? You mean to say you consider utterly incoherent conspiracy theories like this one to be examples of distinguished journalism?

    The differences are obvious. Phillips resides in a land of makes believe , where the London of today is indistinguishable from the Weimarch. That pretty much says it all, but it certainly explains your disconnect from reality.

    What was it? 450 (plus fakes) out of 120 000 Jewish Australians? A hundred odd hits a day to a blog?

    And yet you are here running around like some paranoid lemming, putting out fires and accusing Ant of advocating genocide and censoring people, and in the process, failing spectacularly.

    Keep it up. People like you are invaluable allies to Ant’s cause.

  • BenZ

    And one more thing – in an earlier comment, above, I pointed out Antony's potential relationship to Lewis Rassaby, and the possibility he is being disingenuous in his commentary.

    Once again, he refuses to respond. He's lucky you can fight all his battles for him. I feel like I've been attacked with a rolled-up wet newspaper…

    Presumably this is what Rassaby meant when he claimed Loewenstein is "brave enough to stand up for what he thinks". Sure…

  • Andre

    I don;t need to fight Ant's battles for him BenZ. He was fighting them and winning long before I came along.

    Nor does it take bravery to get into a debate on a blog BenZ.

  • BenZ

    Nor does it take bravery to get into a debate on a blog BenZ.

    Then why is Loewenstein so afraid of it, preferring instead to delete comments. http://rwdb.blogspot.com/2007/01/fearless-journal

  • Andre

    Build a bridge BenZ,

    Seeing as you;re fond of metaphors – most people spend time cleaning their houses because they respect cleanliness, not because they are afraid of dirt.

  • viva peace

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a truly brave woman is in Sydney for the Writer's Week. Unlike Hanan Ashrawi who tellingly hides from exposing the abominable attitudes towards women and non-Muslims of the Hamas, Ali speaks out about both.

    One wonders if she will win the Sydney Peace Prize as Ashrawi did? Probably not, as I am not aware she is anti-Israel.

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  • Dr Lewis Rassaby

    I have caught up with some of this intemperate correspondence. For the I record I don't know Lowenstein and have never spoken or corresponded with him